Thursday, 28 February 2013

Take a little dose of perspective

So February sucks, I don't hate much (it's a very strong emotion to feel) but I hate February!

This week I had a moment, a really low moment. Yet in that moment I logged onto Facebook and was faced with a friends pictures. My moment lead to another moment; one of guilt and self loathing. I guess I should explain....

Liam, the young man destined for greatness I have mentioned before, has just come back from a trip to Africa. He went out with an organisation that encourages young people to go to Uganda called Link International. Over the course of 10 days the group went to a rural school to teach the kids there, they went to the slums in Kampala with Retrak and finally visited Tudabaju where some of the street kids can go to live and go to school for 4-6 months....yep you read that right months!

I really urge you to check out the blog written during the trip because seriously my effort to tell you about it is here now...I'll wait ;-)

I sat looking at the photos and reading the blog that charted the groups journey and I did it all with my heart in my mouth. Seriously, I have been down this month for what? Yeah I am living with a significant amount of pain at the moment while the doctors dot their i's and cross their t's. And maybe 24 years without my Dad hit me hard this year and one or two other things piled on top haven't made all that any easier. But do you know what this is nothing! Hardship, loss, pain and illness is just normality for the kids and families in Uganda and they don't have the same access to doctors, education or even a comfy bed to retreat to like I do. It humbled me in a way I have not been humbled in a while!

The photo above is my favourite image Liam has posted of his trip. And again I will wait while you jog on over to Instagram to check out some of the other images, they really are worth a look!

I wonder when I got so whiney, when I forgot that other people in this world of ours have it a lot worse than me! I wasn't always like this. There was a time in my life, before kids, when I slept in a cardboard city to raise awareness of the UK's homelessness issues. A time when I would only buy my lunch at one shop in Manchester (Feed the 5000 - FT5K), because it made sure any left overs from the day were distributed amongst the city's homeless population. A time when I could not walk past a Big Issue Seller without buying a copy or when I couldn't ignore the beggar in the abandoned shop doorway without giving them something. Things are not much better in 2013, the local paper this week announced 1 in 4 children in our area live in poverty. Yet I can feel that my heart has hardened, not every homeless person tears at my heart making me want to leave with them what ever I can.

Did things get so tight? Did my family change my focus? Can I remind myself of who I used to be? And will I ever be able to make my munchkins realise just how lucky we are.

Friday, 22 February 2013

A spot of Poetry to start the weekend - a post in three parts

Part 1

Working in a library can sometimes be a dangerous way to spend your days if you are a lover of books! There are just way to many distractions.

Inside one such distraction I found this, I hope it makes a smile dance across your lips as it did mine.

Graunt that no Hobgoblins fright me
No hungrie devils rise up and bite me
No Urchins, Elves, or drunkards Ghoasts
Shore me against against walles or posts
O graunt I may no black thing touch
Though many men I love to meet such
By John Day 1604 in Alan Garner - Collected Folk Tales

 Part 2

I have recently fallen in love with the work of Tyler Knott Gregson, one of my tumblr discoveries. He makes poetry seem so effortless, go check him out here. But just for your enjoyment here is one of his pieces as a taster!

You are the morning
and I have waited all night
for your dawn to break.

Part 3

A touch of poetry from my own pen:

Close my eyes
That's where you live
Sweet memories of maybe
Is all you could give

Faeries and goblins
May flood my mind
But they can't erase
The visions you left behind

Try as I might
To occupy brain and heart
These visions and memories
Still threaten to tear me apart

The aching that's left
Is hard to bear
While all the time
A facade of 'I don't care'

Image  credit see here

I'll leave you with this....

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Our Adventure


We're home, exhausted but home, packed full of memories of our adventures. Memories of smiles and discoveries, of objects seen to go with lessons learnt and stories heard. Of famous artists found for the first time and explosions in a lab. Of hotels and beds squashed together, of train travel over ground and underground. Such beautiful sweet memories I will hold forever, some of them captured and shared.

see original here on Pintrest

So this is our London.

 Day One - Off we go.

Our trip begins! Why are train stations always so cold?

And a two hour journey needs some entertainment!

When I visit London I can't stop looking around and noticing things that make me smile!

I love travelling on the tube. I also discovered that I love the look of wonder on my girls faces and the inquisitory discussions we had about trains travelling underground.

However we didn't go to London for the transport links. First stop...The British Museum.

The look of wonder and amazement and voracity with which Munchkin 1 went from one exhibit to the next. Devouring every Egyptian artifact and explaining their significance to me. Canopic jars are seriously disgusting might I add!

The next stop....for Mummy!

A flying visit, yes. But still I stood in awe at the Kings Library. This picture does not do the sheer scale and number of books justice!!

Day 2 - Open top bus tour!

I can't believe how much the girls enjoyed this. Even ice cold toes and noses didn't deter them for quite some time!
 Tower Bridge

 Big Ben, with the London Eye in the background

Reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

St Paul's Cathedral

A whistle stop tour of the Poetry and Dreams exhibition in the Tate Modern. Introducing Munchkin 1 to the likes of Picasso (who's work is ugly, by the way - her words not mine!)

Then on to Trafalgar Square and a visit to the National Gallery. We got involved in a feather and wing art installation. Listened to a story teller use the art work in the gallery to tell a story (really great) and then introduced Munchkin 1 to the likes of Monet (who she loved - that's mi girl!) Cezanne and Van Gough.

Day Three - Time to go home, nearly!

A trip to the Science Museum - Daddy's day ;-)

A demonstration of how to make a rocket fly into space and a quick experiment to see if the Munchkins could power electrical equipment with pedal power. I won't disconnect from the grid just yet though!


That left just enough time for a quick stop at Harrods....Oh how the other half lives!!
However I did discover some gorgeous lifts!

Oh and some cute friends too!

That was a packed couple of days, time to go home.....we're beat!

What special memories have you made this week?

I will leave you with this, Within Temptation. Nothing at all to do with London or the sweet memories made. It is however totally beautiful and the final gorgeous discovery of this break. Back to work tomorrow!

PS - In the last few days I have been bestowed 2 blog awards. One from the fabulously talented and witty blogess Katie at Nested and the other from my dear friend; the obnoxiously talented photographer and blogger Lee Johnson. I promise I will graciously accept these awards and compose appropriately lengthy speeches to said acceptances in due course! Today I think I have overloaded you lovely readers enough.....Stay tuned ;-)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Family Choice Tuesday Tunes

So in honor of the family trip to our nation's capital I have opened up this weeks Tuesday post to the clan.

Here are our songs that give you a little snippet of our trip.

The Husband's choice, not particularly original but it had to be included!

Munchkin Number 1's choice. British Museum for a little Egyptian spotting!

Munchkin Number 2 didn't choose this, but she wants to see where the Queen lives. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I have taken the opportunity to include a slice of musical genius here!

Finally my choice, because we are on holiday after all. Ok so I have been busted for crow-barring in another of my favourite bands and I don't care (PS a little sweary at the beginning for those of a sensitive disposition!)

So the soundtrack to our break away. Hope you are having a good week, stay tuned on Thursday for the piccies ;-)

Friday, 15 February 2013

The colour of sadness

So Deb at Kicking Corners set a challenge this week to create a new colour. In all seriousness she put out there a great writing exercise; giving us all the same set of words, pictures and music she sent us out into the world to see what we could create. The theory being that no two people could create the same thing, even when given the same ingredients. Have you ever noticed that no matter how closely you follow the instructions in a recipe book yours never turns out looking like the picture? 

I digress, here is what I created whilst listening to the celtic/fairytale music and all before the track ended (shhh, don't tell anyone the track is an hour long, sounds better if when you don't know that!)

I have highlighted the 3 words I chose to use and this is the image that stuck in my mind when I cam to write.

link to original here

“I’m not strong enough for this” Delen whispered through her tears, looking down at their intertwined hands.

“Yes you are. You are the strongest person I have ever met.” Bryce replied using his finger to pull her chin up and force her to look him in the eye. “You are the first human in a millennia to be strong enough to find us.”

“That’s different. I’m not strong enough to live without you.”

“You have a life that needs you Delen. I will not let your story end just because ours has reached its conclusion. I need to know that you have lived.”

“But you are the piece that has been missing, why do you have to be taken from me just as I found you? How will I know that this was all real and not a dream.”

“Kira, look up. What do you see?”

“Our stars.”

“Every time you see the stars you will know what we had was real, you will feel me in your heart. And in that way I will live on, inside you always.”

The village horn sounded, the end was near. Bryce stood and pulled Delen into his arms, one final embrace before he would watch her walk away. They looked into each other’s eyes, their lips met for the last time, the taste of salt bitter on their lips. The Delen pulled away, if she didn’t do this now she wouldn’t go.

“I will always remember you Bryce” Delen whispered, their fingers keeping contact as she backed further away. When their arms could stretch no more Bryce pulled his fingers away, Delen felt her heart lurch. She drank in her last view of Bryce; trying to remember every last detail, cataloguing it for future use. And then she turned and began to walk.

As soon as she was clear of the village Delen began to run, run toward the place she would call home but it wouldn’t could never be she had just left her home behind. Sobbing, her chest heaving from running Delen heard a thunderous sound and turned in time to see the village consumed in a tower of wrath, obliterating their existence. But she would know who they had been.

Delen collapsed under the weight of the memories that flooded her with each heaving sob; Bryce teaching her to haggle in the market place, the brilliance of the night stars as from where they lay making shapes by joining them like a giant dot-to-dot, but mostly she would remember the other part of her soul. She suddenly felt blessed to have had the time they did together, short as it was at least their souls were reunited for a time. And would be again...

PS because I forgot yesterday, Happy Valentines Day :-)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Procrastination of a Writer

You know when you start typing a post and then delete it just to start all over again. What you have written came out too ranty or too personal or just not what you want to put out there. That has been me trying to write this post. Fortunately my self-editor has had it's muscles flexed of late and was prepared to keep my foot well and truly on the floor, not in my mouth!

That being said I had to find something to write about.....Hmmm writing, I should be doing that shouldn't I! Do we think I may have stumbled upon a topic?!?

I am by no means original in my procrastination! My little road trip usually starts with Facebook, with a very early pit stop at Twitter, just a quick diversion and back on the main road. Recently though I think I took a wrong turn on my highway somewhere! But there are so many interesting things on this turning that I am not sure I want to 'turn around where possible' like my GPS is telling me to! And she is starting to get a little demanding too.

I mean there is this wonderful little Aladdin's cave of a place called Pintrest. It is filled with such wonderful treasures you can get lost in pinning those wonders to to your boards. And just next door is tumblr, wonders of equal proportion! Dragging myself away I did manage to get back on the road at some point but then just around the corner was a giant neon sign pointing straight at Instagram and across the street Flickr, seriously there are some really cool photos on there. I could say floating around there is research, there are some really cool ideas for stories in those pictures, but I'd be lying!!

I wish I could say my procrastination ended there, that I took the things I have collected along the way and spun them into glorious stories. Bah, why would I do that when I have a bag under the cupboard with paper and watercolours and charcoal and .......

Why not sketch instead?

I have come to the conclusion that there is just not enough time to do everything we want to. Just not enough time to learn to draw and paint or become a decent photographer or even learn to play the guitar. At some point I have to prioritise, I have to work out what I want to do the most and run with that until I am happy with what I produce!!

What are your favourite distractions?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Tuesday with a twist

In an effort to drag myself kicking and screaming from the funk I find myself in at the moment I decided to indulge a little. I grabbed for a film that I haven't watched since before my babies were born...and then some ;-)

This film might not be the most intellectually challenging film but for sheer surreal imagination in the creations on set it's my favourite. It won my heart when I was younger and made it a little lighter this dismal February.

So instead of a tune this week there is a trailer for the film, just in case you have never seen it.

Oh and go on what would Tuesday be with out a tune?

As for my favourite character?? It is Hoggle all the way; the lovable little guy who is caught between his own cowardice and wanting to do the right thing.

Who is your favourite character?


Friday, 8 February 2013

Are you real?


"Yes honey?"

"Is Cinderella real?"

"Yes darling, if she is real to you she is real."

"I think I need to go to Florida just to make sure!"

"Oh! Why Florida?"

"Because that's where she lives of course!"

.....Silly Mummy, why didn't I know that!

Now I guess I could have gone into the history of fairy tales originating in folk lore and how folk lore probably started out as real events just passed through the generations and under going a 'Chinese whispers' kind of transformation. However I was torn between the 'how sweet' and 'I'm too tired for that conversation' reactions. So it looks like we will be going to Florida, probably on the pennies in her piggy bank!

But you know my brain can't leave a question like that hanging, it has to twist it in some way and tie its self in knots somehow!!

What makes something real?

Is a sound still a sound if no-one hears it? (Ok maybe I did watch a little Qi too.) Is it even a sound if it is only heard by one person, I mean they could report it and be lying.

Scientific discoveries require scrutiny and the more scrutiny they are subject to the more accepted the discovery becomes....the more 'real' it becomes. So on that score does something have to be scrutinised or verified through interaction to become real?

What of the words we write then? Yes sometimes we write about 'real life' other times pure fiction. Is the fiction any less real if it has been read by another? Is sharing the words with another all it takes to make them real? We write a blossoming love, is it so? We pen a passionate exchange, is someone living that fun?

I day dream sometimes of a place where our words come to life, the act of sharing wills them into existence. Maybe they have their own little worlds confined to the walls a writer creates, or maybe they wander among us.

But then sometimes that thought scares me. Somethings are only meant for the page, somethings are never intended for sharing, somethings need to remain not quite real!

All this got me to thinking of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series. I love Inkheart, the rest of the trilogy is on my ginormous to-read list!! I never did get over the fact they only made the first book into a film. Plus it is a fantastic excuse to include a picture of the lovely Brendan Fraser!

And if a cute guy reading a book doesn't float your boat

Try that look, floppy hair and all...excuse me while I go melt somewhere!!

What / who would you read out of a book if you had the ability?

Thursday, 7 February 2013


I don't hate, or at least I try not to and currently I am trying really hard not to hate February!

So many people say January is the worst of the 12, filled with post holiday depression and resolution failure. For me January is just another month, February on the other hand I could hate!

Aside from being a cold and often very wet the month never it fails to give me at least one bad memory, year on year something goes wrong. Just so as not to disappoint this year things started to go down hill on the 1st! I am sure there are other months that are also great harbingers of doom but for some reason they don't seem to stick in my mind as much, or more to the point they don't attach themselves to a month so readily.

You'd think in a month where you are compelled to eat huge piles of pancakes and should complain to the love police if a box of chocolates doesn't cross your path mid-month there would be plenty to keep my spirits up. But alas, even the presence of cupid flitting around doesn't lift my mood, in fact he has learnt to fly elsewhere lest the arrow be flung back at his perky little arse!!

The anniversary of my Dad's death really doesn't help matters, 24 years and it still hurts like someone has ripped my heart out. But do you know I think all the crap that happens in February looks even worse through the shit tinted glasses of increasing age! Yep that's it, it all looks worse because I am a year older. Someone had better shoot me before I get to 80, I don't want to see what the world looks like in that February if it is this bad now.

The other option I guess would be to hibernate every February....28 duvet days in a row.....Now that sounds like a plan!! Or had I better do the same as I do every year....Fake smile at the ready! But I am still not celebrating Valentines day! (you will just have to imagine the sulky 'bah humbug' face!!)

At least February is the shortest month, thank the Gods for small mercies!!

Because some wounds will never heal!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

My weekend in song.

I think I am just going to call Tuesday's 'Tuesday Tunes' given that I never feel particularly jokey or cheery on a Tuesday. Bah!

So today you get the soundtrack to my weekend, or at least the one that has been floating around in the mush of my mind!!

The weekend didn't start well!!

I kind of retreated into music for a while and found this acoustic version of a 30 Seconds to Mars song I love.

But is is funny how a well placed text or message from a friend can help so much and this song made me think of that friend...I only hope she knows how awesome she is and that I help her in some small way too!

So smiling we went off into the woods for a wander and had an amazing day.

So here is hoping that wasn't the end of the world I saw coming and just a little storm. Something a little chilly and rocky at the time but weathered all the same.

What song best describes you weekend or day?

Friday, 1 February 2013

Is she worth it?

I thought I would share a little about how I sit down to write. Not because I think there is anything useful I can share but so I can be nosy and ask about your process!

Sometimes ideas come to me, usually in the middle of the night, they wake me from my slumber and I have to get up and write it down. These flashes of inspiration  are few and far between, rarities my muse dispenses when she so wishes.

In reality something tends to catch my eye or ear and my mind ponders it for a while. It can be a picture, a quote or even a song and it will capture something in my imagination.

Recently I saw this image and knew it would be one of those images to get the cogs in my mind moving. So a grovel later and the photographer Liam Dagan sent me the image to use. I am grateful that I can borrow the images of super talented people like Liam from time to time just so that I can show you where my mind starts!

Any way here is Liam's image and the snippet that it put in my mind.

To Hell and Back

"Let me get this straight, I'm dead and this is hell?"


"And i could climb out up that?"


"Anyone ever make it?"



"One of the original fallen. He fell for a human girl on the living plane, forbidden eve for a fallen so he was condemned to eternity in here. Always looking out with that smallest glimmer of hope to torture him."

"He climbed out to be with her?"

"Yeah, it even worked out for a little bit. Right up until Death caught up with her and they were both consigned to Hell for eternity. Apparently if you ask them they don't care where they are, as long as they are together. Personally I could do without the eternal damnation, but who am I to argue."

"Why don't you climb then?"

"I've nothing worth risking everything for."

"But we are already dead! What could be worse than being dead and stuck in Hell for eternity!"


"That's my point."

"No, seriously, nothing!! Fall on there, and its not an easy climb, and you'd kill yourself all over again. Only this time you have no body to die, just your soul. You would simply cease to exist at all. Granted some do it just to get away from the torture of being down here, but not many things are worth that!"

"There are a few"

"So, who's yours?"

So what gets your creative juices flowing? Do you get the same impulse to tell a pictures story that I do?