Sunshine Blogger Awards 2018

I was nominated by Layla, follow her blog at http://www.laylalane.com and can also find her on Twitter and Instagram. Go check her out! Anyway, onto the questions she asked-

Biggest lesson you’ve learnt this year?

To be myself, I think I spend forever trying to invent myself into something I’m not. Someone the world expects me to be rather than the person I am.

Describe your childhood in three words.

Fun, carefree, happy

What is your favourite thing about blogging?

The freedom to write as I choose.

One thing you can’t live without?

My husband and children.

What is your ultimate goal for 2018?

To make a name for myself as a writer.

Do you believe in true love?

Yes.

Pizza or icecream?

Ice cream.

What’s your favourite film and why?

Tough one, I have many favourites depending on how I’m feeling. As a child Hans Christian Anderson was my go to film, it’s message to be yourself and be proud. To show kindness, it’s just gives a warm fuzzy feeling.

Three things you would bring to desert island?

My iPod, a notebook and pen.

Favourite place to travel to?

I’ve never travelled far so I’m yet to discover my favourite place.

If you had a million dollars what’s the first thing you’d buy?

my mum a bungalow anywhere she chose it to be.

Okay, I nominate –

Grace Elizabeth http://www.lifeisalemon.co.uk/?p=1052

Emma Rollason http://emmarollason.com

Emma Rose Hollands https://whywordswork.wordpress.com/

Kristin http://ItsFreeAtLast.com

Amy Jane http://www.beautifully-eurasian.co.uk

Bryony https://bryonyperfectlyimperfect.wordpress.com

Chaz http://Unlunacy.com

Anne Carty http://www.foreverthewanderer.ie/wp

My questions –

What is your favourite book and why?

Who is your favourite Villain?

Who is your favourite hero?

Last film you watched in the cinema?

Sweet or savoury?

Favourite City?

Why did you start your blog?

Summer or Winter?

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life which would it be?

What word is your favourite?

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Do we ever have it together?

Life feels on an even keel at the moment, good almost but I’m scared to jinx it by saying it out loud.

I find myself feeling unsettled when life feels calm, it’s ridiculous I know but I’m a pessimist and I am forever waiting for the bad things to happen.

Day by day though recently I have felt like life is coming together, that sounds madness because I am 36 married with children and surely life came together some time ago and it did in many ways but I never quite found me and I feel like now I have.

It’s a difficult thing to say because I don’t want anyone to ever doubt how happy I am with my home life, I know how very lucky I am and I feel truly blessed, wouldn’t change it for the world but there was always this feeling of something missing and every so often it would creep up on me and drag me down but I could never put my finger on what it was. It was me, I was missing.

I’m starting to feel confident in who I am, not that self doubt doesn’t creep in often, it does. So does the self hatred and low self esteem but I feel positive about where life is heading at the moment and that’s not an emotion I am familiar with and it does not sit well with me.

This feeling of being able to conquer the world is exhilarating but scary as hell at the same time and that’s what is sending my head crazy. I feel like people are seeing me for the first time, I no longer feel invisible and that’s good but it’s bad too because it’s out of my comfort zone, not that I was very comfortable there but I didn’t know anything different.

I never dare to dream, because life taught me that just when you think things are good they will be snatched away in seconds. So I expect nothing and then I cannot be disappointed. I never set myself goals, not because I’m not ambitious, I am and of course I think amazing thoughts but I try to not get carried away, I take life as it comes, I put the past away and try not to think about the future too much, I let the present happen and try my very best to enjoy it, but if only I could stop my head (or maybe it’s my heart) getting carried away I think I’d be able to relax a little more.

How Music sets me free!

Music saves me from my madness. It’s a bold statement but not untrue, not that I was going mad, not really it just felt that way. Music set me free. Like reading a book helps you escape reality, and I will often escape into the pages of good book but reality will still be waiting. Reading a book is like hiding but music is standing and fighting or at least it is for me.

My love of music helps me to survive, it doesn’t solve all my problems, it would be wonderful if it did but rather it’s my companion, my friend – I play the songs I need to and I feel like I am sharing my problems and the best thing is I choose the topic, I can switch off whenever I want to and I will never be judged, music doesn’t judge me and that cannot always be said for people. The songs can change and so you can never sound like a broken record, never fear you are boring someone with your problems, it sounds harsh to say bored, perhaps it’s the wrong word, but you see I am not much of a talker, I would get bored of the sound of my own voice, I am a good listener and I’ll be the first to say if you want to talk do so, I won’t judge you, but I would never take my own advice. I think it comes because most of the time I cannot explain what’s going on inside my head or maybe because if it was said out loud it might make it real, I’m not sure I just know I don’t do it.

Instead I play songs, makes sense I am a good listener considering I love music. The songs I play usually give out the words I want to and that’s how I communicate where I am at. If I play a song constantly on repeat it is probably singing about the exact emotions I am going through at any given time.

I find it therapeutic though, it puts it out there and I know there will be no come back because no one heard it said directly. I sometimes find things are said and then sit like the elephant in the room, the words cannot be unsaid or unheard and so over time I learned to keep my feelings locked away.

At times when I need a fresh outlet I will think of a word that relates to how I am feeling, ‘inner demons’ for example and I will put that word in YouTube search and look for song titles to grab my attention, I’ll have a listen, reading the lyrics and letting the music wash over me. If it resonates deeply enough I will add it to my playlists for future.

I have many different playlists for many different purposes, they reflect my mood or my actions and they change daily. I’ll have a playlist for days I struggle, I’ll have one for running and strength training, a carefree chilled background one and a love playlist to name but a few. Sometimes when I’m not feeling anything I will put my entire library on shuffle, it doesn’t take long until I know where my head is at.

I have thousands of CDs and LPs, I would have a piano in my living room if I could, not because I can play anything apart from the odd couple of notes, but I think I’d quickly learn, I dream of sitting and losing myself in the solitude of music. Music is my everything but I have no incredible talent for it, unless knowing thousands of songs and memorising lyrics is a talent?

It is a powerful entity is music and I think it is often underestimated. How often have we heard a song and it’s transported us somewhere else? Sometimes our heads get so baffled with thoughts we don’t know which way is up and it’s hard to focus, the right song can I pick your mind and clear your head. I will flick through my music collection and find what I want to listen to, I will discount many but as soon as I come across the right song I press play and it lets me know how I am feeling, it sounds nonsense perhaps but it is all about mood. I am not a person who if feeling sad plays a happy song because I believe rightly or wrongly that if we admit those feelings then they can be dealt with, we embrace them and then we can move on rather than bottling them up. I don’t mean one play of a song and all is well with the world, but wouldn’t it be lovely it that was the case.

I have also found many songs that are uplifting but if you listen to the lyrics the message behind them isn’t always quite so upbeat, so painful subjects don’t necessarily mean depressing songs. If lyrics resonate with you and I think songs are like poetry, interpretation is different for everyone, but if they resonate with you then they probably resonate with others and the message to take from that is ‘You are not alone’. The song is poignant for a reason and it’s probably because it’s about feelings that everyone at some point has felt.

It’s not only negative thoughts I use music for, it is not all doom and gloom, music can communicate any emotion and when words escape you playing a song, similar to reciting poetry is a good way to get a thought across. I’ll find songs to describe the love I have for my husband, I’ll listen to them over and over and fill my heart and my head with those emotions, that warm fuzzy feeling and if only for a little while they can block out darker thoughts. Not that I only ever do it for that purpose.

I will find songs I used to hear when I was growing up, songs to take me back to a time when life was simple and carefree, but these songs can be happy songs, sad songs or love songs, any genre any artist but it’s not about the music it is about the memory.

Songs transport us to a different time, a reminder of the past, some we want to remember and some we possibly want to forget but that is the power it has. A first dance at a wedding, a song played at a funeral, a holiday song, a party or a mixed tape, it will be just one song and it will take you on a journey in your mind to that exact point in time as clear as if you were right back in the moment.

I don’t avoid songs which make me sad because I don’t want to forget, I want a link to a person, a memory, an experience. I want to remember all that I have been through and why I am still here.

Certain songs I play because I want to expel the anger from my mind and far better to let the anger out in a controlled manner alone than have someone on the receiving end because I snapped at them unable to control my mood, I am sure we have all been there at some point. I prefer to turn my pain and my anger inwards, unhealthy I know but as I said I give the good advice, I don’t take it. That is why music plays such a huge part in my life, without it I would feel empty and my head would be scrambled.

I cannot give a definitive answer on what it takes for a song to catch my attention, my taste is wildly eclectic from jazz to heavy metal and everything in between, I have genres that I possibly listen to more than others but I could never say I disliked anything for definite. Some songs I like because they bring me alive, I think of fun on a summers day, laid back and carefree, others have a catchy beat and just make you want to move but even those songs won’t lift me up if I want to wallow, I embrace the pain so I control it and that’s the power music gives me.

I cannot pick a favourite anything, not a favourite song or artist or album, I just cannot do it. It’s an impossible ask. Pick a favourite or be shot I was asked once, and my reply “I’d take the bullet”.

I am always looking for new music, new artists and new songs. I probably only ever go a few minutes without some form of music, be it playing in the background or me singing or humming a tune. Obviously when I’m asleep there is no music, but turning the radio on is the first thing I do as I wake up, probably before I’ve even opened my eyes! Music is with me wherever I go.

It gives me confidence, strength, peace of mind, it allows me to cry the tears I’ve been holding back. It’s the spark of light in the dark, the forever friend. We truly can get so much from music, we just have to listen.

Book Review – The Submissive by Tara Sue Me

As I have reviewed the other two it seemed only right I should say something about this one. This is the same story as Book 2 – The Dominant but it is told from Abigail Kings point of view. I read it in one day and I loved it, I think this trilogy will be read again and again.

What you realise with this book is ultimately they are both fantasising about each other in a more romantic way than they care to let on. Nathaniel unwilling or too afraid to admit his feelings creates a distance between them, putting a no kissing rule in place. Abigail wanting more becomes his submissive in the hope of letting other things develop.

They both want to have a sub/dom relationship and they also both want a lovers relationship. It is a love story and told from the females point of view this book is quite romantic, because stereotypically a lot more emotion is displayed and talked about.

I said in my book 2 review that if you wanted the love story of fifty shades then maybe this wasn’t for you, but this book proves me wrong. It had me swooning. The sex scenes are so hot they should be illegal.

As a trilogy this is one hell of a rollercoaster ride and a thrilling one at that. The same story from two perspectives is well thought out and gives a deeper understanding.

The characters are really likeable and relatable and I miss them already!

I read the books in order 2,3 and then 1 but I don’t feel this took anything away. I did it this way because judging from my love of fifty shades I prefer reading from Christians point of view and so I thought that would likely get my attention, saying that I couldn’t put book 1 down and I had already read the story once so that says it all really!

A writers life…10 inevitable things..

I have seen a lot recently about writing, I’m active on Twitter and follow many authors both well known and just starting out. It feels odd calling myself a writer, but I write so I guess it’s appropriate.

There are many inevitable things that come with writing

1) editing is unavoidable – no matter how perfect you think that manuscript you’ve written is it will without a doubt need editing, your favourite parts will need cutting down and that amazing paragraph of purple prose that you love so much probably gives nothing to move the story on and must be cut. And when you’re done editing you will need to edit again.

2) Rejection is part of the deal – it’s not always as negative as it seems, there are many reasons a piece of writing gets rejected and as a rule it won’t be because it’s utterly terrible and you should quit.

Many best selling authors had their manuscripts rejected many times – yes those books you love that you cannot imagine the world without got thrown on a slush pile, where would those authors be if they had quit?

3) Writing doesn’t sell itself – if you have a fantastic story, an e-book, a piece of writing then share it, promote it, put it out there. If you get into the writing world you’ll be surprised what opportunities present themselves.

4) Stories are more than words on a page – you’ll have heard the words show don’t tell, it sounds simple but it’s not. You know how your scene is, you see it in your mind as you write but simple descriptions don’t always translate the image to your readers. You need to pull the readers into your story.

5) You think you’ve finished- stop, step away, leave it for a few days, weeks, months even and then revisit.

Read your story as a reader not a writer, take a step back. You’d be surprised how many changes you want to make when you reread it. It’s difficult when we read as we write, we don’t always get a full picture and we often find that we’ve left key details out because we knew them but forgot to let the reader know too.

6) Let someone else read it – so you’ve finished, you feel really proud of it and so you should. Now let someone you trust read it, someone who will ask questions, give an honest critique and listen to them. It’s scary waiting to see what others have to say and it’s not nice to hear bad things but it’s part of the process.

7) Cutting doesn’t mean the writing is bad – just because it doesn’t fit in one story doesn’t mean the writing is bad, remember stories have pace and purpose and the writing needs to keep the pace and add to the purpose, the information and scenes need to move the story on to the ending.

8) Read, Read and Read some more- reading helps hone writing skills, see how others do it, look at how authors describe characters and scenes. Read and write in equal measure, you’d be surprised how much your writing moves on. Writing is a craft, reading helps us learn that craft.

9) Write, write and write some more – the more you write the easier it becomes, find what it is that allows your best writing to come out, the more you write, the more you’ll discover.

10) Finally and most importantly don’t quit – writing is a passion and if you’ve got it then keep it, things don’t happen over night but your writing dream can happen, just keep going.

Now go fill that blank page with your writing because somewhere someone is waiting to read it!!

Book Review – The Training by Tara Sue Me

This is book 3 in the Submissive Trilogy, there is another post about book 2 – The Dominant. I bought this book because I loved book 2, but I worried I wouldn’t like it as much,but I like it more.

It changes its point of view as it moves through the story, some chapters are Abigail (the submissive) and others are Nathaniel (the dominant). I thought this might be confusing but it works and it makes me like it more because you get an equal knowing of both characters.

It has the same, if not more of the BDSM elements but as well as that it has a closer more romantic element which you don’t get in book 2. As well as the Sub/Dom relationship they are also lovers and you get glimpses into both sides of their relationship. The BDSM is the main theme throughout though, as the titles suggest.

It has all the feels of book two but heightened, the characters are likeable, and the dominant character has a more playful persona at times. He becomes less detached and the chinks in his armour really begin to show, his love shines through in this book. It has many things that if you are familiar with the fifty shades trilogy you will find mirrored in these books, similar expressions and characteristics.

It is a love story and it has other themes and background stories running behind it so you get a feel for certain characters. The are both beautifully flawed but the changes in perspective allows you to see behind the flaws both accepting them and understanding them meaning you cannot help but love these characters. As you read from Nathaniel point of view you get to know his thoughts and reasons and the chapters from Abigail’s side build up a true feel of the relationship, it’s as though you know them both personally.

Of course books are a personal preference. If you love fifty shades these are definitely worth a read, unless the BDSM elements and the detailed sexual acts offend you because if that’s the case I wouldn’t recommend reading this trilogy. The sex scenes are Hot Hot Hot. Seductive, smouldering and tantalising. The detail is precise but not unnecessary, there are no long overly descriptive paragraphs, everything is concise and says just as much as is needed. It keeps the tension in the right places. And the ride thrilling.

The story flows nicely from book 2 to book 3 and is rounded off with a romantic ending and a 2 page epilogue.

I’ve ordered book 1 – The Submissive to complete the trilogy.

What is in my bag?

People often comment how odd I am because I am often seen without a handbag and they don’t understand how I cope. Generally it’s when I have a lot of pockets on my person and I’m only nipping out.

I do have many handbags, different colours, different sizes and styles and I have a few essentials that I always carry with me. I tend to have a main summer bag and a main winter bag and then others are used randomly depending on my outfit or what I need to carry with me, sometimes carrying a big bag seems like too much effort.

Now with all this juggling swapping stuff around would get a bit annoying so I have a few items that are in all bags, these include nail file, mirror, painkillers, pen and notebook and a hair bobble.

Notebook and pen are high up on my list of essentials- though I have a notebook app on my phone and that’s always with me! closely followed by headphones being my second priority!

I always have my house keys somewhere in the bottom of my bag, I also have my car key and a single house key on another keyring usually with my mobile (another essential item). I then have a small canvas bag, an umbrella – which I never use even when it’s raining so unsure why I lug it about with me! And my wallet though I have many other purses for different bags because my main wallet is huge, unfortunately not because it’s full of money!

Being a mum I also end up with my kids wallets, random toys, pebbles and the occasional pack of baby wipes!

As long as I have my phone, my keys, headphones and my bank card I’m pretty sorted…I don’t overly concern myself with the rest!

It’s not so much what’s in my bag, it’s more what bag am I using if I am using one at all!!