Thursday, 30 May 2013

Review of Night Waking by Sarah Moss

I bought this book because of the really good reviews it received but I was a little disappointed.  At times it flicked from current to past times with no real sense of why.  One minute you were reading about the central character Anna dealing with tantrums in the kitchen and the next transported back to the 1800's with no clear path as to why.

I did love the character of Anna and could truly identify with her trying to juggle a career and two little ones.  The sleep deprivation and the fact that her husband just grunts and rolls over is something most of us have to contend with.  That and blockading the bathroom door just to enable her to have half and hour alone time is something every mother craves.

I did find some of the other characters a little stereotypical and I really didn't take to her husband Giles or the visitors to the island, another dysfunctional family.  There was a hint throughout the book that there was a problem with her older son, Raph and I did find his character a little strange.  Firstly, having a seven year of my own I know some of the things he says my seven year old would not have a clue about, at one part of the book he suggests he builds a dynamo to power his mums laptop so that she could write whilst exercising and then he could divert this power to the oven.  Technical talk for a seven year old but maybe that is part of his problem.  It would have been better if this had been made clearer and maybe an indication of what the actual problem was with him.  Maybe he was just to old for his years.

The book did all come together at the end but I just didn't really connect with it.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Quality Family Bonding Time

It's been a few weeks since my last proper post.  I'm even behind with my book reviews I'm currently reading faster than I can review them.  Anyway, there's numerous reasons behind my absence the main one being that I've needed some time off and wanted to spend some quality time with my kids.

After the last few awful months we've just needed a chance to let the dust settle, shake ourselves down and pick ourselves back up.  It's easy to forget that the kids are having just as bad time as me. Tensions have been fraught and nerves most definitely on the edge.  With almost the full week off work and the kids on half term it's been the perfect chance to just let our hairs down and have some bloody good times and laughs.  It's been the best medicine all round.

We've had a good day out at the Filey Bird and Animal Garden which was a lovely day. To be honest upon arrival I kind of thought, oh is this it? but despite being small, it was a great place with little secrets gardens and loads of bits to explore  The kids just loved running free and in their words said. "I've had the best, best, best, best day ever, ever, ever," which was definitely music to my ears. The day was finished perfectly with a fish and chip picnic sat at Sewerby Cliffs watching the sun begin to fade and gazing out to sea.  Bliss! 

On Sunday I was proud to become my gorgeous nephew, Alex's Godmother.  It was a really nice day and I have to admit that even though I'm not a church goer I really enjoyed the church service.  It was so refreshing to not be totally preached at but to have the important values still highlighted just in a much lighter way.  I'm now considering organising another christening for my little Charlie.  It's my one biggest regret that I haven't done it sooner.  It was on the cards when my marriage broke down and it got pushed to the back of the list but it does pray on my mind.

The rest of the week has been spent at home just relaxing and re-charging.  It's been nice just to spend time with the kids.  We've sat and played, had conversations about things that have been happening and hopefully managed to lay some demons to rest. Right now things are looking a whole lot better.  The kids behaviour has been much improved (They have been fairly awful these last few weeks) and we've got closer then we have been in a while.  Maybe due to the fact that things have been brought out into the open and issues resolved.

Another reason for my lack of posts is I have actually been seriously considering the future of this blog.  It's time for a new direction with it.  I'm just not sure where to go with it as yet.  It may even be coming to it's natural end.  The boards still out on that one.  The fact of the matter is, I have a number of writing projects that I'm currently ploughing a lot of time and effort into and unfortunately there just aren't enough hours in the day to tackle everything I want to do, so I've had to do some prioritising. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review of Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Sarah is a fast paced, successful, business woman.  She juggles family life and rearing three kids with working an 80 hour week as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting.  Her days are a whirl of e-mails, phone calls and school runs.  Her and husbands also high powered position means that they can afford to live in an affluent area with a weekend home in Vermont.

All that changes in the blink of eye when reaching over to grab her phone one icy commute her car skids off the road leaving Sarah in hospital needing major brain surgery.  She pulls through but is horrified to find she has a condition called,'Left Neglect'.  This is where her brain, that has been damaged on the right side, fails to register that she has a left side.  Everything on the left side of her is invisible and Sarah has to take on the enormous road to recovery.

Simple everyday tasks like getting dressed, eating and walking are near on impossible and Sarah has to go through months of therapy and face the daily humiliations of having to be helped onto the toilet, to get dressed and needs the aid of what she describes as a 'granny cane' (a walking frame) to drag herself around.  Determined to be 100% recovered and back to work  as soon as possible Sarah refuses to give in but soon realises that getting back to 100% may never happen.

This is a sad and moving story of how a life can be shattered in the blink of an eye.  However, there is some good that comes out of the accident and Sarah begins to see what is in fact most important in her life. 

I read this book in two days and enjoyed every word.  Sarah is a truly remarkable woman and I would love there to be a follow up to see how Sarah's life progresses

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Murder Workers

I sat and watched this programme last night and I have to say I cannot believe how much it affected me.  For anyone that didn't watch it, it was about 3 people who deal with the relatives after a loved one has been murdered. I take my hat off to these people because it's not a job that I could do.

These brave families told the stories of how their loved ones were murdered and it showcased how they tried to deal with the aftermath.  Having to go through trials and not always get the verdict that was needed.  The part that really got me was the family whose dad killed their mum, the 3 young children sat describing that day broke my heart.  The little girl sat playing with her doll whilst chatting away and I just couldn't get the thought out of my head that she was Charlies age and I couldn't imagine him having to deal with something like that. 

Another tragic moment was when a mum had to sit and watch CCTV footage of the moments after her son was savagely beaten.  It showed how he was dragged through the nightclub and left out on the street.  A truly harrowing thing for anyone to watch so to know that that person is your son doesn't bare thinking about.

When the programme finished I could feel the lump in my throat and I had this over whelming need to go upstairs and kiss and hug both of my kids.  Which I did.  I take them for granted on a day to day basis so much.  I tell them off and get angry with them for things which, when put into context, are silly.  It really re-enforced the fact that I need to cherish every minute because these tragedies happen to innocent people all the time and peoples lifes' are shattered in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Review of The Life by Martina Cole

I'm a massive Martina Cole fan and have normally always dashed out to buy her book as soon as it is released and devoured it within days. However, the last couple of books haven't gripped as much hence the length of time that it has taken me to buy this latest novel.

I did enjoy it and it did have all those magic Martina moments but it did seem a little same old, same old.

I think what really spoilt it for me was you knew early on that there had to be a traitor in the Bailey family and it wasn't difficult to work out which brother it was that got a little to big for his boots, decided to take on the world and his family, and ultimately lost his life.

This book would have been so much better if the traitor in the midst hadn't been so obvious. I want something that shocks me. Something that I don't see coming and this books just didn't do that. Also for all Martina's shocking gangland killings for all the hurt and destruction this brother caused I expected a big ending, a big battle but I didn't even get that.

For all that I did still enjoy the book and I hope there is a continuation as it will be interesting to see how little sister, Tania, whose just being introduced to the 'The life,' survives and what challenges she faces.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Girlie Day

With my little princess still not being well this morning it was an unscheduled day off work for me, a day off school for her, whilst little monster went to playschool.

It was really nice to spend some girlie time together.  As most mum's with multiple children will know it's difficult to give your undivided attention to one child.  It's particularly difficult when your a single mum, as there is only one of you and much as I'd sometimes like to, I can't split myself in two.

It's easier to get quality one to one time with Charlie because he's not yet at school. I have all day Thursday and Friday to spend time with him but unfortunately with Faye being at school when she's at home, so is Charlie.  What makes things especially hard is Charlie is very much a mummies boy and gets very jealous of the attention I do manage to give to Faye.

It was so nice, therefore, to have a few hours together without Charlies attention seeking behaviour to have some girlie time.  We sat and played board games, cuddled up on the watching TV and just had some much needed one on one time. 

She has been getting a few tellings off recently.  She's growing up and becoming just a little bit cheeky and naughty.  These last few weeks I actually feel like all I have done is tell her off.  However, today she has been like another child, I feel like I have my Faye back, and we seem to have got back on track.  I know that these past few weeks have been as difficult for her as they have for me.  If truth be told, I can't say to much about her behaviour because I know that she is a clone of me, personality, looks, the works and as my mum is fond of telling me, I am now getting a taste of my own medicine.  Oh, how I dread the teenage years!

Today has really shed a new light in things and I've maybe realised that I need to try and find a way to give her a little more one to one time.  It's what we both need. Thankfully she's fully recovered now and it's back to school tomorrow.  Unfortunately that means it's also back to work for me with an influx of hours to now try and juggle around and make up. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

No Luck Yet

After my recent run of bad luck I was sure that my luck was about to change.  So sure, in fact, that I had a few lines on the lotto last night. fancying my chances and hoping I might be down to win a tenner at least.   I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that I didn't win a bean.

Instead I've woken up today with a poorly little girl that has spend all day laid on the sofa and intermittently throwing her guts up.  Oh the joys.  I'd thought I'd had my fair share of illness and stomach bugs for this year but guess not.

I eventually managed to get my washing hung out on the line around midday but it wasn't long before it was all lying on the ground.  The box that was fixed to the wall containing one end of my washing lines had been pulled off the wall leaving all my clean washing laid in the mud.  Dragging all the washing back inside and setting it off to re-wash.  I dug out the tool box and put my DIY skills into practise. The hardest part was the height issue.  Being all of 5ft 2 and having to balance precariously on a step ladder placed on the doorstep whilst constantly having to dash in and out at every shout of, 'Mummy, I feel sick..

Eventually I managed to get the offending box secured firmly back on the wall, emptied the sick bowl and was just about to re-hang the washing back on when the rain started. 

'Arrrggghhhhh'

I can feel a glass of wine of two or three coming on tonight.  Just praying that the other little monster doesn't start with it tonight or even worse me.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Review of Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

This is another cracker of a reader from page one I was hooked.  This novel just left me spinning with the twists and revelations.  A story of love, loss and betrayal.


Music therapist Zoe finally has a prayers answered when her and husband Max fall pregnant after numerous attempts of IVF.  The euphoria is short lived when her life comes crashing down and she loses not only her longed for baby and husband but goes on to be diagnosed with cancer resulting in a hysterectomy.

Whilst Max goes on a rampage and reverts back to his alcoholic ways he ends in crashing his car and ends up in a ditch.  It's then he finds God and resolves to put his life back together with the help of Pastor Clive Preston and other members of the Eternal Glory Evangelical Church.

Zoe finds friendship in work colleague Vanessa.  What starts out as friends soon develops into more and ultimately they fall deeply in love and are married.  With plans to start a family they try to use the three frozen embryos from Zoe and Max's failed IVF attempts.

The war begins between Max and Zoe.  Max and his church are set against same sex relationships and it's seen as one of the biggest sins.  A court battle ensues as to who should raise these unborn embryos.  Zoe and Vanessa or Max's brother and his wife, a traditional god serving family who are also fertility troubles.  A contract then comes to light that was signed prior to the divorce that if at any time the couple divorced the frozen embryos would be destroyed.

Just what with the judge decide...

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Girlie Nights.

I had an awesome night out last night with the girls.  I met some amazing new people and it was just what I needed after the last couple of weeks.  The drinks flowed, the music played and by the end of the night my feet were killing.

After a fair few vodkas we hit the dance floor big time.  I have to say that some of the music in some of the bars left a lot to be desired but what the hell it was all good fun.  I even managed to end up in a nightclub.  I haven't been in one of those for years.  I partied like I was 18 again.  I wish.

I crawled in at 2am and can you believe it I was awake at 6.30am.  6.30am on a Sunday morning when I didn't even have any kids to contend with, is just not funny.  My one chance of a much needed sleep in and I'm wide awake.

I have paid the price for it today.  My head is pounding and it took till 12 and buckets loads of coffee just to be able to function.  It's a good job the kids are at their dads until later. I have a feeling it will be a very early night for me tonight but it was so worth it.  I can't wait for the next one ladies.

Friday, 3 May 2013

My Childhood Bible

Faye came home from school last night and asked if I had any books from when I was a little girl that she could read.  I explained that the books I read were in fact the same as some of the books she has on her shelf.  She has Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton, The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, which I loved, and on top of that Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.  She, of course, failed to believe me.  I don't know how old she thinks I am.

Anyway, a phone call to nanna and after an hour of her having to dig about in the loft she arrived on my doorstep with a bag full of my old books.  Amongst the pile of Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton books was my favourite childhood book - The Bible.  It brought a big smile to my face and all the memories came flooding back


I'm not particularly religious nowadays.  I don't attend church or anything like that but I do remember as a young girl sitting on my bed and reading this massive hardback Bible.  It so big I could barely lift it but oh the hours I spent reading about the Garden of Paradise, Cain and Abel and Noah's Ark.  I was just fascinated by the stories.  Looking at the book again today I think another reason I may have been attracted to this book was the graphic illustrations.  There is quite a lot of violent bloody pictures and maybe as a young girl rather than frighten me this simply intrigued me further.

Faye at the moments is very interested in Religion and is always asking questions about the Bible and God.  Questions that I can't really answer anymore.  So now we have the beloved Bible out we can sit and read the stories together. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review of Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan

This is a wonderful, easy reading, feel good chit lit story.

This is the story of Sadie, a recently divorced mum of two.  Her ex husband is a lying, cheating scum bag and she's well shot of him.  She takes a break at the coast and goes to stay for the summer with her eccentric aunt and gay cousin.  Little does she know that she is going to fall hook, line and sinker in love with the new hunk of a doctor in town. But, as with any good story the path of true love certainly isn't smooth.

You could say that this has all been done before but for me this book was just the perfect little escape from reality we sometimes all need. The characters were brash and larger then life and Sadie's escapades certainly made me laugh and I could certainly as a single mum identify with her.

I read this book in 3 days and would recommend it to any chit lit fan.  Fabulous

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Flood!

Oh my god what a night I have had tonight. I've been up to my knees in water.  Ok, slight exageration there but certainly more than enough water was covering my kitchen floor.  I'll start at the beginning of my tale.

For the last couple of days I have noticed a rather unpleasant stink upon opening my washing machine door.  At first I put it down to old age.  Bless her, she is getting on for 13 years old and has served me well.  She's a bog standard, no frills, bottom of the range washing machine.  There's a huge dial in the middle that you cluck round to choose your wash.  The options are limited to say the least but there's enough for my needs.  Warm wash. Hot wash. Economy wash. What more do you need? We were on a tight budget at the time of purchase and she was all we could afford. She's never let me down and continues to go like a rocket.

Earlier on in the evening I had a light bulb moment. Ping! Of course, I bet the filters blocked, I cleverly thouught to myself.  So got down on my hands and knees, prised open the little door, turned the dial and the most horrendous pong filled my kitchen.
 "Urrrghhhhh, mum whats the smell?" shouted the kids.
 "Have you pumped Faye? It stinks" shouted Charlie.

Well I had found the source of the smell and a big black button appeared to be the main culprit.  So I scrubbed out the remaining black gunge and proceeded to put everything back together.  In went the filter, then the big black rubber washer, followed by the two little white plastic discs, screw it all in place and hey presto, job done.  I'll just put a wash on and check everythings OK, I thought to myself.

Ten minutes later a little voice said, "Mummy, there is water dripping on the kitchen floor"
I dashed through into the kitchen and that was certainly no drip.  Water was gushing out of the bottom of the washer.  Oh my bloody god! I grabbed tea towels and tried mopping up the water whilst plugging the filter and trying to tighten everything to stop the gush but it just contuined to flow merrrily out onto the floor. I watched in vain as water started to seep under the kitchen cupboards and invade every corner of the room.  Finally the gush began to slow and became a trickle before finally a drip, drip, drip.
"ohh mummy," came the kids voices as they peeped gingerly into the kitchen.
"Don't come in" I shouted.
"Whats happened? Can we see?" asked Charlie
"Just keep put of the way" I shouted.  The last thing I needed right now was two kids paddling in the soapy water.  I was wet enough for the 3 of us.

I Grabbed the mop and bucket and more towels and proceeded to try to soak up all the water.  Right, try again.  Filter in, white plastic discs, big rubber washer, screw into place,washer on.  Checked for water.  All looks good.  Job done.
"Oh s**t, s**t, beep, beep beep" I shouted, as water started to once again gush out of the bottom of my machine.  More towels grabbed.  More water sloshing around onto the floor and seeping under the cupboards.  "Arrrggghhhh! Give me strenth" I shouted

Finally half an hour later.  Filter in, white disc, big rubber washer, white disc, screw into place and I waited with baited breath.  Not a drop or a drip escaped.  Phew.  I then had the task of removing all the plinths from the bottom of the cupboards and trying to soak up all the water.  At last we appear to be all dry.

The only good thing is that I tried my machine out tonight because if I had waited until the morning to put on a wash I would have been looking after my 11 month nephew.  He would have had a field day in all that water and just the thought fills me with dread.

So, they say bad things happen in three's and to my thinking that's my third this month so I must be in for some good luck.  I'd better make sure I buy a lottery ticket this week because Saturday might just be my lucky night.