Help me Celebrate my Birthday

Help Me Celebrate my Birthday !!!!
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Losing Oneself In a Good Book

As you may have gathered, I have not been feeling all that wonderful as of late.  I am struggling to keep my stress and worries under control; I am struggling to keep on at life when every moment is so exhausting (just in case you're worried - I'm in no way suicidal).

Anyway, the one thing I've found to help is reading.  Obviously I'm a big advocate of reading - it is the reason I write after all, because I love books and words and I'm getting carried away a little here.  Well, I've just been reading 'Anybody Out There?' by Marian Keyes and have to say that, despite a rocky beginning, it has re-enthused my love for reading.  I had forgotten how great it is to disappear into a story and forget (at least for a little while) all the problems life is throwing at you.  For so long I have been reading as if it is a chore, and, while this wasn't the best book I've ever read, it transported me to another time and another life.  Not a carefree life, but a life that I didn't have to face alone as I had the characters right there with me.

As a writer I am often told I have to read critically, and analyse everything I read.  But it is so easy to forget why we read and  write if we do this with every book we come across.  Yes, I believe in learning the craft, but I also believe in just enjoying a good book.  So that is what I'm doing right now - I'm reading and revelling in the distraction it offers me and the feelings of hope I gain from it.

Why do you love to read?  What are you reading right now?  Are there any books you've read that you would recommend for a little harmless escapism?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

M.E. is...

Often when I tell people that I'm disabled they look at me and say "But you look so well and healthy."  This leads me to explaining that M.E. is invisible and while I may appear okay today, it fluctuates so often I am unable to move very much at all, and sometimes can't even get out of bed.  And then comes the response, "I know what you mean, I have those days too."  This post is to show that no, you don't have those days too (if you suffer from M.E., feel free to skip this post) and that no, you don't understand.  I don't mean to sound so callous but it's true.  But to help you out I'm going to try and give a few examples of what having M.E. can be like.  Please bare in mind that this is just my experience with it and I am relatively well in comparison to many sufferers (I can leave the house some days and I'm typing this).

-M.E. is needed the toilet badly but being unsure if you can physically stand to make it to the bathroom.  Every time is a choice of extra excessive pain or doing your business where you lie.

-M.E. is not allowing your partner or friends to hug you because the lightest touch feels like you are being punched.

-M.E. is ordering take-out again (even though you had it the day before and you're broke) because you aren't able to prepare yourself anything.

-M.E. is wanting to write this blog post last week but not being able to as you can't concentrate on what to write for more than a minute or so.

-M.E. is seeing the gorgeous sunny days happening outside but knowing that if you go out and enjoy it you won't be able to do much (if anything) the next day.

-M.E. is wanting to go to the gym every day simply because you know you can't.

-M.E. is putting on weight because you are unable to walk far, let alone do proper exercise.

-M.E. is knowing that the majority of people you tell, think you are either lazy or lying.

-M.E. is jumping every time a car drives past or something is knocked over and causes a noise.

-M.E. is crying every night for the life you know you can't have.

-M.E. is spending every day feeling exhausted but when it comes to bedtime you are unable to fall asleep.

-M.E. is losing friends because you aren't able to go and see them anymore.

-M.E. is knowing that your only social life is online.

-M.E. is knowing that you want a full-time job but will be lucky to cope with a part-time one; unfortunately you are overqualified for all part-time jobs.

-M.E. is catching every illness and disease that comes near you.

-M.E. is feeling like you have the flu every single day for your entire life.

I hope that this has helped you understand the life I live a little bit more and next time someone tells you they have M.E. please don't say you understand (unless you really do).  If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them and if you suffer from M.E. feel free to add to the list.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Impressed or Worried?

Yesterday I was looking at pajamas in La Senza.  The only ones that I remotely liked had 'Grumpy but Gorgeous' written across them but I already have ones that say that (they really need to think of a new phrase).  Anyway, there was one set that had a panda on the top which was kind of cute though I really don't know what was going on with the sleeves.  So that's what I said.  And then I noticed the trousers that went with it - red and white stripes - and continued "Besides, I don't want to be 'Where's Wally?'" Now I realise that this isn't exactly correct, but it got a laugh and I realised that I basically quipped a one-liner joke without even thinking.  I mean it fit easily into an episode of 'Friends' without anyone batting an eyelid.

So I have to ask myself: Am I naturally funny and have a chance at writing decent comedy?  Or do I just watch far too much television and it's starting to seep into me?

Of course I'm hoping it's the first but I have to say I have a sneaking suspicion that it's more to do with being able to quote almost every episode of 'Friends' without thinking.  So what do you think?  Would you have been impressed if you had heard me, or would you suggest I stay away from my D.V.D. collection for a while?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday Shout Out

Following on from last week's Shout Out, I give you another blog to get your creative juices flowing.  I only found Michael Nobb's Sustainably Creative last week but already I am a complete addict.  Not only does he give great advice on how to add more creativity into your life, he is an M.E. sufferer so completely understands the limitations on energy and time someone like me has to deal with.  I have spent a lot of time this week reading over the archives and am seriously considering buying his book (of the same name) when I am in a more financially viable place (more on that later).

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Could I Be Carrie Bradshaw?

I am a huge fan of Sex and the City - I enjoy the questions posed and following their sex lives/relationships - but most of all I watch it for the writing scenes.  In almost every episode (possibly every episode) there is at least one shot of Carrie typing away on her laptop.  I love these scenes.  I imagine I could be Carrie Bradshaw, writing articles on sex (or anything at all).  I mean, she has a great life: she stays out all night, gets up late (in the episode I just watched she is woken at 11.30 by a phone call from Mr. Big), shops and writes - my perfect lifestyle in a nutshell.

Of course I know that it isn't really like that (though nothing makes me feel more like Carrie than being a student and typing little articles for my blog!) but every time I watch it I get a rush of 'it could be like that'.  And that of course makes me want to go off and write and one day have a show made out of my column.  But the wanting the money and to be like Carrie Bradshaw isn't the important part.  The main reason I watch Sex and the City is because it always makes me want to be a writer.  And that includes the writing part.  It drives me to actually type out words and consider that one day I could be making a living out of my writing (but only if I put the work in now).

So yes, I know it may seem silly to watch something just because I have the same ambition as one of the characters.  There may not be much point to dreaming of a fictional life but it gets me writing (on my laptop no less - though mine is strictly PC, no Macs for me thank you very much) in my real life, right now.  And it gives me hope that, while I probably won't ever be Carrie Bradshaw, I may become someone with my own success story.

Are there any characters (fictional or real) who inspire you to follow your dreams and put in the hard work?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Counting Sheep

Last night was a typical night for me, and one that didn't involve a lot of sleep for the first few hours of lying in bed.  It began simply enough - a few lines of a poem materialised in my mind (I am not a poet, therefore it is my duty to write it down as soon as the muse hits).  Is it just me, or do all writers find that the moment they are supposed to be asleep they are inundated with ideas?

So, once I'd written those four lines down (I do actually quite like them and will definitely be working on the full poem soon), I lay back down to try and sleep.  After much tossing about, getting up to straighten my sheet, go to the loo etc, I decided to try the well-known idea of counting sheep.

Click for source

This went well for the first few then I noticed that with each sheep, my visual of the fence changed ever so slightly.  Then I started pondering how exactly sheep run (you know, for the run up to the jump) - do they run like pigs (thinking about sheep make me think of 'bah ram you' and babe) or do they gallop like horses (jumping fences = horses)?  I still haven't worked out the answer. 

At 18 sheep they started doing acrobatics over the fence.  Apparently my mind was bored with the simple run up and jump and so the sheep started somersaulting and floating (and one even attempted a back-flip - it didn't work out) over the fence.

And then I started composing this blog post in my head.  Seriously, blogging has started to take over my life now.  I think about it constantly (do all bloggers have this problem?) as I see it as part of my writing; and as I said earlier, some of my best ideas come at night.  I refused to give in and write this post at 1am, instead hoping that I would be able to remember it (and for once, I obviously did).

Eventually I did get to sleep (only to be woken by my housemate coming home at 7am).  But, the fact of the matter is, that no matter what I try (and I've tried a lot of sleeping techniques) I still have to go through this every night.

Do you have problems getting to sleep?  Anything you've tried that actually works for you?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A Pictured Day

Last week I promised you all pictures of my amazing day, so here they are:

On the way to the train station we were waylaid by a St. Patrick's Day Parade - I'm not entirely sure why, but it seemed to consist of 4 different bagpipe groups (bands?).  Is it me or isn't bagpipes the instrument of Scotland?

Anyway, once we made it there, our first stop was Heaven Is A Cupcake.  Can you really blame us after seeing this rainbow of cupcakes?  And yes, those are cupcake bouquets.

I just had to take a photo of this WH Smith's as it was one of the most orginal ones I've ever seen.  And yes, right next to it, was a Whittard's.  I absolutely love Whittard's but all my local ones shut down a few years ago when the company seriously down-sized, so you can imagine how happy I was to have found a nice big one for me to spend my money in.  Well, they had a Piglet mug displayed in the window so of course I had to buy it (I've been looking in Disney shops for years for a Piglet mug but have always been disappointed) as well as a pack of raspberry teabags - what can I say?  I like my fruit teas.

 I thought this sign was completely awesome - it tells you the distance in minutes for walkers!

We didn't get to go into the 'Shaken Cow' as it was full of teenagers but next time I plan on having one of their milkshakes as they look incredible.

I bought this cupcake for a friend - I just love the bubble container it comes in.  (By the way, the icing is actually red, I was playing about with the settings on my camera and somehow managed to get this shot; now I just have to work out what I did!)

And here are the photos that I know you were waiting for...the cupcakes:

The top box is my boyfriend's; the bottom one is mine and I have to say that they were all amazing.  Seriously worth the trip and I will definitely be going back for more as soon as I am able.

Monday, 21 March 2011

No Comment

You have probably noticed that I rarely comment on major events happening the world (for example, earthquakes, tsunamis, elections).  It is not because I am not aware of them (I am aware of at least a few of them), but simply that I do not know what to say.  There is nothing I can add by expressing my pity/concern/outrage on this blog.  Perhaps it is a case of being too jaded to think it will make a difference, or perhaps it is simply that I've been hit with a case of immunity to devastation.  Ever since I can remember I have been told (through adverts) to donate to various charities and quite frankly, after a little while the shock factor wears off.

It's not that I don't care, more that I know that if I did care about everything that is wrong with the world I would be fighting a losing battle with my depression (and my bank balance) and in general wouldn't be able to see the good things in this world.  I used to believe that there wasn't anything good in this world - and now I am grateful every time I find something new to be thankful for.  But I am not naive and know that there is devastation in the world at all times.  So I can choose to let if effect my life and lead me to hate my existence; or I can accept that it exists and leave it at that.

As you've probably realised, I've chosen the latter.  And while I will continue to shop in charity shops and donate every once in a while to a good cause; I will not be pouring out my distress about every disaster in the world on this blog.  If that's what you're looking for, then I'm sure you'll find plenty of blogs happy to oblige, but don't expect it here.  (Honestly, I'm not a heartless bitch, even if I do have to practice tough love every once in a while.)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sunday Shout Out

I have not posted a Sunday Shout Out in a while - mainly due to the fact that most of the blogs I follow and read are writing blogs, and I don't want to only cater to the writers among you.  But today I point you to a refreshingly creative blog.  Vicki is not a writer but a creator.  Whether it is knitting, scrapbooking, baking - I am always left feeling refreshed and refueled after a trip to her blog: But It's a Good Place to Start.

I recommend a visit to anyone who is feeling the need for a creative pick-me-up and revels in the beauty and simplicity of a life shared through a blog.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Review: Rango

I didn’t really know what to expect of Rango – in large part due to all the advertising efforts only sharing the minimum information (more precisely letting us know that the voice of Rango is Johnny Depp and that Rango is some lizard/gecko/chameleon thing).  So, to clear up any confusion, the story is about Rango, a chameleon who thinks he’s an actor.  When he finds himself stranded in the middle of the desert, he realises he can become anyone whom he wants to be (and, incidentally, is when he becomes Rango).  When he is made the sheriff of the town of Dirt, however, he discovers that playing the part of a hero, and actually being a hero, are completely different things.

Personally, I found the plot unbelievably predictable, which meant I became bored relatively easily as the plot unfolded.  I found the beginning a little too graphic for my liking but there were a few moments throughout the film where it is impossible not to laugh.  By the end, however, I was just waiting for it to finish.

Overall, I was quite disappointed with the film and it isn’t something I would recommend going to the cinema for (though perhaps you could rent out the DVD when it is released), nor is it a film I expect to watch again.  In fact, the best part of this film is that there is no worry about it being in 3-D, as it is only available in 2-D (a fact that I don’t think makes any difference to the viewing quality other than not having to fork out a bigger fortune at the cinema).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Winning Piglet is Like Getting Published

The other day I won a giant Piglet in an arcade and it got me thinking how winning it was much like getting published.  Now, please bear in mind that I'm not published so what I say about the feelings of being published etc are what I a) imagine it to be like and b) have read it's like by published writers.

Anyway, I have coveted this Piglet for months.  It has been sitting there in the arcade machine tormenting me everytime I go past.  But I never bothered trying.  I mean, I know those machines are complete rip-offs, as well as addictive, so I try to stay well away from them.

But the other day, after going to the cinema (review coming tomorrow!) and for dinner/drinks as my birthday celebration, we ended up in the arcade.  And I figured it was a fun way to spend some money as I was with my friends and it was more a social thing.

First of all I tried and tried and tried to pick up a small Piglet from the Winnie-the-Pooh machine.  I had to give that up quite quickly as the grabber stopped working.  So I thought to myself, why not give the giant Piglet a go?  Imagine my surprise and delight when I won it after only four turns!  Yes, you read that right.

And this is where it gets a bit like being published/getting an agent etc.  I had never won the Piglet beforehand simply because I had never tried.  I have to say, if you aren't submitting, it's very unlikely you're going to make that sale.  But winning it probably was to do more with luck and concentration than anything.  Luck, because everytime someone tried before me, it probably slightly changed the angle of the thing you had to knock off.  If I had tried at any point other than when I did it is highly likely that I wouldn't have won, or it would have taken me many more tries.  And as for concentration, each time I tried, I used what I had learnt in the previous goes as to where to aim etc - much like editing or learning another way to write a query letter.

The actual winning of Piglet was awesome.  I went completely hyper and insisted on thrusting poor Piglet in all my friends' faces (Okay, so poor them, but I think I'm forgiven).  I'm guessing that getting that call/email/letter is about a million times better, but it's the same type of emotion.

And then comes realisation.  Realisation that I'm not really into big teddies and don't really know what I'm going to do with my giant Piglet.  Realisation that my friend won a little Piglet in his nightwear and it's just so much cuter than my Piglet.  Which is, what I'm imagine, like realising that getting an agent/publishing contract means more work for you.  More editing, rewriting and writing another whole book.  And like realising that so-and-so over there has a much cuter cover than you/has a better contract than you etc.

But now I have a giant Piglet or you have a real intheflesh book it won't be enough.  Okay, so this is where my metaphor breaks down a little.  Because winning that Piglet is enough for me but it doesn't define me.  Publishing one book might be enough for you but usually one publishes because one loves to write (right?) so just because you have a book, doesn't mean you'll stop trying.  But the next time it might be a fail.  (I didn't win the giant Tigger that they replaced the Piglet with).  Or it might be even better (Imagine winning the whole set!).

Let me know what you think of my analogy (I would especially love to hear the views of any published writers).  And to finish off, here's another picture of my so-cute Piglet.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

An Amazing Day

On Saturday I had an incredible day.  But, when I think about it, I expect it will seem mundane, ordinary and is perhaps a weekly occurance for many people.  The great day?  Going shopping.

Seriously, on Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to a nearby town to visit Heaven Is A Cupcake (they had a stall and I just had to buy some cupcakes), go shopping at the market and have lunch.  All in all, it was a fantastic day for me.  I'm sure many of you are thinking - so what?  Well, for me, Saturday was a big day.  I rarely am able to leave the house for long periods of time now, especially without my wheelchair; so going out for a whole day was something I looked forward to for weeks.  It is also something I'm still recovering from.

Because, having M.E., I can't just spontaneously get up and go out.  I have to rest for days beforehand so I know I'll be able to get home.  And I have to arrange it at a time when I know it won't matter too much if I can't do anything for the next week or so (that's why I haven't been blogging yet this week).  Basically, this weekend tradition which I loved when I was a kid, is now an event in my life.  It happens rarely, and when it does I make the most of it as I know I'm going to have to pay the price for my enjoyment.

I am not writing this to make you feel guilty.  Believe me, that's the last thing I want.  I am happy for you that you are able to live a full life.  But please remember how lucky you are.  They say that you don't know what you have until you lose it, and I have to say that that is incredibly true of health.  We take our bodies and abilities for granted - until we don't have them anymore and it's too late.

Anyway, there will be pictures of my day out as soon as I get round to sorting them out.  For now, I have a week's worth of writing to catch up on as I've spent the past 3 days stuck in bed.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Babies...and Where I Stand on the Issue

Last week I went to my first ever baby shower.  I have to say I quite enjoyed it - but that could have a lot to do with seeing my friends, socialising in general and the really yummy food we ate!

Honestly, I'm not a baby person.  Sure, I'm over the moon that my best friend is pregnant.  But, it has to be said, it's because I know I won't be the one who has actually have the baby - I can just make a fuss of it every now and again (no offence meant BFF :P).

Yet, when I tell people I don't want to have children I usually am met with disbelief, or at the very worst, an assumption of naiveity.  Seriously, why is it so wrong that I don't want to have children?  I am a big believer that everyone has a right to choose how they live their life, as long as it doesn't intentionally harm anyone else.  So I have to say, that I am offended when people assume I'm either lying to them or to myself.  I am not stupid.  Yes, I am a woman.  And yes, I am aware that I may change my mind in the future.  But where I am now in my life and beliefs, I stand firm on not wanting kids.

The problem is, I never remember wanting children.  I never remember wanting to be a mother.  I have felt that motherly instinct in the past few years, when my little brother was born, but it was nowhere near strong enough to override my horror at the idea.

I know a few of you want to throw things at me right now.  Yes, I said the idea of having a baby horrifies me.  It terrifies me and it kind of makes me feel like throwing up.  But that's just me.  I don't care whether you want kids, have kids, wish you could have kids - that's your choice.  I respect your choice but it doesn't effect me because it's your life.  So why can't people respect me for my choice?

I writing this not to upset anyone (I think I've made it quite clear that is not my intention) but because I feel certain that I can't be the only woman to ever feel like this.  This is for them.  If you know that you don't want to be a mother, please, please don't let family, friends or society pressure you into it.  At the end of the day, it's your choice, your life.

I am well aware that I know nothing about being a mother, and I don't claim to.  I believe that for some people it is the most rewarding occupation.  And if you are one of those people - please try and remember that EVERYONE's choices are just as valid as yours.  If you are trying to talk someone into becoming a mother, that's like me trying to talk you into becoming a writer (if you hate writing) or a crafter, on the grounds that you won't be fulfilled if you don't follow in my footsteps.

EVERYONE has the choice to live their life as they want to.  NO ONE has the right to make someone else feel guilty for their choices.

(By the way, I wasn't met with that much prejudice at the baby shower - it just got me thinking about it and past experiences.)

Thursday, 10 March 2011


It's my birthday today so I did what any girl would do and bought myself a present.  I bought myself something I have wanted for ages, but never got round to buying.  What is it?
A blender!

Okay, so it might not seem that exciting to some people, but the thing is, I love smoothies. And I figure now I'll be able to make as many as I want and it will cost a fraction of the cost (in theory anyway).

So, I decided to take my new toy for a test run.  I bought lots of fruit:

Raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, bananas, blueberries and a coconut and yogurt.

I was being adventurous with the coconut.  This is me milking it:

I didn't get to use the actual coconut as I couldn't get the thing open!  I hit it in the middle with a blunt item (back of a knife) like the instruction in Tesco told me to - but it didn't work (so if you've got any tips on opening coconuts, please let me know in the comments).

I threw in all the fruit and yogurt:

Including this strawberry:

This is the strawberry next to a normal size one:

Yeah, it was massive!

And then I blended it til it looked like this:

Popped it in a jug so I can help myself to it at anytime:

And of course I poured some into a glass for me to enjoy now (I'm drinking it as I write this!)

So, that's my birthday present to me.  I'm looking forward to many more smoothies - what fruit do you like blended together?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Why I Won't Be Visiting the New Milkshake Cafe

When I saw that a new milkshake and smoothie cafe was opening near me, I immediately resolved that I would have to drop in and see if they're any good.  As of yet, I still have ventured into the freshly painted pink and white paradise.  The reason?  Television. 

Inside they have a large television screen which can be seen from outside (though I've never looked at what film is playing).  The other thing I can usually see is anywhere between 3 and 10 teenage boys (alright, they're probably uni students but their dress is not doing them any favours) staring blankly at it.  Apparantly there is also a gaming console inside.

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong against watching a film or playing a game amongst friends.  But personally, if I'm going to a CAFE it's to chat to my friends.  I get that those boys I see probably think they are socialising but I've never actually seen them interacting with one another.  And this bothers me.  Are we so dependant on media and technological outputs that we can't even drink a milkshake without them?  I would hope that we weren't but unfortunately I have to assume the worst - everyone is 'plugged in' to phones, laptops, televisions so much of the time that it is easy to wonder how anyone managed to survive without them.  But my point is, people did survive without them.  And it's my belief that they were probably the better off for it (to an extent). 

We are all on hyperdrive all the time and it's no wonder that depression, stress, exhaustion are common among every age group (except, as far as I can tell, the elderly).  As I've said, I don't have anything against technology (hey, I'm writing a blog!) but I do think we need to remember how to function, for at least a small portion of time, without them.

So I won't be trying those smoothies or milkshakes any time soon, because I don't fancy having to compete with a film for a conversation with a friend.  It seems, for now, we will be continuing to chat over coffee instead.

What is your take on technology?  Do you think it's had a negative or positive impact on your life?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


As you probably know, today is pancake day.  I love pancakes and have them quite often.  I won't have them tonight though as I just don't have the energy to make them, but next time I'm feeling able, you can bet I will.  So I thought that, even though I can't indulge myself I would indulge my readers with some of my favourite pancake fillings.

click for source

(Just in case you don't know, make a pancake by mixing 50g plain flour, 1 egg and 100ml milk then cook in a frying pan - if you need help go here to see Delia Smith's instructions.  I sometimes add a tsp of ground cinnamon for a bit of flavour.)

So,  my favourite savoury filling has to be spinach and cream cheese.  I haven't actually had this in a while and honestly can't remember how to make it but I'm guessing just heat some spinach and cream cheese together in a pan and presto!

When I'm being lazy (and let's face it, that's most of the time) I have a filling of beans and cheese - you'd be surprised how many things I make edible by just adding beans and cheese.

As for sweet, I'm not a lemon and sugar fan (no offence to those who swear by it).  I usually cut up a banana and slather it in golden syrup - absolutely delicious but probably not a good idea to have too often.

I've also cooked apples in some butter and cinnamon for a sweet breakfast filling (though in future I will definitely be adding a little syrup to this mix) which was gorgeous.

How do you like your pancakes?  For those of you who are feeling brave and want to try something new click here for some fantastic recipe ideas - if you do give them a go, let me know.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Chick Lit Guilt

For my final project at uni I am writing in the chick lit genre.  It's the first time I've ever written chick lit - but not because I was embarrassed to, but because I couldn't think of a new storyline.  The thing is, I read chick lit all the time.  I call it my guilty secret; although it's no longer a secret.

My point is I used to keep it a secret.  I didn't want to be judged on what I read.  Chick lit was (and still is) deemed as easy reading, unrealistic and generally a waste of time.  But I'm going to stand up and say that that is all rubbish.  Okay, so it might be 'easy reading' but sometimes that's what we need.  Fiction should be an escape from real life so who cares how realistic the story is as long as it's believable.  And I truly believe that no reading could ever be classified as a waste of time.  Despite all that, some things in chick lit have caused me to think more deeply about my life - in particular my life as a woman.

When I was younger I was under the impression that I had to have a good (high salary) job and that I had to work myself into the ground.  It is only in the past few years I have been able to shake off this idea (and honestly I have no idea where it came from as my parents are the most open people I will probably ever meet).  I have felt guilty for wanting to do housework, bake, sew and cook.  Chick lit has given me the permission I needed to find myself. 

Chick lit heroines are almost always really strong women who have reached a cross-roads in their lives.  Before, I used to consider that these women were idiots, I knew they would end up with the man and probably forsake their jobs in the process.  I think this is why chick lit has such a bad rep.  But the point is the women in these novels are strong.  I now don't think I have to follow or rebel against their example.  They have allowed me to find my own way - in love AND in life.

Okay, this post is probably coming across as long-winded and confusing.  But the general point I'm trying to make is: read want YOU want to read and don't judge anyone else.  So, what genre do you read/write? Why? Have you ever felt like it wasn't 'literary' enough?

Saturday, 5 March 2011

World Book Night

I'm sure at least a few of you know that it's World Book Night tonight (at least I hope the writers among you knew).  Anyway, I found out about it too late to become a volunteer - and quite frankly I have no idea where I'd give out masses of books.  But, quite by luck, I stumbled upon Nicola Morgan's Idea.  Now, just to be clear - I agree with her that WBN is a great idea, but it's not necessarily the ONLY idea that can work.  Anyway, the gist of it is, we buy a book, write in the front and then give it someone, anyone.  The moment I read this, I thought that I had to join in.

So on Thursday I went to buy a book at my local Waterstone's...only to find that it has closed (and left me a nice little notice telling me that the closest one is somewhere you need a car to get to).  Needless to say, I wasn't impressed.  Okay, I felt a bit guilty about not using it more when it was there (but come on, I'm a student!) but I was also a little more than annoyed that when I wanted to spend my money there, I couldn't.

In true Bethany style, I devised my own plan.  I wasn't going to let the lack of bookshop in my town stop me from participating.  So I decided to give a book that I've read recently and enjoyed.  The book was 'The Summer of Secrets' by Martina Reilly:

And inside I wrote 'Given in the spirit of World Book Night March 5th 2011 - I hope you enjoy as much as I did.' 

I figured I'd write the inscription as this picture is really fuzzy!

And who did I give it to?  Lucy from Heaven Is a Cupcake as I know she is an avid reader.  I realise that many of you are now wondering why I gave it to a reader - the answer is simple.  Just because you read, doesn't mean that you have read everything (in fact, I would love to meet anybody who can claim this).  I hoped that it would introduce a fellow reader to a book that they probably wouldn't have picked up their own.  And the reason I chose Lucy in particular?  Because I was receiving an order of cupcakes!

So, for good measure, here's a pic of the gorgeous cupcakes she created for my friend's surprise baby shower:

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Last week I found myself in a little bit of a funk, unsure of what I wanted to do with myself.  A few of you might remember me blogging about attempting scrapbooking so I thought to myself that that would be the perfect solution.  As I felt creatively stifled I realised that doing something completely new and different might help - and it did.  So here's the three pages I worked on and I have to say I'm actually quite proud of them, considering I'm a complete novice.

My three themes were coffee, cupcakes and fairies. I decided that rather than using scrapbooking to document moments in my life, I wanted to make it more about who I am.  So these are all things that are important to me, and that I feel represent an aspect of me.  

So what do you think?  Any ideas of what other pages I could do?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


I can't believe it's March.  That means there are now days til my birthday.  And, much more scary, only six weeks until my final hand-in date.  I have six weeks left of university!

This knowledge is making me flip emotions all over the place.  I am excited.  I am terrified.  I feel lost.  I feel safe.  I am confident.  I am angry.  I am overwhelmed.  Mostly that last one.

Once again the feeling of being on the edge of something great has returned.  And I guess, this time I really am right on the edge.  In six weeks I will be able to do whatever I want.  But at the same time I am very aware that that last statement isn't true.  It should be but due to that little problem I have (M.E. feel free to go away any time now) I know it isn't.  Because I can't do whatever I want.  I can't work full-time.  I can't get a job in London.  I can't lose sleep while trying to write (okay, so I could do this but not if I want to be able to leave my bed anytime in the future).  I can't dance like I used to. 

I am aware of all the dreams I have lost.  That I have been forced to give up.

But then I remember that despite this, I am happy.  Well, I am most of the time.  I am in love.  I have dreams (even if I've had to compromise on some of them).  And I have hope.  Hope that I can survive in this world.  Hope that I am stronger than I ever imagined.  Hope that I'm not alone.

Okay, so this post has ended up in a completely different place to where it started.  But I am going to leave it as it is as it's the perfect snapshot - of a moment in time - of my life.  I am here, there and everywhere.  And hey, did you notice my new look for the blog?  It just felt like it needed a change.  SWhat do you think?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Chocolate Pots!

Sometimes I need to take a break from the monotony of my life.  So the other day I did just that...and made chocolate pots with the bf.

(I was behind the camera - and besides, lifting hot, heavy things is not really my duristiction.)

This is what they looked like before going into the oven (I forgot to take a picture of them finished).

They came out a sort of dark chocolatey mousse.  And they were very very very chocolatey to the point that  I couldn't quite finish mine (those of you who know me know that is VERY chocolatey) and completely quelled our need for chocolate for almost a whole 24 hours!