Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Carrot Sisters

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Lovely Laree Lala is raising money for pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. Her Aunty died aged 30 of metastatic ocular cancer after an 8 year illness so when a school friend said she had a friend who has Stargardt and was doing The Carrot Walk Laree jumped in with the enormous speed and alacrity we are all familiar with.  Laree has joined in with a group of 9 year old girls who are known as The Carrot Sisters and together they are walking 6 miles at night on September 19th around London.

Now they are trying to raise funds in various ways to support their walk.  The purpose of their fundraising is to support a friend who has a genetic eye disease which has robbed her of her central vision leaving her now with only peripheral vision. Funds that are raised will go to ‘Fight for Sight’, a charity that funds research in to cures for sight loss. In the future they hope to be able to assist both children and adults who are affected by such conditions.

These children have joined together to raise money to fund research that we hope will enable a future where everyone can see.  Inherited sight loss should not be inevitable.

They are kicking off their fund raising efforts with a Family Disco which is an opportunity for The Carrot Sisters to enjoy some fun with their friends before they put in some miles before THE walk.

I appreciate everyone has their charities but incase you wanted to donate here’s the link 

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NelliePomPoms

Having bought my ticket for Britmums Live from that nice woman I was looking forward to seeing some of my lovely friends as well as meeting people who I have tweeted with/followed/read blogs of and going to some of the sessions.   Hmmmmmmmm.  That was the plan, I didn’t count on the dog getting an infection in his incision which led him to being in pain and whimpering each time he rolled over and me being drained.  I’ll also be honest with you, not only was my lovely black dog uncomfortable but I was sensing that an unwelcome black dog was approaching and I felt overwhelmed and emotional.  I spent much of Thursday having ups and downs, I mentally wrote blog posts entitled I’m going to Britmums or I’m not going to Britmums and told a few folk I wasn’t going.  I woke up on Friday exhausted, clearly I wasn’t going but I…

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Aside

Having bought my ticket for Britmums Live from that nice woman I was looking forward to seeing some of my lovely friends as well as meeting people who I have tweeted with/followed/read blogs of and going to some of the sessions.   Hmmmmmmmm.  That was the plan, I didn’t count on the dog getting an infection in his incision which led him to being in pain and whimpering each time he rolled over and me being drained.  I’ll also be honest with you, not only was my lovely black dog uncomfortable but I was sensing that an unwelcome black dog was approaching and I felt overwhelmed and emotional.  I spent much of Thursday having ups and downs, I mentally wrote blog posts entitled I’m going to Britmums or I’m not going to Britmums and told a few folk I wasn’t going.  I woke up on Friday exhausted, clearly I wasn’t going but I might make Saturday.

Anyway enough of the will she/won’t she?

The antibiotics kicked in an Arth was more comfortable and I felt brighter so I decided I would go on the Saturday.  So that’s what I did; leaving home at 0656 armed with a strong coffee.  I texted everyone I had told I wasn’t going to tell them I was going and then sat back and let the train take the strain (I know it’s an old ad but it’s stuck!).  Waterloo was blissfully quiet and the Drain was a delight, having commuted for years it was rare to feel cool and sit down!

After a short walk I arrived at The Brewery, biting the bullet I walked on in, picked up my lanyard and headed for coffee.  Mmmmh coffee!

Shortly after that Amanda Jennings turned up and we had a natter, then Amanda beckoned to Rachael Lucas and I can’t tell you how lovely it was to meet her at long last (it’s OK you don’t have to tell her as I told her how lovely it was to meet her as well and it bloody well was, we had chatted for ages and she always sends me a hug filled tweet or comment so I feel I know her), then the lovely Emma turned up and off we went to listen to Ben Brooks-Dutton‘s session which was lovely (might have itched my eye a bit!).  After that we went to a session that made me itch both eyes and sniff loudly – How To Be an Agent of Change: Advocacy and charity campaigns with Lindsay Atkin, Lilies Are Like YouTuber; Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company; Hayley Goleniowska, Downs Side Up; Chris Mosler, Thinly Spread.  Having delivered assemblies on behaviour and anti bullying as a Youth Offending Link Officer in my policing days it reminded me of how important it is to communicate and keep in the loop. Then more coffee, chats with Katy Hill and then Collaboration: Working together for bigger traffic and larger impact with Annabel, Country Wives; Tanya Barrow, Mummy Barrow; Maggy Woodley, Red Ted Art which was great fun.  I’m all for a bit of collaboration what with my coach trip mentality!

I had to pop and see Highland Spring as they retweeted Arthur’s tiara photo and there I met Dominique who was both lovely and chatty, so it was a nice treat to sit with her and Ali and a load of other people.  I also met lots of other bloggers and had huge laughs with heaps of happy people, there were so many names to take in.  There was also wine!

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All too soon it was time for us to head back home, so we grabbed our bags from the concierge, picked up our Britmums party bag and hoofed across to Waterloo.

It was a busy Saturday, but a fun packed Saturday – thank you Britmums.

 

A busy #Britmumslive Saturday

Who are you? by Elizabeth Forbes – Review

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lizzie forbes photo

 

Who are you? Who were you? What made you turn into such a controlling bastard and made your wife wonder who are you? So many questions, answered in a gripping and at times hard to read way. Actually a very difficult read.

Alex, a controlling yet charming civilian following a career as an officer in an elite regiment, returns from Afghanistan to London, to Juliet his wife and Ben their young son. However all is not as it should be. Ravaged by his experiences at war his every move is cold, dramatic and calculating. A broken man and one that should be pitied or a broken man who needs help and support to help him? A bit of both. No one can dictate how anyone feels or know what anyone is really going through but no one should ever have to live in fear of a loved one or tread on egg shells.

Elizabeth Forbes leads the reader into the horror of coercive control and domestic violence that will both grip and frighten. Whilst the book is a page turner be warned it is also a harrowing read that will leave you in no doubt that Alex had deep rooted issues even before his tour of duty and that Juliet, whilst she loves her man, has always had in the back of her mind the nagging question “who are you?”.

With knowledge gleaned from various courses  and having seen people deal with the devastating effects of domestic violence and coercive control  I felt helpless and was therefore relieved that Juliet was garnering support from her online friends. She was given advice to go, to leave him, to run but was so scared of the consequences that she stayed, living in fear for her life and that of her son.

As lovely as it was, Juliet was foolish to take the kind offer from a stranger and I wanted to scream “Nooooooo don’t do that, don’t go anywhere where you will be even more vulnerable”. I was right.  Which leads me to question again how well do you really know anyone and to ask just who are you?

Thank you Elizabeth Forbes.  You know I won’t be able to meet anyone called Mrs Hunt without smirking!!

Thanks also to Cutting Edge Press for sending me a review copy.

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger

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shelan rodgers twin truths

Finished! Well when I say I’ve finished I mean I’ve finished reading it but I’ve not stopped thinking about it.

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger

A psychological suspense drama with a double twist

Like many twins, Jenny and Pippa often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other’s sentences. In fact, in many ways they complete each other. So what happens when one of them disappears? Vividly set in Argentina, Greece and the UK, and strong on absorbing characters and shocking incident, Twin Truths is a powerful and beautifully written meditation on identity and the impact of trauma.

Having been sent a review copy by the lovely people at Cutting Edge Press I set about reading Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger. Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, did it say “you will wolf this down, won’t be able to sleep and when you’ve read it you will look at the book as if you’ve been possessed”.  Maybe I look like that normally so just ignore the possessed bit, but the rest is true!  Oh so very true.

From the first few lines “They say drowning is a good way to die, that panic quickly gives way to the best high you’ll ever have, but I don’t believe it” I was hooked and it was obvious I was going to have to cut myself off from the world or become nocturnal, I think I probably did a bit of both!  It’s an amazing story and I’m sure that this review will not do it justice, but I’m telling you to read it and then you will see why!

Righto, so Twin Truths is a story of twins Pippa and Jenny. Jenny is mourning Pippa and has run away, she lies a lot, confuses everyone, infuriates people and is in therapy with Ignacio who is patient and frustrated, both in his own life and in his working relationship. Dangerous.   I didn’t overly warm to Ignacio to begin with, I don’t know why but then at around chapter 74 I did.

What do you mean 74 chapters? Well actually there are 77 chapters, which was great, with short bursts of twists and OH? which added to the mood of punchy, moody, intriguing and pyshological! The book is in 3 parts. One part for each twin and the final part for closure for want of a better word. The characters are complex, the twins are so close yet there’s a gulf,  the alcoholic mother annoyed me immensely and the stepfather was vile “this is my mother and this isn’t my father” are very angry lines and say it all really.

As I galloped towards the end taking big deep breaths to a) stop myself from fainting and b) to wipe my itchy eyes I cried, cheered, laughed and quite possibly looked a snivelling wreck. Then I got to the end. Wow. Gosh. Blimey crikey. What a dark meaty first book for Shelan Rodger. One for your summer holiday reading pile I assure you!

Thank you Cutting Edge Press for sending me a review copy and thank you Shelan Rodger for writing it.

Crying into my cappuccino

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This week was turning into one of “those” weeks (rolls eyes, tuts and tsks) and I was going to breeze through it getting bogged down, irritated and frustrated by the smallest crumb on my work surface, the tiniest piece of paper on table and THE most miniature towel on the floor. Ok so the size of the towel on the floor is immaterial, but everything – just everything – was getting to me.

Today I had plans to meet a friend and we texted away to firm up, agreeing to meet somewhere that was relatively easy for both of us. I surprised myself by being early so ordered my cappu and sat down in the corner, no sooner had I texted to say I’m hiding in the corner she arrived and we had the chat about the menu and then her cappu arrived. I wanted her opinion on something and as we didn’t have much time I quickly garbled out a tiny grump before discussing something unrelated.

You know when a friend looks at you and you feel it’s alright to cry into your cappuccino, well that happened. Out it all tumbled and she nodded with her head on one side at times (not sure which side but that doesn’t matter) and said all the right, she was sympathetic and gave some honest (not brutally so but honest none the less) advice and I felt uplifted.

A good chunk of the day has passed since I cried into my cappuccino and I feel better and more positive and do you know what? No I don’t suppose you do! Well I’ll tell you.

Next time I see my friend I will laugh into my latte.

Thank you my friend x

Gift Suggestions and Solutions – Menfolk

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On Christmas Eve 2013 I was the Midnight Expert on BBC Radio 5Live, my expertness was of course shopping.

I have always taken great pleasure in finding presents, gifts, tokens and gestures for family and friends.  It’s a genetic thing I believe.  My paternal grandmother was a vastly superior shopper to me and each time I saw her she would have something new to look at, having gone shopping on a whim to find that something to go just there whilst the mood took her, whatever the distance.  My maternal grandmother would relish in finding something new and would tell everyone about it!  I am very similar it would seem, but where one Granny was secretive about her finds I am like the other Granny and am more than happy to tell people where I found something.  My mother on the other hand would often return with furniture treasures to transform (like a chest of drawers which became a high bed with storage), food (a brace of pigeons or pheasants  to turn into a pate) or material (creating curtains or dresses).

Mum isn’t part of the internet generation and I think if the Grannies were still here one would have the internet on a lock down and would never embrace Social Media incase it was seen as a threat to reveal her sources, whereas the other one would be in her element – pausing only for Wimbledon!

As it’s Father’s Day on Sunday I’d like to share a few ideas for gifts:-

Gardening was a large part of growing up and my family’s gardens were crammed full of flowers (how many times did we hear “mind my dahlias” is nobody’s business) so it comes as no surprise that I would recommend The Gluttonous Gardener for a fantastic selection of gifts.  I bought my brother a Wine & Vine 8 years ago which criss crosses the garden at about 70ft long and has a decent crop of grapes making decent wine.  Over at Common Farm Flowers there are plenty of British Flowers to choose from as well as gifts and courses.

Sport has always played a huge part of my life so it comes as no surprise that I’ve bought plenty of sporty gifts over the years, Big Welsh has been a keen cyclist for ages now and is happy with gift voucher so he can buy some random piece of metal that is all too important, next on the list is a retro merino cycling jersey from Jura Cycle Clothing (they also personalise the jerseys so if you’re looking for kit for a team or a charity then that’s another idea for you!).  As a family we cycle which is where this Bicycle Cup Holder from Ella’s Kitchen Company comes into its own!  I also like this cyclist sculpture from Pavilion Interiors.

Kitchen Big Welsh has a few specialties including pancakes, Welsh Cakes and barbecues so some ideal gifts for the kitchen man would be Netherton Foundry’s outdoor cooking range (the good news is you can enjoy a 5% discount when you enter PEACOCK at checkout), Hunter Gatherer’s Personalised Steak Branding Iron, Dots and Spots Star Dad mug, a mug with Welsh words from BodlonEmma Bridgewater’s Daddy Mugs or a fab apron from Rockadoo Designs.

I hope you gain some inspiration from here.