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Reasons to be cheerful - 2nd August 2018

Well, an interesting week... A good one!
I've been really strict about looking after myself and I've been keeping in touch with my friend to let her know that I have been doing it.
Work has been super- busy...
But that's fine because I've been slowly building up my client list. I've done lots of work to make sure I'm organised and have my workflow sorted.
I've got a few new things in the pipeline which is really exciting too.
Pen and paper...
I've come to the conclusion that I really do work better when I do my first draft on paper. I tried a couple of weeks of working straight onto the computer, but it just doesn't work for me. Getting back to drafting on paper has completely freed me up and I've been able to get back to working properly (yay).
Back to blogging... Good news! Having got back to writing on paper, the words are flowing and I'm really feeling happy about getting back to blogging.
I've also ditched the editorial calendar I&…

Reasons to be cheerful - 26th July 2018

This week my reason to be cheerful is... I reached out and I asked for help. I got in a real state, and I know it's just menopause related, but I got in a real pickle, in floods of tears and feeling just awful. And instead of crying and then dusting myself off with a (very), wet hanky, I messaged a friend and poured it all out and she gave me a good talking to and has made me message her every day since to tell her what I'm doing to look after myself. And if I don't do it, she messages me and gives me what for. We've been friends since we started high school in 1980 and we've supported each other through all sorts of shit over the years, from boys to cancer and all things in between, so there's no pretending with her of going "but I'll be fine", 'cos she knows when I'm not being honest with myself or anyone else. And do you know what? I've felt so much better and got so much more done for just admitting that I was feeling crap and hav…

Reasons to be cheerful - 19th July 2018

Clearing out the crap... To be honest, my biggest reason to be cheerful this week involved vampires (not the ones I write about). I've cleared loads of crapola out of my life and I'm feeling fab for it. That includes not having blogged since last week, because - you know what - I was trying too hard to be something I'm not and trying too hard to tick boxes and be like other people.
I have spent a lot of time this week in my garden looking at the sky and being grateful for what I have and the fantastic life I'm building for myself.
And that's it. That's my reason to be cheerful this week, I am thankful, for all the positive people in my life and for having the courage to get rid of the stuff that was making me sad.

Embracing my geekness....

Today (13th July 2018), is "Embrace Your Geekness Day", and I've been doing just that all day on my social media feeds by sharing these 9 pictures as a photography project...

And why, you ask?

Because my geekness is Steampunk, and these are some of my go-to accessories.

I love dressing up in odd combinations of Victorian/Edwardian/Pirate/Adventurer/Explorer gear to enjoy tea duelling, automatons, wild and wacky inventions and just huge amounts of fun.

And vampires are wrapped up in there somewhere with my geekness. Not clowns though... I hate clowns.


Reasons to be cheerful - 12th July 2018

I seem to have been sooo busy since last Thursday, but here goes... Last Saturday saw serious fun at the Maindee Festival, a free community arts festival. I was performing 2 poems and also MC-ing 30 minute set by my writing group in the Spoken Word tent. I didn't take any pictures, but you can check out my poems here. Sunday was this one's birthday I can't believe he's 19 now, so I have just one more year of having a teenaged son! True to form I managed to make him a cake without him realising, so I was ab;e to present him with this on Sunday morning (made in a very fraught three-hour window when he was out of the house on Friday! Monday was yoga
in 29.4-degree heat (yay), and I had a punt at taking a photo of myself doing the boat pose. As I suspected, it didn't really work! And apart from all that I've just been writing and watering the garden. The crops have definitely suffered from this hot spell, but I am managing to harvest a bit and I've dis…

In the spotlight...

On Saturday I did something I haven't done for a long time, I took to a stage, not just to perform some of my work, but also to MC some other writers in a 30 minute set in a Spoken Word tent and a local community arts festival. And guess what? I loved it!

I hadn't really realised how much I missed performing and being on a stage with a mic...

I shall be looking for more opportunities to be doing it again soon.

I don't have any pictures to post, because I was busy doing my thing and being slightly scared that my parents were in the audience (eek!)

Anyway, watch this space for updates on what I do next.

Let me eat cake...

Today (10th July 2018), is Teddy Bears Picnic Day, nobody seems to know why. Anyway, I didn't have a picnic - even though the weather has sorted itself out a bit, and it does actually feel like it's safe to go outdoors. But I have been thinking about healthy eating and weight loss - or lack thereof.
I've been eating healthily (ish), and exercising more for a few months now and though I've lost quite a few inches from my arms, thighs, chest (ok, boobs), waist and hips, I haven't lost any actual weight for a while. I got a bit despondent about this until I realised that what I've actually done is lost fat, but gained muscle because I'm doing a lot of yoga.
If I was only weighing, I'd have given up ages ago and figured I was just not going to lose any weight, but I only half-heartedly weigh now and then celebrate the decreasing inches I'm measuring each week.
I like healthy food.

These zoodles (or courgetty), with pesto and pumpkin seeds, were really …

Hello! Here I am...

I know, I know, Sunday is usually a "from the archives", sort of post, but somebody commented on one of my posts the other day after I'd posted a picture of me, saying that she'd thought I was in my twenties a while back, but that reading the blog and seeing the pic had shown her otherwise.

I wrote here 150 true things about me

And here's a super-up-to-date picture on me


So up-to-date that it was actually taken this morning.

Actually, I DO need your help... It's soon going to be 50 days until I'm 50 and I want to do some fun things in the build-up to my birthday and then in the rest of 2018... So if you have any ideas of things I can do, pop a comment on here.

In answer to the question...

The other day on the blog and my social media, I posted this picture


taken by my son, of me doing the boat pose. Anyway, he and a few other people asked if it was possible to take a picture of me in the pose myself...

Well, I like a challenge as you know, so...



Honestly? No, I can't do it myself. Maybe if I had a selfie stick, but I don't.

Reasons to be cheerful - 5th July 2018

The weather has been so good lately that I've taken to doing a lot of my work in the early morning or late evening, so I've been able to 'rest' (i.e. laze about), during the days. My back garden gets the sun from early morning right through until late afternoon, so there's not a lot to be done out there during the day. I have managed to harvest lots of blackcurrants and I've given my mum and dad some beetroot. The tomatoes and green beans are coming along nicely and I'll have blackberries coming out of my ears in the not too distant future. Still, it's what I wanted when I planted the garden, so I mustn't grumble.

I've been super-busy writing - both for clients and for myself. I'm planning to publish a collection of short stories in October, but in order to do that, I need to write about 35000 more words. It's entirely doable and this month I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo to push myself to get the work done.

It's a year this…

Work that body...

According to Public Health England doing that magic walking 10,000 steps a day does not a fit person make. To be honest, I never thought it would. I love walking, but it's just putting one foot in front of the other and to really make a difference you got to look at your speed and working your arms and the way you walk too.

Anyway, turns out doing exercises that strengthen your bones and muscles is what we should be doing too. Stuff like yoga


and dance, tennis, resistance training and dance. Basically stuff that strengthens you and improves your balance.

I only took up yoga in January and I do love my weekly class and practicing at home on the other days (I particularly love the "corpse pose", go on, look it up).

My other favourite strength exercises come from carry full watering cans out to the garden and digging and shifting earth.

I can see a big difference - both physically and mentally -  since I upped my strength and flexibility exercises as well as just doing the …

Staying out of the sun...

Well, we've really done it this year haven't we? The UK is basking (well, more flumping really), in the hottest of heatwaves.

I'm finding myself working in the evenings more and doing very little actual work in the day. The house is boiling, sitting in front of a laptop is just torture and gardening has been reduced to watering everything at about 8:30 in the evening and picking crops whenever there's a shady patch.

I'm caked in sun lotion whenever I go out for any more than about 5 minutes and believe me you shouldn't go outside without shoes on - I nearly turned both my feet into bacon doing that on the first really hot day. Seriously though, stay inside, especially at the hottest part of the day.

I slept out in my tent one night last week



it was just too hot to contemplate even sleeping downstairs in the house. Through the day I've had every window and every door open trying to get an air flow through, and it is better than it was. I've been drinkin…

You'll need to take these iron pills...

You'll remember I wrote here about my latest menopause adventures? Well, I got the blood test results back, and whilst my thyroid function was fine, my iron levels were woefully low. So now I've got the joys of iron pills until I can get my levels back up.

Thankfully I don't get too many side effects from them, just a little bit of heartburn now and again (mostly when I eat stuff that I know will probably give me heartburn, but it's stuff I really enjoy - like red pesto sauce or salt and vinegar crisps), and the obligatory black poo (lovely).

Anyway, remembering to take the pills and eating lots of green leafy stuff, cutting down on caffeine, not eating crap, you know, the usual stuff - and I should be fine.

I'm not feeling overly tired, or anything other than 'a bit hot and bothered', because Wales has decided to have another country's summer this year and it's actually hot and sunny.

So yes... Keep taking the tablets and it should all be fine.

From the archives: "Falling out of love with my planner"

I wrote here about falling out of love with my bullet journal (not the one pictured, more about that later), and I did, I really did fall out of love with it, and I went back to using an ordinary week to view diary. I tried lots of different ones, in fact in the first 4 months of 2018 I'd gone through about 6 different diaries. I just couldn't find the right one, and so I went back to bullet journalling, because it did work best for me.

I started off very simply, going back to the basic bullet journal concept, as explained in the video above.

I've gradually moved on from that simple idea to doing stuff that's a bit more suited to how I'm working at the moment, and I am using Google Calendar to run my daily to dos. I'm doing readying and study notes in the bujo, but I still have my daily journal on a different book that never leaves my bedroom.

I cam e to the conclusion that there was no "perfect" diary for me, I need to be able to do what I need at a…

Reasons to be cheerful - 28th June 2018

Okay, it's not warm, it's hot, but I am loving it. I'm particularly loving the fact that because I'm freelance I can choose when, where and how long I work for, so I've mostly been working in the later afternoons and evenings. Yesterday was the 150th post on the blog, so I wrote 150 true facts about me. It was fun to write, but actually quite challenging, I wasn't sure I could think of 150 interesting things about me! My friend Mark's radio station. Because I have a nice boss, I'm allowed to listen to music while I work and sing along (badly), to my favourite tracks. I'm listening to Mark's awesome station. He plays LOADS of 80s music (sometimes he even plays what I suggest), as well as new stuff. He's based in Northern Ireland, but thanks to the interweb, you can listen to it anywhere, by going to the website here and clicking on the link.

Being busy. I'm just really busy at the moment writing for clients, and writing fiction/poetry, g…

150 things about me (all true)

Happy 150th blog post to me... And to celebrate, here are 150 things about me and they are all true!

1. My middle name is Margaret
2. My star sign is Libra
3. I'm 50 in October
4. I'm a practising Christian
5. I can't drive a car
6. The last live theatre I saw was Macbeth at the National in London
7. My favourite novel is Dracula
8. My favourite movies are The Godfather, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
9. I have a son
10. He is over 18
11. The first poster I had on my bedroom wall was of Donnie Osmond
12. My favourite Star Trek is Next Generation
13. My favourite classic Dr Who is Colin Baker
14. My favourite new Dr Who is David Tennant
15. My favourite Dr Who companion is Nardole
16. If I had to choose a Dr to travel with it would be the 8th (Paul McGann)
17. I have 4 A' Levels
18. I appeared on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour once
19. The last movie I saw in a cinema was Avengers: Infinity War
20. I always look for Krilitane when I go …

I'm going to summer camp!

Eagle-eyed followers of my various social media feed will have seen this logo showing up all over the place just recently:


Those of you who're aware of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), will be shouting "it's not November, the year isn't passing that quickly!" And you're right. This is NaNoWriMo Summer Camp.

So what do you have to do?

It's a bit of a 'free for all', you can set your own project and your own word count and then jump in and take part for the whole of July!

So what are you doing?

I'm planning to publish a book of short stories in October to celebrate my 50th birthday. The book will be called "50 Years In The Making" (see what I did there?).

There will be a pile of stories (I don't know how many yet, but around 40,000 words I hope). There will be vampires and cowboys and ordinary people and extraordinary people. The stories will range in length from around 300 words to 2,000-ish, so there should be something in…

From the archives... "Nothing but blue sky from now on"

I usually post an archive post on a Sunday, but I took yesterday off the enjoy the blue sky with my family, I didn't even turn my computer on.

The archive post I was planning to share was this one from October 2017 that talks about getting out of my comfort zone, and - wouldn't you know it - that's exactly where I am now, again.

It's nearly the end of June (how?), six months through 2018 and I have to admit that this year is turning out to be a great one. Part of that is, I think, because I'm constantly looking to get out of my comfort zone. I set clear goals at the start of the year and I've looked for ways to stretch and challenge myself and - and this is a big one - I've not given up when things have been tough, which I would have done a bit too easily before.

I'm spending a big chunk of today planning for the next six months, so that 2018 can carry out being awesome.

What are your plans for the next six months? Leave a comment below.




That eureka moment...

I've been trying to do something work-related for a while now and I haven't really been getting anywhere with it and it was bugging me and getting really frustrating, because I know it's what I really want to do. 
Anyway, it's been bubbling away under the surface and I've been trying to do something about it and getting nowhere and feeling a bit like I've been flogging a dead horse. Then I had an email from a magazine editor yesterday about something I'd sent her and I was kind of relieved by her answer, because there was something niggling away in the back of my brain...
This morning I figured out what it was... I've been going about it all wrong! I know what I want to do and I was trying to do it in a certain way, but it wasn't working because the way I've been going about it has been wrong for me! I've had LOADS of little hints from the Universe that I'd got it arse backwards, the big pile of magazines in my room that I've flicke…

Reasons to be cheerful - 21st June 2018

You know when you're 'a bit busy', and a friend drags you out for a coffee or a walk or a chat and you have to just stop what you're doing and enjoy life passing by? That. This week I've spent time doing not a lot with both cats choosing to sleep on me and chilling with my son.  He's eventually persuaded me to give video games another go (I am hopeless, my brain doesn't get it and if I have to press more than one button I'm usually lost). Not that I haven't been busy, I have. I have loads of client work on at the moment, so I've been working away every day. It's easy to get caught up in work and doing though, so I've been careful to take advantage of those times where I can choose to stop. Most of the garden is bursting with life, and I've enjoyed the fruits of it this week. I'm looking forward to being able to use spinach, courgettes and strawberries from my garden in a lunch party on Sunday, but some of it hasn't worked ou…

True tales from the garden... Some of it's gone a bit Pete Tong

You know those gardening stories about how everything is growing a. maz. ing. ly? The gardener has to fight their way through the greenery to actually pick produce?


Yes, that kind of thing...

Well... It's not always like that... The other half of that bed looks like this



There's some stuff growing in it, amongst the weeds, but nothing like what I was hoping for. I know the cats got in this side a bit, even after we put the netting up, but it really hasn't worked.

Then there's the peppers


Or not. Something has clearly feasted on them! And the tomatoes,


I don't know what's up with the ones on the right, they're in the same grow bag as that monster on the left, they were grown from the same bag of seed, in the same conditions and looked equally healthy when they were planted on, but they just haven't thrived.

And some of my beans have black fly


Actually this picture is good news, I've been treating the infestation with a soapy water spray and it's …