Every day’s a lesson

It’s incredible how you can superficially muddle through life, only pausing to fix the little mishaps with a metaphorical sticking plaster, when something really big is happening in the inner core. It’s something that can’t BE fixed in the short term anyway, so why further stress yourself with it? After all, people will always tell you that life goes on. And on the whole, yes it does.

I’m always harping on about being 37. Not because it’s in any way a significant age, but on the basis that things and people never cease to amaze me and I feel that, as a responsible grown-up, I ought to be less surprised with what I experience. They say that every day’s a lesson and I do believe that, the older we get, the more capable we become of actually taking heed of the important bits of life and using them to our advantage. Or, in other words, preventing our hardening selves from repeatedly getting hurt. I’m encouraged by this and really hope that by the time I’m about 63, I will have the benefit of foresight. Because, as we all know, hindsight is such an infuriating gift and I’d rather be bereft of the hurt in the first place. Continue reading Every day’s a lesson

Blog or bust

I’m really struggling to write just lately.  In the past, I’ve somehow managed to churn out thousands of words with the most immense background noise and repetitive chants of, ‘Mummy, Mummy, MUMMY!’ but for some reason, I’m finding it hard to focus at the moment.  I’m hoping it’s temporary.

The most brilliant thing has happened in my humble existence whilst I’ve been gone!  The wonderful Ether Books has published two of my short stories, available for just 69p apiece to all iFolks.  For those who are Apple-free, Ether hopes to extend their platforms across the next year or so, but as a burgeoning (and successful!) ePublisher, they are currently only able to provide this extensive range of short fiction to users of iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads.  Which is quite a large group, as it goes.  I’m lucky – I have kind, generous friends who are the best critics in the world and I am still really buzzing to be able to label myself as a published author of short stories.  Woohoo!  So yes… you can read, ‘Virtual Lies’ and ‘Visiting Dad’ right now through Ether’s App.  It would mean such a lot to me, even if you dislike them both.  It’s useful to know these things, believe me. Continue reading Blog or bust

Gifts and freebies!

Phew, what a hectic couple of weeks!  I’m sure my birthdays were never this fun-packed… but then again, I never had mine during the holidays and in the same month as shedloads of my friends.

So, James turned four on the first of the month and alongside the mini-mountain of colourfully-wrapped pressies from generous friends and extended family, we were fortunate enough to have received a BIG package of goodies from Lands’ End for us to trial.  I felt sure that no one could give new clothes and accessories a run for their money better than my son!  And he was only just lucky, because their beautiful kids’ stuff starts at age four.  We received SUCH a good range that we haven’t even been able to try out all the bits yet, so watch this space! Continue reading Gifts and freebies!

So, what’s YOUR guilty pleasure?

We all have an unwritten top 20 of our favourite songs of all time, don’t we? Probably, the top five are unfaltering, steadfast classics, whose meanings burrow deep into our psyche. The next ten are a bit wavering, depending on what mood we’re in or what season it is or what random album we’ve just selected for a long car journey. And the remaining five-ish are always new tunes. Despite the fact we swear on the ashes of our old turntables that all new music is utter shite.

This isn’t completely true, is it? There’s always that rare exception that catches your ear in a café, resonates through your very being as if you’ve already heard it a gazillion times before. Almost as if it actually carries the meaning of life within its complex harmonies. These tend to stay a firm favourite for the short term – played to their death, or until your preferred method of player is emitting black plumes of smoke. And then they become a part of your past… tied into a distinctive memory that you may choose to forget or call upon to lift a mauve mood. And then there’s that one exception to all your own personal ‘rules’ of taste. You know, ‘The One’. That song that you know you shouldn’t really be allowed to love quite as much as you do. The one you’d never, ever admit to liking, let alone owning a copy on several formats, just in case. Your forbidden pleasure. Your dirty little secret… Continue reading So, what’s YOUR guilty pleasure?

The value of empathy

It’s a question that often gets asked of a mummy to a Terrible Toddler (and beyond), when you are at best, tearing your hair out, strand by painful strand, with Barbecue tongs and at worst, scraping tiny fragments of a splintered balsa plane out of the delicate sole of your right foot with the miniscule point of your eyebrow tweezers – why on God’s Earth* would you want to bring another one into this already crazy world??

For me, this is a simple question to answer, albeit with a rather convoluted answer. So unlike me to be generous with words, eh? I never wanted James to be an only child, like me. Simple enough, but there is always the pressing need to elaborate, as if this isn’t a selfless enough reason. I consider this is because it somehow negates my stronger-than-strong love for Harry, my secondborn, through its practical façade. Above all else, had we not wanted another child, we would have stopped at one. Neither has there been any Grand Plan, mapping out the next forty years of family life – expect the unexpected is more our motto. But this is how I generally explain our choice… Continue reading The value of empathy

Right now or write later?

I’ve had nothing to say lately, hence the supermassive black hole in the blog. When I say ‘nothing’, you can assume I actually mean ‘nothing of interest to man or beast’. After all, when have I ever been lost for words?? That’s rhetorical, before you comment.

It’s been an odd few weeks and I find myself, freshly lobster-esque, just in from painting another couple of sides of the kids’ wooden playhouse, surprisingly calm. A while ago, as I sat, casually supping a hot (yes, HOT!) cuppa in the garden, in the serendipitous peace of Small Boy watching telly and Little Boy fast asleep in the fresh air, I leaned back and appreciated my garden, even in its half-finished state. Odd, since I’ve found it impossible really hard to properly relax in a long, long time. I briefly considered that I might just be numb from the anti-anxiety meds. But it was more than that. I honestly felt calm, satisfied and yes, almost (don’t faint now) happy. Which leads me to conclude that all major decisions that have recently been actioned were definitely the right ones. And this is it – a new chapter, clean slate, full glass… however you wish to label it. The past can only stay in, well, the past. Continue reading Right now or write later?

Giving something forward

One morning last week, whilst I was gulping down lukewarm coffee at breakfast, I stumbled across an article via a Twitter followee that made me cry. Nothing out of the ordinary there, you might say… only these days – I’m assuming the anxiety meds are the reason – I find it quite difficult to cry. Fair enough, I was a tad pre-menstrual too, but even so, you get the general point that it was an article that moved me considerably. It was this one.

I posted a link on Facebook, saying it was a good read for anyone who WANTS to ‘get’ Twitter but just doesn’t. I am of the opinion that the people who don’t ‘get’ Twitter are the people who only have a passing interest in it, or are maybe just a bit inquisitive, feeling like they’re missing out on the party. But unless you throw yourself right into Twitter, you have a snowball’s chance in Hell of actually getting into its groove. But once you’re in, you’re pretty stuck. It can be both a blessing and a curse. Continue reading Giving something forward

Is being a square peg genetic?

So, I’m having one of THOSE days. John Gray, author of this book would say I’m in my dip. Women are like waves, you see… but that’s a whole other post entirely.

I’ve pretty much always been blessed with brilliant friends and it’s certainly a thing you can take for granted – until you meet and spend time with someone who isn’t as blessed. Which, in itself, can make you feel guilty, but still – I guess over the years I might have put in a fair amount of effort so you definitely reap what you sow.

Thing is, I’m still a square peg trying to fit into a round hole and have begun to wonder if you’re maybe BORN this way. It’s crucial for me to point out here that this in no way provokes negative feelings towards any of my friends – it’s quite possibly connected to and branched from my recurrent self-deprecation. Come on… we all feel it sometimes. Don’t we?? Continue reading Is being a square peg genetic?

Your absence speaks volumes

You know when someone says to you, ‘I’m a great judge of character’? I’m always secretly a bit envious, as it must be akin to not just owning a crystal ball, but actually knowing how to use it. Everyone likes to think they can work out a stranger within minutes of making their acquaintance, but in reality, people are little onions, aren’t they? Maybe you can get to know the skin from a first meeting, but we’re complex creatures – not least which by often not knowing what we ourselves are made from. Heck, I’m 37 and only just getting to know myself.

Something I’ve observed over the years is that the vast majority of folks are chief procrastinators. To avoid making a pertinent decision or committing themselves to something important, people will evade the issue for as long as humanly possible. Unfortunately, what said people fail to realise is that this delaying tactic makes them conspicuous in their absence. Granted, a few rare people just have poor organisational skills [insert clearing of throat here] and simply forget things altogether, but on the whole, avoidance seems preferable. Even though it might end up causing more sleepless nights and daytime stresses in the long run. Continue reading Your absence speaks volumes

To sleep, perchance to dream

Sleep has eluded me for the last six-and-a-bit months. Well, to be fair, I mean quality sleep has. But, by some luck and the right wind (no comment), my lovely little boy has started to get the hang of this whole ‘sleeping when it’s dark’ thing. I am now being afforded chunks of up to four whole hours in one go! But, with this, comes the inevitable – and often unwelcome – return of the crazy-vivid dreams.

I have always been plagued by insane dreams, sometimes leaving me exhausted in the morning, following a film-like dramatic sequence of epic proportions. Once, I even experienced a set of rolling credits at the end! When I was in the sixth form at school, I used to regale a handful of my friends with tales of my subconscious nocturnal exploits over a mid-morning coffee. Oh, how they laughed. No, seriously – they really did! I always put it down to smoking before bed. Continue reading To sleep, perchance to dream

Opening up, towards the sunshine