Monday, December 17, 2012

Brothers

Yesterday was my younger brother's 30th birthday. Conor was born when I was only a year and four months old. He was very sick when he was born and both he and my mother almost lost their lives. He spent a long time in the NICU after he was born.

When he was about 4/5 we left our house really early one morning and he learned to ride a bike on his own. We lived in a tiny cul de sac in a little village. No fear back then. I love the memory of cheering him on in the cold morning, just the two of us.

This last year Conor has been very sick. There were a few trips to A&E and at the end of September he spent a few days on a trolley in A&E before being sent home. He was suffering from severe pain in his abdomen. The following day he was taken back up to A&E and eventually admitted to a ward. Two days later he had a right hemiocolectomy, an operation to remove his hugely inflamed appendix which had attached itself to part of his bowel and small intestine. The operation lasted three hours and he was in recovery for two hours. It was uncertain whether he would survive the operation at all, he was so weak and had lost so much weight over the course of his illness. 

When he eventually came back to the ward, where Mum, my sister and I were waiting, he was barely conscious. We spoke to him for a minute before being sent out. There was no one to give us any answers. At that point we didn't know it was his appendix. The doctors who had performed the surgery went home without telling us what happened. We didn't get to talk to anybody about him until the next afternoon. The level of care for patients and families in that hospital is a disgrace and I hope never to be stuck in there.

Now, two months on, Conor is improving in health. He still has a long way to go and is undertaking more tests, MRI's, scans etc. They still don't know exactly what is wrong with him.

Thankfully, he survived the operation. His birthday, and even this Christmas, is all the more special this year for us. 


Rest in Peace students and adults that lost their lives in Sandy Hook Elementary. May God help those who you left behind. Will be thinking of them all this Christmas xxx

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thank Heavens for December (well, in one way)


Well, I did it. I finished NaNoWriMo as a winner on 50,008 words! Super proud of myself. It was a real push to win. I still had around 17,000 words to do this this last week but I made it.

Of course, my novel isn't finished. I'm predicting it will be about 90k words when I'm finished the first draft. Maybe 80k when completed. I've also changed the title to Devil in the Clouds. I like that for the moment but, who knows, I may change it again.

In other news, eh well, there's not much since I have been practically glued to the laptop for the last few weeks. 

In two days time the Irish Budget 2013 will be announced. It will hit everyone, some will feel the pinch more than others. I know I will have to make some adjustments; cut things that I really don't want to but these things must be done, I guess.

The one thing that is almost certain is that they will cut the Children's Allowance. They should not do this in my opinion. A lot of families rely on this money to get by every month. Cutting this money will affect the children and put more people on the breadline. There are protests going on here all the time but not enough people are attending them, the government won't listen unless we all stand up against injustices. There is going to be another protest this Saturday in Dublin, Dundalk and as many towns/cities that can do it. If you are in Ireland support these protests, get out and stand up! There is a Facebook event page for the Dundalk one.

Protest against cuts outside Dundalk Court House last Friday

On a Christmas-y note, Beth and I put up the Christmas tree yesterday. I just couldn't resist any longer. I'm really looking forward to it and, thankfully, I've everything sorted!

Beth yesterday morning after we put up the tree

She has me tortured to open doors on the Advent Calendar!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

Well there's not much of an update. I started off really well on Thursday and even got some writing done on the bus to Dublin on Friday but since then there have been distractions...

Friday night, my Mum and I went to see Don McLean in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. I will be writing a full review of it in the coming days. We even waited to meet him after. Very exciting!


Yesterday, I was only home from Dublin about half an hour when Beth came back from her Dad's. She was a little off colour and actually took a nap on the couch while I made dinner. Very unlike her. 

When she woke up she was shouting some weird things. She was running a mad temperature so was probably hallucinating. She was also complaining of really bad pain in her belly and 'headsford' (forehead). I rang the on call doctor who told me to bring her to the out of hours surgery straight away. I was terrified it was her appendix.


To make a long story short, she has a bad throat infection which is causing the pain in her belly. Doctor prescribed antibiotics. She'd a tough night last night. Woke up every few hours coughing, high temp and vomiting. 

Hopefully it'll pass with the medication!

I plan to catch up with the NaNoWriMo today and tomorrow and get back on track :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo

 Happy Halloween from a little witch!

Tomorrow, November 1st, starts my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. Basically, during the month of November, writers of every discipline, genre, traditional or indie published can get together online and bang out 50,000 words. That is 1,667 words per day.

It'll be tough but I'm looking forward to it. I have my writing space (spare room) all ready to go and in the next month my hair may go grey! When I was finishing Bleeker Avenue I was spending all my free time writing. As soon as Beth went to bed I'd go straight to the laptop. I plan to do this again. I remember coming out of these writing marathons dazed. It took a while to come round to reality again.

The project I'm working on is called Diary of a Trolley Dolly. It's just a working title. It is about a woman who leaves her home town to become cabin crew. I did this myself almost 10 years ago but the story will be purely fictional. There will be lots of sex, drugs and turbulence. A lot more exciting than my own experience!

A little witch ready to fly to a Halloween party this morning.

We had wings for a bat too but went with the witch in the end :-)

Hope you all have a spooktacular day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In The Irish Times Today

Single mum, would like to meet...
Another article in The Irish Times today by yours truly. It's all about dating as a single parent. The difficulties of meeting people and why I'm not rushing into anything!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Christmas Cake Recipe

There is no nicer smell than that of a Christmas cake in the oven. 

175 g (6 oz) Glace Cherries
225 g (8 oz) Raisins
75 g (3 oz) Currants
150 g (5 oz) Sultanas
50 g (2 oz) Chopped Candied Peel
100 ml  Whiskey/Brandy
225 g (8 oz) Softened Butter
Finely Grated Rind Of One Lemon
225 g (8 oz) Soft Brown Sugar
4 Eggs, Beaten
30 ml Black Treacle
225 g (8 oz) Plain White Flour
5 ml (1 tsp) Ground Mixed Spice

I'm slightly allergic to nuts so I left the next ingredients out:

125 g (4 oz) Roughly Chopped Brazil Nuts
50 g (2 oz) Ground Almonds

1. Wash the cherries in cold water, make sure all the syrup is off. Chop them into quarters. Chuck them in a bowl with the raisins, currants, sultanas and candied peel. Pour over the whiskey, cover with a tea towel and leave overnight to soak.
2. Line a 20 cm (8 inch) round deep cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper.
3. In a big bowl, beat the butter with the lemon rind until pale and very soft.
4. Gradually beat in the sugar until completely blended. Add the eggs a little at a time. Then add the treacle. Make sure everything is evenly blended.

5. Sift the flour and mixed spice together. Add half to the mixture (add the nuts here if you are using them). Fold in the fruit gently. Then add the rest of the flour. 

6. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, level the surface and tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin.


7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 2 (150°C) for 3-3.5 hours or until a fine skewer can be inserted into the middle and come out clean. I usually check it after 3 hours. If it needs longer I place a sheet of brown paper over the top so it doesn't burn.


8. Leave cake in the tin to cool for about an hour then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Prick the top with a fork and spoon over about 45 ml (3 tbsp) whiskey. Allow to soak in.

9. When completely cold, cover with greaseproof paper, then with tin foil and leave in a cool dry place. It needs to mature for at least 2 weeks or up to 3 months before icing is applied.
I'll be icing the cake about a week before Christmas. Beth wants to decorate it with snow (royal icing), snowmen and Santa. That'll be fun!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Free today!!

Tell everyone!! The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue is free today on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Free Kindle ebook

The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue is free on the 16th and 17th of October (Tuesday and Wednesday of next week). Please take the opportunity to grab a free copy as the three months of Kindle Select Publishing ends soon.

I was on the radio a few weeks ago talking about life as a single parent. You can listen to the interview here


I miss the sun!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cala De Mijas (I Love Mondays)

On Beth's actual 3rd birthday my sister, Beth and I flew from Dublin to Malaga. We then took a bus to a gorgeous small village called Cala De Mijas along the coast of southern Spain. It was eight nights spent in a fantastic 4* hotel situated right beside the beach. The room was lovely and spacious, the breakfasts were amazing (buffet style and lots of it) and the facilities were second to none. However, the staff, in particular the reception staff, were often rude and always unhelpful. In truth though, it did little to dull the week. 


The unfortunate element to the week was Beth's cold. She was often narky and tired. The photo above was taken five minutes before she dropped an orange juice all over herself. Thank God she had a swimsuit underneath. In the 30 degree heat the dress was dry before we finished our drinks. Poor pet just wanted to be home in her own bed but we did our best to keep her happy. So much so that now that we are back she is being really cheeky if she doesn't get her way! 

Roughly 1 minute before the juice incident :-)

Besides the little hiccups we managed to have a good time but I think I'll wait a few good years before taking Beth away again! And yes, both of us are still as pale as we were leaving rainy Ireland :-)

It's back to writing full steam today. I have a short story in my head bursting to get out. When I've a first draft I'll get back to the sequel of The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue. I'm hoping to have it finished by December and ready for self-publishing in the new year.

Have a lovely Monday! :-) 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Princess Birthday Party

On Saturday we had Beth's 3rd birthday party and it was brilliant. She is a very girly girl now and I knew she would like a princess theme so I went all out! The table looks a little messier than it did at the start but you can get the idea. I got the palace scene setter from www.thebigparty.ie and it looked fantastic. I also got 4 princesses that hung on the wall. Aurora is to the left of the table, bit of a glare from where I was standing but she looked great. Cinderella was at the front door, another princess at the back door and one to the right of the table.

There were lots of sweets, pink marshmallows, pink lemonade, sandwiches, rice krispie buns and some hot party food.

Of course, the cake was the centrepiece of the table, the big pink thing! it was a rainbow cake and here are a few photos of the making of it.
 Cake mix done, I separated it into 6 and used a different colour for each one. I used liquid food colouring. The experts suggest using gel food colouring but I did a trial run a few months ago and was pleased with how it turned out so just stayed with the liquid ones.


After baking I sandwiched the layers together with buttercream. It was delicious. Butter, icing sugar, a few drops of vanilla essence and a little milk. Yum :-) 


Another photo of it stacked. 

My little princess taking a breather with a bag of sweets. 

The finished product. I know it was a little lumpy but hey, I didn't mind. I was just worried how it looked inside. Everyone knew I had attempted a rainbow cake and were gathered round as I cut it.  

And here it is. Not bad if I do say so myself :-) 

 Tasted quite nice too!

Beth had a great day and got loads of presents. I really enjoy putting a big effort into her birthdays. Kids parties are so much fun!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In The Irish Times Today

I wrote a piece for The Irish Times on my experiences as a single parent. It was a hard article to write and I'm a little nervous about baring my feelings so publicly.

Still, it's a piece I wrote and it's in a national newspaper :-)

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2012/0905/1224323609974.html

Hope you like it!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

I said I'd share the recipe for the Chocolate Biscuit Cake I made for my birthday. It's a brilliant recipe with no baking involved. The cake itself has a gazillion calories so not recommended for those on a diet! I got the recipe off my friend Debs.

275g Butter
150ml Golden Syrup
225g Good Quality Chocolate (e.g. Cadburys)
400g Digestive Biscuits
400g Rich Tea Biscuits
1 Packet of Malteasers
Optional Extras: Raisins, Nuts, Marshmallows

1. Mash up the biscuits (the rich tea can be a bit tough so put them in a bag and bash them with cup).
2. Melt the chocolate, syrup and butter.
3. Mix everything together in a really big bowl.
4. Put in a grease lined tin, cool and stick in the fridge.

Voila. Can't get easier than that!

Still planning the Rainbow Cake for Beth's 3rd birthday and will have lots of photos of that! I'm going to do a princess theme. Lots of pink and sparkles for my little princess.

In 3 weeks Beth and I are jetting off to the south of Spain for our first ever foreign holiday. Can't wait!! We're both very excited :-)

In writing news, I'm still working on the Bleeker Avenue sequel, the new project and a collaboration of short stories with a writer friend.

Busy, busy!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thank you!

I want to say a big thank you to Krista McLaughlin for reviewing my book and featuring it on her blog.

Much appreciated  Krista!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Free Kindle ebook today

The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue is free again today.

I would like some reviews and will gladly return the favour!!

Hope you are having a lovely Thursday :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Today is my Birthday

I turned 31 today and I don't feel any different. I know it is just another day but for the last few years my birthdays have been 'special' ones. 

When I turned 28 I was pregnant with Beth. It was nice thinking that the following year it wouldn't be just me anymore. I was almost eight months at that stage and was very uncomfortable. Beth's head was right under my ribs and constantly kicking me. I was celebrating with my friends but did not stay out long.

Turning 29 was great because it was the last one of my 20's. I went for a meal with my friends and then on to a pub. I think I was home by midnight! 

Of course, last year was a big one. Moving into my 30's was a pivotal part of my life. I was no longer overweight and I had a renewed sense of who I was and where I wanted to go. I was content with my life and where it was heading.

In the last year, I have written several short stories, articles and a novel. Currently, I have two books in progress. I am doing what I have always dreamed of doing, writing. Last week, my first novel The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue went on sale on Amazon. This is an exciting time in my life.

Maybe today doesn't feel as special as the last few years because it's just another number. I suppose my next 'big one' will be my 40th. Maybe it is because I'm realising every day is special. Maybe I'm just getting to a point in my life when birthdays just don't mean as much as they used to.

Whatever it is, it doesn't matter. My 30's are going to be great. The whole decade will be special. These are the years that will matter.

My  birthday BBQ was a little too much excitement for Beth

Irish BBQ's are not easy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Did I Self-Publish?

As some of you may know already I decided on Monday to self-publish my book The Secret Beneath Bleeker Avenue. There are many reasons why I decided to do it myself.

Firstly, I'm a very impatient person. Ask anyone who knows me personally and they will agree. If I go into a shop and there is a queue of more than three people I'm most likely to turn on my heel and walk back out. I don't like waiting for anything. Therefore, after only beginning to query agents and publishers on the 21st June, I'm already losing my patience with the lack of replies. Any authors out there will know it will take some people a long time to get back to me but, to be very honest, I can't wait. I know I need to relax a little more and if this was the only reason for self-publishing I probably would have waited it out.

Secondly, there is a lot of information out there on self-publishing. If it is done right a self-published author can make a living. It's not rocket science (well, maybe getting an ITIN is, but more on that another time) and, I believe, with a great deal of research, an author can self-publish and avoid the pitfalls of others.

Thirdly, I am in control. I control everything to do with my book, how it is published, how much royalties I will get, etc. This is a very important aspect for me.

Finally, I just had to get that lovely cover out there!



In other news, I turn 31 next week. I'm having people over for a BBQ this weekend (hopefully the weather is good) and can't wait to celebrate another year. Stay tuned for more on the party and what I've done since I turned the 'dreaded' 3-0!

Monday, July 16, 2012

How many rejection letters are too many?

I'm afraid I've been neglecting my blog again! I really have no excuses. Bold me!

Still no good news from querying so it looks like I'll have to re-do my first few chapters in an attempt to get some positive feedback. Last night I stayed up until 1am to fill in a form for Pan Macmillian's Manuscript Monday. Every Monday, between 10am and 4pm AEST, they accept queries for unsolicited manuscripts. As I live in Ireland and the form had to be filled in on their page it meant a late one for me. At least it is sent off now.

There is some good news on the writing front though. I won't be saying anything here until it comes to pass but watch this space.

All I can think of are the queries I have sent out and how many have not replied. Every time an email comes through my heart skips a beat. 

I have given myself the deadline of the end of August for Bleeker Avenue. If there has been no feedback by then I will re-access where to go next with it. Maybe a full overhaul is needed.

The big question is... How many rejection letters are too many? 



I'm planning on baking a rainbow cake for Beth's birthday. What do you think of my first attempt?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Writing, Querying and Green Fingers

First of all, happy July 4th to all you Americans out there. Hope you have a great day.


I sure hope your weather is good for today. Here in Ireland the summer hasn't started yet. Raining everyday for weeks! I did manage to get the grass cut in the back garden before the rain started again in the evening on Sunday. Bloody nettles were threatening to take over.

Thankfully, my attempts at growing my own are going well. The carrots and onions are growing nicely, the potatoes are looking good (above ground plants are anyway) and my tomatoes, well they don't look great but there is good news....
The first of the tomatoes has sprouted forth. I also discovered Instagram on this day too. I went round photographing everything in close up. This little green tomato is only slightly bigger than a cherry tomato at the moment.

I've taken a little break from writing the sequel to Bleeker Avenue. Rachael is just not ready to talk yet. Instead Katherine (aka Kate) has stepped out of my psyche and onto the page. She just got an interview for a job that is going to change her whole life!

Still querying agents and publishers for Bleeker Avenue. A few rejections so far but it's all par for the course.  I'm reading a lot of articles about the slush pile and agent blogs out there. One in particular I found very interesting It Came from the Slush Pile. Just stick to the submission guidelines. If your novel is good it won't need glitter and bells to find an agent/publisher.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sudocrem Competition

If you have a minute, could you vote for my fantastic little girl and her lovely smile in the Sudocrem Competition?

We would love to win a holiday :-)

Thank you, you lovely bloggers and readers out there!!

Did you watch Euro 2012? The final was on last night. Great match: Spain V Italy 4-0!!

Congrats Spain :-)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bleeker Avenue Update

On Wednesday I received my manuscript back from my editor Clare Keogh. I highly recommend her as an editor. She is competitively priced, personable and fantastic to work with. I would have no hesitation in using her for my next project.

So far, I have queried six agents for my novel. I have to almost force myself to hit send (just email submissions at the moment). It is so nerve-wracking. I'm terrified there will be a spelling mistake or something stupid in the mail I missed and my query will be thrown out before they even look at the sample writing. I know for the most part this fear is unfounded as I had Clare check over my query letter too. I just can't help feeling terrified. What if I can't get an agent? Well, I suppose there is always self-publishing and believe me, I will go down that route if the traditional way doesn't work out! With every reply, I have to remember that every rejection brings me closer to my goal.

Now the waiting game starts. My nails are gone.... I chew them to pieces while writing. I know some of you reading this are disgusted :-) I used to have lovely nails, I miss them! I am a nervous eater. I'll have to watch that over the next while. Don't want a return to Weight Watchers.

Summer hasn't arrived in Ireland yet. As I write this, the wind and rain are battering my poor garden. I've brought my tomato plants inside, poor things, they are not doing well. My BBQ has just been blown over too!

I love the bad weather. Makes me feel safe inside. I prefer it at Christmas though! Speaking of which, there are just over six months to go till the holiday season. I enjoy it so much more now with Beth here. It'll be her 4th Christmas!

Closer celebrations include my birthday in just over a month and Beth's in September. I love planning for them. My own will be a BBQ (weather permitting) in my house. Beth's will either be a princess or Alice In Wonderland theme. I have big plans for her cake but it's a surprise :-) Hopefully I can pull it off!

Now, to find something to stop me refreshing gmail every 5 minutes!

Beth enjoying a rare sunny day in the Botanic Gardens, Belfast

Friday, June 8, 2012

Leaving Certificate Panic Stations!

That time has come again. Sweaty palms, chewed pens and hair pulling. The Leaving Certificate (and Junior Cert.) started two days ago. For my non-Irish followers out there this is a series of major exams taken by about 50,000 students over all of Ireland. The Leaving Cert is taken by students aged between 16-18 roughly, and is the measure by which the state deems us eligible to attend our chosen college courses. It is an out-dated and much hated system.

It has been 13 years since I took my place at the desk which was (I thought) to determine my academic future. Every year when I see the students walking towards the school for the exams my blood runs cold. Even now the thoughts of it make me shudder. It didn't help that I was the worst student in the school. I barely studied and spent a lot of time distracting myself by organising a big party to celebrate the end of the exams in my back garden. By the way, that party was epic!

I scraped a pass. Was very disappointed but not at all surprised. I got into college and enjoyed my time there. To be completely honest I wouldn't change a thing. I'm a great believer in not regretting the past. I can't change it and it lead me to where I am now. I did go back and repeat honours English and Math a few years ago in the Adult Education Centre.

In my opinion, the Leaving Cert. is not something to measure our life by. If, for any reason, you don't do well it can't stop you from achieving anything you really want. It might take longer but your academic climax does not have to happen at 17. It is merely another stepping stone.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bleeker Avenue Book Cover!

For the Kindle and ebook shelves, here it is...

Designed by Shane Murphy :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Back

Well, I know I said I'd return on Wednesday but I was unfortunately sick as a dog and didn't go near my laptop all week! Beth loves to pass on any germs and being older I seem to take the colds a lot worse. On Wednesday I could barely walk round my house I was so weak and dizzy. Thankfully, I'm on the mend now and ready to start my writing month.

I've decided to jump on Hart's band wagon and join the BuNoWriMo (Facebook link). So I will be attempting to write 50k words in the month of June. Bleeker Avenue is with my editor so I have a few weeks left before my manuscript comes back with lots of red marks (really nervous about that!).

In other news, there is something I've been keeping under wraps. I was waiting for the right time to unveil it. Now with Bleeker away with the editor and the time coming near to start shopping agents and publishers I want to show off the fantastic cover to my novel designed by the marvellous Shane Murphy.

However, I believe it deserves a post all to itself so stay tuned tomorrow when all will be revealed!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Very Busy

Sorry I haven't been on to update this recently. My novel Bleeker Avenue is due with my editor on Monday. I'm tweaking and re-tweaking the current draft and it leaves little time for my poor forgotten blog!

I will return next Wednesday ;-)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dundalk 10k Road Race

Two days ago, on the 9th May, I ran my first ever 10k race. I was not running to win, just to prove to myself I could do it. After months of training (sporadic training) I managed to finish the race in 1 hour and 6 minutes. Not bad for a first timer!
This is the before picture. Note the lovely (pink) official race t-shirt!

And here is a picture of me crossing the line:


It was an unsettled evening. Raining off and on while I huffed and puffed my way out to the Ballymac Roundabout and back. The first 4k were tough. When I got to the roundabout there were people cheering on everyone going past. It was really nice and spurred me on a little more. I found a girl to keep pace with for the second half and we more or less stuck together until we reached the homeward stretch. Not far from the finish line I had to stop and walk a little so she finished before me. I was almost done in. When I finally crossed the line I grabbed my medal and took myself round the corner to pass out. Thankfully I didn't but it was close!
My Mum and sister came out to wish me luck and cheer me at the finish line. Can't wait till next year to get another one of these...



Well done to the organisers. The whole evening was brilliant. The atmosphere was electric!


In other news, I spent last weekend in Cavan on a writer's retreat. Bleeker Avenue second draft is nearing completion and should have it sent to my editor by the end of this month! Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hail Atlantis

I tend to associate moments in my life with what I was reading or listening to at that time. I’m sure most people do this. When I read or listen to them again years later they can transport me back. Sometimes I can see a whole new meaning.

When I was fifteen my favourite author was still Roald Dahl and I also loved Virginia Andrews. I had yet to discover Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy. Someone had given Stephen King’s The Stand to my brother, I think, but he never read it and it sat on the dresser unloved for a long time. The dog had read more of it than anyone else in the house, he had attempted to chew through it but gave up when he realised there was no chocolate inside. So, one afternoon, bored silly, I picked up The Stand and started reading. Fifteen years on it is still my favourite book and Stephen King remains in my Top 5 Favourite Authors.
My Well-Loved Copy of The Stand


Rolling on six years, I received a Christmas gift of Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King. I know when I got it because of the inscription inside the cover reading “Nessa, Christmas 2001”. I can’t remember who bought it for me. When I read it first I liked it but to me it wasn’t equal to The Stand. There are 5 stories in the book. Each main character is linked in someway to another. All the stories are linked to the sixties and to the Vietnam War.

In 2001, I was still pretty new to college and all that it entailed. Therefore the second story in the book stood out among the others for me. It was about a boy who had just started college. I could identify with his struggles to claw back wasted time to survive in there.

I’ve read the book many times in the last eleven years. What stands out for me most now is how this character remembers his time in college in the late sixties.

“I have to remind myself that we were smaller then, small enough to live our brightly hued lives under the mushrooms, all the time believing them to be trees, shelter from the sheltering sky. I know that doesn’t make any real sense, but that’s the best I can do: hail Atlantis”

There is more to this quote but I don’t know if it would make sense to many people. Its how I feel about a time in my life that is thirty years after the time the character is talking about. There was a time, in the late ‘90’s, when everything seemed golden. We thought we were golden. Back then it seemed like we could do or have whatever we put our minds to and everything was so important, life or death. But now, wishing on stars just seems pointless. You make your own luck in this world and if what you really want doesn’t happen and never will then maybe its time for a new dream.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Music to watch the world by

What is your favourite music? I like to listen to different music that reflects my mood at any given time.

When I’m lonely for adult company I listen to the radio. Always 2FM when I’m at home during the day but this is more for the connection to the outside world than the music. It took me a while to warm to Hector (Irish DJ) in the morning but now he’ll be sure to put a smile on my face. I love the oldies at lunchtime, Colm Hayes and Cormac Battle. There is very little music I hate hearing on the radio but I have to turn it off when a certain solo female artist comes on.

When I’m feeling nostalgic for my younger school days I like to stick on Placebo or Oasis and sing at the top of my voice. I thought I had been a Blur girl until someone handed me What’s the Story Morning Glory. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Blur but there’s something catchy about 3-chord-Oasis that really makes me want to rock out :-) When I miss my college days I listen to Gomez, John Lennon and my cabin crew days are attached to Simon and Garfunkel.

When I’m out jogging (only 3 weeks left to the 10k road race) Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr. Blue Skies is my starting point. Always makes me feel top of the world. For jogging I also like certain Placebo songs and Rod Stewart’s Maggie May (You know I can hear you laughing from here, yeah?). If it’s a long run I just let the MP3 player play whatever while I concentrate on breathing and not falling over!

For after break-ups and when people are really annoying me it has to be Alanis Morissette. She helps me release my angst and cry and feel empowered again. Hail to you Alanis :-)

Throughout it all though there are artists that just fit in anywhere and everywhere. Don McLean, The Clash, The Jam, T-Rex, The Who, Colin Hay and the Carpenters. They are my staples.

For me, music is part of my everyday, the way I breathe, the way I cope, escape and live.


My Little Rockstar!

 Oh, by the way, I am a Grobanite and the song I'm listening to now is You Are Loved.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Gardening

I hate wasting food. I don’t like leaving food on a plate, whether it’s in my own house or in a restaurant waste really bugs me. Having to throw out fruit, vegetables and potatoes annoys me worst of all.
The problem is that a lot of fruit, veg and potatoes are cheaper to buy in bulk. Having only two of us in this house means that quite a bit goes to waste, unfortunately.

So, that is why this year I have decided to grow my own in an effort to cut back on cost and waste. Tomatoes, onions, carrots and potatoes. It’s a pity I can’t grow bananas and oranges but we never waste them.

These are my tomatoes...

Down the back of my garden are carrots and onions...

I'm afraid the snow and freezing cold weather last week may have killed my potatoes but I'll keep my fingers crossed for them! I used to grow all kinds of things when I was younger and was quite successful so hopefully my efforts pay off this time. If not, there's always next year :-)

Beth loves the garden too...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunshine Award

I received the Sunshine Award this week. Thank you Krista. It put a smile on my face :)



When given this award, one is supposed to respond in the following way:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and provide a link.
  • Write a post about it
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and let them know
  • Answer 10 Questions:

Favourite colour:  Blue, loving today's beautiful blue sky!

Favourite animal: Hmm tough one as I'm allergic to animal hair. I love cats although being too close to them makes my throat close up :)

Favourite number:  5, I don't know why. Apparently my lucky number is 8

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Coffee. I love you caffeine!!

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook. I can't get into Twitter at all. I love to keep up with friends and family on Facebook.

My passion:  I have lots. Most importantly, my daughter. She is the reason I started writing again and the reason I started looking after my weight and health. I suppose I like writing too!

Getting or giving presents: I love giving presents. Don't like getting them. It makes me feel awkward. I would prefer not even to get birthday or Christmas presents.

Favourite pattern: Strange question but since asked I suppose I like red tarten.

Favourite day of the week: Saturday. Not sure why. Just like it :)

Favourite flower: Sunflower. Everytime I see one it makes me smile


I don't know 10 bloggers yet but here are some lovely people I would like to give the award to:

Debs
Julia
Nicola
Hart Johnson

Hope you all are having a sunshine filled day. I know I am :)