#AtoZChallenge – Notebooks and Nappies

I have chosen another amusingly random title for today’s #AtoZChallenge post. For the letter N I allocate notebooks. The reason I called the post Notebooks and Nappies is because these are pretty much my basic key items of luggage when I go out and about (I keep a notebook in my baby change bag, just in case). I was going to write a post about normality or something like it, but then I remembered I already did that one in the #AtoZChallenge 2013, doh!

There are several notebooks knocking around my house at the moment. Most are mine, but a few do belong to my husband and daughter. He needs them for his professional research, and she acquired them from me when she saw me writing notes for my various projects (and the shopping lists). I love the art of writing, even if it is simply a brief scribble on the back of an envelope.


Writing in a notebook has always been one of my simple pleasures in life. I used to write random quotes on my school exercise books, snippets of poetry that came to mind, or even just sentences copied out of text books. I just love to write, and on occasions when I knew that I needed to write but I didn’t know what to do, I would pick up a notebook and a text book and be well away for an hour or so.

Collecting notebooks is also a very pleasurable activity. I suppose it is just another aspect of the human nature and its need to collect things per se. Some people collect ornaments, or paraphernalia, or specific items of interest. I don’t actually collect notebooks on purpose. I seem to have acquired some as gifts along the way, others I bought out of necessity, and yes, there are some that I buy simply because they are pretty!


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? See you tomorrow!


*Notebooks image courtesy of Pinterest

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#AtoZChallenge – What is the #MidLitFest?

Today on the #AtoZChallenge I have the pleasure of allocating the letter M to #MidLitFest. I have created this brand new hash tag handle in an effort to help promote the very first Middlewich Literary Festival, which takes place on 23rd and 24th May this year.

If you are not familiar with Middlewich, it is a small canal town in the borough of East Cheshire, UK, and I am one of the local authors that will be represented at #MidLitFest. Anybody in the mid Cheshire area who has an interest in books, reading, writing or a bit of everything, is welcome to come along and see what it’s all about.


The #MidLitFest is brought to you by Middlewich Vision, and we are taking the festival into local schools to get the children involved. There are two short story competitions and one graphic design competition for our budding young artists and marketing executives.

You can see more about the #MidLitFest in our local newspaper, the Middlewich Guardian, and on the Middlewich Vision website. I am also covering the event on my author blog, since I plan to enjoy the opportunity to be involved in such an exciting event in my home town. See you there!


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? See you tomorrow!

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#AtoZChallenge – Battling the Laundry Pile

Are we halfway through the #AtoZChallenge already? Wow! Time is flying once again. Today I allocate the letter L to laundry. My reason for this is because it takes up so much of my time these days. My washing machine never stops, or at least that’s how it feels. My bedroom often resembles a Chinese laundry, and on dry days my washing line in the back garden is full.

Where does all this laundry come from? Mainly my children, and also my own clothes tend to get smeared with what I like to term ‘baby residue.’ Not a day goes by without me being covered in milk, or crushed biscuit, or something a little less appealing that leaks from baby’s nose… I really appreciate my automatic washing machine.


We just returned from a week away, leaving my husband at home to go out to work. Since we stayed with my mother-in-law I was able to wash clothes and nappies every other day, so I wasn’t expecting to return home to an overflowing laundry basket. I think I just washed a whole week’s worth of my husband’s boxer shorts, because he never quite got round to putting a load on to wash when he got home from work at night.

So there I am. My mission this week is to catch up with the laundry created by a family of four, by which time I will be preparing to wash bedding and towels… it never ends! Have a great week everyone!


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? See you tomorrow!

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#AtoZChallenge – My Kitchen Quest

Following on from my ‘junk’ post on yesterday’s #AtoZChallenge, today I allocate the letter K to kitchens. I never used to think much about the kitchen. It was a place where food came from, where the dishes were stored, and that was about it. I was never going to be the stereotypical Stepford wife, happily baking, cooking and cleaning, keeping an immaculate household and model children and husband.

Somewhere along the line, after my husband and I bought our first house, I gradually became more obsessed with wanting the perfect family kitchen. By that I mean a big room where we can fit a table and chairs, space for the dog bed and bowls, and most importantly, enough cupboard and worktop space for me to enjoy creating nutritious, interesting meals for my family. I know, I know, it is one of those idealistic images sold to us in glossy magazines.


The thing is I actually have friends who are fortunate enough to own houses with kitchens like these. They are beautiful spaces; practical, liveable and full of warm, loving energy. And I will have a larger house with such a kitchen very soon. There is just the small matter of finances to deal with first (more overtime, my darling husband?!)

My kitchen now really isn’t that bad. I mean, we have a beautiful, cosy two-bed terraced house that was built in 1896. I love the history of our home, and both my husband and I intend to restore it to what we see as its former glory one day, when we can afford to do so. The kitchen is a small, square room at the back of the house, and we would prefer to build an extension so it can become the big family kitchen-diner that I dream of.


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? Have a lovely weekend!

*Image courtesy of Blessed Wild Apple Girl on Tumblr

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#AtoZChallenge – The Joy of Discovering Junk

This may seem like an odd title for today’s #AtoZChallenge, but bear with me and I will explain. I allocate the letter J to junk, and by that I mean the idea of collecting items that other people might consider to be junk (or rubbish here in the UK). A more popular name for the habit of junk collecting is vintage, or maybe retro. In fact, there are lots of descriptions for this most exciting form of treasure hunting.

I have always been drawn to old items of interest, whether that means old buildings, old furniture, and old cornucopia; just about anything that has a story to tell. Anything that other people might call junk. I am never happier than when I take time out to visit my favourite local craft and antique centre, Dagfields, and when I go away on holiday I love to discover junk shops, antique centres and craft fairs.


Another junk shopping habit I indulge in is visiting charity shops. Since the decline of the UK high street in its traditional form, we have seen an explosion of charity shops in our towns. In my home town of Middlewich, for example, there are three charity shops on the main high street, and it is only a small town. These charity shops are excellent places, however, and I find lots of fantastic bargains in them.

While visiting my family this week I have revisited the charity shops in my former home town, and I was very pleased with some clothes I discovered in the Douglas Macmillan charity shop. I am now itching to revisit Dagfields, and actually to go further afield and explore the junk shops locally that I haven’t been to for a long time.


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? See you tomorrow!

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#AtoZChallenge – Use your Imagination

Our imagination is a wonderful tool, and the perfect word to allocate for the letter I in today’s #AtoZChallenge post. I was struggling to think of an appropriate letter, and then I saw my daughter running around playing a lively game with her fairy friends. Well, enough said! She is wearing a pretty, red party dress over her t-shirt and leggings, and has invited the fairies to a special party. It sounds fabulous!

I love using my imagination. I do it all the time. As a writer it is essential for weaving my stories together, and of course, I wouldn’t have those stories in the first place without my imagination. My world is populated with whimsical creatures, both cute and not so cute. Just last night I woke with my baby and took a visit to the bathroom in the dark. For some reason my mind flitted back to memories of the horror film The Woman in Black that I had seen about two weeks ago. Needless to say I got back into bed very quickly!

Use Your Imagination

During my studies of the occult world I have learned that our imagination is key to connecting with the world of Spirit. When we take time to meditate, we imagine places of calm and tranquillity, as a method to soothe the active mind and help it to rest. Sitting in a dark stately home in the middle of the night, performing vigils with fellow ghost hunters, we must learn to separate our imagination from the reality of the sights and sounds around us.

Ultimately, without the use of my imagination, my life would be a very dull existence. Just now, for example, I am sitting in my father-in-law’s office, working on his computer, and the view from the window is a luscious back garden flanked by green fields and tall trees. Beautiful! It is your imagination that puts the picture together as I describe it.


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? See you tomorrow!

*Image courtesy of Pinterest

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#AtoZChallenge – Hooray for our National Health Service!

My word for the #AtoZChallenge today is health, corresponding with the letter H in our alphabet list. There has been a lot of discussion lately in political circles about the National Health Service in the UK. Many people complain about the reported ‘postcode lottery’ for health care, while others campaign tirelessly to keep their local hospitals and health centres open and operating within the community.

Our nation has been very proud of our free health care service ever since it was introduced sixty years ago. I for one am very grateful to have it, since I receive regular treatment for a rare and chronic eye condition called Distichiasis (double row of eyelashes). I have associated Dry Eye Syndrome, and the whole thing can leave me with a lot of pain, a continuous sensation of grit in my eyes, and general tiredness on days when it flares up. I have scars on my corneas as a result of the eyelashes scratching my eyes, but fortunately I have received excellent care from doctors in the Midlands and North West NHS trusts.


We have every reason to be even more thankful for free health care now that my father-in-law will need months, if not years, of rehabilitation after his recent accident. Many people are quick to complain about long waiting lists for routine operations, or about not being able to see their doctors at short notice, and I do agree with those complaints to a certain degree. Ultimately, however, I know we are very fortunate to have access to such health care, and so today I say a big Thank You to everybody within the NHS for everything that they do for me and my family.


Thank you for stopping by, now why not check out my fellow writers on the #AtoZChallenge? See you tomorrow!


*NHS wings image courtesy of Three Little Flowers blog

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