Category Archives: Other

The Leibster Award

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So, my friend Thea nominated me for the Leibster Award, which is kind of like a pay-it-forward interview thing that gets people to open up about themselves (not that most bloggers need encouragement to do that :p ). I’m pretty pleased about this, because I never get nominated for this sort of thing (can’t quite work out why. Maybe I don’t strike people as the sort who’d play along.) So here’s the rules:

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Step one, check. Now for step two:

  1. What is the air velocity of a laden swallow? Is it European or African? Whichever, it’s probably slow compared to the ground velocity of a cheetah. 🙂
  2. What are your thoughts on Doctor Who? If you watch the show, what are your thoughts on Peter Capaldi as the Doctor? I watch Doctor Who sporadically, mostly only catching season starts and ends. My favourite Doctor was David Tennant. Peter Capaldi strikes me as a bit Willy Wonka-like. Dark and sort of insane.
  3. If you could have a non-pet animal as a pet (and such an arrangement would, in fact, work), what animal would that be? Ooh, a lion! I’ve wanted one ever since I was five. And I would love him and stroke him and call him Squeee.
  4. Do you think Pluto should be classified as a planet? Why? Probably not. It is quite far away and not very big…Also, if Ceres, Eris, Makemake and Huamea don’t get to be proper planets, why should Pluto?
  5. What is your favourite muffin? Chocolate, of course. All other muffins weep before it.
  6. What is one restaurant you will never eat at again, ever? (And whatever did that restaurant do to you to deserve this?) The John Logie Baird (our local Wetherspoons). Their fry-up doesn’t come with mushrooms as standard. If you order a portion as an added extra, they charge you  75 pence and consider one mushroom to be a ‘portion’ of mushrooms  . In my book, this is pure evil. There is never an excuse to be stingy with the mushrooms.
  7. If you were suddenly two feet shorter, what one change in your life do you think would be the biggest? I would have considerably more difficulty kissing my husband….
  8. What if you were suddenly two feet taller? That would make me 7ft 10…I’d probably hit my head on all the doorways.
  9. How do you feel about pie? Not what you think about it. What are your feelings about it? I have so much love for pie. Whoever invented pie is a genius.
  10. What is something you did (or that happened) in elementary school (5-11 years old) that you are still absurdly proud of? Ummm…I fought such a war of stubbornness with my teacher over a book, that my Headmaster had to end the war by giving me the book. It’s an odd little tale largely to do with my rebellion against not being allowed to keep taking this book out the library because I ‘needed to read other books.’ I read plenty of other books outside of school and I didn’t have this one at home and didn’t see why I shouldn’t keep reading it if I liked it so much. It was actually weeks of my teacher withholding this book and me refusing to read any other before the Head stepped in. The book was ‘Girl’s Adventure Stories of Long Ago’ if anyone was wondering.
  11. Is there a dream you had as a child that has come true? What is it? If there isn’t one, what’s one that you’re working towards? This is an awesome question, because for me, there are so many. Getting married, having a baby, learning to play the flute, going skydiving, going ice skating, becoming a morris dancer, joining Girlguiding, fire-walking….and there are plenty I am still working on, like writing a book. (17,000-ish words and counting, people!)

My 11 random facts:

  1. I jumped out of the first plane I ever flew in. Actually, for a few years, I was able to say I’d taken off in a plane but never landed in one. It’s fun to confuse people 🙂
  2. I have oddly flexible shoulders and some contortionist style party tricks up my sleeves.
  3. I can wiggle my ears. All the women in my family can.
  4. If I could live in any book world, it would be Milly-Molly-Mandy’s. Everything is so lovely and simple.
  5. I really want a tower. Preferably a library tower, with the obligatory sliding ladder. And a fireplace flanked by leather wing-backed armchairs. And my bed over in a corner….
  6. Everyone thinks my favourite pizza topping is chicken and mushroom but it’s actually beetroot, rocket and goat’s cheese.
  7. There have been many books that made me cry but the one that made me cry myself to sleep was ‘ The Song of Pentecost’ by W. J. Corbett.  If you liked Watership Down, you’ll probably like this book. It’s about a group of mice forced to move from their home, their fearless leader Pentecost, their journey and the characters they meet. But fair warning, it has a sad ending.
  8. It is hard for me to pick a favourite movie but here’s a few of them. White Oleander. Twister. Little Miss Sunshine. Memoirs of a Geisha. Any of the Bring It On movies (except number two. Number two was awful.) Chocolate (the Thai movie, not the one with Johnny Depp in it.) Nine (the musical).
  9. I also quite like the film Byzantium, because it was largely filmed in Hastings (UK) where I live. There is a whole scene where one of the characters (Eleanor) is playing piano, which is filmed in the room I got married in. It’s cool being able to see one of my favourite actresses (Saoirse Ronan) hanging out in places I’ve been all my life.
  10. I wear a lot of purple. A lot.
  11. I once sang in the Royal Albert Hall. My school’s chamber choir was invited to participate in an event involving a thousand school kids singing a song composed especially for us. I really wish I’d bought the DVD…

My nominations….

  1. http://littlesuedoll.blogspot.co.uk/
  2. https://squidgetsmum.wordpress.com/
  3. http://runclevergirl.com/
  4. http://boredkidcomics.expectedaberrations.com/ (Thea, I know you already did this for your main blog but I’m running out of people and Kara only has 7 followers….you don’t have to but maybe answer from Kara’s perspective? *cheeky grin*)
  5. https://idolyrics.wordpress.com/
  6. https://the57thsnowflake.wordpress.com/
  7. https://byjuliette.wordpress.com/

That’s all the people I follow with less than 200 followers…I can’t do 11!

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What’s your favourite topping for pancakes?
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
  3. If you could achieve any one goal, money no object, what would it be?
  4. If everyone who read this had to give a donation to a charity, which charity would you choose and what would be donated? (food, clothes, money….)
  5. Llamas or alpacas? Which one is best?
  6. If you could only ever wear one colour again, what would it be?
  7. What was your dream job when you were a kid? Do you do it now?
  8. Based only on what you know of me from my blog, what would you buy me if you had to buy me a present? (This question is here because it’s my birthday tomorrow, not because I’m some weird kind of present narcissist.)
  9. Would you rather be a cat for a day, or a dog? Why?
  10. If you could pick any world leader and go for a day out with them, who would it be and what would you do?
  11. If you could answer this question, or give someone a cookie, which would it be? (leave it blank if you gave someone a cookie.)

I hope you enjoyed reading this! If everyone I’ve nominated posts a link back to their answers that would be really cool, but you don’t have to 🙂

2014 Annual Review

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Hello! It’s time for my first ever annual review (of how well I did at my goals for 2014), so let’s just dive straight in:

What went well this year?
 I ran the Hastings half-marathon in less than my target time of 3.5 hours
 I also did a five-mile race, this is the most running I’ve done since…ever
 I caught my first fish
 I abseiled (rappelled) down 128 feet of building for charity
 I started the Trefoil Guild Bronze Voyage Award and it’s satisfactorily in progress
 I got a B in my maths G.C.S.E. Hooray, I can do higher math now!
 I got married! Best decision ever!
 I have (to date) written 15,500 words of my novel (breaking my personal record)
 I finally learnt to roller-blade
 I mastered my natural shyness about singing in public by appearing in the Hastings Gang Show and singing two solo numbers
 I also tidied up some loose ends and finished a couple of minor projects, as well as regaining an old friend I thought I’d never see again.

What did not go well this year?
 I set the target too high for my goal: ‘Write at least 1000 words per day at least 5 days a week)’ I’ve decided to ‘mini-habit’ this in 2015 -50 words a day is so small I can’t possibly fail at it and will most likely write much more each day, therefore both establishing a daily writing habit and encouraging over-achievement rather than failure. I can always move the bar later.
 National Novel Writing Month: I did well for the time I could put into it. I found it highly enjoyable, it just didn’t mix well with full show rehearsals and performances. Verdict – I took on too much. Next year I will not be mixing NaNo with any other goal. I might do Camp Nano instead…
 Go to America, meet Elliot’s family etc: Plans changed, money was needed elsewhere, this is now planned for April 2015 (fingers crossed anyway)
 Take my Grade 3 flute exam -okay, honestly, I barely worked on this…it just didn’t appeal this year, so it’s a 2015 goal now.
 Road test ideas for easily maintained and automated businesses; take further if poss. This didn’t happen because I’ve been testing out a business idea that is not easily maintained and automated…but it is super cool and my husband is into it, so maybe that’s better?

Goals for 2015, including but not limited to (and in no particular order):
• Complete a beginner’s archery course so I can start competing
• Go to America to visit my husband’s family
• Take my daughter to Disneyland Paris
• Have a go on a trapeze
• Take my Grade 3 music theory exam
• Actually work on my Grade 3 flute exam
• Start refreshing my piano skills so I can help my daughter with her lessons
• Do more stuff with my daughter –baking, science experiments, crafts, maths etc
• Finish the first draft of my novel (daily writing and NaNo)
• Increase the size of my family (Elliot and I are officially trying for a baby!)
• Implement more sustainable techniques in the way I live e.g. grow my own veg

CONCLUSION: 2014 was a good, productive year that could have been more productive if I had avoided some scheduling conflicts but probably was as good as it was going get because weddings are a massive time/energy/money suck even when you plan really simple ones. I’m now really looking forward to next year! I wish everyone as much joy in themselves and their lives as it is humanly possible to feel; here’s to another year of inspiration, small wins (and big ones) and friendships old and new!

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15th of February 2007 – No.03: Get the other side of my nose pierced

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With the discovery of my pregnancy, I was suddenly facing a choice. To list or not to list? Having a child at 19 could potentially limit my ability to do stuff from my list, so I reviewed it. I thought a few things were best saved for later life anyway, when I would have more time and money; but enough of it could be done piece by piece or very cheaply that I decided to keep going with it. For some reason (I honestly couldn’t tell you what it was now) I was quite reluctant to let ‘Have Children’ be the first thing I crossed off my list, so I opted for ‘No.03: Get the Other Side of my Nose Pierced’ instead.
The left side of my nose was already pierced but I wanted to have both sides done. I now know several people who have the same but at the time it was quite an unusual sight in Hastings (the town in which I grew up and still reside). I can’t say that it was a difficult thing to do; I simply paid a body artist £30 and sat still while she shoved a needle through my nose. This led me to the conclusion that piercings were not really achievements and therefore should not be part of the list. Consequently, I removed from my list all bar the nose piercing because I’d already completed it. For those who are curious, I’ve had a total of 14 permanent piercings over my lifetime. Needles have never bothered me. Currently, I have a much more respectable 6 piercings, although that number may increase or decrease in the future. The photos in this post are from an Indian-style photoshoot I did recently (2015) and I think nicely demonstrate that both sides of my nose are pierced.

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August 2006 – The Bulldog Bash and Barrie

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Aged 18, just before I became pregnant

Aged 18, just before I became pregnant

I wrote my list on a sunny day in August at the 25th Bulldog Bash, a Hell’s Angels-run biker festival. I’d gone with my (at the time) boyfriend of a year, Barrie, along with several of our friends and a few of his family, who went every year. This was the first time I’d been and I was having a great time. Later that day I would be going to see a line-up of bands that included Skindred, Hundred Reasons, Breed 77 and Pitchshifter, but for now, I was lazing in the sunshine. A warm breeze drifted gently over my skin. As I lay on the grass gazing up at the sky, Barrie’s face entered my field of view.
“Come on,” he said, “Let’s go and see the custom bike tent.” Having no objection, I followed him to a large marquee filled with customised motorbikes of impressive skill and varying taste. My interest piqued, I wandered around enthusiastically until we got to a shiny chrome number and something sparkled in my mind. I turned to Barrie excitedly.
“I should totally make a custom bike; I want to make one just like the bike from Ghostrider!”
Barrie laughed. “Wiggle, you never do any of the stuff you say you’re going to do.”
“Oh.” I said, momentarily deflated. I thought for a few seconds. “Well, that’s mainly because I don’t remember that I want to do things until I think of something else I want to do. I should make a list of all the things I want to do, then I won’t forget and I’ll actually do some of it.”
“That could work.” said Barrie “Might as well try it.”
So I found a place to sit down and wrote out as much as I could remember wanting to do. I was quite surprised by how long the list was. When I showed it to them my friends unanimously agreed the list was a good idea but many of them thought I had over-reached.
“Go to space or the moon on holiday” one of them quoted, as the rest howled with laughter. (This was before commercial space flights were available, so I can see why people may have had their doubts; however I was pretty confident it would be commonplace by the time I hit 80. I still am confident; it’s just a matter of waiting for the cost to drop.)
“You seriously think you can do everything on this list?” someone asked.
“I don’t have to do all of it,” I explained. “That’s the point. It’s a list of things I want to do with my life, not things I have to do with it. If I think of something new I can add it and if I change my mind about something I can remove it. I’ll be more than happy if I can cross off less than half of it.”
***
Four weeks after we returned from the Bulldog Bash, I realised there was something that hadn’t returned. I was five days late for my period. It had happened before, being one or two days late and had always been nothing, so I wasn’t really worried as I picked up a precautionary pregnancy test. As you can imagine, I was pretty surprised to discover the pregnancy test was positive. I went straight out and bought another one, taking it in the shopping centre’s bathrooms. Also positive. The third one too. For a while, I sat there in shock. Then I called Barrie, asking him to meet me in town. When he arrived, I didn’t beat around the bush.
“I’m pregnant.” I announced. Barrie’s response was not particularly satisfying but to be fair, the poor bloke was in shock as well. Suffice it to say that half an hour later I had broken up with him. I’d been thinking about it for a week or so already anyway. Some weeks of discussion followed, the outcome of which was that we would remain friends and bring up our child between us, but separately.
It can’t be said that my family took the news well either; I was 18, unemployed and (worse, for my Irish Catholic Father), unwed. I was also, for the sake of honesty, on medication for a mental health condition. Several people advised me to have an abortion; I never even considered it. I always wanted to be a Mum and an abortion or adoption were never options for me. So, I was going to be crossing ‘No.14: Have Children’ off of my list a lot sooner than I had intended.