Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Review of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

What an emotional read.  There are very few books that have actually made me cry, some make me think, oh how sad, some bring a lump to my throat or a rogue tear to me eye but this left me with tears streaming down my face.

Connor is a young teenager whose mother is dying of cancer.  He's awoken by a re-occurring dream and a monster is at his window.  The monster takes hold of Connor and tells him three tales and it's through these stories that Connor starts to deal with the monsters within.

This is a beautifully written, heart breaking tale of grief, strength, healing and courage.  I read this book in two sittings and recommend it to anyone.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Explosive Week.

I'm not normally one for confrontation.  Normally I bite my tongue, keep my feelings hidden and just let everything go over my head and deal with it in my own way.  Not this week.  This week a few people have seen a different side to me.  I've said things that have needed saying for a while and I feel better than I have done for a while.  In fact, it feels amazing.

I'm a decent person, I have a good set of morals and know right from wrong.  I go out of my way to help my nearest and dearest and like to think I do go that extra mile for them, as they do for me.  My family are my world and I know the people that I can turn to and who will be there for me, unconditionally.

What I am sick of is people contacting me out of the blue and pretending to be my best friend,  Take the phone call I had today.  This person has caused immeasurable hurt and upset to my family.  I haven't spoken to said person in five years and yet they call me up to discuss arrangements for a family party, they then get upset when I say I'm not going. 

I was told that I was very rude.  Well, OK call me what you like.  I wasn't rude I was honest.  As we all know the truth hurts and all I said was I am not sitting for four hours playing happy families.  I can't be fake and sit there being all smiles and making polite conversation through gritted teeth. 

What you see is what you get with me.    I don't put on airs and graces.  I don't pretend to be some I'm not.  I'm just me.  Take it or leave it.  I am far from perfect and I know all my bad points but what I'm beginning to see is that I have a lot of good points and do you know what? I like who I am.  I don't want to be someone else. 

So for anyone reading this beware.  I am no longer going to be that door mat and take all the shite.  There's a few people on my hit list that are going to be told exactly what I think of them.  Please or offend.  This is the new assertive Jayne.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Review of Meridon by Philippa Gregory

The final instalment in the Wideacre trilogy and I have to say that of the three books this is my least favourite.

At the end of the Favoured Child we see Julia attempting to end the line of the Laceys and dispose of her new born child.  Fifteen years later we catch up with Meridon or Sarah as she believes herself to be called who dreams of a place called Wide.

Meridon and her sister Dandy are sold by their gypsy father to the circus where the learn to fly high on the trapeze.  Disaster strikes and Meridon sets out on her journey to discover the place of her dream.

Does finding Wideacre solve all Meridons problems and fulfil her hopes and dreams?  Far from it.  Finding Wideacre is just the beginning of her problems.

This book does bring closure to the full trilogy and ties up all the loose ends.  For me the appeal of the other two books was the setting of the wonderful Wideacre estate.  This book however is set away from there for the first half and the second half just didn't hold the same magic as the first two. 

Despite all this I did enjoy this book.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

It's been a tough week

This week has been what can only be described as horrific.  Dad started on his treatment and things haven't gone according to plan. He's currently seriously ill and back in the hospital.  Luckily, at the minute we seem to have turned a corner and from now on, fingers crossed, he can only improve. 
It's all been another big nightmare.

I always feel it's important in any bad situation to tell the truth, which I have done with my kids, they are very aware of the situation and know all of what's going on.  On the flip side it's also important to keep a sense of normality.  I do what I always do shoulders back, head up and plaster on the smile.

Needing to get the kids out for a few hours today to let off a bit of steam I packed up the car with a picnic, rain jackets, buckets and spades and we headed off to the coast.  First was a visit to the Bridlington Bird of Prey Centre where the kids had a great time feeding the animals and exploring.  Faye got to be a part of the flying display and had the chance to hold a barn owl whilst both kids got to be a part of the hilarious pig racing.  Charlie's faced beamed as he was chosen to be the chaser of the pigs to try and get them to run faster.  Considering this is only a small family run centre we had a brilliant few hours and the welcome we received from the owners was so warm and friendly that that really made the day.

From there we headed up to Filey where we explored the beaches.  With the weather not being so great I hadn't planned for paddling but the kids were desperate to get stuck in so off came the clothes and both kids played in their pants.  Now that's a funny photo for the family album.  Faye at first wasn't so sure about being seen in public with just her pants on but not wanting to miss out on the fun she soon passed off her inhibitions and stripped off.

What better way to finish the day than with fish and chips and a game of Frisbee on the cliff tops at Bridlington.  We've done the tour of the coast and it's two dirty and tired little monsters that I brought home.   Both Showered and all nice and clean they are now snuggled up in their beds snoring and I don't think I will be far behind them. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Review of The Favoured Child by Philippa Gregory

The second book in the 'Wideacre Trilogy' and just as good as the first.  With the death of Miss Beatrice Lacey at the end of the first book we continue the story in the second book some 15 years later.

Beatrices children, Julia and Richard have been raised by their aunt Celia and John MacAndrew (Beatrices husband) who we meet in the first book. The children unaware if their true genealogy are raised believing they are cousins but things soon spiral out of control as the truth is revealed.

Julia is the villages darling and will do anything to try to right the wrongs done by Beatrice.  She is all the good parts of Beatrice.  She loves the land and the people and is soon a part of their hearts.  Richard in comparison is all evil.  He wants to be the soul squire of the estate and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.  Rape, murder and blackmail is all a part of his life and he can only be described as insane.

Things come to head and Julia sets out of rid Wideacre of the tainted Lacey ancestry for ever.  The question is she can go through with what she has dreamt of for so long to complete her mission.

Another page turner and brilliant read.

How daft?

I was whizzing around as normal yesterday chasing round the shops hunting down a police man's dress up outfit for Charlie before meeting friends at the park.  Pulling up in the park car park I messed around setting up prams and getting out all the bits and pieces I needed for our trip.  (I have to add here I also had my nephew who is one with me so it was back to lugging around everything but the kitchen sink.)

My friend pulled up beside me and we started gabbing away.  My mind was racing at a hundred miles as hour and I went back in the boot of the car to make some adjustments to what I needed to take with me, closed the boot and whoops, f***, S**t, my car keys were nice and safely locked in the boot.  Unfortunately my car door was also locked which meant I had for the first time ever locked myself out of the car.

Luckily for me, I had my handbag with me so digging out my mobile it was a quick call to my saviour, my mum, who had to go to my house and let her self in, locate my spare set of keys and trawl all the way to the park to drop them off.  What would I do without her?

Monday, 8 July 2013

Another proud mummy moment!

I have to sing my little girls praises once again.  I picked up her end of year school report and it's nothing short of brilliant.  Having recently sat her SATSs I was so proud to learn she had achieved level 3 for English and Maths and level 2 for Science, which means she working above the national average. She obviously inherited her mothers brains.

Her comments from her teacher regarding her English made me smile.  To quote, "Her writing is thoughtful and descriptive.  She is able to write using many different styles and knows the difference between report writing and story writing." definitely a chip off the old block.

To read that she's a polite, hard working, happy little girl with an excellent attitude and that she sets a great example to other students was a joy to read but I then had to ask, "Faye, are we talking about the same little girl here?  Because you certainly aren't like that at home sometimes." 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Race for life - Hull






I'm so proud of my little girl today for being apart of Hull's Race for Life.  She walked this 5 mile route in the blistering heat today with my sister and my nephew.  Cancer Research is so important and for Race for life to be on this weekend was particularly poignant.  For the last couple of months cancer has had a really big impact on our life and to see the sign that she made brought a tear to my eye and I actually felt really emotional.Cancer is an awful disease that effects so many families and tears lives apart.  As a family we have had to deal with my dad's cancer for almost 9 years now.  We've had long periods of remission where life is normal but these last couple of years haven't been so good and this disease effects not just the patient but the whole family. 





This weekend has been particularly bitter sweet as we have had so fun family times together. The kids have had great fun splashing in the paddling pools, running wild on the beach, causing havoc in the sea and tucking into a lovely BBQ but the weekend has also been marred due to some not so good news that we were given on Friday and some big decisions that are having to be made.  The next few months look to be pretty bleak.  However, as a family we will be strong and we will get through it and get me dad through it and well again.


Without cancer research and the work they do my dad probably wouldn't be here today and I thank god for that everyday.

I also want to say here that my sister also took part in the memory of a very special lady that was especially close to our family and who sadly lost her battle last year and was taken from us far to young.   She will always be loved and missed.




Thursday, 4 July 2013

Splashing Times!

 
 
 
 



My princess was up very early this morning and super excited as it was the long awaited school trip to the seaside.  I've never seen her up, dressed and ready to go so early in my life.  7am and she was sat waiting to go.  They couldn't have asked for a better day with the sun shinning and by all accounts a great day out was had by all building sandcastles on the beach and eating ice creams.





With Faye away having fun. Charlie and I arranged to meet friends and have a picnic in the nearby park.  I have to say I had a great afternoon and I know Charlie had a brilliant time.  First he hit the play area building up quite an appetite with all the climbing, sliding and running around he did.   We grabbed the picnic and headed to a quiet spot where we tucked into sandwiches and crisps, then the boys played Frisbee and football for a while whilst we sat and had a natter.

Next was the highlight of the trip a splash around in the wet play area.  Eager to get stuck in the boys quickly changed into their swimming shorts before hitting the fountains.  Despite the glorious sunshine the water was freezing and after an hour Charlie gave in and came for a snuggle in his towel. His was shivering and lips were almost blue but he didn't really care.  His little friend on the other hand didn't care about the cold he would quite happily have stayed in there for hours and hours he was having so much fun.





There was just one last place to visit before we left for the day and that was a stop off at the ice cream shop.  How two little boys can make such a big mess with a blob of ice cream is a mystery but the monsters did a very good job of covering themselves in more ice cream than they ate.

 It's two happy but tired little children that have just been showered and tucked up into bed.  I hope and pray that the sun is with us to stay for the weekend as I can foresee major fun times ahead.

 



Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Video Games are officially banned!

Yep, my house is going to be a Wii free home as of now.  Little Charlie has just had one epic kick off, had a major telling off and gone to bed crying and all over a stupid game.  I've had enough and it's unplugged and staying that way for the foreseeable future.

Don't get me wrong I have nothing against kids playing these consoles, we do have the Wii and 2 ds's in our house but they turn Charlie into a raving psycho after 30 minutes of play he transforms into the child from hell.  He gets so frustrated because he can't do something that he literally screams at the screen, runs riots and stand in front of me shaking with anger.  Not any more.

It's such a shame because I have to say these past few months his behaviour has been challenging to say the least however this week we seemed to have turned a corner.  We had some quality one on one time on Sunday and an afternoon at the farm where we had great fun jumping on hay bales, feeding goats and eating ice cream.  His behaviour has been impeccable ever since and tonight he plays the silly game and lets himself down.

The only thing I can do is remove the console and wait until he's a bit older and then consider re-introducing it in very small doses.  Unfortunately, video games and kids are a way of life now and no doubt once he's at school he will be wanting more and more games.  I'm not looking forward to those battles.  The one where I say no.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Must use my notebook!

I day dream all day long and come up with some brilliant story ideas but why then do I never write them down?  I stand in the kitchen washing the pots, driving the car, whilst in the shower and the story will develop and unfold, I'll picture the characters and think brilliant I'll sit and write that down.  Tonight!
 
I go to work, run around like a mad woman for most of the day and the story slides away to the back of my mind.  Never giving it a second thought I assume it was such a great idea that how could I possibly not remember it?

Day done. kids in bed. Switch on the laptop and nothing.  Where's that story gone? I know is in there somewhere.  I sit and pick up my pen, turn my notebook to a fresh page and still nothing.  I stare out the window desperate to bring it back before banging my head on the desk.  Arrrgghhh, I've done it again.  My award winning story has disappeared into the black hole.

Note to me. From now on when ever a story idea pops into my head I must, must, must write it down immediately.  Who knows tomorrow night I may have a story to write rather than waffling on here.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Review of Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

I absolutely love this book.  I am a big Philippa Gregory fan and am partial to historical fiction and this trilogy is amazing.  This is actually my second reading of Wideacre and it's definitely better second time around.

It's not a book to be read in one sitting by any means.  I normally devour at least a book a week and this one alone has taken me a fortnight but from page one I was gripped and embroiled in the life on the Wideacre estate.

I have to say 50 Shades of Grey is pale in comparison to the antics of Miss Beatrice Lacey.  She is one wonderful character.  She's a lady that knows what she wants ( to be nothing short of the squire of Wideacre) and she will stop at nothing to get it.  This book is steeped in scandal, murder, passion and illicit affairs.  Page after page throws something new at you making you gasp and thinking surely she wouldn't do that but Beatrice lets nothing get in her way.

Having borne two children her goal is to ensure that they inherit Wideacre on her death.  Back in the 1790's it was the males offspring that inherits and when her brothers wife is feared to be unable to have another child after the alleged birth of her daughter, Beatrice springs to action and sets about securing her husbands fortunes by any mean necessary, to buy out the remaining heir and therefore secure her children's inheritance

Of course, things go badly wrong and the village of Acre are not the only people to suffer.  The outcome can mean only one thing destruction and death.  This book is well worth a read and I'm currently devouring the second instalment, 'The favoured Child,' review of which will be posted shortly.