Tag Archives: blogging

Singin’ Sweet Songs

Aol, Bird, Tree, Feather, Branch

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: DELIGHTFUL/PLEASANT/SWEET

I have chosen a song for today that we have been singing a lot lately – a lot. The reason is that we wanted to cheer up a friend, a very sweet friend, who is poorly sick right now. So…we asked lots of other friends to record themselves singing, and Jack (who is such a clever boy!) has assembled it all together into a video.

Lots of smiles – was the result.

I am sure you know this song – and know it well – “Three Little Birds” by the legendary Bob Marley.

“Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Rise up this mornin’
Smile with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, “This is my message to you-ou-ou:”

Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don’t worry!”
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing” – I won’t worry!
“‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right”

Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right”
I won’t worry!
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right”
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing, oh no!
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Written by: Bob Marley

Magnificent Masterchef

There’s not a lot that is worth watching on television….however, I do like Masterchef. There are three versions each year on the BBC, the normal Masterchef – which is always my favourite, the professionals Masterchef which I have started to enjoy almost as much as the original version, and the celebrity version, when around twenty “celebrities” (only five of which do I recognise) test my patience as find that the audience are actually watching because they are interested in cooking, not in celebrities.

But I have to say, I have really enjoyed the episodes of this year’s Celebrity Masterchef which ended last night with a fantastic final. Don’t worry I am not going to say who wins., I know there may be some still planning to catch up on it later.

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.com

I just want to say…I really really was impressed by Penny Lancaster’s dishes. I watched her cooking and decided to myself that surely she has had chance to eaten some very fine food in her life.

Overall, there were two contestants that I could not get enough of and I rated as fabulous. One was to my surprise – Bez – he was just brilliant. I also loved watching Melanie Sykes, and probably her dishes are more my cup of tea than most in the competition. But perhaps picking two northerners out reveals some bias on my part.

I also have to mention Megan – one of the celebrities that I had ever seen before – in my opinion she was the most consistently good from the start. She impressed, and oh my, she made gluten free look sensational.

But the one contestant I have been bowled over by is Joe Swash – again did not have a clue who he was, but I did recognise the name of his fiance Stacy Solomon. Joe, Joe, Joe – what a mucky pup – but his progress was outstanding. He went from being the most irritating of all the contestants to being the one I wanted to watch. I actually felt excited for him – what is Joe going to do this week?

So…”celebrities”….bit of a nonsensical term in my opinion….but I love seeing a bunch of people, a few of whom I recognize, most of whom are complete strangers to me…falling in love with cooking. It’s a great show, and it is one of the few shows I actually think are worthy of my taking a little time out for.

Days When I Love The Health Service

Yesterday was a good day. You know, sometimes I find my job very tiring, it can be very stressful and is often exhausting. But here is something interesting – I love people – and so for me, being part of a team (and working in the health service is for team players) and caring for the health needs of people is hugely satisfying.

I am very tired though – so I am going to bed!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

So Much To Do!!!

I have a growing “to-do” list in my head. Of course, you probably realize that it is very unwise to keep it in my head. I keep meaning to write my “to-do” list down on paper – I think that task is in fact Number 48 on the list.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

For every three tasks crossed off that list, five more seem to be added to the end of the list. Right now…I need sleep…and then when I wake up, I will crack on with more of the tasks waiting for my attention!

Farewell Summer

I think summer is grinding to a halt here in England. I had a shock last week when I left work just after 7pm and it was dark! The reality of summer passing away struck me hard.

I find autumn and winter hard – it’s the dark. I just find that all I want to do is hibernate. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of the gloomy months ahead and seeing people wasting money on all sorts of useless things. The holiday season always brings lots of work as people do foolish things or give in to gloomy thoughts.

What will help me keep my spirits up when summer is fading? Jack is always going to be fun! He has energy no matter what the season. Did I tell you we have an engagement party planned at long last? Over a year since we became engaged! Really it is just a chance for our families to be together. There will be food, games and dancing. It will help make memories – which will be lovely.

I just wish I could enjoy the no coat temperatures and the long hours of daylight for longer. I am a summer girl – through and through.

Photo by Hebert Santos on Pexels.com

My True Love Was True

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the truly delightful theme: DEVOTED/FAITHFUL/HONOURABLE/LOYAL/TRUE

I have chosen a song today which is actually very sad, but it is also a brilliant track. The Platters had a way with them – they could produce something very very special. Possibly one of their most famous tracks is “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”.

First written for a musical called “Roberta” way back in 1933! But it was 1959 when The Platters recorded this song with their incredible voices and had a well-deserved Number One hit.

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
I of course replied
Something here inside
Can not be denied

They, said some day you’ll find
All who love are blind
When your heart’s on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

So I chaffed them, and I gaily laughed
To think they could doubt my love
And yet today, my love has flown away
I am without my love

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes

Smoke gets in your eyes

Written by: Jerome Kern and Otto A Harbach

A Che*sy Treat!

I have been following Bethany’s Vegan Kitchen for quite a long time. I love her blog because she shows budget friendly vegan versions of very popular family food. I have tried her ideas and have always been super pleased.

Jack has also become a fan of Bethany’s ideas and says she knows what families in the UK eat and what vegans want to eat.

But this weekend, Bethany featured something that really temped me in her post below:

Yes, that’s right, once I saw Bethany’s photos of vegan cheeses from Foods By Sumear, I was tempted. Giving into temptation, I went straight to Sumear’s website:

https://foodbysumear.co.uk/

….and ordered a cheesebox. It arrived today via a “knock & run” DHL delivery driver (I give this one brownie points for actually ringing the intercom, normally, they just “drop & go”).

Jack says we should have a vegan cheese and wine night. But I was quite keen on trying some of the recipes on Sumear’s site using his vegan products:

https://foodbysumear.co.uk/blogs/blog/tagged/recipe

It is all very exciting for me!! I love cheese – but cheese does not love me. I have been vegetarian since I was six years old, and then in my late twenties, I developed a sensitivity to dairy. I had to cut out all milk, cream, yoghurt, ice-cream and cheese for several years. Eventually I was able to reintroduce a little bit of cheese, which is the only form of dairy that I really missed, and I can “get away with” a little cheese every now and then.

But dairy free alternatives to cheese are better for me. I am so looking forward to trying Sumear’s products. I will report back when we have tried them!

Oh, and thanks Bethany!!!

Learning About Life

“I have learned so many things, Father. Not just how to make vichyssoise or … a sauce vinaigrette, but a much more important recipe. I have learned how to live, how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. And I will never, never again run away from life, or from love, either.”

Sabrina Fairchild

I have a friend who keeps asking me what is the story between Goldfinch and Jack. She seems to think I just flitted between the two of them out of a fickle nature.

Already I have shared with her my story several times, but she still seems to think very little of my relationships. I get tired of explaining what at the end of the day is between myself and Goldfinch, and myself and Jack.

One thing I do know is that before I was attacked, other people were influencing me too much when it came to my relationships. Other people, friends, colleagues and strangers made it impossible to enjoy a relationship with Jack at all.

I learnt how to not be so easily influenced, not be so worried about what others thought when they did not know my true situation. I may well have learnt how to live I guess. I was not going to be running away any more – neither from life, nor from love.

The Editing Never Really Ends – Does It?

As many of you know, when I wrote The LEARNERS AT LOVE Series, it was the formation of many short parts published over the period of around six months on my blog – around four or five a week.

There were several reasons I was writing and several influences. I think I started writing Annabelle’s story because I had just come back from Australia wondering how it is that you can be on the opposite side of the planet from someone you love. How do you cope? What happens when someone else takes an interest with you and flirts with you? I had been through a lot that year, including a miscarriage, and my great adventure to spend the summer with Goldfinch – lots of mixed feelings, lots of inspirational experiences and lots of love.

It all came out in Annabelle’s story – love, romance, disappointment, humour, grief, major decisions, inspiration from the people around you, frustration with the people around you, warmth and encouragement, self-isolation and feeling lost, putting a brave face on for everyone around you, hiding things that are crushing you from within. It al came out in a fictional character, with a fictional story, with a lot of very real input from real life.

Airports sometimes feel like gateways to another world – another life. I kept on dreaming about being at the airport with Goldfinch – an experience I have had five times now. Annabelle too was going to journey through several airports along her voyage. I think that the 10,100 mile trip I took was why Annabelle ended up travelling so much. It seems a little odd after the Pandemic that she travels with such ease.

It was too intense to give Annabelle my story, it was just too much. But I found myself wanting to bring into her story other things that had happened in my life and the experiences of friends. I have a friend who almost lost her husband when he was in a serious traffic accident. I have a friend who has battled with very dark thoughts towards herself. I have family members who have made mistakes in the past with debt, gambling, alcohol and Class A drugs – and remarkably they have fought those battles and turned their lives around. I found myself weaving in things they have said, conversations we have shared, the experiences they have had with other people, the health service, and their own emotions as they tried to make progress with their battles.

As many other writers will have found, it is incredibly cathartic to weave lessons from life you have picked up yourself or from others, inspiration from real life, real people, real emotions into your fictional story. Writing Annabelle’s story was hugely helpful to me.

However, I sometimes wonder if I deluged Annabelle Riley with too much of an impossible situation at the point we meet her. I have never stopped editing the books I wrote, as far as correcting silly spelling mistakes and typos, and trying to liven up the narrative. However, I have come to a slight dilemma over how much she has been through in a short time. I have read Annabelle’s story several times with a red pen and updated my manuscript with minor amendments to improve the text.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

There are some parts of her story which are essential and cannot disappear because otherwise the rest of her story won’t make sense. I cannot tamper with her relationships with her parents and siblings or her ex-boyfriend. They all have to stay. But from the point she met Robin, I keep looking at all that happens in a short space of time – and of course this is all backstory, because we meet Annabelle several years after she meets Robin – him leaving because his contract has ended and his Visa has expired, her pregnancy, her trip to England, the car accident, the post-natal depression, the grief, the nervous breakdown Robin experiences.

I sometimes wonder if it is too much for one person to endure? Why did I give her so many challenges? Then I remember, well, I guess that I was the one doing the writing, and perhaps part of what fueled me was my own experiences, being trolled and slandered by Jack’s fans, being sexually assaulted and violently attacked, moving around to find somewhere I felt safe, settled and could work independently, falling in love, him leaving because his contract had ended, my pregnancy, my miscarriage, my trip to Australia, my sadness that I had to come back to London and carry on without knowing what the future would hold. All that was bottled up inside, and it came out in Annabelle’s story.

Does Annabelle have too many challenges on her plate? I don’t know. But what I do know is that cliches do not solve her challenges. She has journey on through life, learning about herself, making peace where she can with her past, enduring judgmental comments from others, struggling to communicate, feelings of isolation with her challenges, fear and mistrust, being knocked down by her own failings and sensitive to harsh words from others who seem to be judging her harshly, trying to build a life for herself and realizing that things beyond our control can knock us way off track.

I need to do some brutal editing to the first book. I know there are some passages that are repetitive, and I think repeating her challenges over and over can drag a reader down. But at the same time, I know that when I started writing Annabelle’s story, I was in a way at a crossroads in my life, having been through some very traumatic and painful events, and not being sure what the future held. I think I need to preserve the weight of her challenges, and that she is sort of in a state of “limbo” when we meet her. But the brutal editing ahead of me is about not letting the challenges dominate, but finding the right balance of humour and heartwarming characters to carry Annabelle forward as she continues her voyage of a lifetime.

My Thank You For This Day

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I slip under the covers and close my eyes tight

Not long until I will be dreaming through the night

My eyelids are heavy, my mind begins to doze

I never like to let the day draw to a close

Without saying thanks from the depths of my heart

That in the doing of your will I have a part

When I think of all those I know who face trials

Yet share the same love, hope, faith and joyful smiles

You give us the strength we need to face each new day

Until the time you can wipe every tear away

We sing your praises as our father up above

I know you will act soon, for you’re the God of love!