Friday, 6 October 2017

Celebrate the small things

I'm glad it's Friday, it seems to have been an extra busy week at work and I've felt quite exhausted by the end of the day! This is why I didn't post for IWSG on Wednesday as I don't like posting if I know I can't return comments or visit others. 

Anyway, time to focus on some good things that happened or I'm hoping will happen in the next couple of days.

* I've seen a couple of beautiful sunsets this week. This one was on my walk last night.


The Harvest moon was amazing too but unfortunately I only had my phone with me so the photos didn't do it justice!

* Added a few hundred words to my current ms. Slowly, slowly we will get there!

* Getting back into Strictly . . . love the dancing and sparkle!

* Looking forward to attending a local literary festival tomorrow. Hoping to enjoy a bookish day.


Wishing you all a happy weekend


Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 22 September 2017

Celebrate the small things

It has been a while since I posted for the celebrations hop. My blogging over the summer has been a little erratic and life has been busy, but this is a hop I enjoy posting for so thought I would drop back in.  I like to look at the positives so taking time to reflect and remember the little things that made me smile is important!

  • I did a two day first aid course for work this week. It was very intense but was good to refresh my skills. Never know when we might need it.
  • Started wearing socks again. Weather is cooler and I hate cold feet!
  • I've not managed any writing but have done some thinking and pondering which counts right?
  • The woodpecker has been visiting the garden this week. I love to see him pecking away at the insects on the lawn.
  • I am going to a Wedding Fayre with my eldest daughter this weekend. She is getting married in 2019 so we thought we would go along and get some ideas and hopefully have some fun.
  • Our youngest daughter is 22 on Sunday. We haven't spent a birthday with her for three years as she was away at university so will be nice to be able to have a meal and celebrate together.
Wishing you all a happy weekend


Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

IWSG (Sept)

The first Wednesday of the month means it's  Insecure Writer's Support Day. 

  Top Site for Writers
Thanks as ever to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh

Co-Hosts this month:

I am working on a first draft at the moment and I am reasonably happy with how it is going. I'm at the midway point which can cause a few problems, last week procrastination kicked in! You know the feeling, the sudden urge to sort your sock drawer or bake a cake! Not helpful as I wanted to write as much as possible before I started back at the day job in school last Monday. Frustrating, but I am sure I will work through. 


This month's question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? 

I am frequently surprised by my writing! The slew of sub-conscious thoughts and ideas that somehow find their way into a coherent story and those characters that decides to 'do' something I wasn't expecting . . . it's a roller coaster ride of emotions and surprises! 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Summer catch-up

I've been taking a short break from blogging over the summer holidays but thought it was time I dropped back in and updated the blog with what's been happening in my world of late!

Hubby and I have just returned from a week on the beautiful  island of Sicily. Our first visit there but hopefully not our last. My late aunt used to spend a lot of time there and I heard her talking about it throughout my childhood and beyond. I have inherited several pieces of pottery, glass and jewellery that she bought there over the years. It is somewhere I have wanted to visit for a while, especially since she died. Anyway, I finally made it! I only spent a week there but I can certainly see why she loved it so much. Here are just a view images.
Mt Etna
standing on a volcano is spectacular!
Greek theatre - we watched an opera here one evening

the beautiful sea
sometimes you felt on top of the world!
a little wine tasting was involved!
the colour of the sea was amazing


               
I've also had two lots of friends staying. It was lovely to catch up with them and hear all their news. It also means we tend to go out and visit places near us that we don't often go! Sometimes easy to miss the things on our own doorstep!


Kynance Cove

Gunwalloe Cove - Poldark country!

I went to Plymouth for a couple of days to see the spectacular firework display they hold there. We also had time for a visit to the Plymouth Gin Distillery!

so many different bottles!
these particularly caught my eye - can you tell why?!

We also took a short family trip to London, which was wonderful and very tiring! Lots of walking and sightseeing, but great fun.

I have been writing and have managed to add words to my current manuscript. The first draft is coming along nicely. Hope to get more done before I go back to the day job in just under two weeks time. 

So, that's my summer in a nutshell! What has everyone been up to? I'll try and visit some blogs this week and find out.





       

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A little break . . .

Life always seems to get a bit hectic this time of year. Visitors, trips away, trying to catch up with writing projects . . . the result is I will probably be away from the blog for a couple of weeks or so.

I will be back later in the month to update on what's been happening here. I have turned comments off for this post, but thanks for stopping by. I will catch up with you all soon.

In the meantime I will leave you with a picture I took today while out for a walk. As soon as I saw it I thought the rock looked like a dragon gazing out to sea!

 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

IWSG (AUGUST) Re-Launch!

I didn't really have anything to talk about for this post until yesterday. Not because I didn't have insecurities lurking, me and insecurity are old friends! It was more the 'writing' part that was bothering me, I guess I felt somewhat of a fraud - writers write right? And I wasn't, well, not shiny new words anyway and this was making me feel a bit stale. What if I couldn't do it anymore? Part of me was a little afraid my spark had gone out.

The last few months I have been editing old projects, reworking and submitting, in short I wasn't getting that creative high you feel when you're working on something new. Until yesterday . . .

Yesterday, I sat down, opened a file I had started much earlier in the year and read through the 9,000 words I had already written before I abandoned the characters to work on editing. I read through the research notes I had already collected and the character profiles and guess what? The spark was re-ignited! I feel in love with the project all over again. I sat and I wrote for several hours, new words, new ideas and I was buzzing! I can't wait to get back to it this evening and already I'm working out time slots for the next few days when I will be free to write. I went to bed thinking about it and woke up the same. I remember this feeling, I love this feeling, this is why I write. It makes me feel all kinds of emotion, it is what makes me, me!

I wanted to share this here so, that if I ever start to feel stale again, I can re-read this post and hopefully find the encouragement and inspiration to jump back into the ring.

Happy writing, may all your insecurities be small ones.





Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts:
                                                               Christine Rains
                                                         Dolarah @ Book Lover
                                                       Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
                                                              Yvonne Ventresca
                                                                     LG Keltner

  

Friday, 21 July 2017

Celebrate the small things & July Birthstone


Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog


Today has been a special day as we saw our youngest daughter graduate! It rained heavily most of the day so no outside pictures but here is one of me with my two lovelies inside to mark the occasion.




Whilst I'm here today I thought I'd add my birthstone post for this month.

This month's birthstone is the gorgeous ruby.  Read on for some fun facts . . . 
  • According to lore, if you dream of rubies it signifies that you will soon experience success in love and money.
  • It is thought that rubies grow darker in colour when the wearer is in mortal danger. It is said that Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, predicted her downfall in seeing the darkening of her ruby.  
  • If a ruby is placed under a building's foundations it is thought to strengthen the structure.
  • In the Bible the ruby is the most commonly mentioned precious stone.
  • The most valuable colour of a ruby is known as 'pigeon blood.' The darker the colour the more valuable.
  • In the Orient, rubies were once believed to contain the spark of life.
  • In the Middle Ages, rubies were thought to bring good health as well as guard against wicked thoughts, amorous desires and disputes.
  • Rubies were said to cure bleeding.
The verse from the traditional Gregorian Poem reads;

The gleaming Ruby should adorn,
All those who in July are born,
For thus they'll be exempt and free,
From lover's doubts and anxiety.

If you are celebrating a birthday this month, happy birthday to you.  Or possibly a 40th Wedding Anniversary?

Friday, 30 June 2017

Celebrate the small things

Some BIG things to celebrate this week in my world. First of all our eldest daughter got engaged! And then our youngest daughter received her final university mark and she passed with a First Class Degree. Yay, go girls!

Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

With everything going on recently, I realised I hadn't posted about the June birthstone. I have just managed to squeeze it in before the end of the month!

This month's birthstone is the beautiful pearl. Their natural lustre and translucence make the pearl one of the most well known and much favoured gems. Apart from the usual milky-white hue we associate with the pearl they can also be found in silver, cream, green, lavender, blue, black and golden shades.

Formed from the tears of Aphrodite, a love potion from Cleopatra, a wedding gift from Krishna to his daughter. The legends surrounding this, one of the oldest gems, are numerous. Here are just a few more facts and interesting stories.

  • The word Pearl is from the French 'Perle' which in turn has origins in the Latin word 'Perna' meaning leg. The thought is that the shells in which pearls are formed have a shape similar to a ham or leg of mutton.
  • The characteristics of loyalty, faithfulness and friendship are associated with this gemstone
  • They are reputed to be helpful for health problems relating to the stomach and intestines, heart and spleen.
  • The Roman General,Vitelllius allegedly financed an entire military campaign with one of his mother's pearl earrings!
  • Wealthy Roman women liked to wear their pearls whilst they slept. They adorned their couches and trappings with them also to remind them (and others presumably!) of their wealth.
  • Julius Caesar was noted to be a great lover of the pearl.
  • In Tudor England the 1500's were known as 'The Pearl Age.'
  • In the 1900's the first successful commercial culturing of saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920's cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.
  • The largest pearl in the world is believed to about about 3 inches long and 2 inches across and weighs about  1/3 of a pound. Known as the' Pearl of Asia' Shah Jahan of India gave it as a gift to his wife, Mumtaz (for whom he also built the Taj Mahal).
  • Warriors from India encrusted their swords with pearls to represent tears and sorrow.
  • In South Asian mythology pearls were said to be dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea where they were caught by shellfish under the first rays of the rising sun at full moon.
  • Pearls have often been used in medicines and to prevent diseases. In China there is evidence to suggest this was as early as 2000 BC and in Europe they were widely used until the 17th century. 
  • One of the most famous pearls is said to be 'La Peregrina' (The Wanderer). It is said that around 400 years ago a black slave gave it to his master in exchange for his freedom. 
  • Pearls are a gemstone for 30 years of marriage. 
Finally , I will leave you with the verse from the Gregorian Poem for this month. Happy birthday to all born in the month of June.

By her who in June was born,
No gem save Pearls shall be worn,
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.



Rose is the birth flower for June





Friday, 16 June 2017

Celebrate the small things

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few lovely relaxing days on Dartmoor.  Hubby and I really like it there and try and go two or three times a year, to walk and take some 'time out' from the daily hustle of life that we all seem to get caught up in. It is the perfect spot for us to take a short break as it only takes us about an hour and a half to get there. No fun spending hours in the car after all!

This hill is very close to where we usually stay. We've walked round the bottom before but this visit we decided to go for it and climb it! 


Now, it may not look so huge from this picture . . . but trust me it was certainly a challenge! My fitbit registered 82 floors when I checked it! However, it was worth the effort as we were rewarded with this super view.


It was so peaceful up there, if a little windy! We just sat and enjoyed the view (and got our breath back!).
When we got back down we rewarded ourselves with some delicious local ice-cream.

On another walk we met a herd of Dartmoor ponies complete with foals.


I didn't get any writing done there, but I did get lots of fresh air and exercise even if we did have to dodge the rain a few times. 

This week I have edited a short story and sent it off to a competition. My next task is to actually get back to my WIP which I feel I have sorely neglected for a while! Maybe I'll open the document and the writing piskies will have been working on it for me . . . I do write a lot of fantasy so one can always hope!

NB - In case you are not familiar with the term piskie - it is the Cornish word for pixie. 



Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

IWSG (JUNE)

Welcome to this month's posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I'm feeling generally insecure about a number of things at the moment but I'm not going to talk about them right now. Instead I'm going to jump right in with this month's question . . . 

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Whilst I've never actually said "I quit," I've been quite close to it! Probably, most writers have at some point. I love writing, I truly believe it is what I should be doing, but it is hard. It is hard to keep motivated and enthusiastic when all there seems to be is rejection and knock backs.Then comes that little nugget of gold . . . you know the request for a full, genuinely positive feedback, a place in a writing competition . . .  and I feel the 'buzz' again and the urge to persevere kicks in.

There may be times when the words aren't flowing and I seem unproductive but I always seem to drag myself out of that feeling and keep chasing the dream. I sincerely hope I never quit!!


Friday, 26 May 2017

When the world seems full of pain and sadness it is perhaps even more important to remember the people, places and events that brighten our lives.

Last Sunday I walked 10km with a group of lovely friends. We enjoyed the fresh air, chat and exercise but we also raised some funds for Cancer Research UK, a cause that is close to all our hearts.

Our youngest daughter finished her last university exams . . . where on earth did those three years go? She came home for a couple of days to relax before heading back for some fun and celebrations with her friends.

Produce from the garden. We have enjoyed some fresh rhubarb and a few cherry tomatoes so far. They taste so much better when you have grown them yourself!

Our wedding anniversary!

Evening strolls in the sunshine. Last night we walked by the sea and ate fish and chips to celebrate our anniversary.


It is half-term week next week so a few days off for me! Yay! Have some writing planned (of course!) but also a few days away walking around Dartmoor. Will be lovely to get away for a bit. Please note that internet will be patchy there so I am unlikely to post for IWSG next week.



Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 12 May 2017

Celebrate the small things and May Birthstones

May is one of my favourite months of the year, with it's longer and (hopefully!) warmer days and lots of blossom and flowers around to cheer us all up. It is also a time for traditional festivals. My local town is famous for Flora Day. This Spring festival celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of new vitality and fertility. Houses and shops are decorated with greenery, yellow gorse and bluebells. It looks wonderful. The dancers, and many of the crowds, wear sprigs of lily of the valley. Lily of the valley is often considered to be the birth flower for May.



For a snippet of this festival click HERE to be redirected to a You Tube clip showing the Midday dance. The ladies wear long dresses and the men top hat and tails. There are several dances throughout the day starting at 7am and finishing at 5pm. Local school children dance through the streets in white. The sound of the band playing the familiar tune vibrates through your head by the end of the day but it is an amazing spectacle that brings the whole community together.

Sadly, this year it was a little wet but this didn't dampen the spirits and a good, if tiring day, was had.

All of which leads me nicely on to emeralds, the traditional birthstone for those born during the month of May.  A very fitting gem for the spring time as the colour green symbolises nature and the renewal of life. The word emerald is derived from the Greek word, smaragdus meaning green. They are associated with qualities such as loyalty, faithfulness and friendship. Thoughts that are very much echoed in the verse from the Gregorian Birthstone Poem;

"Who first beholds the light of day,
In spring's sweet, flower month of May,
And wears an Emerald all her life,
Shall be a loved and a loving wife."

Through history emeralds have been linked to clairvoyance, memory and faith and have been reputed to be effective for a wide range of health problems including disorders of the eyes and spine, headaches, dysentery,fever, bleeding and panic.

Worn by royalty in Babylon and Egypt. Tools dating back to 1300 B.C (reign of Rameses II) have been found in emerald mines in Egypt. Queen Cleopatra's emeralds were thought to have been mined in Southern Egypt close to the Red Sea.

Romans dedicated emeralds to the goddess Venus.

Early Christians saw them as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ.

In the Middle Ages they were believed to have the power to foretell the future.

Their magnificent green colour was said to relieve the eye. Emperor Nero is reputed to have worn eyeglasses made from emeralds to protect the health of his eyes whilst watching gladiator games.

Emeralds were a popular choice in Victorian jewellery.

Emeralds are also given for a 55th wedding anniversary.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about some of the folklore surrounding emeralds. Do you have any May festivals or celebrations where you live?


Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

IWSG (MAY)

Thanks to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh

co-hosts this month are Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan,Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone 

I'm trying not to let insecurities drag me down at the moment. They are definitely there, lurking and ready to pounce, but I keep pushing them away and trying not to let them get hold and knock my confidence which also feels a little fragile at the minute, so I am not going to talk about them anymore today.

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

I guess one person's weird is another's normal in the case of research! It depends what you are writing about and for who. A lot of my research centres around folklore and myth - and some of that can lead to some interesting reading. 

Thanks for stopping by, I hope the insecurities are few and far between this month.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Celebrate the small things

Dropping in to post another little clutch of celebrations. Always important to remember those small things that made us smile, grin or laugh out loud!

Something that made me smile this week - The return of these little guys! For several years now they (or their descendants I suppose!) nest on an alarm box outside our bedroom window. Last year we were trying to fit some new guttering and had to delay this section until the birds had flown. Sure they make quite a bit of mess but I love watching them and waking up to the sounds of the little ones chirping from the nest. Their nest will reach right up to the boards by the time they have finished building.


Something that made me grin this week -  Finishing a round of edits! Always a good feeling even if there may be more work still to do down the line. It's good to celebrate that sense of achievement and to remind yourself that 'yes, I can do this writing thing!'


And something that made me laugh out loud! - I went to see the comedian John Bishop in a pre-tour warm-up show.

Finally,  in the UK we have May Bank Holiday this weekend, so I'm giving a shout-out to the three day weekend!


                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Celebrate all things April

Thought it was time I popped in with an April post and find time to celebrate those little things that help keep us smiling.

Writing wise, I have been working on some editing and have sent a couple of things out on submission. Now, I want to get back to a new project that I started but put to one side to complete the editing.

The last couple of weeks have certainly seen the weather improve here and spring is all around. Lovely to see the blossom on the trees and new life bursting everywhere. Lots of lambs gambling about the fields too.


Last weekend we set to and started tackling some of those outside jobs that need doing. I do like seeing a beautiful garden but sadly I'm not the biggest fan of actually gardening! However, I did some weeding and sorted out the patio pots so they are looking much neater. Hubby tackled a neglected veg patch and laid some black matting so we can lay gravel on top to make a new path. Two huge bags of gravel chippings now sit waiting patiently in the driveway to be shovelled into place . . . maybe this Easter weekend's job!

                 




Hubby and I disagree over daisies in the lawn. I love to see them as I think they are pretty and remind me of sitting making daisy chains as a child, but he doesn't like anything growing in the lawn apart from grass! As a compromise, the top of our garden is a natural area and here daisies are welcome to bloom. They are quite fittingly one of the birth flowers for April. The other is the beautifully scented sweet pea. I don't have any of those, maybe I will get some.



As well as shovelling gravel this weekend, I hope to spend some time with friends and family. It is our eldest daughter's birthday so she will be coming over for a celebrations and a game of croquet if the weather allows. We have had our set for a couple of years now and it is always a fun social occasion  to get a bunch of folks together for a game. I must confess some take it more seriously than others and our lawn is in no way a flat and manicured croquet lawn! Still the slight undulations make it more fun and you need more skill to whack the ball up a bit of a hill don't you?

Talking of birthdays, leads me to the birthstone for April the diamond. Probably one of the best known of all the jewels and certainly one of the most coveted by many!

Diamonds have always been associated with love and romance. In sixteenth century England, uncut diamond crystals were set into 'scribbling rings.' and the exposed points were used by lovers to etch romantic vows into window panes.

Here are a few more interesting references to diamonds. Fact or fiction? Well, I'll let you decide. Happy birthday to those celebrating this month and there are several in my own family. Sadly, I won't be able to buy them any diamonds but they can read about them here!


  • The word diamond comes from the Greek word "adamastos" meaning invincible. Being the hardest substance known to man this would seem very appropriate.
  • The Greeks thought that diamonds possessed magical powers, being splinters of stars fallen to earth, crystallized lightening or tears of the gods.
  • The diamond trade flourished towards the 15th century with the opening of Eastern trade routes.
  • They have been used as cutting and engraving tools since early times.
  • The Middle Ages saw diamonds used as cures for ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed it was said to purge harmful toxins from the body.
  • Diamonds have been worn by kings in battle as a symbol of strength and courage. They have been kept as talismans to ward against poisoning and phantoms.
  • Diamonds are the symbol of love and relationships, and are an ever popular gem in engagement rings.
  • They are considered useful for an individual's balance, clarity and energy especially when combined with amethysts.
  • A diamond is said to bring its owner wealth, happiness and protection.

Hope you are all having a good April and I wish you a happy Easter time. 


                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog