Saturday, 30 January 2016

I Have Standards

Firstly, if I sound shallow at any point in this blog post I apologise. But I do have standards.

Tuesday I decided to put myself back out there on the old on-line dating again.... Friday I was contemplating coming off. I was so depressed.

And now I'm writing a blog post to get it off my chest.

I thought, maybe I might chat to some, get some dates out of it, take the whole approach more casually.... Be much more aloof or blasé with it all.

However, the guys making contact are not giving me any confidence about myself. Not only are they not my type, but they really are punching above their weight. I know I'm no Jennifer Anniston by I'm fairly attractive... And I know it's hard to tell with a photograph, but you can tell from some if you're going to find someone physically attractive. (Plus I do read their profiles, too).

I know looks aren't everything... but I do look for something, I can't put my finger on what, but they have to have 'something'. (Okay, so I'm looking for a forty-something Tom Hiddleston.) I clearly say I want someone who believes in health and fitness, and they're messaging me with their double chins and beer bellies!

I know from past relationships (#MrAquarius) I need someone who matches me intellectually or they'll be intimidated. I don't do it deliberately... Men just feel it. They don't like women smarter than them.

There are the same faces on there too! They haven't even updated their profile or their pictures in the last two-three years. I mean, sort it out guys, if you want find someone. They are either crap at relationships or players. One guy messaged me saying he'd noticed I'd checked out his profile. I replied, I usually don't. I told him the reason I'd checked out his profile was due to his main image not giving me a clear indication of his looks - he was standing in the distance, you couldn't even make out his face. (He did thank me for the heads up and changed it).

Then there's the guy I dated last summer, (#TheBoyWithTheDragonTattoo) he still has his profile active, saying he 'wants a relationship'. When I clearly know he just wants a fuck buddy. Back then I should have known someone lying about their age was on there for the wrong reasons....

That man had the audacity to sit in my kitchen and tell me he wasn't a player, he didn't understand why good women put up with shit men.... blah blah blah... made out he was a really nice guy, who I thought was looking for similar to me. No he wasn't. He was a player, and although he didn't treat me technically badly, he lead me on for two months, when really, after a couple of dates he should have knocked it on the head. Maybe he did really like me, and had a 'rabbit in headlights' moment, or I wasn't right for him... But I'm lead to believe he's not as nice as he thinks he is. I will never know the whole truth. I am tempted to ask, but tell myself rise above it. But I hate that he's possibly playing with another woman's life...

You know, guys, if you are going to 'play' me, if it's just going to be sex, I want you to at least be drop dead gorgeous so I do get something out of this too.

And like it says above, I don't need you....

I'm resigning from on-line dating. It's not for me. It's a great concept, but like everything in life, it's being abused by lowlifes.

I know it's worked for some.... but I'm not convinced it's for me.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

I Am The Greatest

My Mum is the greatest Mum. My daughter is the greatest style icon and my husband would like to think he is the greatest Footballer. My Dad is the greatest music legend.

Of course, we all like to think our loved ones are the greatest at everything, but in the case of my Dad, I do indeed, have proof that he is among the 50 greatest music legends.

Not only is he a music legend, he’s also a right royal pain to buy gifts for, so getting his name featured in this book was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Available from I Am The Greatest (, each book is customisable with photos and a short bio about the person you want featured, though if you can’t think of anything to say, the site will do it for you.

You get to select your cover style and colour, as well as adding a dedication and up to two photos. Then magically (or by the power of a printing press), your book is made and sent either to you or direct to the recipient.

It’s easy, quick, and makes such a great gift. All of a sudden, your partner who fancies himself as a bit of a Gordon Ramsay, is listed among the greatest chefs. 

Your sister’s dog is one of the 50 greatest pets, or your parents become the greatest Grandparents, joining the likes of the Queen and Prince Phillip.

Take a look at the site; the possibilities are almost endless! (Use code IATG10 for 10% off your first order.)

With Valentines right around the corner, you could even create a book placing you and your significant other among the 50 Greatest Couples. Or maybe you’d prefer one for yourself and George Clooney. I know I would.

p.s- 100% of profits from I Am The Greatest goes to charity, meaning that really, they are the greatest!

Becky Fuller

 *This is a sponsored blog post.* 

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Goodreads Review That Got Away

Firstly, can I say that this blog post is not because I'm a jealous writer. I am all for writers selling books - that's how they make money. In fact, generally, writers are very supportive of one another. I have nothing against self-published authors either. However, as a parent, I was angered how this author targeted his books at children in their primary school. I found it inappropriate.

Maybe I wouldn't have minded if it had been a better book... but it wasn't. My book review below, which was approved by my (now) eleven-year-old, tells it all.

I can't remember if I did post this review on my blog previously, however, as the full review got taken down from Goodreads, probably by the request of the author, I am reposting it here.

I wrote this review because I felt that if schools were allowing this author in to talk to their children, and actually did some research on him (unlike my sons' school... grrrrr....), then hopefully this will be the view of an informative parent.

This is my full review for Bradley Baker and The Curse of Pathylon by David Lawrence Jones:
Finally my son (who is 10, nearly 11) has finished reading this book, having bought it from school in June 2015.

I am not overly impressed how the author sold these books within school – and I stressed this at the time with the staff at the school. He went in “free of charge” to talk about writing, reading, and his books to all the pupils. He basically used targeted marketing on school children. We all know how children work; with a bit of peer pressure from their friends, they all want one. He could have gone in selling a cheap plastic toy – they all would have wanted it!

Based on a school of 400 pupils, if every child bought one book from him that day, he made good sales. I can only hope that this author at least provided the school with a free set of these books for their library so that every child could read them if they chose, for those parents who can’t afford to adhere to this kind of pressure. (But I don’t think he did – even the school had to purchase them.)
My son came out of school that day wanting all four books. As a single mum, I couldn’t justify £28. I told him he could buy one. Thank God I did, because (recently) when I asked my son how he felt about the book, he said, “It’s not as good as he made out, Mummy. It’s a lot slower, and in fact quite boring in places.”

Angered with the pressure put upon me by my son, I did my research prior to allowing my son to buy this book – to be honest, the reason I let him buy it was because I wanted to see the quality of it for myself. I only wish I’d done this research before the school had let the author do his talk.

Please be aware Avocado Publishing has been set up by the author to make it look as if his books are by a publisher. They are not. They are self-published. I even emailed Avocado Publishing to see who their other authors were. I never got a reply.
I have nothing against self-published authors, however in children’s fiction, I do wonder if there is a certain criteria books must meet to get published. And do these particular books meet it?

Looking through this book when my son brought it home, I instantly could see the unprofessionalism of this book. The easiest way is to notice the avoidance of the word “said”.

The characters in Bradley Baker never say anything, they reply, confirm, mumble, exclaim, growl, etc.

This book may have a good story within it. But unfortunately it needs a good edit. It’s 342 pages. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is 224 pages. (Well, my paperback copy is).

My son is an avid reader and loves all the David Walliams books, and I’ve encouraged him to read J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series now. With this book, I’ve had to nag him to finish it. As my son did not enjoy this book, we will not be purchasing another Bradley Baker novel.

By the way, I'm still waiting for a reply from Avocado Publishing....

Thursday, 21 January 2016

And The Winner Is....

**Drum Roll** 

Kieran pulling name out of the hat!
Emily Benet! 
On the 8th January, it was One Fine Day's book birthday - it is a year old! I decided to hold a small competition (here) to give away a paperback copy of this book.

My son, Kieran, pulled the name out of a hat for me.... And the winner is Emily Benet.

Emily please get in touch with me, so that I can arrange to post a signed copy of One Fine Day to you!

The best way might be to send me a message via Facebook. Or you can contact me via my website.

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the read!

Monday, 11 January 2016

I'm A Dryathlete - Please Support Me!

Two weekends down... three more to go! Or 11 days down, 20 to go...

This my second year of participating in Cancer Research's Dryathlon. I couldn't do it last year as I knew I had a friend's 40th birthday to attend, but I had participated the year before (2014).

I don't do this for health purposes because I live life moderately anyway, and believe in everything in moderation. I usually only drink at weekends, and sometimes that's just a glass of wine in front of the telly or while reading. (Sometimes a night might heavier if out with company).

The reason I do this is to give back to Cancer Research. 

Sister, and Best Auntie Ever! 
My sister was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2010 and I've never felt so useless while she endured so much pain, heartache, fear and hair loss. She is fit and healthy now, and that really is thanks to Cancer Research, as well as her own strength and determination! Therefore, my way of feeling that I can help my little sister is by giving blood regularly and raising money when I can - and let's face it this one isn't too hard to do. I just feel I want to give back any way I can to show appreciation to all the doctors, nurses, etc who have helped my sister beat cancer.

The minimum you can donate is £2 and that's all I am asking as I know it's a tough time being just after Christmas. But if even half my friends on FB and Twitter gave just £2 - I would smash my £100 target!

Cancer Research really is a good cause. They are doing marvellous work.

The link to my page is below. As I can't seem to update it, I'm going to update this blog over the month with my stories.

Weekends will be my hardest as that's when I like to have a glass of wine. This Friday night just gone, after a long day at work, and stress with my rattling car, I made myself a hot chocolate with squirty cream instead of reaching for the wine bottle. And on the Saturday, I went out with friends to a lovely Italian restaurant... and had no wine! I made sure I was driving, too, which means I really can't drink even if slightly tempted.

Friday, 8 January 2016

1st Birthday for One Fine Day #competition

Doesn't a year come around fast? A year ago today, my second eBook, One Fine Day was published by HarperImpulse. I can't believe it's one!

The book will have another birthday for when it came out in paperback on the 12th March. But I see this date as its official birthday. But like the Queen, my books have two birthdays :) (I really like that idea). 

To celebrate One Fine Day's birthday, I am giving away a signed paperback copy of One Fine Day. 

If you haven't already, I'd really appreciate a like my Facebook page, a follow on Twitter, and a share of this blog post, but most importantly, please leave a comment on my blog below.

I will only ask for the address of the winner to post the book (so please make sure you follow the comments). I am not interested in gathering details.

The competition will close midnight (UK time) Sunday 17th January 2016, and all names gathered from the comments, will be put into a hat (or something similar) and pulled out by one of my delightful children. (There will probably be fights as I have one winner and two children!)

Although Bradley Cooper was my inspiration for Steve Mason, can you guess my love for which Superhero that influenced this story?

One Fine Day

Just a boy standing in front of a girl…

Actor Steve Mason has it all … gorgeous looks, the perfect starlet girlfriend hanging on his arm and his name on every Hollywood producer’s lips. That is, until it turns out the ‘perfect girl’ is actually a perfect PR stunt! Dumped and with his name plastered across every tabloid headline, Steve decides to head home to England, questioning if he’ll ever find a woman who genuinely loves him for who he is, and not just his place on the Sexiest Man Alive list.

It’s been fifteen long years since Ruby last saw her big brother – but the new LA version of Steve complete with designer wardrobe, California tan and an American accent is too much to bear – Ruby hardly recognises him and decides it’s time to get her brother back!

With Ruby’s help, Steve goes undercover as he plays the part of a regular guy who leads a regular life. And then one perfectly fine, ordinary day he meets lovely, funny, down-to-earth Lydia. But when Hollywood comes calling, will Steve be able to leave both Lydia and his little sister behind?

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

I Should Have Deduced Sherlock At Tyntesfield

Before Christmas, but during the holidays, I took the boys and my dad to Tyntesfield as a trip out, making the most of our National Trust membership. We'd gone in the afternoon, as it's only up the road from us, and sadly the house tickets were all sold out, so we did the Sherlock Holmes trail which was around the grounds of the house.

At the time I thought it a bit odd to be doing a Sherlock Holmes trail at Tyntesfield, but then thinking of the era of Sherlock Holmes and the age of the house, it was probably quite fitting. The National Trust put things on during the holidays especially for kids, so it probably wasn't all that strange really.

New Years Day, like the majority of the population, I sat in front of my TV watching the much awaited new episode of Sherlock.

I realise now, Tyntesfield were giving us a clue that the house would feature in Sherlock!

I sat there, watching, thinking, I recognise that house. Having been there recently, too, and walking the outside of the house, I spied the shutters down. This is to stop the sunlight from fading and deteriorating the rooms.

In one clip, the same shutters were down. I don't want to give too much away about The Abominable Bride, in case you haven't seen it, but this glorious house does feature for part of the story. What really gave it away for me was at one point Sherlock and Watson were sat in the little aviary which is out the back, near the rose garden. I was like, "It IS Tyntesfield."
Sadly the maze featured in Sherlock is not really at Tyntesfield - which is a shame because I love mazes!

Image borrowed from Sherlock Facebook page. 
The episode is worth a watch. I loved it. Clue: It might help you appreciate it more if you've watched the previous episode about the mind palaces.

Watching this episode has made me pick up my Sherlock Holmes books, and I'm reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes now which is made up of about 12 short stories. :)

UPDATE: So, while I was putting this blog post together, conversations were happening on Twitter (I love the powers of Twitter) and Tyntesfield confirmed there are Sherlock tours at the house :) 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

A Diet is for Life #Soapbox

I don't like this caption!
Firstly, I do not like this quote. And I don't agree with it.

Well, yes, okay, there are worse things than being fat, but it doesn't mean it's okay to be obese - which I feel this statement has been generated to appease overweight people. It's giving them a justification to stick their head in the sand about their problems.

And I will state that this blog post is entirely my opinion, but I do not feel it is good for you to be fat.

This statement attacks all those who work hard on a daily basis to stay fit and healthy, too (in my opinion).

I hate it when I hear "You're so lucky, you're slim." It's not luck; it's damn well hard work and having control. You have to motivate yourself, but once you've done that exercise, you realise you feel so much better for it afterwards!

Being healthy does not come easy. You have to make life choices and work at it.

I've seen this quote (and many others like it) on Facebook, and I've turned a blind eye, even though it riles me, but one particular day I played the devil's advocate to it. And unfortunately I lost a "friend". I questioned that some maybe fat because they're lazy and greedy (two of the deadly sins missing in the list above). Maybe I should have stayed quiet but I'm a believer that we're all responsible for our own well being.

I accept we are all different shapes and sizes, and we'll go through phases in life where we may put weight on. I do not believe we all need to be supermodel slim before you jump up and down and shout at me, too!

I even except there are medical conditions to affect people's weight. However, if you suffer with one of these conditions, there are still things you can do to keep the weight off. I feel these conditions can be made into excuses.

And, not every overweight person is suffering with these medical conditions, or depression, they are overweight because they eat too much food and take a lazy outlook on their lifestyle and health. Sorry, there, I said it. But the NHS said it too, just more diplomatically:

Most people put on weight because they eat and drink more calories than they burn through everyday movement and body functions.
If you can't exercise, eat less!

In my argument, I mentioned that the NHS is in a state of crisis because of obesity, because of the health problems it causes. I was "misguided" by media apparently. However, this article by the Guardian states the NHS is in crisis. It also quotes what you're at risk at if you're heavily overweight. Sugar and Britain's obesity crisis: the key questions answered.
PHE believes that if people did both those things “within 10 years we would not only improve an individual’s quality of life but could save the NHS, based on a conservative estimate, around £500m every year”. Obesity costs the NHS an estimated £5.1bn a year.

And here's another article I read, to make sure I wasn't "misguided" by the increase in obesity.
The Guardian view on obesity: there’s no way to sugar this pill. The UK government must act
Although it has been a long time coming, no one anticipated the rise over the past 30 years in the number of children and adults who are overweight or obese. Bad diet wasn’t a predicted result of generally growing prosperity. But it comes at a cost for individuals, and ultimately for the NHS. About one in 10 preschool children is too heavy, and so are about one in five 10-year-olds and a quarter of adults. The latest statistics suggest the rate of increase may be slowing but the NHS faces a huge burden of preventable illness into the foreseeable future. Already, obesity-related illnesses, which range from Type-2 diabetes to some cancers, are calculated to be costing upwards of £5bn a year.

People may binge eat due to depression or comfort eat, and have other medical conditions which means their overweight. It does not mean that it is okay. It is not healthy! We are not helping these people by telling them that it is okay either! (Hence I do not like the above meme). We are just fuelling their problems by not being honest with them. We are allowing them to abuse themselves. We'd help a drug addict or an alcoholic in our family. Over eating is a habit that needs to broken.

It's a vicious circle for some - I get that. I really do. They're overweight, they get depressed, so they eat more food.

We do need to help these people - if they wished to be helped, of course. We need to educate families and children about healthier options, about not eating so much food, about the importance of exercise.

And as a single mum I can tell you it is not cheaper to eat ready meals, rather than cook from scratch and create healthier meals. I shake my head every time I hear healthier options are more expensive - It's just excuses! That is just laziness! I can cook a simple pasta dinner in twelve minutes!

Our lifestyles have changed in the last 50 years. Years ago there were not the cars on the road like there are today. Everyone had to walk everywhere. Nowadays, people jump in their car just to fetch a paper from their local corner shop, when they could have walked. We need to look at everything we do. We need to change our mindset.

Exercise is key! Walking is underestimated!

Depression can be combated by exercise. I love this first sentence on the NHS website about exercising: 
"If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented." 
I'm not even sure if J K Rowling would have said the quote above. Did she not make Dudley large, lazy and greedy, and pretty much a lot of the other things that have been listed in the above quotation?

So, if you're happy being overweight, that's fine, as long as you're aware of the health implications that being overweight means. Your health is at risk, and there is a good chance you won't reach old age. Don't moan about it if/when that time comes.

YOU are responsible for your health.

And as I've learnt, you can not help those that don't wish to help themselves.

I like this caption! 
If you take the attitude of "well, I've got to die of something" you're being selfish. This is lazy and greedy. Yes, the NHS is there to help the sick, and it will treat all who walk through its doors (while it still exists) from accidents to cancer patients etc. but it was not set up so that we could abuse ourselves and then they sort us out.

Admittedly, you could be healthy and kept yourself fit, and be struck with an illness. (This is why the NHS was set up, to offer free healthcare to all). However, by being healthy you do reduce the risk of these things, and even your body and mind is strong enough to fight what life throws at you.

I am a very strong believer in healthy body means a healthy mind. You don't need to be a saint, you're allowed a treat in life... but look at everything in moderation. Look at your food intake, look at your daily exercise. Eat healthily during the week, and exercise, and let your hair down at the weekends.

So many friends that have lost weight, have told me how much better they feel. And they look better too. They look younger, healthier, happier!

It's the New Year... I always remember what a friend said to me once. "It's not what you eat and drink between Christmas and New Year, it's what you eat/drink between New Year and Christmas."

Remember as you set about your New Years resolutions, a diet is for life, not for just after Christmas.

My dad said something the other day actually. I'll share it with you, too. He is a food and fitness guru. He said, "We eat to live, we don't live to eat." Think about it.

And on that note, I'm going for a run... to work off the chocolates, mince pies and sherry...