Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Eve Thoughts

Well Christmas is over again for another 359 days and so far I have avoided the sales like the plague although my mum has fallen prey once again. There is something about the allure of huge red signs with giant white 'Sale' slogans that draws her like a moth, is it weakness? More habit and it's not one I want to get into, so I stay away from the marauding nut cases that prowl the shelves and rails, grabbing what they can regardless of size, shape or design! One of mum's favourite phrases is 'I've got to get it out of my system' and 'I'll treat myself' which turns into an excuse for a spending binge on things she bought on impulse...be warned, I'll admit to having also partaken in this guilty pleasure, although I'm curbing the urge to just spend spend spend! So I'm keeping an eye on two items in particular that I really would like but they are vastly out of my budget range - little hint they begin with the now immortal letter 'i'... I'll let you think about that for a second ;-)

Away from the spending lecture, and I'm feeling more and more as though I can carry on with the work in progress and I might even make it a New Year's Resolution and crack on with it in January before the day job gets busier and I need to focus on it. Of course I still have spare time, after work and the weekends but some how I lack motivation for those sensible times...my brain prefers to work in a darkened room in a silent house which in my little world means about 11 pm, pitch black, everyone else sound asleep and then suddenly an alarm goes off in my head and I'll lay awake for at least an hour. This usually involves mulling over the events of the day, the week, my family, my emotional stability and then if the muse is awake it will turn to the story still on the laptop but rather more dormant than I would like. So perhaps I should make more time and actually make a go of it. It's a cliché I know but I do dream of being published, either through the traditional route of finding an agent, publishing house, making a book deal (in my very deepest and darkest of dreams muhahahaha!) or via the now ever growing route of indie publishing both of which I am rather cautious about, having listened to many horror stories since I plugged into the wondrous world of writing way back in my early university days aka 2009 to be exact when the story that had been floating around in my sub-concious finally kicked in and forced it's way into my mind, demanding that I sit and write something down...I'm still proud of my nanowrimo efforts of 2012, plans for continuing the 2013 journey were stalled by the starting of the day job on, you got it, the very 1st of November! I was so nervous and wanted to focus on Getting Things Right, I decided to be sensible (there's that word again >.< ) and pushed the thoughts of nano out of my mind, whilst wistfully reading other's adventures on Facebook.
Obviously, I've come out of my shell hehe seeing as I'm writing this from the office computer, but I've done my filing, checked the emails and I'm all alone there's no one here beside me - ahem just a little Donkey moment there! - but you get the point.

I read an interesting article somewhere on the great wide web a few days ago, about inspiration being a mythical thing that really has little use in the writing world...I've heard other writers talk about the Craft and honing the skills of writing and mastering language before, but it struck me suddenly that it is the Craft I should be practising, not waiting around for the imaginary bolt of lightening that is inspiration, thrown with occasional accuracy by the elusive Muse. Practise I must, for like all things the tools grow rusty with lack of use, I must remember how to turn a phrase, make my characters come alive and dance to the tune of my choice - wish me luck as I wish you all the best of luck with your work in progress.

The family has a collective bout of cold and sniffles, thought I had escaped but it was not to be so I snuffled and sneezed through the past few days and dared to hope I would be back to health by the celebrations this evening. Thinking an afternoon cat nap will help prepare me for a long night of fun and games spent with our lovely neighbours as it's their last Christmas and New Year in our road, they move in just a few weeks time :-( We will be sad to see them go, in the 10 years we have known them they have let us into their circle and made us so welcome...refreshing in a time when community spirit seems to be dying out and a friendly face, kindly voice and helping hand are almost non-existant! It's at times like these when I begin to wonder that making a lot of noise and voicing opinions about The State Of Our Once Great Nation isn't enough. To quote of my favourite authors - you fantasy guys will recognise it for sure! - 'Words are wind' - just a lot of hot air which is no use to anyone! Why not set about helping, make yourself useful? The more I think about it, the more I think we, the great and terrible Youth Of Today, should be helping our elders and betters. We might be the future but we're certainly not doing anything to help our own futures, so in looking forwards perhaps we need to look back at what has been and the people that built our country in the last century or so? Food for thought definitely. Food. Energy. Money. Key things in our lives but how many of us, young and old, actually take into account how much we take and use? Do we think about what we can give back, put into the community, locally, nationally, at home and abroad? We need to pull together before the country falls apart. As such volunteering at local food banks would be a good way to start, it's something I've looked into very briefly. It may give me some satisfaction in knowing I'm helping out people who have been neglicted by the powers that be, but it also unites communities. Volunteer in a charity shop, soup kitchen, animal rescue, raise money for a good cause, raise the profile of something that matters to YOU.

That's my two cents anyway *jumps down from the soap box* I don't want to be adding to the surplus hot air so perhaps my New Year's Resolution should be to stop procrastinating, take the time to volunteer and take a stand no matter how small for something that matters to me?

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful (I love public firework displays far too much for complete peace and quiet ;-) ) New Year! See you in 2014 in what I hope is a prosperous, peaceful and successful year for all!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Technology, or rather the lack of!

I've taken my time in getting here I have to admit, but I think you can forgive me as I've been settling into my new job over the past couple of weeks! I thoroughly enjoyed my little role in our Christmas craft fair and met a lot of interesting people either exhibiting their goods or just visiting for the day :-) Hopefully I made myself useful and contributed to the running of the day!

Back at home I said a difficult goodbye to Jessie Bengal kitten last Monday. This had to be one of the most difficult litters we've ever had, Jeanie had three kittens in total and losing the little boy at a day old and then Fidget at 7 weeks was heartbreaking. So I grew very attached to little Pudding, she is a very special girl, but luckily she has found a lovely home with our close neighbour and I will be visiting when I can!

Anyway, I wanted to put my thoughts down about the abundance of technology surrounding our lives and the comparative lack of it in this house! We have a very old computer, by the standards of today at least, and the fan makes such a racket it's a distraction. The poor processor is getting slower and slower and I'll be surprised if it lasts into the new year...the big decision now is to get another desktop or replace it with a laptop which would suit everyone being portable with a bigger memory?
The interesting point here is that no one else has offered to replace it, they seem able to put up with the noise and sluggishness but it's driving me mad! So anything new will be brought under my own steam which is fine, I can finally start giving something back to my long suffering parents (hehe!) I may well "donate" this laptop which is very reliable to the use of the family or whomever gets their grubby mitts on it first, and look into getting a Lenovo Yoga for myself - I worship the design, size, portability and reliability of Lenovo and the Yoga just stands out of the crowd for me! I love how it can be folded open like a book, used as a tablet form and then back to the standard laptop; dynamic is not the word :-) The only downside is the price tag but I shall keep saving and see what happens.

In the mean time I am also attracted to an iPod as my MP3 player isn't up to much these days and my music collection has vastly outgrown the memory space. The debate this time is which iPod do I choose? Decisions, decisions! I think it's narrowed down to an iPod Touch 4th generation, 16gb suits me just fine and I like the fact it can download apps so I can still get radio channels on it *happy dance* and I have just placed a bid on ebay as I type so we shall see what the outcome is over the next few days. Still working on quite a tight budget especially in the run up to christmas and buying presents for friends and family.
And then of course there is the iPad. I resisted for as long as I could but the more I see them being used the more I really like the design and convenience of them. The iPad 2 is rather heavy for my liking but the screen size is perfect, so am thinking about the first iPad mini for size and weight. It's been recommended by a few friends so will be keeping a beady eye on good ol' ebay!
I had been looking at the iPad, Google Nexus and Galaxy Tab to start with, but came to the conclusion that the Nexus is a little limited in use and the Galaxy has mixed reviews and a much smaller memory than the other two tablets. For quality then I think Apple still reigns supreme but it does come at a significant cost to the purse...watch this space!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Half way up the stairs...

Life has suddenly and forcefully happened over the past few days, I thought things had been going a bit too well. Jeanie had her second litter in August, two babies on a Monday, one with fluid on his lungs and was very weak and we lost him at a day old :-( She then had another baby on the Wednesday (unheard of for us for such a long labour!) and this baby seemed very strong and the two survivors, both girls, pulled through and were very strong. Jeanie did a great job of looking after them, she's a brilliant mum. And then around 2 weeks old I realised the youngest kitten had a deformed ribcage, I have seen it before and heard about it, in some cases it can grow normally and in others it's permanent but the kittens can live a full and active life. As she grew, it became clear that this was a severe case and she was much slower to play and run around than her sister, finding eating difficult as we began to wean them at 5 weeks and her breathing grew more laboured. Then at 7 weeks she still wasn't eating unaided, we had to prompt her to drink and she would sit by the heater and watch her sister run around. Jeanie was still very attentive and hadn't abandoned her but she went down hill within a week and we made the sad decision to let her go on Friday 11th October; she was just 8 weeks old, despite our feeding her and keeping her as warm and comfortable as possible she wasn't doing at all well. Nicknamed Fidget at a few days old (because she could scoot around the nest so quickly!) she was a little character and so very sweet. I like to think she is running free at rainbow bridge, whole and well and happy. I miss her every day but I have her sister Pudding (she likes her food ;-) ) now named Jessie to keep me busy which I'm thankful for. Losing a kitten at a day old is bad enough but to lose another at 8 weeks is heart breaking and so difficult, in fact I considered giving up my hobby of breeding my cats altogether, the pain is horrendous when things go wrong. It still needs some serious thought. Sleep tight baby girl, we miss you so much!
And now it's taken a few days for all of us to process this and realise the permanence of our loss...we had to say goodbye to Bryn, our 13 year old Border Collie, on Monday 14th October. He had been very energetic a few days before hand and enjoyed a day outside with our other collies and my Dad on Saturday, even jumping up on to the sofa on his own (he had chronic hip dysplasia and had an operation as a youngster to remove the ball of the joint) so that was quite a feat for him at that age. It was a shock to see him Sunday morning laying quietly, eyes closed and barely able to move - we think he had a very severe stroke during the night which left him paralysed down his right side.
Letting him go was the kindest thing to do for him but it has broken my heart. I made the mistake of thinking he was always going to be around, in my mind he was invincible and didn't let his bad legs affect his life at all no matter how many times we told him to calm down, not to jump around or run like a mad thing! But he knew best of course!
I'm cherishing the memories and the fun we had competing in agility, he preferred to take his own course and make his way back to me but he was known for his sense of humour and it was wicked :-)
The hardest part is adjusting to life without him; the house with 3 Collies feels empty, and there is a very definite gap, he was always to be found on a sofa, in the Beagle's bed, laying by the front door or his very favourite seat - stretched out on the stairs, wedged in tight so anyone wanting to go up or downstairs had to step over him carefully, no way was he going to move! Half way up the stairs is the stairs where I sit, as my dad used to sing to him and it suited Bryn perfectly. I keep expecting to see him out of the corner of my eye or hear his bark demanding one of us fetches him from the second floor landing or to be let into my room! He loved sneaking into my room and making himself comfy on my bed and last year my new double bed...he would start laying down by my feet and in the morning I would wake up to him stretched out next to me with his head on the pillow :-)
This was March 2012 in our local park, Bryn on the left with Aussie on the right..so glad I managed to take some pictures on a gorgeous day of my beautiful boys.
Remembering two very special pets and members of our family, we miss them every day and I wish they were still with us, but I dream of them running free and happy at Rainbow Bridge with the rest of our pets from years gone by.
Bryn - Touchango Jesta Minute (1/04/2000 - 14/10/2013)
Fidget (21/08/2013 - 11/10/2013)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Hold The Phone...

So it's a day later than I had planned but here it is at last, my fantastic announcement *drum roll* I have been offered a full time job! This is my first real job working in a team which is part of a much bigger company and I am thrilled that I was offered the position.

Initially I had sent in the application for weekend work and didn't expect a response, but I was emailed and asked to go to the interview. I was nervous, not gonna lie about it as it was my first serious interview, but after some prep talks with my lovely boyfriend I was ready and the day rolled around!

My goal was to answer the questions without tripping over my words, turning a pretty shade of beetroot or simply appearing to be a complete wet lettuce really and it actually went well :-) I came away feeling pleased that I had tried my very best, been myself and answered all of the questions without any problems. I was told to wait for a reply by the end of the week - insert nail biting week of waiting - I wasn't holding my breath though but lo and behold I had a phone call on Monday asking whether I would like the job! I was thrilled to say the least but then came the even more interesting part, would I like to interview for a full time position the next day? No brainer, of course! So off I went for a morning interview having looked over the job description an hour earlier so I had an idea of what I could talk about. Again it went well, I answered as best I could and felt I wasn't quite up to scratch but I was pleased they had asked me to try it out and that I had a good feeling about it. I left feeling elated, two interviews in as many weeks and both felt successful - result :-)
Then that very afternoon I received another phone call offering me the full time position and needless to say I accepted it and replied in writing today! *par-tay time*

It's taken a few days for it to sink in, I'm very excited and more than a little nervous but it's onwards and upwards from here :-) I couldn't have done it without the support of my boyfriend or my family, it means so much that they are there for me and I hope I can be there for them when they need me!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Prep & Pep Talk!

Second post in one day, I must be ill! Oh wait, I do have a cold and seem to be suffering from fits of the giggles at random times of day for little or no reason but I'm blaming the coffee.
Looking back at past tweets or things I've clicked as a favourite and I think this is probably one of the most important ones so far; it's simple and to the point and makes sense instantly, no long winded advice, just pure simple sense.

It's something I've never thought of before, to literally put one word in front of the other and sort it out tomorrow. It suddenly shifted the mental block out of the way and shoved me forwards to the point where I am really looking forward to NaNoWriMo instead of dreading it. Fear is holding me back again and the same niggling doubts - am I good enough? do I have any writing ability? will I be able to fix it all tomorrow or simply throw in the towel? And this little quote found on twitter reassured me that I've come this far, got 60K under my belt from last years 'win' and all I need to do is repeat the process, dig down deep and produce the goods! I've done it before so there is no reason why I can't do it again. Right? You'd think so, but I really need to kick the fear out of the park or it will hold me back permanently. Who cares if my writing isn't up to scratch...it's called editing for a reason!
So if you're aiming for nanowrimo this year, I wish you lots of luck and we can get through this together :-)
Now, where's the coffee?

Singing Cat ^.^

Okay so this might be a little mad but my mum and I cannot help but giggle if not break out into hysterics when a particularly lively piece of classical music is played on the car radio...we work together and Classic FM is usually on as we travel around!
Anyway, as you probably already know we have a lot of animals, cats, dogs and 2 very fat, very spoiled horses and they generally become the ballet dancers, musicians and artistes that we know they are in their own little world ;-) like I said...we're all mad here!

Yesterday was one such example. It had been a long day, we were both exhausted and in need of a laugh and needless to say Classic FM did it again accompanied by the image of our animals prancing around on stage. Before I post this, let me assure you we have a lot of respect for the music and the people involved in making it and it is in no way making fun of them, but making light of our pets and de-stressing, good harmless fun :-)

Verdi's La Traviata aka Drinking Song began to play and suddenly my Bengal stud cat Jack popped into my head and I was reminded of his early morning and late night ritual of bidding the world a good morning/evening...this is what he thinks he sounds like in his rendition and it fits him perfectly :-)

Verdi Drinking Song

To the world however, this is what he really sounds like!

Scuttle the Seagull

I still love him to bits, he is such a character!
Stay tuned for more singing and dancing cats/dogs/horses and maybe some writing news when I get around to it :-P

Monday, 30 September 2013


Oh wow, time has rolled past so quickly! A lot has happened since last I posted...we have been blessed and tormented hehe with 3 litters of kittens, two to each litter thankfully and that was more than enough to keep me busy on top of the day job!

Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to train properly for race for life and had to miss out this year...I am making a promise to myself to take part next year and some how I will cajole my mum to get involved as well.

My baking exploits have grown considerably and I've tried quite a few different cakes and tray bakes which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Had someone told me last year that I would actually be taking an interest in anything involving the kitchen and the oven I would have laughed derisively and would certainly not believed them, yet here I am, experimenting with flavours and new combinations! This started off as a surprise back in May/June time for my boyfriend's 21st birthday, I wanted to find a good sized quality cake with lots of flavour but without a ridiculous price tag. Insert light bulb moment as I recalled a conversation in which we joked about putting Guinness in a cake and hey presto, one shopping trip and trial run later, I baked a Guinness cake complete with cream cheese frosting for the foam :-) It was a hit and tasted so good...not that I'm blowing my own trumpet hehe. From there I have made chocolate cupcakes, white chocolate and cranberry blondies, chocolate brownies, coffee and walnut cake (a favourite in this house!), two giant birthday cupcakes - one carrot cake and one cookie dough and choc chip centre - chocolate button cake, several choc fridge cakes, two divine fruit cakes and hopefully plenty more to go as I have asked my aunt for help; she is the Master Baker in the family and she's teaching me to lose the confines of weighing and measuring so precisely and just having fun with it! More posted on this soon :-)

I have been to visit Ightham Mote, a gorgeous old house with lots of history which recently went through an overhaul which was documented by Time Team! Stripped back to the bare bones, the house was repaired and restored to it's full original glory, therefore preserving it for years to come. I for one will certainly be going back, such a beautiful and peaceful place and very inspirational!
I also went on a day trip to Paris with two school friends which was a brilliant experience. I have decided I love Paris and plan to return to visit the Palace of Versailles. The people are friendly and helpful, the architecture is stunning and the history is fascinating. We got to the second level of the Eiffel Tower which was sooo worth queueing in the July heat wave for the stunning panorama! Next stop was the Opera which displayed it's history of dance and ballet alongside beautiful costumes and of course the famous stage and chandelier which were beautiful and so intricate! Onwards to the chocolate museum, an exhibition on chocolate history and then a race to the demonstration of chocolate making and the anticipated taster session ;-) not forgetting the shop stop afterwards for pressies! We made our way to Notre Dame Cathedral which is breath taking with such beautiful architectural detail and that's just the outside, the interior stunned me to silence. We narrowly missed out on the tower tour but that is something I would love to go back and do one day! From there we made our way back outside and hand fed a flock of sparrows which was interesting! Holding up a tiny piece of bread the sparrows decided we weren't a threat and flew in twos and threes to land on our hands and fingers, each taking a few crumbs and making their way to their nests, only to return a few moments later until the bread was gone. They were so very delicate, light and gentle it was quite touching which might be an unusual thing to say about feeding the birds (for free, not tuppence a bag!) but it really was...for me anyway! I managed to traverse and navigate our way through the side streets to an ice cream parlour renowned for it's range of quality ice cream and needless to say we treated ourselves :-)
I was very impressed with the trains; the transport links were seriously good, the Paris underground is clean, bright and huge - no London pushing and shoving here thank you very much!
It was a very long, very hot day but we had lots of laughs, ice cream and hundreds of hilarious photos to remind us of a wonderful day.

And so we roll on towards October and the Great British Autumn, the leaves are turning red and gold, crisp underfoot instead of green and whispering on the branches, bonfires abound, wood smoke fills the cold air, and the rain will drizzle until next year! But there is much to look forward to...more baking, seeing off the last 2 kittens to their new home/s, hearing about a potential job - the interview I went to today was a success; I didn't get confused, trip over my words, or turn a lovely shade of beetroot and managed to explain things in detail when needed...a very good day for me!
So watch this space, I will be much more present than previous months, lots of reading to be done snuggled up in the warm as the weather creeps in, and celebrating 2 years with my wonderful boyfriend :-)
No doubt I will have plenty to say on the political front, world news seems to have gone barmy over the past few months and I have the urge to comment on some of the ludicrous things going on out there...when I have the energy at least! And of course there is Nanowrimo which I plan to take part in again, and I'm being brave and throwing this out there for anyone and everyone who is kind enough to read my posts - I AM GOING TO FINISH THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY NOVEL!
There. I said it. Or rather shouted it into the realm of the internet, apologies I do hope I didn't deafen anyone with that declaration but I felt it need to be done, as a kick starter for me and to get back into the swing of writing again...wish me luck ;-)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Paws For Thought...

Finally feeling a bit better, whether this is a cold or an allergic reaction to our animals (praying it's just a cold!) it seems to be easing day by day - hurrah! Still feeling a bit low in myself though and I think I've finally pin pointed why...I've been in education since Primary school going straight from Secondary and on into University so I've always had goals to work towards, homework, deadlines for coursework, research and projects to complete. I enjoyed the first two years of Uni, they presented a new challenge of working much more independently and I loved it! Then I hit the brick wall that is the third year and I struggled - big time. It was no longer fun but a battle to sit down and actually get on with the work, I wanted to avoid it at all costs but somehow I got through and finished up with an Upper Second Class Honors in History - woo!
Now I'm on the other side though I've found myself without a goal, no compass and feel very much like a little boat bobbing along without direction on waters which seem to grow ever more choppy >.< My problem? I have no idea what I want to do next, for some people this isn't a problem, they will continue to bob along happily and find their harbour or niche in the work place. I however like to have a sense of direction and purpose, it's my safety net and without it I feel as if I'm sailing head first into a storm and there is no way around it. I am lucky that I do have work, I have a roof over my head, my family, a loving boyfriend and my hobbies, but I want to be able to get on with my life with a "real" job or even career, my own home...patience is a virtue and unfortunately it is not one I possess!

Rant over *sigh* I must actually make a decision and take a leap of faith as I have said before...I need to learn to take my own advice hehe

On to brighter things, I'm going to take the leap back into my writing which has been neglected whilst I sank into this confused stupor of day to day life! It is going to be a positive step in the right direction and I hope to have the work in progress finished by September at the latest - I've found an open submission for a competition held by a magazine and it's a pretty exciting prospect! Better get on with it!

And in the cat world we attended a back to back show on Saturday in Godmanchester, with the Suffolk & Norfolk Show and the first GCCF World Championship Show. I decided to take Aggy this time as her sister really doesn't enjoy the showing experience and I'm proud to say that she won her 3rd and crowning CC becoming a Champion in the GCCF World Champ Show! She beat some tough competition, coming 1st of 3 in one breed class, 3rd of 3 in the other breed class and winning 3 of her 4 side classes! We celebrated with champagne whilst watching Eurovision and Aggy enjoyed a special meal with tuna for her dinner :-) So some good news to cheer us all up!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

bless me kitten, for I have sneezed!

It's been a while, I am still alive in case you were wondering, just very tired and sniffly. It would seem I either have a summer cold or a sudden and very strong reaction to my cats...I'm sticking with the cold theory as I don't relish dwelling on the possibility of an allergy to my pets!
Not much has been happening recently hence the lack of an update, work has been hard with long hours which has pretty much wiped me out but I am getting back on track with the writing and work in progress.

The muse kicked in at ridiculous o'clock last night and handed me a new plot twist on a plate which I am very excited about but at the same time finishing this manuscript is looking like a daunting prospect. It is already at 60K words but is not finished and with additions could be stretching the 100K mark...is it jumping the gun to look ahead at novel lengths which are popular with agents and publishers, or would you call it being prepared? Either way I know it needs to actually be finished, edited a lot, re-read, edited again and polished to really show it off at it's best before I can even think about kicking it out into the big wide world...I'm not going to lie, the prospect scares me. I read once that each novel should have a little piece of your soul buried within it's depths and it is this which makes it so frightening to send it out there for other people to pick apart, enjoy or loathe it. It is the fear that they are picking holes in oneself.
That said, I have a lot of respect for authors of any written work, be that an article, novel, short story, poem, song.
I truly believe that anyone can write, but embedding a piece of your soul and belief into that work takes courage, skill and time.

And breathe.
I might get there one day, looks like NaNoWriMo will be getting my manuscript finished this year!

Anyway, happy news about Jeanie's two kittens...they both have lovely new owners who have been visiting recently :-) So I am very pleased, both going to be very loved and spoiled! Funny story this morning hence the title of this post - A rather violent sneeze on my part made both kittens jump and stare at me with a look of awe and wonder, as an apology and humorous pun I simply said to the pair of them, 'Bless me kitten, for I have sneezed' they were less than impressed with my apology but happily accepted their breakfast and purred contentedly!

On a tangent and much more interesting note than my ramblings, have a look at this article about Egil Skalla-Grimsson, a Viking with an extraordinary history! Egil's Bones

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Big Think

Watched The Iron Lady today and it struck me just how poignant the performance was from both Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, but acting aside the story itself was incredibly informative without being a chronological guide, and very moving without being patronising or sentimental - a good balance! I knew very little about Thatcher's government and was keen to learn more about the woman behind the party, I'm pleased to say that I learned more than I expected to and have come to see Margaret Thatcher as a figure head for women, an inspiring character who was brave enough to put herself forward, identify the problems and she quite simply did get on with the task in hand against enormous opposition and difficult decisions. She ultimately did what she could with the resources to hand and yes there were some poor choices resulting in unrest and rioting but she dragged this country kicking and screaming (quite literally in some cases!) back to a semblance of it's former power and world standing.
There were several quotes throughout the film which I think are important to remember...and because I have the memory of a gold fish here they are for future reference and for your own perusal:

It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone.
Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
- One must be brave if one is to take the wheel [I need to remember this one...my own driving skills are questionable!]

And from various interviews or meetings that stand out - this will probably be added to over time:

My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police. [I find this is still applicable today, although how many people really do complete an honest day's work for an honest day's pay?]

Also started reading Kenneth Williams diaries by Russell Davies. A fascinating read capturing Kenneth's voice in the written word from the late 1940s through to the 1980's, learning an awful lot not only about his profession, but his life and struggles with friends, his sexuality, his work. Thoroughly engrossed and learning much more about the man behind the comedy films he is well known for, Carry On.
I want to include a quote from his diary because although I am not in any way religious, he made a very interesting point about the treatment of others and the treatment of oneself:
- Sunday 1st November 1953:
I think that the converse 'Do unto others as you would have done unto you' is a truth we would do well to reflect upon - 'Do unto yourself what you would have done to others.'
Very true words that resonate through the years and still apply today in a world where the individual has been lost and society seems to be a sea of blank faces, pushing and shoving in the great "rat race" to beat the competition. Stress and money are the key problems, finances, economy, wages, bills - all link to an inferiority complex; too much value is placed on material goods and this behaviour is being passed on to the next generation of children who want the latest in technology/fashion/games because they will not be "happy" without them. It's damaging to say the least and perhaps we should pause to remember the phrase of treat others as you would want them to treat you - have a little respect for fellow man and then broaden this to yourself. Respect yourself and your family, learn to appreciate what you have, the latest smart phone may give you short term "happiness"...right up until the next Big Thing but it is a false feeling.
Be proud of your achievements, recognise your hard work and take time to reflect on the here and now for this is life...Live It.

Well that's my rant over for one day, had lots of thoughts crowding my mind today and needed to let them out - my poor brain didn't like the overload in it's usually wide empty space!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Make Do And Mend...

It seems that we are harking back to the austere 1940s with the attitude of make do and mend...or are we?
It is now fashionable to have nostalgic items of furniture or patterned wall paper adorning our houses, slightly faded, re-painted in shades of cream and grey; dubbed shabby chic I too have succumbed to it's pretty veneer.
But maybe we should really start to listen to the older generation of the war years and not simply take something fashionable from it, starting with food and our eating habits. Britain was never healthier than the decade of the 1940s when the entire country was mobilised to Dig For Victory!

Growing our own fruit and veg is lighter on the pocket and most likely a big improvement on the tasteless mass produce found in the supermarkets.
This brings me nicely on to the TV programmes based around British food culture and tradition such as The Great British Bake Off with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Now into its third series it seems more popular than ever and has inspired me to try my hand at baking sometime in the near future. For now though there is the bread machine and I am loving trying different types of bread mixes. It's not really cheating, is it? ;-) I loved watching the Easter Masterclass that Mary and Paul presented together, a great mixture of appetising food and good humour!

In keeping with the Great British theme is the Great British Sewing Bee. Now textiles was a pet hate of mine during secondary school, the sewing machine hated me and since then I've stuck to the highstreet for my clothes. Yet I've grown more disillusioned with what the shops have to offer, namely cheap and disposable items that cannot withstand the wear and tear of daily use. Charity shops are the number one place to go, especially in the more upmarket towns such as Blackheath. So what if the items are slightly more expensive than your average charity store, these are quality pieces and some even sport designer labels for all you fashion followers! Keep an eye out for a bargain and you'll have vintage clothing at cut price that will last! Definitely making do, and if you are handy with a sewing machine you can make and mend your own and stand out in unique items that are tailored just for you!
Another of my favourite shows to tune into is Kirstie's Handmade Britain and Kirstie's Home for Christmas. Kirstie turns her hand to all sorts of makes and bakes in these programmes and gives helpful design tips for interior decor as well as making one off, special gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Perfect!

More on my training, writing and kitties soon!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

She's just a girl...

Everybody...'Aaand she's on fyrrrrr!' haha not exactly hotter than your fantasies but I was on fire during my high intensity work out today! After 4 days of rest and recuperation it felt good just to eat what I felt like over a relaxing weekend with my boyfriend and his family, but I don't like to sit still for too long so I decided to go for the burn today and did I burn?! Ouch is the answer to that. I did half an hour of high intensity circuit training which incorporates strength, cardio and abs which always leaves me pretty red in the face but I really feel the benefits of it through the day. That was followed up by a link to an even more intense workout for 10 minutes which was mostly strength and cardio combined and I think I will be paying for it tomorrow but it's all in the name of fitness for life! My next challenge is to get my mum involved but she is being very stubborn about it, claiming that age has got the better of her and that the weight is "stuck"...it's mind set more than anything and it is a big factor in getting fit and being healthy. On the plus side she has taken more of an interest in the dietary side of things and has even suggested healthier options :) I'm getting there, I think!

I had to cut this post short yesterday so it is continued here!
In light of the passing of Baroness Thatcher I think it would only be fitting to spend a little time thinking about the role she played during a rather turbulent peace time in the UK. I am hardly qualified to comment on the Thatcher government policies as I was born a year after the government ended, yet I have heard a vast range of opinions on the Iron Lady and how one group said she turned this country around and one thinks she ran it into the ground and turned it into a commercialised money grabbing mess.
Well I am impartial and choose to remember her as a strong and brave woman in a time of strikes, power cuts, and the 3 day working week - I can imagine that aspect would be rather more popular these days! - in a political world that had been ruled by men since parliament was formed however many years ago and really belonged to the old boys club, it must have taken a lot of courage to stand up and bring about change in the face of stubborn opposition.
How my generation can bemoan this woman is beyond me, they were not affected by the policies or life and therefore should perhaps consider what they mean and whose opinions they are broadcasting before wishing her to hell in a handbasket - my facebook newsfeed has been inundated with such comments and I think it is more than disrespectful.
Then there are those old boys who claim that Thatcher was to blame for everything that could and did go wrong with this country and that we are her legacy of unemployment, lack of manufacturing and production.
It's so easy to blame one person for all of our current problems, especially since she is no longer present to hear these complaints and protests. Have some decency and respect; Margaret Thatcher acted as she deemed fit and I don't believe it is right to attack a person when the policies were enforced by a government, a group of people making the best of what they had to work with and taking on a country in turmoil from previous PMs and their own cabinets.
That said, I hope she has found peace and may she be remembered as a controversial but essentially brave and strong person...not to mention the first woman to be elected Prime Minister. Girl Power!

Rant over, I promise ;-)
Back to today, and I am ready for another workout having just demolished half an easter egg with coffee, yum! I may well put pen to paper this afternoon and get some more ideas down or type up vast pages of scenes that are looking rather forlorn on my desk. Time to stop neglecting it me thinks.
I found an interesting and fun article yesterday about language and how meanings can be changed over time, little bit off topic but it's in keeping with the writing theme...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

It's been a little while since I was last here, busy few days with a surprise 80th birthday celebration with long lost family one evening, followed by a lovely Easter Sunday meal. It was good just  to sit down with everyone for a gorgeous home cooked dinner and relax! Not forgetting a few chocolate treats on the side but it's probably best not to mention those...

In other news my circuit training has continued successfully all in the name of getting lean, toned and fit enough to complete Race For Life, provided I can get my mum to join in but that's a work in progress.

The kittens are 3 weeks old today, both have opened their eyes and ears to the world, welcome to the planet little ones! They are getting bolder and wanting to explore a bit more, Jeanie isn't too worried about their inquisitive nature which is good as we've had mum's in the past who can't understand why their kittens want to waddle around the nest and occasionally out of it! But she is doing a fantastic job with her babies and they even have a visitor in a few weeks time as a potential new slave *ahem* owner :)

On the writing front I've managed to re-plot a lot of the early part of the work in progress, it's a little more adventurous with added verve, definitely needed it! Once again though it is the characters who dictate where and how they get to these points and I'm learning slowly how to listen to them and block out the noise of everyday life, but I think that is something that writers are always learning how to do. Just to stop, take a step back from the daily grind, make a cup of tea or something stronger(!) and just think for a while...interesting things can happen, especially between 10 and 1 am which I find is the best time for me when I can keep my eyes open long enough.

New piccies of the Bengal babies sooooon!

Monday, 25 March 2013


Having a struggle on my hands today to get words down, or rather the right words!
Did an intense double session of circuit workout today and I think I needed it after being a bit sluggish for the past few days followed by a brisk walk for a bit of shopping...verrry cold but it cleared the cobwebs out!
It seemed to do the trick and got me thinking about the plot of my work in progress and I even came up with a new scene! Whether or not I can work it in to fit the story is another matter but I've written up a fair amount this evening. I also managed to reconstruct some of the plot outline, shakes the story up a little bit which will do it good I think :-)
That is when the problems seem to crop up. I get some decent ideas, get excited about them but when it comes to expanding and actually writing it down I come unstuck. Distractions, whether it be the tv or the internet or general household noise can play havoc on the muse! Hence why I prefer writing during the evening from about 10 til 1 when everyone is asleep, including the 9(!) dogs, which is great for writing but not for getting up early for work >.< Still, I must press on or it will never be finished.
End.Of.The.Year is my goal to get at least the first draft done...bit more discipline required me thinks!

P.s a lovely surprise this morning - Jeanie has a one-eyed bandit, her little girl has one eye open! They are two weeks old on Wednesday, still doing really well and growing every day...more piccies tomorrow hopefully :-)

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Have Faith.
Not in some great, omnipresent, invisible personage peering down at us tiny, flawed little people but in quite simply yourself.
I have had a lack of faith in myself for years, always second guessing, doubting, pulling myself down - this may well continue past my little revelation this evening - but my wonderful boyfriend has slowly but surely turned my view point around.
Little by little I acknowledged that I have some sort of value to the people that surround me; my friends and family. And now I am believing in myself, perhaps I can turn this view point onto the written word and actually believe in my writing. There is always an element of doubt, it's part of life I think, but take the risk. Everything is a risk, but it should be enjoyed, and at the risk of being completely cliched....
And have faith.
And so can you, whether it be writing, a new job, house move...it is within us to succeed if we really want something enough. Hard work, determination, time; key ingredients to reaching our goals so mix them all together and see where it takes you :-)

Closing the door

It's snowing. Need I say more? When the clouds converge and the flakes descend this country tends to spiral into melt down so I highly recommend staying within, turning the heating on and closing the door - whether that be on the world or in my case the family - get some peace and quiet and just think.

However, this can be mistaken for procrastination which appears to have befallen me today, oops! I've been pretty good with my writing these past few days, scribbling words whilst travelling to work, much to the annoyance of my poor mum *insert ebil laugh here* but I do plan to get some words down today. Listening to Classic tends to help, particularly the more melancholy pieces or soundtracks which I adore!

Onwards into the fray and I promise some more very cute kitten pictures at some point, they are growing so fast ^.^

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

First things first...

So I thought it was about time I kept track of my writing habits by blogging them, with the vain hope that it might be an incentive for me to keep writing if I think that someone out there may be, possibly/hopefully, reading this. I have stopped and started with a work in progress for a while now, despite having taken part in NaNoWriMo last November with success - I got the 50k words first time around to my great surprise - and now I aim to finish it and get it polished up. After that, well who knows? I'm not looking too far ahead just yet, it will be an achievement in itself to get it finished!

But there are a few other things I will post about, including herding my many Bengal cats, as well as some fundraising I plan to get underway very soon with an upcoming Race For Life event which my mum is soooo going to do with me :-) well that's the plan at least! It will be the first time running or rather walking it for both of us so our fitness or training programme will be tracked here as well, time will tell if there is much to say on the topic of training hehe

And ending on a very sweet note, my Bengal girl Jeanie had two kittens on 13/03/2013 and they are a week old today :-) Growing very quickly, going to be big kitties! More on them soon but here is a pic of mummy and babies just a few hours old :-)

But for now, onwards and forwards with the adventure that is writing, wondering where it's going to take me...