#AtoZChallenge – Sitting in a Queue is a Good Day Out!

We are now enjoying what appears to be a very bright, sunny and warm weekend for Easter here in the UK. There is a running joke that whenever we have a Bank Holiday weekend, the weather turns bad. This time we might actually be in luck. Subsequently everyone decides to head for the beach, to make the most of this glorious occurrence. Today on the #AtoZChallenge, I allocate the letter Q to queues.

My husband and I decided to take our children for a long-overdue daytrip to the seaside. We packed up the car, got onto the motorway, and were immediately stuck in a very long queue of traffic. A quick glance at the flashing motorway gantry sign confirmed our suspicions. This queue was very long. We decided to try a different route, and changed our planned destination accordingly.

Traffic jam

Having first tried heading up the M6 towards the Fylde coast, which was my original suggestion, we changed our minds when we saw the queue. My husband then suggested we go with a trip to North Wales, which is always a favourite destination. Unfortunately it was just as bad, and a journey that would have originally taken us just over an hour to complete, instead took almost three hours.

Nevertheless, we refused to be defeated. My husband tried coming off the A-roads a couple of times, only to be redirected back onto them when the queues stretched in all directions. It was a mixture of small accidents and sheer volume of traffic that caused the problem. Still, we finally reached our destination, enjoyed our picnic on the beach, and took in the wonderful fresh sea air of the North Wales coast.


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

*Image courtesy of BBC news

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#AtoZChallenge – Living with Chronic Pain

Today is Good Friday, and for the #AtoZChallenge I allocate the letter P to pain. I was going to talk primarily about postnatal pain, but decided instead to be more general. Chronic pain is something that almost everybody has to live with. I was listening to a feature on BBC radio 5 Live just yesterday on this topic, and some of the callers that were interviewed moved me to tears.

Living with chronic pain is something I am very familiar with. To look at me from the outside, so to speak, people would not see a problem. I have never been classed as disabled, never needed any special treatment in daily life. I rarely see my GP, and actually would not recognize my registered doctor if I saw him out on the street. And yet, I have this condition.

Chronic pain art

The chronic pain condition that I live with is related to two eye disorders that work in tandem. I have a condition called Lymphodoema Distichiasis. Basically, I have two rows of eyelashes in each eye, one of which grows on the inside of the eyelids and subsequently scratches the cornea. I have scarring on both eyes that was sustained in childhood, since it took a while for me to be properly diagnosed. This included multiple surgical procedures and various medicine trials. As a teenager I developed Dry Eye Syndrome, where my eyes do not produce enough natural tears for lubrication. It leaves me with a permanent feeling of tiredness, and hot, sore eyes. Some days I literally want to rip my eyes out because I feel that would be the only cure.

Chronic pain woman

More recently I have developed chronic pain symptoms that might be sciatica, but they have not been properly checked by doctors and so I don’t have an official diagnosis. I began to have severe leg and lower back pain during my first pregnancy. It eased off and then returned when my baby was about 8 months old, and has since returned on regular occasions with my second child. The leg pain leaves me crying out in agony and unable to move, and it is very distressing. I had a brief programme of physiotherapy when I first went to my doctor, but was told the pain should ease after a few months. I was left feeling frustrated and alone. My doctors dismissed me as an unimportant case.

I know quite a few people who also live with chronic pain. It seems to be something of an accepted condition in my social circles. Our cultural norm for dealing with such a problem is to throw medicine at it. I personally believe that we need to go deeper. For myself I feel that a good programme of emotional and psychological therapy would go a long way to help ease my pain symptoms, and subsequently leave me refreshed and happy. At the moment I can’t afford such therapy, but I will investigate it anyway, just in case… I wonder if this might work for other people? Please do share your stories, and any links for organisations that might be useful.


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

*Pain art image courtesy of WikiHow.com; Woman in pain image courtesy of Pinterest


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#AtoZChallenge – To Observe is to See

My life is crazy right now. On the surface everything appears very normal and boring. But inside me there is a tornado building, and something has to give. It occurred to me that a good word for today’s #AtoZChallenge would be observe for the letter O. As a writer I pen tales based on the people, situations and places I observe. Being a mother I continually watch my children as they grow and develop, and at the moment I observe the subtle differences between their personalities.

Sometimes I feel very silly because I fail to observe the wider world around me. For example, when driving out and about, my husband seems able to observe not only the road and other vehicles, but everything beyond. It takes all of my concentration just to navigate through the journey safely, and to maintain a conversation with my passengers. Oh, and usually I am the one responding to the children and their demands from the back seat!


I am not the only person that has struggles. All around the world people are battling to survive, to heal, to escape, to work through a whole host of challenges. In the western world we observe these struggles from a sympathetic distance, and yes, there are lots of people who get stuck in and help. For me on a personal level, I am at the stage right now where I need to fix my own life situation, so that I may then move on and help others if they ask.

All too often we are so busy thinking about what needs to be done, what has been done, and what we want to do, that we forget to simply stand still and observe our place in the world. I live a very quiet, simple life, but I am surrounded by loving family and friends, and I never go hungry. That is a huge blessing, and today I want to take a moment to observe my good life, and then move on from the self-imposed barriers I have erected. Have a lovely Thursday my friends!


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

*Goddess image courtesy of Pinterest

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#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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