Thursday, 27 August 2015

Need Cheering Up Saturday?

If you're in Weston-super-Mare on Saturday and you need cheering up after walking around the Banksy Dismaland, then why not pop into Waterstones, Weston-super-Mare, inside the Sovereign Centre and meet a local romance author. Romance authors are much more positive, and far from dismal. We write books with Happy Ever Afters for a start!

I'll be signing copies of both my books, One Fine Day and Plus One is a Lucky Number from 2pm.

There's also a Costa, so if it's raining, even better for an excuse to come in from the lovely weather we're having. Have no fear, it will be scorching hot by about Wednesday, because the kids are due back to school.

Considering the amount of coverage Banksy is getting, today, I was lucky enough to make it into the local newspaper - The Mercury.  A few facts about my books are a bit skewy, but hey ho. All publicity is good publicity, right?

I went to the shops and picked up my copy today! (And my Google Alert alerted me to the online article - Yay Google Alert actually works!)

On Saturday, it will be the 2nd Book birthday of Plus One is a Lucky Number, which was first published in eBook on the 29th August, 2013. That means I've been a "professional" writer for two years...

I have sweets and bookmarks to give away, and a very friendly smile, so come along and say hi! I'll be signing my books with a star, just like Rachel Berry.

Oh, and if you spot Brad Pitt wandering around Dismaland, drag him in too, won't you? He'll need cheering up after Dismaland, too.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Who Finds Time To Write In The Summer Hols?

Treated myself to Sunflowers :)
Anyone else finding it difficult to write during the summer holidays?

I've been trying to do mine at the weekends when the boys are with their dad. I did have a week at the beginning of the summer holidays, which was fairly productive, then I selfishly swanned off to Spain for three nights and three days which would have been when I could write. (But I'm not changing that experience for the world). I did do a lot of reading though - which counts as a writing related activity in my book!

So yes, productivity is very slow - and as usual I'm beating myself up about it!

Currently I'm working on my third book which has the working title of To Love Again.

This weekend, I did manage over 1500 words, and it was a poignant moment for my heroine. I got to use some of the emotions I've been feeling over the past few months. I only hope I've managed to grasp them within the words I've written.

These past couple of months I've been reflective on everything. I decided that Spain would draw a line under all the shit I'd felt this year so far, and would move on. And I have... but I do have my moments of dwelling, and trying to decide what do I really want.

Maybe sometimes these things in life are sent to us for a reason. They hurt, and time heals, and if nothing more, I've been able to apply it to my writing. There have been moments when I've wished for that time machine to whisk me forward to show me things will be all right. To this moment, where I feel happier.

Life for me is pretty good at the moment - although I don't like to get too excited. Life has a way of throwing a spanner in the works. Yet, now I'm concentrating on me and the people who are important to me, and not looking for 'the one', I'm finding I'm in a better place. Some days are harder than others, where the fear of loneliness creeps in, but generally, I'm good. I'm about to finish the third season of Glee - I can recommend Glee as fantastic feel good therapy. Singling, dancing and teenage romances... What's not to love?

It's been over five months now since #MrAquarius upped and left, and something like over two months with #TheBoyWithTheDragonTattoo, however I do not feel in any shape or form ready to date again. I can feel me being cynical to anything a man may try to tell me. I can hear myself saying, "Hang on, let me just fit my bullshit defenders on, oh, now carry on..." Yeah, so not how to get a man.

The next guy really is going to have his work cut out. He really will have to prove his worth. Don't envy him! lol!

Another reason I am in no frame of mind to do the online dating thing again, is it takes up so much time. So, until the book is finished, and I feel ready for some fun, I'm sticking to my single life. And maybe, when I'm at my most happiest, and not really looking for love, it will find me...

Saturday, 1 August 2015

34 In The Shade

Beach - Wednesday!
If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook you'd have learnt of my excitement about travelling to Spain for a few days.

I returned late Thursday, rose for work Friday, and then out with friends, and then worked again this morning. Nothing like burning the wick at both ends! I have now finally sat down and caught up with social media.

I had three nights and three days in Spain, flying out late Monday night.

To be honest, the plane ride was just as important to me as I love flying. I haven't been on a plane in over 10 years. The last time I flew was from Filton to Toulouse with work (Airbus). I had been 4-5 months pregnant, carrying Ben. So when my cousin invited me and 'my new passport' out to visit them, I flew at the opportunity :)

Mijas - Thursday am
I don't have huge amounts of holiday days available to take this year, and what I have got, I need to cover with childcare. But the boys were with their dad, and I thought I needed to get away. It was like drawing a line under the last 7 months. If I didn't do it now, it would be another year before I got the chance.

On the Tuesday I had to entertain myself. I took to reading in the shade a lot as it was 34 degrees Celsuis - in the shade! (I've been telling people this a lot since I've returned!) Spain are currently having a heat wave. Wednesday was spent with my cousin and her partner on the beach (Fuengirola) - taking brief dips in the sea - without a wetsuit! - avoiding the Medusa Jellyfish, then showering, then sitting back in the shade drinking ice cold beers. Thursday, a little more confident of the area, I spent the morning in Mijas, then went back to the public pool in the afternoon. It's a refreshing reward after a long walk up a mountain!

View from Mijas
The flight over wasn't too exciting, except I was talking to a handsome Spaniard (and sadly his girlfriend, although she was lovely too lol!) the whole flight. On my return, it was dark, and flying out of Spain was fabulous, seeing pockets of fairy lights on the ground. Somewhere on the horizon which could have been Spain or France, there was a thunder storm going on, and I could see these clouds light up in the dark, and forks of lightning. I was supposed to be reading my book, but found myself watching the sky.

And, believe it or not, as we came into the UK, it was clear too, so I saw Bristol all lit up. I could see car headlights going along roads. It was like looking down on miniature villages but at night. I couldn't work out where we were flying over, but I'm assuming we cut across Cornwall, and flew up the Bristol Channel as the (nearly) full moon lit up the sea.

And I'm now back to reality... and not even hitting 20 degrees C :'( And it's rained on my washing. Welcome back to the good old British Summer.

The Cave :)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

My Secret Obsession With Short Men

It's not much of a secret, but the title sounded good.

Now, I'm 5'6". Not particularly tall, but not particularly short either for a woman. I'd say I'm average really.

I prefer tall/taller men. However, the man I married (now my ex-husband) was 5' 6" - actually he'd argue he was half an inch taller because that made all the difference. How did this happen, when I prefer taller men?

Actually I've learnt over the past couple of years, I don't really have a 'type' as such. They do have to have something appealing, and the chemistry, obviously, but it doesn't really matter if they're short or tall, I'll still fancy them - as long as they're not shorter than me! But it's hard to put a finger in my type of guy.

I've always preferred taller men, thinking they should always be that bit taller than their girlfriends/wives. And when writing, my heroes will always be tall, and taller than the heroines.

For me, I do like guys around the 5'10" mark or taller. Brad Pitt is 5' 11" - PERFECT!

Too much taller than 6' and they'd scare me I think. Bradley Cooper is 6' 0.5" (1.85m) - even better! So, basically, I'm looking for a guy between Brad Pitt and Bradley Cooper :)

But what is it with short men, because I really like them too... yet the one needs to be tall. Please be tall!

I mean I just LOVE Martin Freeman but he is only 5' 6.5" tall (1.69m). (Arguably as tall as my ex-husband).

And then there is Richard Hammond in all his 5' 7" (1.7m) greatness. He is the only reason I watch Top Gear!

Tom Cruise is the same height as Richard Hammond.

However, in comparison, the lovely, delectable, Tom Hiddleston is 6' 1.75" tall (1.87m) - Another reason why I am in love with Tom. He's tall, he can dance, act... he has blond hair, blue eyes... What is not to like about Tom Hiddleston.

Opps, sorry, was supposed to be talking about my obsession for short men...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

He's Just Not That Into You

Who'd have thought a film would be so inspirational. It's fiction, but with so much truth in it.

Was it written by a woman, with some male influence?

A friend recommended the film He's Just Not That Into You. I ordered it; it arrived within a couple of days, and I watched it the other night.

I sat there thinking "OMG! I've heard most of those excuses."

I didn't think I'd watched the film before, but about twenty minutes in I realised I had. But clearly the first time I'd watched this movie I must have been still married and I didn't have the dating experience I now have under my belt.

Not by choice, I hasten to add. Would have been happy with #MrAquarius, or even #TheBoyWithTheDragonTattoo. But it doesn't matter how hard I try - I'm probably trying too hard! - I still end up with a broken heart - just like Gigi. I would say I'm probably not as bad as her - she may have been slightly stalkerish at times. But like Gigi, I wear my heart on my sleeve - I could empathise with this character. She looked for the positives in everything, and worried that if she didn't do a certain thing the guy would get the wrong signals. Had she told him enough of how much she was into him? Maybe she should call to let him know... because he may have lost his phone... etc. etc. etc. (I do it too! Worry).  But really, what she needed to hear was He's Just Not That Into You.

Even Drew Barrymore's character talks of the difficulties of modern dating. Because you're not only waiting for a text, there's social media, emails, all sorts of different channels two people can communicate through... so you're watching them all for that message to arrive... that doesn't.

So, I've come away from this movie enlightened, because if you're trying too hard to make a relationship work, even at the 'dating' stage, and it is really all one sided, then clearly, he's just not that into you. And you need to walk away.

Don't get me wrong, relationships are a two way thing, and both need to want it. And this could work vice versa. If the girl isn't so into the guy, the signs are the same.

However, I will say, generally a girl will tell the guy honestly that she's not into him early on, rather than make stupid excuses like 'it's not you it's me. shit.'

To be honest, you usually know after a couple of dates - I've known after the first date! - whether you want it to go further or not, or the chemistry is there... sometimes it can take a bit longer. Sometimes the chemistry is there... or so we're lead to believe... but it can fizzle. That's fine. But boys, be honest, don't drag it out!

Most (decent) women, if they don't connect with the guy, like to face their demons head on and tell it straight. We're just honest. Men are not. They tell us what they think we want to hear, rather than the honest truth, even if they don't mean it. "Yes, I'm happy to be friends" is bullshit. Why would we stay in touch? I have enough friends to go out drinking with.

And while you're 'in touch' she'll still be hoping you'll change your mind, and Mr Right might walk right past her, because she's too busy concentrating her efforts on you in the hope it will work out!

If you can't love her, set her free! Truthfully.

So girls, I recommend this movie if you need a wake up call! Because it is spot on, and you'll know if He's Just Not That Into You. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015


Will this be a new word in the dictionary: Lol!?

In my naive, early days on forums and such, of not understanding what it meant, I thought LOL was short for 'Lots Of Love'. I think because I'd seen it at the end of something, not in the middle. But I did wonder at the time, why would you put lots of love there? And to someone you hardly know?

Anyway, I got educated. Can't remember now if I asked what it meant or I googled it. Probably googled it. That's what I do nowadays. If in doubt, Google... or YouTube...

For those unsure, it means 'Laugh Out Loud'. It's expressing someone giggling, chuckling and having a good old laugh at whatever they've written or read. You're meant to take whatever the person has written as humorous. Or if you've found it funny, you'll answer with a 'lol'.

I do use it a lot in texting and messaging. I am guilty of this. In fact I like it sometimes better than a smiley face, but I do try not to over use it.

However, recently, I've noticed kids 'of today' - now I do sound old - are saying "Lol". Not as in saying L.O.L. spelling it out... like we spell out bad words that we don't what our kids to hear. (That only works until they go to school and learn to spell). These kids are actually saying 'loll', as in shortening a word like Lolly. My ten year old does it. And I heard a girl the other day shout it to her friend as they walked home from secondary school. The conversation had clearly amused her.

But why not laugh, or chuckle? Why are they saying Lol to express they've found something funny?

Am I getting old? Should I keep up with the times? I thought I was doing pretty well using it... and LMAO, or even better, if completely hilarious, ROFLMAO! (Roll on floor laughing my arse off).

Bet they can't say that!

Anyway, answers on a postcard, please. Lol!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

#2MinuteBeachClean Part 2

Back in May I blogged about #2MinuteBeachClean and the damage micro plastics were doing to the environment, especially to our sea life. This summer, every day you spend on the beach, make sure you do your #2MinuteBeachClean. You'll probably find a carrier bag amongst the rubbish to help you carry off what you find! I know I did.

And then I stumbled upon this very powerful video (below) on Facebook which I've been meaning to share for a while now.

Please watch it. It has Julia Roberts voice as Mother Nature. And it's so true. Mother Nature rocks... we - human beings - do not.

I was reading some of the comments on YouTube. Don't. Most of them have not got the purpose of this video. It is not about Julia Roberts. What this video is saying is that it doesn't matter what us humans do... Mother Nature will survive, she's been here for billions of years. We are destroying the environment that only 'we' can survive in. Once we're gone, the Earth will still turn, the waves will still crash against the beaches, albeit polluted. The rain will still fall, albeit acid, and the sun will still shine, albeit there will be no ozone to protect 'us' from it.

Once we are all dead and gone, the Earth will still be here doing its thing. All we're doing is shortening our existence on this planet. This is the message.

And then in light of the recent Glastonbury Festival (24th - 28th June), I saw this Guardian article...

Glastonbury Rubbish Green Ethos Ruin Festival Worthy Farm

Read that too. This is what we're doing. Human ignorance. There is absolutely no excuse for dropping litter in my opinion. But it's not just at Glastonbury, it's everywhere. We held a school disco to raise money for the school, and the amount of litter afterwards on the hall floor was horrendous. Children are not being taught to put litter in a bin! It starts with educating our children... all of it does!

I worked at Thorpe Park for four years, from the age of 15 to 19, as a litter-picker. I was in the 'Cleaning' department. Best job of my life. Four years I would never want to change.

My parents had already educated me not to drop litter, but this job cemented the importance of taking your litter home or holding onto it until you found a bin. If everybody litter-picked at a theme park for a day, preferably on August Bank Holiday Monday - the busiest day of the year - they would never drop litter again.

So that's my bit of green advice for the day. I'm not saying we all need to turn into tree huggers... but we do need to look after the environment we live in. And we need to teach our kids this too.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

My Online Dating Tips

I have decided to put together some online-dating tips. In the last three years of dating on and off through on-line dating sites, this is what I've learnt so far, (and will probably continue to learn when I decide to go back on-line, but for now I've taken myself off...).  It will be going into a book fictionally at some point. But I will share for fun.

In no particular order:

1) Most men on their profile will ask for someone genuine to get in touch. Sadly, this doesn't necessarily mean they are genuine in their hunt for a relationship. (See point 10).

2) Their pictures may not always match their true identity. And they can lie about age, height and weight... Make sure they've got plenty of pictures up and avoid profiles with hardly anything about the guy. If he can't be bothered to fill out a profile page, then he's not really serious in looking for love.

3) If you're looking for a relationship - usually this is why you're using on-line dating because if you just wanted a shag you would go out and get that on a night out, right? You'd think! - guys who state 'looking for a relationship' aren't necessarily being honest in that too. Really, they should have ticked the 'interested in only casual dating' button, but they know that doesn't get them a lot of interest. So just be warned....

4) If the guy doesn't show his teeth when smiling in his pictures - like in ALL of his pictures - it probably means he hasn't got great teeth... or he doesn't have any! If that's not a problem with you then fine... but if you've got a thing about teeth (I know I have!) try to get him to send a picture with him smiling, showing off his pearly whites.

5) Never, and I mean NEVER, interact with a cock shot. If his profile displays his jean-clad buldging cock (or pictures alike) do not interact. Even if you think it will be really funny to because you've had a few glasses of wine on a lonely Friday night. He is a dickhead, and you should not (pardon the pun) rise to it. You are just feeding the little prick. Ignore! Ignore! Ignore! And block him...

6) If you get into conversation with a guy because at first you thought he was genuine and then he starts asking if you want to meet up for sex, end conversation. Do not reply. Ignore, ignore, ignore. See above. Do not let him get a rise out of it.

7) If you get someone you're really not that keen on, but not sure how to turn him down gently. Start telling him about your baggage, how you've been dumped, hurt, you're still getting over your last boyfriend. They run so fast you can see dust!

8) Make sure you message for a bit on the site before swapping telephone numbers. Don't be so quick to give out your mobile number until you're certain (as best you can be) they're not weird. We can handle crazy, coz that can be fun, but we don't do weird.

9) Never message the guys. Let them message you. Let them make first contact! The boys should do the chasing from the off. This is one way of guaranteeing that they did actually like what they saw on your profile. Whether you like them is a different matter. You do not need to reply to them all. Only reply to the profiles you like. You're only giving the others false hope.

10) (Coincides with point 1) - Afterwards, when you thought you've actually met a genuine, decent guy and you think you've got great chemistry and everything is going fantastic, but he drops a great big bombshell that he is no longer looking for a relationship, or he has issues, or he's not sure what he wants any more, and it's not you, it's him, and quite clearly he's not been as genuine as you thought, but he's happy to stay in touch...

He won't, okay. Why would he stay in touch? He's just said that because he thinks that makes him look better, and he thinks that's what you want to hear. No, us girls would actually rather honesty and you grew a spine!

And he won't text you and say he's made a mistake and please take him back. He just won't. This is called romanticizing and it needs to stop. (It's my new word (which actually does exist in the dictionary) - it's fantasising about romantic ideas that just aren't going to happen, however much you want them to).

11) Stick to the three date rule... maybe even four dates. (Goes hand in hand with point 3 actually). If he likes you enough he'll wait. If he doesn't, well, you've just sifted the wheat from the chaff. And you're going to need to do A LOT of that.

12) Be yourself. If they can't love/like you for who you are, then they are not worth your time or effort. Again it's the old wheat and chaff thing.

13) However much you want to rage like a bunny boiler, always remain calm. Always be the better person. Hell, tell them they've hurt you. If these guys want to mess with girls' hearts, then they need to know what they've done, but always do it calmly and reasonably. You are the better person.

14) If he's telling you he loves you after three weeks, the guy probably has mental issues and is going to dump you in six weeks because he's unstable. He's doing you a favour... let him go! It might be worse, he might wait until you truly love him, then he dumps you... that hurts like hell. I recommend wine and a good dose of close friends.

15) If he goes a bit quite on the texting from day to day, but then texts you like mad just before the next agreed date... he's probably just using you for sex and wants a fuck buddy, rather than a relationship. Nip that one in the bud too, unless you're happy to be a doormat.

16) If it just so happens you've managed to get two dates at the same time. Do not tell them! The one you tell will try to persuade you he's the better guy. It's not necessarily so. Date both until you can make your own unbiased and informed decision - sticking to that 3 date rule of course!

17) And while you're searching for Mr Right, or The One, and it may take some time to find that one actual genuine guy on the internet not carry baggage and being a complete commitment-phobe I warn you, keep a picture of Tom Hiddleston close, to remind yourself of who you are searching for... your next hero... and besides, you can't get much better eye-candy than Tom Hiddleston (in my opinion).

If I think of any more, then of course, I'll do a part two blog post!