Springtime, Silence and hats…#LittleLoves

 

So glad to be joining in with this linky this week.  I adore reading the Little Loves on other blogs and each time I don’t take part, I wish I had.
It’s been another busy week here, we’ve got out and been places and as we are still fighting off colds, it was nice to be in the (very weak) sunshine for a bit.  The house move is going painfully slow. After the rush of getting the house on the market and ready for selling, it’s now turned into a very boring waiting game. Showing viewers around is stressful so we’re all really wishing for a lovely family to come see our little house and snap it up!
Fingers crossed it won’t be too long.

So this week, the lovely little things that we have….

Read
Not My Fathers Son by Alan Cummings was the choice for our book club and I finished it this week.  It was a great read, I really enjoyed it and wasn’t a book that I would’ve normally picked so I was glad to have been given this to read.
I’ve also loved reading life at the little wood blog. Emma, who writes the blog, has such wonderful style and her house is so beautiful that lets just say, with us moving, I’m very much taking note of all her style tips!

Watched
We have three really good things on the go that we’re watching at the moment and I look forward to the evenings when the kids are in bed and we can settle down.  They are: Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones and House of Cards.  The only thing we have difficulty on, is deciding on which on to watch!

Wore
Jackets, hats and wellie boots mostly!  We went out a for a few days and although the sun was out, it was still chilly.  I’m really looking forward to more summery weather so I can dig out my dresses.  I feel I’m living in jeans at the moment.


Heard
Silence.  We took a day out to Silverdale and it was so beautiful.  We had a walk in the woods, then made it out to a small beach.  It was too muddy to really go exploring, so we found a bench and sat down and it was very peaceful.  For the thirty seconds where the kids were quiet, it was immense. It was that kind of resounding silence that seems dense.  It was delicious!

 

 

 

 


 

 


Made

I’ve made it through the first draft of my book.  A lot of work has gone into that first draft and although there is still tonnes and tonnes to do, I’m rather pleased that I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.  I hope to have it in some kind of order by the end of April and am getting all kinds of giddy knowing that it will soon be finished.

And Lastly…
Easter is happening next week, I can hardly believe that it’s going to be April already and we have lots planned. I’m hoping for good weather, fun days out and cooking up some really great meals.  Baking is top of the list according to the kids.

Have a great weekend x

 

butwhymummywhy

Book Review – Tideline

I finished this book a few weeks ago, but can’t stop thinking about it.  It really is one of those books that stay with you. I can’t believe I missed it when it was first released in 2012, but if you like a fast paged psychological thriller and haven’t had a look at this one, then I can recommend it.

Listen to this for a great premise – One winter’s afternoon, Sonia opens the door of her beautiful riverside home to fifteen-year-old Jez, the nephew of a family friend. He’s come to borrow some music. Sonia invites him in and soon decides that she isn’t going to let him leave.

How wonderful an idea is that?
When I read that on the book cover, I did wonder if it would really happen. Would Sonia, this middle-aged woman really keep a teenager in her house? Yes, she does.
For what reason does she keep the teenager in her house?  Read the book.  It’s a goodie.

I did worry that I might find the book a little slow with it being all about Sonia and Jez, but the writing keeps the tension and had me turning the pages as the chilling plot is gently told.

The book is also divided between narratives, something that I’m particularly interested in  as that’s how my book is written, and Penny Hancock does it wonderfully.  The character of Helen, Sonia’s friend, is written in third person, whereas Sonia’s chapters are written in first person. Both characters are exciting to read and I didn’t have that awful thing going on when you’re jumping ahead to chapters which are of the character you prefer.  I loved them both.

The book is really chilling and the description of the River House, Sonia’s house right by the river Thames, is almost like another character in the book.  It’s very atmospheric and gripping from start to finish.

Picture book?

This week I’m tackling the last part to my book and really trying not to rush it.  I love this bit – the bit where you know exactly what you want to write and all your characters have juicy things to say and do.
It’s hard not to rattle along.  I know that I need to take my time, that the ending of a book is the most important thing.  Having a lame ending, that leaves a foul taste in the readers mouth, is the absolute worst.  A book can be brilliant, but if it has a bad ending then it tarnishes the whole book. So, I’m taking my time, watching my word count and making sure I don’t rush it and I get it right. It’s hugely enjoyable.

And as usually happens with me around this time of completing a book, I get an idea for another one.
The other day, I had an idea for a picture book.  A picture book!  I know, not another adult thriller but a book for kids.  Young kids.

Taking out my notepad I scribbled my general ideas down and in a couple of hours had the layout. Still needs work but it’s all there – everything came together pretty quick, the ideas for illustrations and the questions it would raise. I got a bit giddy about it all to be honest.
Its a standard picture book, for ages four to eight and tackles the subject of anxiety (something I’m very familiar with.)

So now, what to do with it?  I want to show it to someone and get some feedback, but have no idea where to start?  Any ideas my lovely writer friends?
When you’ve written this kind of book, where do you go next?

What I’m Writing – week 29

I know this should have been posted up on Tuesday, but I’m still in the middle of the Easter holidays here and it’s hard to get anything written on time at all.

But.

The big news is that I’ve finished my first draft!  Ta-da!  It’s eighty-six thousand words long and it’s done.  I’m now in the process of printing it out and starting editing, ready to make it better.  I know I have numerous drafts to go through yet, but the first one is done.  Yes!

Zoflora review

This blog is woefully neglected, but I have a good reason.  We’re moving house and it’s horrendous!  The amounts of time and energy it’s taken up have bordered on ridiculous. Anyway, the end is finally in sight with a completion date almost set.  The lovely people at Zoflora reached out and asked if I’d like to review some of there product and as I’m in a state of a cleaning frenzy, I jumped at the chance.

There is so much stuff to go through when moving house, so much, well, junk. But the kind of sentimental junk that you struggle to make a decision about getting rid of. So we’ve been filling bin bags and making trips to the tip and cleaning up what has been left behind in an effort to make the house appear clutter free and fresh. Quite the task when you have a demanding toddler making mess as quickly as you clean. We were sent a bottle of Zoflora to help us along and thank goodness! I chose the scent Linen Fresh which is, quite frankly, divine.

I’ve never used Zofora before this and to be honest was a bit daunted about the warning signs and the instructions that told me to dilute it and to what extent, (I know, I’m a rubbish with these kind of things) but once I got over it and started using it, it was great.

We have a lot of laminate flooring and it’s been brilliant on that. It fills the house with a lovely fresh smell that I’ve found to be wonderfully soothing as I’m rushing around. I’ve used it mostly on the floors but also the bathroom – taking care to dilute and only use what’s needed.

I have to say that this bottle has lasted ages. I was sent this months ago and this review is terribly late, but the bottle is still being used, so it’s well worth the price tag. I really like it and will replenish my stock once this is gone, so thank you Zoflora and normal posting will hopefully return to normal on this blog once things begin to be a little calmer!

Babbling, books and GOT

Oh it’s nice to have time to blog again.  To realise I have a few minutes spare and can record what we’ve been up to and what better way than joining in with Little Loves?

So this past week, the things that we have mostly…

Read

I’m still reading this book and loving it.  I adore the writing of Elizabeth Taylor, (no, not that Elizabeth Taylor) and might just have to buy every book written by her after finishing this one.

I plan to do a full review, but I can tell you that it’s some of the wittiest and sharpest writing I’ve read.  A complete joy to escape into and its managed to take my mind off the stress of the house move wonderfully.

I’ve also been catching up on  a lot of blogs and particularly loved this post from Looking for Blue Sky about shows to watch on Netflix as I need some new ideas!  (See watched)

 

Heard
Babbling.  A whole heap of words that I can’t quite make out strung together in some kind of sentence expecting an answer.  The little lady is nearly making sense, but not quite yet.  I keep thinking I need to record it, I forget how the boy was at this age and the noises he made so I must make a video of the girl learning to talk.

Watched
I have been binge watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt over on Netflix and am almost at the end.  It’s one of those daft shows that you can’t quite decide if you like, but by then you’ve watched the whole series.  Addictive and fun.  And… Game of Thrones.  Oh Game of Thrones. It was the end of the series and I’m still thinking about it now.  Can’t say too much more because it will give the whole thing away, but… wow.

Made
Lots of trips to the charity shop and tip.  The sorting is never ending.  Honestly, the junk in our house! How did we ever live with so much stuff?  The one good thing about a house move is that you have to have a clear out.  Even if you hate clearing out. Which I do. A lot.

Worn
Scruffs, so no pictures.  I’ve packed most of my clothes and am currently living in jeans and t-shirts.  In my head I’m this stylish girl running around in bright colours, in the mirror I’m a very mumsy looking woman with nothing to report.  I might paint my nails tonight though, so y’know, next week there might be a picture of some nail polish in this slot.

And Lastly….
We’re all getting very excited about the move. It’s a big move for us – over an hour and half away by car and far from all of our family – but now, despite the nerves, we’re really looking forward to it.  We went to check out the boy’s new school the other week and had a walk around the area.

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That view!  When I get the wobbles about moving I just have to look at this picture that I took with my phone.  This is the view I’ll see everyday.

 

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This will be our morning walk.  After so many weeks of nail biting and wondering if it will really happen it’s finally looking like it will.
Have a wonderful weekend y’all!

butwhymummywhy

 

 

What I’m Writing – week thirty-nine

I’ve not really been writing much lately, but things have been moving forward.  My book is currently out with agents who have expressed an interest, so it’s all fingers crossed and feeling anxious when checking emails.
I really don’t like this part of the writing process and although I tell myself that it’ll be fine whatever the outcome, I still get worked up about it.  I mean, who likes rejection?  No one.  And if anyone says that they don’t mind getting a big fat no then they’re lying.
It’s just one of those things that’s out of my control, I have to accept that I can do nothing about it,  so I just have to…‘let it go, let it go’ (and yes, I am singing the Frozen song as I type these words, and yes, I do tend to sing it every time I refresh my email)

I know the best way to get through this submission phase is to start on a new book, but with the house move, I can’t really expect to start another project. I’ve told myself that it’s okay to wait until we’re settled before starting anything, but having said that, I keep thinking over ideas. Wondering if a certain character will be fun to write about, thinking about what setting would be good.  Churning over how exciting it will be and if the idea is worth developing.

And this is the part I love, the one where my mind is fitting together the parts of the story like a puzzle.  It’s always the same for me; I have the character, the one plot point and the end and nothing else.  So here’s the time I walk around in a daze, not quite listening to things being said to me and when I do, wondering if it will be any good to put in a book.
I have two ideas bouncing around at the moment and not sure which one to go with.

How do you pick on an idea for a book?  How do you know if it’s worth pursuing?  I’m unsure if I should put them to a vote…would you lovely people read the tag lines when I’m ready and tell me which you’d like to read about?

 

Lake District Guide: Fell Foot

As we’re shortly moving to the Lake District, I thought I might share the places we visit and build up a little Lake District Guide.
Once we’ve moved there, we plan on discovering every inch of the Lake District.  It’s long been a favourite destination of ours and we’re hoping to come across some lesser known gems and what better way to document our adventures than on this blog?

So this past weekend, we went to one of my favourite places just outside of Windermere.

 

 

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It’s situated at the very southern tip of lake Windermere and overlooks the lake and mountains with really stunning views. But the best thing about this place is the space.  It has huge sweeping lawns with really old, old trees – the kind that are brilliant for climbing and the kind you just want to wrap your arms around.

There are dedicated areas for barbecues and picnics and a great adventure playground that the little lady adored. Row boats are available to hire (from April to October) and there is a little cafe and very small hut with some activities in, but we didn’t get round to visiting that. I even spotted a ‘den making’ area!

We went last weekend, which was rainy and dull. But the thing is with the Lake District, as I’m becoming to realise, is that if you wait for nice weather to do anything, you’ll be waiting forever. So armed with our waterproof trousers and jackets, off we went. As it turned out, the weather cheered up considerably by the time we got there so we didn’t get nearly as wet as I thought we would.

Fell Foot is really easy to get to, there’s a car park and some free parking along the side of the road leading up to the place. The first thing we decided to do was visit the playground. Our little lady who is going through the terrible twos at the moment, was eager to stretch her legs after being cooped up in the car. There’s all the usual stuff at the park; swings, slide, climbing frame, but it also had one of those zip wire things and even I had to have a go of that!

Then we took a walk along the lake which was beautiful, I kept stopping to look at the trees, they looked so old and knotted! And some of them were too good to pass by, the boy was itching to climb some, so after a while we all got involved. I am no tree climber, but this one was so easy even me and the little lady managed it!

When we visited it was the canoe summer solstice race, so there was a bit of a display on of all types of different canoes, dingies and paddle boards. Next time we visit we are definitely taking the wet suits because the lake is so accessible the boy could’ve gone on the lake with the husband whilst me and the little lady watched from the shore. As it was, we didn’t have the right gear so, much to the boy’s disappointment, we had to leave it for another time.

Fell Foot was just the right mix of adventure and calm. And considering that we went on a Saturday, in the middle of June, it wasn’t too busy at all. If you’re thinking of taking a trip, I hope our pictures and description of the place helps you decide how you want to spend your time there.

Magic tidying, rubbish and rain coats…#littleloves

READ

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, arrived this week and I have been devouring it.  Because we’re on the count down to the move, I’ve decided it’s a perfect time to get rid of all our clutter and this book has been helping me along.  I’m only half way through at the moment, but it’s already had quite an impact and helped me get through those agonising decisions over what to keep and what to throw out.  I have this image of our new home in my mind and it is not, I repeat, not, filled with junk!

 

 

 

WATCHED

I was browsing through NetFlix the other night and came across the film, ‘Sorry, Wrong Number.’  Having never seen it before, I thought I’d give it ago and from the first few minutes I was hooked!
Basically, an in picks up the phone, gets a crossed line and hears two people planning a murder.  It was brilliant. It seems I love film-noir and am now scouring through the archives for more.  I love the dramatic dialogue, the contrasting frames and the whole ugly side that it shows to human greed and disloyalty.  Love it.  Can feel new ideas for books and plots rolling up as I watch!

WORE
We had a little adventure over at Fell Foot this week and as it was rainy, waterproofs were all that we wore.  Seems my little yellow jacket has never had so much use! And this is summer???!! Looks like we’re heading for some sunshine next week, so have my fingers crossed that my shorts will get a chance to be worn!

HEARD
Old music.  I was packing up our CD’s this week (CD’s?  Remember them?) and couldn’t resist playing some of them.  Top of the list was Seal, (which the husband referred to as ‘elevator music’ and good old George Michael.)

MADE
Rubbish.  Lots and lots of rubbish bags to be taken to the tip.  I predict this will go on for the next few weeks until we finally move!

AND LASTLY….
I’ve been getting all kinds of anxious as the moving date approaches.  I’m mostly worried about how the kids will find the move, I know they’re resilient and adaptable, but it still stops me from sleeping when I think about how the boy will cope with moving school and leaving his friends. Then something happened this week that relieved a bit of the tension, I can’t yet put it up on the blog as it’s to remain a wonderful surprise for him,  but it was a small act of kindness from someone that doesn’t yet know us and it changed everything.
I was so grateful to this person and it made all the difference to my mindset.  So I must remember, when things seem overwhelming, when everything seems to be against you and it feels like you’re swimming upstream, things can change in an instant.
I also want to remember it for if I ever have the opportunity to make this change in someone else’s life, and it reminded me of this quote. I have it up in the kitchen on the chalkboard and will try to remember it – as the more stressed I get, I tend to forget that everyone else is just as stressed!

 

 

Have a great weekend!

New starts, CRAZY weather and getting organised #littleloves

We’ve made it.  We’ve finally moved and I’m almost in a place where I feel I can start blogging again.  It’s been a crazy time.  No wonder they say moving is one of the most stressful things you can do – it certainly is and the aftermath has left us all frazzled.  Especially as there’s still work to get through, the business thankfully keeps going despite the huge mess at the house or children running riot.  But.  And it’s a big but, the place we’re in is totally worth it.  We love it here and I can feel it all settling down and becoming home.

So, what better way to jump back into blogging than joining in with #littleloves

Read

Hardly anything.  I’ve dipped into blogs and commented sporadically but the book that I’ve been turning to for a little escapism has been this old classic by Elizabeth Taylor.  (No, not that Elizabeth Taylor) Her writing is very comforting somehow, it must be her excellent description of flawed characters but it was easy for me to dip in and out of with so much going on this month.

 

 

 

Watched
We’ve only just got the television and satellite channels set up, so for a large part of this month we had to make do with normal tv.  I know!  Almost back to just four channels!  But we did catch a great programme that I would’ve missed normally.  It was  I thought we were doing something hard with moving the house and business but believe me, it was nothing compared to what the people on this show are up to.

Wore
It’s been barmy weather hasn’t it?  One thing we’ve had to get used to living in the Lakes is how quickly the weather can change.  One minute the sun is breaking through and the next it’s torrential downpour! When we first moved here someone said to us, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.”  Well I have been wearing the wrong clothes!

Heard
Jessie Ware and more Jessie Ware.  I needed something quite beautiful to unpack to and even my little girl likes to spin around to her.  She’s also one of the only artists that I can listen to for hours at the moment without getting bored.

Made
Lots and lots of new discoveries.  A new start.  There’s so much to explore here, right on our doorstep, sometimes the pressure to go out even though we’re all exhausted and the weather is terrible is immense!

 

And Lastly…..


I’ve been trying to keep up with the gratitude.  It’s been a stressful time, especially with so much to do and the children being off, but I’m so very, very lucky.  I’m starting a gratitude journal again, listing five things every day to be thankful for.

 

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend all!