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Thursday, 31 December 2015


For the past week I’ve been thinking how I need to write the typical end of year/new year post; but the truth is I didn’t know what I wanted to write. While I believe we can start again at any moment, I am not above being pulled into the hyper-awareness of past and future our society seems to perpetuate as the clock strikes from December to January.

This year hasn’t been great for me, in that other than writing plenty of letters, I haven’t achieved any of the goals I set at the beginning of 2015 – some of them I haven’t made any progress towards at all. It also hasn’t been a great year for me blogging-wise which you’ve noticed. After many attempts to get my book blog up and running, it has been left to melt from existence as this blog has for most of this year, which is a bit of a blow for me.  And since going to Holland with the Scouts in August, I haven’t been able to find the stability in my life (both physically and mentally) I depend on to manage my health.

So far it seems all dreary, but it isn’t. The past few weeks seeing my friends and family for Christmas made me realize just how far I’ve come this year. I went abroad. I can sometimes go about shops etc using a walking stick instead of a wheelchair; I can go out more than twice most weeks; and just in general I am doing so much more than I was a year or two years ago and I need to remember to be thankful for that.

So with all those thoughts running through me, today I watched Cloud Atlas for the first time. I have read the book a few times and it is definitely one of my favourite books of all time.  The film was a completely different experience and it left me feeling a great sense of calm but also hope for my future, for everyone’s future. It brought to mind how everything is connected in the past, the present, and the future. I’m not sure if I believe in fate, but I think that’s what I was feeling as I absorbed the film – that I can put my faith in fate and everything will turn out how it’s supposed to.

This is possibly one of the best things I could be feeling as we enter a new year. Not hope exactly, not excitement or panic or any of the multitudes of feelings we are told is what we will feel, but peace. So for tonight, and hopefully tomorrow and into the new year, that’s what I want to take with me and allow myself to radiate. Peace.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Honour not Glory

Last year I wrote about how war is just as devastating forthe other countries that fight, not just our own (particularly during the world wars) which was my reaction to the Padre at the Remembrance Sunday Parade Service. This year, my thoughts are once again a reaction to his sermon.

Mostly he talked about how we should honour and appreciate soldiers – those who’ve fought and those who are fighting right now. It seemed very important for him to tell us how noble they are, how they have chosen the right profession, how we should give ourselves to the service of peace in the same way.

I agree with the last part to a degree – I believe everyone should be aiming for peace in the world, though not through becoming soldiers (though if that’s what you believe is right for you then that’s up to you). For me that is little things like sharing love and hope and smiles (mainly through snail mail), but also things like signing petitions I believe in and, when I have something I feel is important to say, sharing it online.

I also agree we should honour those who have fought for our peace, despite the fact peace has never fully been realised (we can all live in hope).  But there is a fine line between honouring those who have died and suffered through war, and glorifying them and the act of war itself.  That is why I am a big believer in Remembrance Day – I think it’s important to remember how millions of lives were lost in the first and second world wars, as well as the losses people still suffer due to war. It’s important to remember and teach young people because it should never have happened but, maybe if we learn from it, nothing as bad as that will ever happen again (got to be honest, I don’t believe we as a species will manage that though). But I don’t think it should ever be held up to be a good thing. Pointless suffering and death, especially in those numbers, can never be seen as a good thing; it is actually one of the few times I will say the end does not justify the means (okay, if war had ever created worldwide peace and acceptance I might feel differently, but the truth is it hasn’t).

So I wear my poppy to remember, and to remind others of, the atrocities of our past; and not to uphold war as something to be impressed by, or even supported. I am no longer naive enough to believe we will ever not have war, but I live in hope we might find other ways of creating peace.

How do you try and share peace in your daily life?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Give it UPtober

So it is already October (I would say, where does the time go but unfortunately I know for me most of it has gone into using my little energy to battle illness and depression), and having come across GIVE IT UPtober on Facebook, I thought that it'd be a good idea to kickstart my month by joining in.

The general idea is to give up one luxury for the month and donate the money you would have spent to Invest in M.E. which is a great charity that uses most of its funds to do research into M.E./C.F.S. as so little is still known about it. Or you can just donate in support of those giving up things such as Facebook, or just because you believe in our cause.

I will be giving up Coca-cola. A few years ago I switched from diet cola to regular (I now mainly drink coca-cola life), and then cut it out of my life except for the occasional one at the pub. Somehow over the past few months it has slipped its way back into my life to the point of having mini bottles of the sugary stuff in my fridge. I need to stop drinking it as it's not really benefiting me in any way, and we really need research done so myself and the thousands of other sufferers can start living our lives again.  Despite the fact that both of those things are completely selfish, I am making myself feel extra virtuous by giving up a bad habit and supporting a charity by joining in to Give It Uptober.

If you wish to donate simply go to Just Giving, or text GIUT88 (£1 to £10) to 70070 E.g. GIUT88 £5

Friday, 7 August 2015

July Round-Up


Blog Posts: 0 (not including bookish posts)
Books Read (Links to my Reviews): The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo; The 100 by Kass Morgan; Harry's War by Harry Drinkwater

Achievements: Regularly posting on my book blog Captivatedby Books

Goals Progress:
Letters Written: 0
Meals Made: 0

Good Days: 3
Okay Days: 11
Physically Bad Days: 10
Emotionally Bad Days: 4
Physically and Emotionally Bad Days: 3
Panic/Anxiety Attacks: 1

Cups of Coffee: 46

Films Watched: Back to the Future Trilogy; Tank Girl

Most Watched TV Shows: The Next Step; Warehouse 13; Continuum

Interests/Obsessions: None

Friday, 3 July 2015

June Round-Up

Please bear with me as I work out the best way to keep track of everything for these round-up posts. I haven't included my good/bad days in this one as forgot to write them down, and have decided to cut the number of cross-stitches as recording them took almost as much time as stitching, so instead if I make noticeable progress with my cross-stitch projects I'll include them in achievements.


Blog Posts:

Books Read:

Dodger by Terry Pratchett; Up West by Pip Granger; Down the Wormhole by Ana Franco

Goals Progress:
          Letters Written: 1
          Meals Cooked: Marinated Chicken Thighs


Panic/Anxiety Attacks: 1


Cups of Coffee: 32

Films Watched:  None

Most Watched TV Shows: Once Upon a Time, Orange is the New Black, and Orphan Black

Interests/Obsessions: Watching planner videos

Monday, 8 June 2015


I think one of the reasons I have such difficulty creating fiction is that for the majority (especially on TV) the main conflict is the result of lying. I personally don’t understand the point of lying. Yes, I have lied in the past, but as I got older I realised there was no point in lying (especially if it was going to cause a conflict as I’d learnt from TV and novels). 

I know people lie, but I struggle to understand why they do so. Obviously there are some things such as cheating etc, which is a lie created by lust, but if that’s what you need in your life then why can’t you discuss it with your partner first (if they reject the idea, then accept that or leave – don’t lie to them). And there is lying to protect someone, but unless it is a life or death situation (which I’m guessing the majority of people will never experience) lying will likely only end in a bigger problem down the road.

Then there is the white lie. I sort of get not wanting to hurt other people’s feelings, but surely it would be better coming from a friend than a stranger. I have learnt it’s not always the best idea to say if something shows your flaws, but instead of lying I explain why (eg. The colour or the cut of the clothing isn’t right for you).

Our culture seems to accept lying, while the media clearly shows it rarely gets us anywhere and simply creates mistrust. But how much better would the world be if not only we could expect the truth from everyone, but that there was no need to lie (whether it be to protect yourself or someone else). And perhaps that’s the real issue – the world just isn’t that open-minded. There are people who will hate us for our truths, but if we don’t stop lying, we are just adding to the misunderstandings and hate. That’s my opinion anyway.

What about you? Do you lie? If so, why? (I genuinely want to know, and won’t be offended if you choose to answer anonymously). 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

April Round-Up

I know I've been dropping the ball when it comes to my blogging, so I thought I'd pep it up a bit by doing a monthly round-up type post which is what this is. 


Blog Posts: 

2 Musing Mondays posts over on my book blog (one on libraries and one on my preferred format for reading books);and A Quarter of 2015

Books Read:

Cinch! by Cyntia Sass; Tomorrow by Graham Swift; Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife by Niamh Greene


Received 5 years service award for Scouting
Raised £119 for Invest in M.E. through birthday donations (you can still donate as I haven't quite met my target yet?

Goals Progress:
       Letters Written: 2
       Meals Cooked: None, but learnt how to use my spiralizer to make courgetti

No. Stitches (cross stitch)
Don't know (didn't come up with the idea til the end of the month so didn't keep track)


Good Days: 17

Bad Days: 10

Really Bad Days: 3

Panic/Anxiety Attacks: 1


Cups of Coffee: 34

Films Watched: Monsters University

Most Watched TV Shows: Stargate SG-1; Gilmore Girls

Interests/Obsessions: Freddie Mercury (and, by extension, Queen)

Did you like this post? Would you like to see it every month? Anything I've missed? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Quarter of 2015

So over a quarter of the year has gone and I can’t help feeling I have done nothing with that time. I haven’t been meeting my yearly goals; I haven’t been writing blog posts; I am behind on my reading, and so on. However, I have to take into account that it hasn’t been a good start to the year. For reasons I don’t really want to share I was left without carers for a month or so. On the one hand it was a good chance to see what life would be like without them, on the other hand it became increasingly clear it made my life significantly worse. Thankfully that’s been sorted now (and the new care company so far seems much better) and I am beginning to come back from that awful experience which affected my depression as well as my physical health.

I finally feel there is a chance I can start moving forward again. Spring came and it motivated me, but then it seems we have jumped to summer and the heat is only making me more lethargic and unwilling to actually do anything.

There are many days when I feel like I’ve achieved nothing, but I have to remember I usually do some reading, have a shower, talk to the carers, do some cross-stitch, and get myself dressed which is way more than I’ve been able to do continually (every day) for quite some time. And every day I try and motivate myself to get a little something done, whether it be sorting out my flat (as I still haven’t fully unpacked even though I’ve been here 2 years), reading, or writing. It’s hard not to focus on the time ‘wasted’, but I know it’s the future I’m working towards, and though sometimes it feels like I do nothing, I still need plenty of rest to continue improving.

So I have to hope the worst of the year is over and I can start trying to get on with my life again (now I just have to work out where to put my focus as there are so many things I want to do).

How has 2015 been treating you so far? Do you see a difference in your life as the seasons change?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Meat Monday (9th Feb)

It kind of feels wrong to keep calling it 'Meat Mondays' as I now seem to be eating meat pretty much full-time, but not sure what other name to use.

Basically, due to the fact most things are bought in packs, it just didn't make sense to only eat meat on Mondays as it would have been wasteful and more expensive than being able to buy a pack of ham and not have to worry about it going off before my next chance to eat it.

That being said, I am still trying to make Mondays the time I make sure to try something new and different, especially for dinner. This week I had a chicken ready meal, which was surprisingly good. And over the past week I had my first hamburger (which was a bit of a disaster as the one time I'm looking for meat burgers, the store only had one kind and lots of veggie options which I've never seen before), which was not so good, so think I'll have to hold off my opinion til I've tried a few more. I've also eaten quite a bit of chicken. Turns out I like chicken, a lot!

However, since eating meat I have put on substantial weight. I'm hoping it was just the crazy sweet pig-out last week as I got a little excited about having so many choices, but it's something I'm going to have to keep my eye on as I'm actually aiming to lose a little weight, not pile it on.

As usual, if you have any suggestions for things I can try (especially healthy options), please let me know in the commens.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Birthday Presents Please

Somehow February has come around somehow I still feel stuck in November and way behind on any possible ideas I could have had.  But most importantly, it is now only a month to my birthday.

While I do feel birthdays should be celebrated loudly and with plenty of cake and sprinkles, that's not why I'm writing a post about it. Two years ago I asked you to donate to AYME for my birthday and got an incredible response.  This year, I'm hoping I will get at least half the enthusiasm of two years ago.

This year I am raising money for Invest in M.E. (IiME) instead of receiving presents. As it's my 27th, my aim is £270 but honestly, every penny donated means the world to me and will hopefully lead to some of my birthday wishes coming true. Admittedly, I don't expect M.E. to be cured over night; in fact I don't expect there to be a cure in my lifetime, though that won't stop it being my birthday wish each year.

I have chosen IiME because not only does it offer information and support to those with M.E. and their carers, but it also invests in very important research. Unfortunately, M.E. research isn't high on the list for investors, which is why IiME is different from other charities. I know research into the causes of M.E., even being able to diagnose M.E., is a long way off (as I said, I don't expect too many break-throughs in my lifetime), but without this research nothing will change.

M.E. is not fun to live with. It has taken almost everything from me; thankfully not my family and a few friends and I'm so grateful for that as I know not everyone dealing with this disability is so lucky. I am not able to work; or dance. I can rarely go out on a whim, go shopping in more than one or two shops at a time(without a wheelchair); or cook a proper meal. Even the things that keep me sane like reading, writing letters, cross-stitching, I can only do for a short period of time.

Because of this, I want to raise money for a charity that focus on researching M.E. in the hope that in the future no one has to live with this misunderstood and sometimes highly-debilitating disability.

I know my birthday wish is a big one, but unless you can magically disappear M.E. from the world, a few pennies is all I'm asking for in the hopes that one day it will become true. I don't care if you can spare £10, £1 or even just 10p - every donation will be the best present you could possibly give.

To donate, click here, click on the button at the top of this site, or donate by texting TEBD88 to 70070

Thanks for letting me ramble, and p.s. I plan to do this every other year with a different charity each time.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Meat Mondays (26/1/15)

I realise the title and day might confuse some, but as I rarely have energy at the end of the day to form a proper sentence, I decided Meat Mondays doesn't necessarily have to be written and posted on Mondays; after all, if I were to post earlier in the day, I wouldn't have eaten the meat to write about. It will still be called 'Meat Mondays' though, as the actual meat eating happens on the Monday.

So for the past week I have felt a little lost in this world of food that has suddenly opened up for me. It's a lot like getting an expansion pack for the Sims and being faced with too many choices for what to focus on first, ending up avoiding playing anything new at all. To make sure I at least tried to keep eating meat, I went for a simple solution - buying something in a tin.  Turns out this was a terrible idea.

I wasn't feeling great after eating a sausage roll for lunch (though part of that may be due to a food hangover from Sunday), especially as the greasy, oily texture wouldn't leave my mouth no matter what else I put in it. Then in the evening I had what can only be described as the least appetizing bowl of meat in existence. It was, supposedly, beef stew with dumplings. The dumplings were a huge help in managing to eat any, as were the hot rolls I decided to have with it. In general, it was bad. I guess I should have known this; other than soup, I rarely eat meals out of tins as they just aren't the best quality, but I panicked. Having all this choice and not knowing where to turn, I clearly made the worst possible choice. Part of the problem is I don't want to get anything fresh as I'd have to do my shopping on either Sunday or Mondays for that to work, and it's very difficult finding meat for one that can be cooked fairly quickly and simply (many of my carers seem incapable of reading, or listening to, instructions and unless I have the energy to watch or help, I've found the safest option is to go with something that's almost impossible to screw up).

There are ready meals though, and I think this might be where I turn to next. Of course, I don't have a clue what most of the food is, unless there is a vegetarian alternative (such as lasagne or shepherd's pie), as I don't really remember what my mum served up before I was a veggie. Unless someone can give me some hints in the comments, I will likely go for things I sort of recognize, at least until I get a grip on the whole eating meat thing.

On the plus side, it is a weirdly liberating not to have to read the ingredients list on sweets and yoghurts to ensure they're vegetarian. I think it'll be a long time before I remember I don't have to look at the ingredients, but at least I'm not automatically checking for gelatine before considering buying them. This week I had wine gums which were so much better than I remember them, and surprisingly more-ish. That mixed with the gunky feeling of oil and too much food in general, didn't lead to the best experience, but hopefully it can only go uphill from here.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Words and Thoughts on Words and Thoughts

Lately I have started quite a few blog posts but they’ve only been half-thought out. So I come back to work on them, and instead of becoming clearer in my mind, they simply grow and morph into so many different points and thoughts and ideas I have no idea what I originally started out to say, let alone how to go about breaking these ever-growing well-written mind-dumps (I honestly can’t think of a better word to describe these pieces of writing) into individual blog posts. I have an idea yet somehow it gets lost in the next one and the next one, leading me to become confused. And if the writer is confused I have no doubt that unleashing these semi-formed monsters onto the interwebs would possibly detract from everything else out there, let alone actually add to it.

As a blogger I know I want to create meaningful pieces, and thoughtful pieces, and the occasional random observation to share as posts. But as a writer (and being me) I want to explore ideas and concepts and words. So far there shouldn’t be a problem, but once I get started on the exploring my hands run away with it (via typing, as opposed to my fingers running akin to the hand in Addam’s Family) and anything meaningful or thoughtful or observational gets lost in the pathway to wherever I might be heading – it doesn’t help that I haven’t got there yet so can’t even backtrack,  but I have a feeling that if I were to wait, I wouldn’t get there til my last breath which is leaving it a little late to start working out what the heck is/has/will/was go through my mind.

If I continue typing there is a very high chance this will end up just like the other posts I’ve started in the past few weeks, meaning I’ll never get to share it as I’ll be too busy getting lost under the deluge of words. So, just this once, I’m taking a breath and posting without reconsidering or pondering or generally continuing it into infinity, just so you know I haven’t forgotten you, my lovely readers, I’m simply trying to divide the masses of material I’ve suddenly acquired into something remotely understandable.  (If you have any tips on how to do this, I’d love to read them in the comments.)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Meat Mondays

Those who know me, know I’ve been a strict vegetarian for over 15 years. Those who know me really well, however, will know that for the past year I have been toying with the idea of eating meat.

When I was 11 I became vegetarian because I was concerned with how animals were kept, and in particular, killed. After about 10 years it became less about ethical reasons and more because it was part of who I was, my identity.  So seriously considering eating meat again threw me off a bit; I didn’t know what I wanted.

I believe in being true to myself, and the idea of not being a vegetarian felt as if I was turning my back on who I am. Last week I realised that if I want to eat meat then that’s who I am now. I was worried about not being true to myself, but in truth I was simply holding on to the person I used to be. A lot has changed in the last few years, and I guess this is just one more change. I never expected to eat meat again, and it’s taking a lot for me to take this step as I have a lot of pride and I dread to think of the reactions I’ll get, but I’m sure in time whatever happens will simply become the ‘norm’.
As I haven’t eaten any meat or fish (Even though I want to, I’m still not going to eat fish as I disagree with how they’re killed so can’t bring myself to) for so long, I’m going to take it very slow. On the blog-o-sphere there is “Meatless Monday” and so I thought I would do the opposite and have “Meat Monday” and only eat meat on Mondays just to see how it goes.

I have always said if anything was going to tempt it would be a ham sandwich (though in all honesty I can’t remember why) and so today that’s what I was going to have for lunch – the first meat I’ve eaten in 15 years or so. Actually, ham was the very last thing I ate when giving up meat at 2 weeks after eating vegetarian I caved and ate about half a pack of sliced ham in secret. Somehow the ham I bought got lost on the way to the fridge, but as I visited a friend, she kindly made me one. I had to bookend my vegetarianism with ham as I refused to eat anything else first. I also bought some sausage rolls (the shop didn’t have pork pies which is what I actually wanted), some chicken soup for dinner, and some jelly babies.  Even though looking at, considering, and buying meat, all feel completely weird to me, at the same time I know this is the next step in my life – I don’t know whether I’ll hate it or love it, but it’s time for me to make this change, at least for a little while.

So today I’ve eaten a ham sandwich, which tasted good though left a strange oily texture as an aftertaste.  I had some spinach and chicken pizza for dinner, still not sure what I thought of that; and some jelly babies, which honestly were not enjoyable.

Let me know if you want to follow my journey into eating meat, and post every Monday with my thoughts, let me know in the comments. Also I’d love to know if there’s anything you think I’ve been missing out on as a vegetarian.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2015 Goals

As you know, I'm not really a fan of new year's resolutions, simply because I know I'm going to set vague ones (like spend less, eat better, etc) that are impossible to actually keep. For the past few years I've been choosing 3 words at the beginning of each year to focus on. As I can't tell you without looking what the words for 2014 were, I think we can count that as a fail.  So this year I'm trying something new and setting goals for myself.  Hopefully these will be sensible and therefore possible to keep, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't manage to keep all of them.

I have only just come up with these over the past few days, so technically not starting right at the beginning of the new year, but I figure better late than never. In no particular order they are:

1.       Make an advent calendar
2.       Finish cross-stitching baby sampler
3.       Finish writing ebook
4.       Finish organising my flat
5.       Cook at least one meal from scratch each month
6.       Save min. £10 per week
7.       Read 50 books
8.       Put 1hr per week into scouting (not incl. Weekly meetings)
9.       Write a letter every Saturday

I got to nine and tried to rack my brain to come up with a tenth, as that would be a nice round number, but then I realised I wanted to make goals I wanted to meet, rather than forcing a goal upon myself just so I could have a nice round number.

I don't know how these goals will go (for the past  few years I've aimed at between 50-60 books yet never made it past 48 - this year I read 46), but it's nice to have something concrete I can focus on, and something less ambiguous than 'blog more' (though that is something I want to do).

Do you make new year's resolutions? Let me know in the comments below your hopes and dreams for 2015 and what you think of mine.

p.s. I have a post of pictures of my holiday season in mind, but unfortunately left my camera at the new year party I went to, so guess we'll just have to wait.