NaNo Progress Diary (week four)

Thursday, 22nd November 2018


Admittedly, I have not done any writing this evening but my plan is to get my blog posts written and out of the way so I can focus on just novel writing for the rest of the month… Wasn’t quite as productive as I hoped.

Friday, 23rd November 2018


Guess who is ill now? Me! I have a cold and I think Aria knows as she has been impossible to settle tonight. She has finally gone to sleep and I’m shattered. Just wanted to quickly update my diary before going to sleep. I didn’t even get to grab some Black Friday bargins.

Saturday, 24th November 2018


I’m officially full of cold.  I finished a rather lengthy blog post (Christmas Gifts for writers – coming soon) and once the little ones were in bed, I actually got to write.As there has been a bit of a break I was slow to get strarted but once I got going I really enjoyed it and I’m enjoying where the story is going again as my characters are now on a quest for dragon’s fire.To finish my 25k in time, Dabble worked out I needed to write 1,432 words but I managed to smash that and wrote 1,571.  I love how Dabble’s interface clears whilst you are typing on your manuscript making it void of distractions.  I also loved how it notified me that I had met my daily goal so I didn’t have to keep track of how many words I had typed.

Sunday, 25th November 2018


I’m not sure what has gotten into Aria tonight but she wasn’t in agreement to go to sleep.  I have only managed to just get her down and now I am too tired to write – Boo!

Monday, 26th November 2018


Shamefully, I didn’t manage to do any writing today.  Aria carried only waking up every hour last night so I am shattered today.  It has taken its toll on me and together with my cold I am in desperate need of an early night.

Tuesday, 27th November 2018


Wow, what a busy day!  This morning was the last parent maths class.  I then hurried over for the first day of baby massage class.  I then went home for lunch and decided to skip the baby singing group which Aria loves because I needed a chance to breathe.Then, I picked my son up from school.  Had dinner then went to a Tropics Ambassador event (I am interested in joining).  When I got home it was late and I had to start the battle with Aria to get her to sleep.There was barely a moment today to even think about my story, let alone write.  I wish I had written more yesterday.

Wednesday, 28th November 2018


Aghhh, I am feeling the pressure of Christmas coming and birthday parties, so I had to cram in a bit of online shopping before writing.  I also don’t want my blog to go radio silent, so in the background I have been drafting the outline of some posts.I’m pleased to confirm that I also managed to write.  I added another 1480 words to my word count.

Reflecting on week 4

I am so tired, I feel like I am running on empty at the moment.  Any energy I have left I am spending on my children. I have found that keeping a NaNo diary is makng me feel more unaccountable for my word count because I really am cringing everytime I have to explain to you guys why my daily word count is zero. I’m also finding Dabble great at helping me see how many words I need to write each day to achieve.  It is really motivating and also after skipping a few days I can see the impact of my actions (or lack of it).   My motto for this week’s NaNoWriMo is “Any progress, no matter how small, is better, than no progress at all”  Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  How are you getting on? If you like this post, then you may enjoy my week three diary for NaNoWriMo November 2018 or NaNo Done. If you want to know what I have been working on, please check out my NaNoWriMo Project post.

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More than 10 Extravagant Ultimate Gifts for writers

With Christmas fast approaching, I have decided to create a list of gift ideas for writers. Here you go from the extravagant to the affordable.

As my list got too long for my post <eek>, I have had to split it between two posts.  Part 1 is the more affordable gifts and part 2 are the more extravagant gifts (anything over £20).

Here it is:

Writing course

Another idea is to support the writer in developing their craft. One of the best presents my husband got me was my online writing course with Curtis Brown Creative. Courses start from RRP £200.  Click here to read my review.

Groupon is a great place to shop for bargains and often have offers on courses. This is where I got my Write Story Books for Children online course for just £30! I also got Write Romance Fiction but have not started it yet. The course are flexible and you can study wherever, whenever and take as long as you like!

You could check with your local college or library to find details about writing courses nearby.

Some people prefer a face to face learning experience. A writing retreat would make a great gift. You can buy a holiday that allows them to escape and be with other writers. The retreats often include workshops as well as an ideal environment to write. Check out Skyros Holidays.  Breaks start from RRP £90.

Another option is to buy them a mentor! The Literary Consultancy is a company that offers mentors, manuscript assessment and editing. A writer could learn so much from one of their packages.  They sell gift vouchers too!


Mr & Mrs Vintage Typewriters is a place to buy high quality vintage type writers (prices start at around RRP £125). Alternatively, you can check second hand sites like eBay or Gumtree. I got mine from Facebook. Writers have a warmth for the aesthetics of these. Some writers might even use one to avoid web distractions.

You could buy them an antique writers bureau (or a new modern one). These desks look beautiful and are an ideal place to sit on your laptop working on your novel. I’ve always wanted one with the fold up lid like this RRP £350 real wood one at Cotswolds.

Green Woods Funiture in the UK uses sustainbly sourced wood to make custom bookcases.  Prices start from around RRP £250.

The Ethical Superstore sells fair trade products including furniture.  They have bookcases/shelves starting from around RRP £250.


In the digital age, no writer should be without an electronic means of writing their novel.  You could buy them a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, a laptop (the Microsoft Surface Pro has a pen to enable them to hand write their novel if they prefer to do so over typing) or a PC.  When buying, check out things like whether they can save to a USB device or if they will need cloud storage.

Although most agencies allow you to submit your manuscript online, there is still a need to print.  Your writer might appreciate a printer so they can take a document with them to their local writers group or to make editing easier.  I have always liked the compact shape of the Canon printers.  When buying, look for ones that allow wireless printing so your writer can print to it from anywhere in the house.

There is plenty of software to make writing easier.  You could buy them MS Word or software specifically designed for writers like Scrivener or Dabble writer.  


I do get cold writing and I would love it if someone bought me some nice socks or a warm blanket.  These also come in handy when curling up with a good book. 

Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic yet warm like wool.  You can purchase a fair trade, luxury Alpaca Throw from TraidCraft for RRP £135. 

If you writer is vegan they won’t want a blanket made from animal hair.  How about an Organic brushed cotton Fair Trade throw from White & Green RRP £133.

Gift sets

For RRP £29.95 you can get them The Writer Box from The Little Bookish Gift Company.  The box set contains writing tools and refreshments.  

For £39.99 the Writers Hamper from The Story Gift contains a selection of goodies for a writer including writing tools, mug and coaster.  They have several other hampers to choose from including one specifically for female authors and another for fairy tales.  

How about a tote bag from Zazzle, Cafe Press, The Literary Book People, or Story Gift.  These are great reusable bags to use to carry books from the Library.  But, if you want something a little more glamourous, how about a Disaster Designs bag from Campus Gifts.  Disaster Designs have a ‘Book Club’ clutch bag RRP £35.95, a type writer bag RRP £30.95 and their Ampersand Satchel RRP £49.95.  

Thank you

I hope you found this list useful and don’t forget you can always treat yourself.  Is there anything on this list you would love?  Please let me know if there isanything I have missed out.

Thank you for reading my extravagant writers gift list.  I hope you found it useful.  If you would like more ideas, please check out my affordable writers gift list.

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More than 10 Affordable Ultimate Gifts for writers

With Christmas fast approaching, I have decided to create a list of gift ideas writers. Here you go from the extravagant to the affordable.

As my list got too long for my post <eek>, I have had to split it between two posts.  Part 1 is the more affordable gifts and part 2 are the more extravagant gifts.

Here it is, gifts under £20:

Writing Jewelry

The Literary Gift Company: This website is great for lovers of literature as it has a rich collection of products that is bookish or writing inspired. I love these Origami Rose Earrings for £12.99

Nabu Online: This store specializes in gifts for writers. I like the writers charm bracelet RRP £20.00. 

Writing resources

Wearth London: This store enables you to shop by your ethical values (i.e. zero waste, plastic free, vegan, etc).  I like this Write Your Own Story pencil pot RRP £16.00 which would look great on any writers desk.  In addition, you could buy reusable gift wrap – it is made from fabric and therefore can be used year after year, saving money and making zero waste.

A writer’s struggle is real, so you could buy them a notebook with a motivational quote to keep them going when times are tough.  Or a writer or bookish type quote.  There is lots of choice on Cafe Press and RRP is about £13.00.  

If you think your writer would like a more sophisticated notebook, then check out the notebooks from Beautiful Notebooks.  For example, PaperBlanks is a brand that creates  notebooks with either blank pages or have dot-grids, enabling the writer to jot anywhere on the page and add drawings.  In addition, the purchase contributes to charities and products come with a history about the design.

Support a fellow artist and the environment and buy a beautiful notebook designed by Louise Manson at Bombi Design. With unique designs her unicorn or mermaid notebooks would be an ideal git for a fantasy writer. RRP starts at £15.99.

You could buy the writer a noticeboard.  You can choose between a cork board or a magnetic board.  I prefer the magnetic boards as you can often write on these and use magnets with inspirational quotes.  These are useful for mapping out the plot, collecting ideas and character details. There is a great range on Zazzle.  Here are some examples of the magnets you could buy:

If you like giving practical gifts, how about these files by Klever Case. The files look like books and can make storing boring paperwork look much more appealing.  Or, you could fill it with writing tools like pens and notebooks and it could be a handy box to store it all (and make a fabulous useful gift).  These RRP at £18.95.

If you writer uses a laptop or tablet to write, they may like a Laptop Tray so they can write in bed or on the sofa.  Check out this one from Amazon RRP £21.89 which include a little draw for them to keep their pens or USB in.

Your writer may also really appreciate a nice USB flash drive.  How about this book shaped one RRP £7.99 from Amazon.

Book Festival tickets

There are lots of festivals running all year. You could buy them tickets to a large event that specialises in their favourite genre or a local one. Many book festivals have workshops or talks that writers will appreciate and you could get them a ticket for these. The gift could include an overnight stay. For ideas of festivals to look out for, check out my following posts:

Drinking resources

Many a writer will confess to their caffeine addiction that gets them through those drafts and edits.  So here are some mugs that really stood out to me that writers would love:

The Disappearing Cheshire Cat Mug for RRP £12.99 on The Literary Gift Company.  The Cheshire Cat only appears when their is a warm drink in the mug.  I want this mug so badly! 

You could hunt for the perfect Grammar or Punctuation mug for the writer to drink from whilst editing.  There are some funny ones about but be aware not all writers love colourful language (decide if swear words are a no go).  Check out these on Super Mug for about RRP £11.99.

The Story Gift is a brilliant site full to gifts for readers or writers (as they tend to go hand in hand).  There is a great range of choice (more mugs) and you could buy them a “Writing in Progress” coaster to go with the mug RRP £4.50.

For the Writer on the move, you might want to get them a water bottle or travel mug.  Cafe Press has a wide range of items that you can personalise and you could buy them a gift to keep their ides refreshed.

Book voucher

Amazon gift vouchers are a great option because Amazon has a wide range of books and other products. The great thing about their eCard is you can send the voucher by email, saving on post and gift wrap. Alternatively, you can have it sent to them in a physical format and one option is as a bookmark. Then they can buy the book in their preferred format (hardback, paperback, ebook, audio, etc) or something else they want. Alternatively, you could buy them a Kindle subscription so they can download books whenever they wish. Kindle Unlimited cost £7.99 per month until you end the subscription and gives access to millions of titles for free.

You could support their local book shop by buying a gift voucher for there. After all, this is where the writer is likely to do book signings and talks once published (or already does).

Reading resources

I wasn’t quite sure what to call this category but here some ideas of things your writer will love if they also love books:

Ethical Marketplace: The name of this store makes it clear that the ethics of the products is important.  They have a whole category for stationery on this site.  I was really taken by the up-cycled leather book mark/money clip for RRP £15.00.  

There is a wife range of choice for unusual Book Ends from Not On The Highstreet. I like the “Once Upon a Time” ones by British designer Heather Alstead for RRP £24.95.


Writers are constantly using their hands for their craft.  So, you could look to treat those digits with a nice hand soap, hand cream, gloves or even a manicure from a local salon.

My favourite hand soap is by Cosy Cottage Soaps.  The soaps are handmade, ethically made and no nasty ingredients.  You can even purchase them a subscription service starting at RRP £3.90.

Or, you could buy them a nourishing hand cream.  I like this quirky design by Balde En Provence in the shape of an apple.  It smells delicious.  I might try the pear one next.  RRP 12.50 EUR


The Writer’s Toolbox is a game from The Literary Gift Company RRP £17.95.  The game is desgined to teach you to use the right side of your brain for being creating. 

A great buster for writers block is Rory’s StoryCubes.  The game consists of a collection of dice with different pictures.  Roll these and then write a story linking the images together.  RRP £9.99 

Thank you

With this affordable writers gift list, there is no reason why anyone should struggle to buy a writer a gift.  At these prices, you can always treat yourself.  Is there anything on this list you would love?  Please let me know ifI have missed anything out.

Thank you for reading my affordable writers gift list.  I hope you found it useful.  If you would like more ideas, please check out my extravagant writers gift list.

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Why was Iceland’s advert banned?

I saw this advert weeks ago by Green Peace and thought it was brilliant.  The way it communicates the problem with palm oil is done in a really effective way.

The advert is a cartoon about a little girl that finds an Orangutan in her bedroom. The story is told in poetic way as a conversation between the little girl and the Orangutan. She asks him why he is in her room and he tells her about the deforestation.m for palm oil used in her products. It ends with her promising to help her new friend.

I’ve seen videos that show Orangutans being attacked in their natural habitat and it’s really upsetting. Iceland’s cartoon told viewers what is happening but in a way that could be viewed and understood even by young children. I would buy this story as a children’s book as it raises awareness and encourages discussion but done in a tasteful way.

I am really pleased that a main stream high street store is making such an open and public stance. Most businesses think with their pocket and give no thought to how their ingredients are sourced, choosing cheap over ethics.

However, Iceland Foods’ advert has been banned for having a political view.

This seems ridiculous to me. Some business are founded on their ethical views. For example, Body Shop was born as a cruelty free alternative for beauty. They used their store as a platform to educate consumers about animal testing. Their movement is what made them.

I wish more business would be transparent about their ethics. Instead, you have to visit their website and research the brand and sometimes even contact them to find out. Answers are often hidden or worded to purposefully be misleading. For example when brands claim to be against animal testing (except when required by law) or those that add a bunny logo to their product hoping consumers won’t realise it isn’t the leaping bunny.

The British government are yet to confirm their position on palm oil. The EU are making efforts to support sustainable palm oil production but as the UK are soon to be leaving the EU there are concerns they may not support sustainability for palm oil in a bid to secure a substantial trade agreement to replace Malysia’s fighter jets. To me that sounds like having your ethics bought. I sincerely hope this is not the case but you can read the emails on Green Peace’s website by clicking here.

The Orangutans Foundation is a cause close to my heart. You can read my fundraising post here or the article I wrote for Ginger Parrot about palm oil here.

Personally, I hope the ban of Iceland’s video raises awareness of deforestation – this is why I am sharing it with you. I don’t want Orangutans to go extinct. Sadly, that could be a reality in the next 10 years if we continue as we are. [source]

What can you do?

However, although Iceland are removing Palm Oil from all their own brand products they still be stocking products by other brands that contribute to deforestation so if you are avoiding palm oil, remember this.

Also, not all palm oil is bad. Some products need palm oil and it is an economic way of meeting consumer needs. Instead, look at buying products containing sustainable palm oil (RSPO).

A lot of the deforestation is caused by the meat industry for cheap beef (cattle) and Soya crops (mostly for animal feed). Therefore, meat eaters can effectively fight deforestation by buying meat that is locally sourced. Supporting your local farmer will also reduce your carbon foot print as it won’t have travelled as far. Try and find out if the livestocks feed is from a sustainable source – I’m not sure how easy that is to find out.

The last tip is to make conscious decisions about your beauty products. A lot of these purchases are luxury and you could go without (like makeup). Do you really look and smell good when you are destroying our planet and is it worth it?

What do you think about Iceland’s advert being banned?

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NaNo Progress Diary (week three)

Thursday, 15th November 2018

10:20 pm

I thought Aria would never go to sleep but, finally, she did.  I am super keen to make sure that week 3 goes better than week 2.  To stay on track for 25k I needed to write 955 words… I managed to write 973 word! *phew*

I did get a little distracted today looking up a name for my word cutter/huntsman character.  Then, I didn’t even use it!

Friday, 16th November 2018

11:00 pm

Tonight, I have been blogging and researching content for my blog. 

This week I have also been meeting with companies to discuss at home business opportunities as I am looking into ways to bring in a little income without compromising my commitment to my children.  I’ve got some serious thinking to do and it has been quite distracting.  

Saturday, 17th November 2018

11:00 pm

I didn’t feel motivated to write this evening as I feel stuck in my story and I’m still beating myself up about how poorly I did last week and that I didn’t write last night.

I’m so glad that I put my butt in the seat because I managed to write 1,352 words tonight and once I got into the chapter, I really enjoyed writing it.  I wrote in third person tonight which isn’t my usual style (I’m a die hard first person POV write) but I was writing from another characters perspective and I think using a different style helped me get past the point I am stuck. 

I’ve no idea where the story will take me tomorrow.  I didn’t have much time to plan an outline for this one and I have no idea where the story is going just an idea of what I want it to achieve.  The vagueness is now causing me problems. I used to be a pantser but with my limited writing time available, these days I really do need a plan.  

My 25k goal is still doable but there is no chance I will achieve 50k.  I’m glad I set a more realistic goal for myself.

Sunday, 18th November 2018

10:30 pm

Do you ever feel like everything is working against you?  I thought today might be tricky to write as it was also my son’s joint birthday party.

Unfortunately, my son woke up and was sick.  As it was a joint party it still went ahead but without him.  I ran around town making sure that my contribution (money, food, etc) was still made available to the other mums.  The whole point of a joint party was to share the costs. 

Once I got both little ones to bed I went to my PC, only to find that my cat had made herself comfortable on my chair.  She had that look on her face that told me she would not be moving.  After, coaxing her off the chair I logged onto the PC.  By then, my husband and his friend were watching a new TV series on Netflix – it looked pretty good and kept distracting me. 

However, I am pleased to say I did manage to write, even if it was only 607 words. 

Monday, 19th November 2018

9:00 pm

Noah had to be kept off school due to the 48h rule to prevent him passing on his tummy bug, however, he has been absolutely fine all day which meant he wanted entertaining.  There was no opportunity to sneak in a few extra words for my manuscript.  I made him do homework every time he said “I’m hungry,” before giving him a snack.  Which if you know any 4 year olds, that is a lot of homework.  

Now, both the little ones are in bed it it my time.  But, I am struggling to focus on my project when I can feel Christmas fast approaching and all the Black Friday sales have started early!  I’m always looking for ways to save money so I’m finding it hard to resist temptation to shop.

10:30 pm

I managed to write 1,022 words before being called away mid sentence by a hungry baby. I just felt like I was getting back into it too. It is too late to go back downstairs and I’m tired, so, sweet dreams all. Tomorrow, I’m going to try and double my daily word count. 

Tuesday, 20th November 2018

10:10 pm

Noah was well enough to go to school today.  Today was Stay and Play at school so I was there for the afternoon. 

Tonight, neither of the little ones wanted to go to sleep.  The oldest one kept claiming to need the loo and needs reminding about hand washing.  And, the little one seemed to know when I left the room, despite my expert ginger ninga skills and would start crying. 

So, despite challenging conditions, I have managed to write 927 words.  To get back on track, I currently need to be doing 1,029 words per day.  I am behind target but I’m no quitter!

Wednesday, 21st November 2018


I’m so pleased that this afternoon I got to write.  Noah is at school and Aria is asleep.  But, now it’s time to go and pick him up so I’m going to end there with my 359 words and hope I get a chance to add some more this evening.


I’m glad I got to write earlier as Aria has been difficult to settle tonight.  She is teething and experiencing her first cold, bless her, so really struggled to fall asleep – it could be a long night. 

I am not going to write tonight, however, I did chat with a friend about my project which helped generate some fresh ideas to work on.  I also drew a picture earlier today of one of the villains in the story.

Reflecting on week 3

Obviously, I hadn’t anticipated a sick boy or a restless baby but despite these challenges, I feel week 3 has gone better than week 2.  But, I still want to do better!

Not writing an outline for my novel or doing any preparation is really taking its toll now.  I’m struggling to know what direction to take the story in and every time a new character is introduced I have to come up with a name and think about what makes them who they are.  

Plus, ‘Black Friday’ sales are cropping up everywhere and reminding me that it is Christmas next month and although we don’t go overboard… I haven’t done anything.

My motto for this week’s NaNoWriMo is “If you take time to plan, you save time in the long run.”  Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  How are you getting on?

If you like this post, then you may enjoy my week two diary for NaNoWriMo November 2018 or Week Four.  If you want to know what I have been working on then check out my NaNoWriMo Project post.

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Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo

If you follow my blog then you know that on Mondays, I like to share posts by other bloggers that I have enjoyed.  Today, I am sharing with you an article by Stacey Jane McIntosh. 

Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo 

Stacey is attempting NaNoWriMo and attempting the the full 50k words.  This isn’t her first time and in her article she shares what she has learnt to help other writers.  If you are doing NaNo, this is worth a read!

Who is Stacey

Stacey writes paranormal romances and Celtic fairy tales – she sounds like my type of girl and I should probably go check out her books.  She blogs about what she is reading and writing so if that appeals to you, then give her a follow.  

Would you like to be featured?

I am always looking for new bloggers to feature on my blog.  If you are interested, please comment to help me find you blog.  I often share articles on writing, blogging, parenting or organic beauty.

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Happy #LittleMermaidDay – Check out these mermaid beauty products!

Being a redhead, I have always had a love for the Little Mermaid, ever since Disney released the movie.

It was one of the first films I watched at the cinema.  It was my birthday and my mum took me and my best friend.  Before the cinema we went swimming and pretended to be mermaids.  Afterwards, we ate at McDonald’s who had Little Mermaid toys and we both got Flounder.  It was late night Christmas Shopping and the Body Shop had just opened.  Mum treated us to a bar of soap and when we got home, my best friend and I had a bath together.

I’ve continued to love mermaids and if you follow my blog you’ll know I have even written a YA novel about one.  

Today is Little Mermaid Day!

To celebrate, I thought I would share with you my wish list of mermaid themed ethical beauty products.

Captain Blakenship – Sea Salt Shimmer Spray

What could be more mermazing than a spray to add some glitz to your tresses.  It uses all organic ingredients and will add texture as well as shimmer and can be bought in gold, silver or rose-gold.  Buy the Captain Blakenship Mermaid Magic Shimmer Set from Jolie for £23.40.

They also do a mermaid dry shampoo, hair oil and face mask.  

Tropics Skincare – Blue Lagoon Blemish Prevention Skincare

This is a brand new product to this ethical brands collection!  Mermaid’s need flawless skin to capture sailor’s hearts. With a name like ‘blue lagoon’ it’s a siren call to your nearest ambassador or visit their site – costs £42.

Bellapierre – Eye Shimmer Kit in Deep Ocean

I found this gorgeous kit on Naturismo for £29.99 (worth £81). This kit makes uses of blues and complimentary shades, perfect for fans of the ocean.  The brand uses natural ingredients for their pigmented mineral products.  

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Mermaid Palette

If blue is not your thing then this alternative eye palette with shades of coral, gold and green might be more your thing. The fruit pigmented palette costs £45.26.

Tarte Cosmetics

This cruelty free brand has so much for mermaid lovers to choose from. Here is a small selection of their fintastic products:

I hope you have the best Little Mermaid day and I would love to hear about your MERchandise 😉 

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my post on Halloween theme beauty products.

NaNo Progress Diary (week two)

Thursday, 8th November 2018

8:30 pm

This morning, I went to the sling library, then did the school run, I managed to bath both kids, get them to bed and now I am downstairs ready to write.

10:12 pm

I managed to beat my daily word count and add another 1,116 words to my manuscript.  However, I have been seriously distracted by inspirational pictures of Pegasuses and my husband is watching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (a show I recently watched and loved).  I have done a lot of procrastinating tonight so I am amazed I managed to write anything!

Friday, 9th November 2018

9:15 pm

I must confess that today I have failed to add to my manuscript. In the background I have been blogging so not it has not been completely free of writing. Now, I am ready for an early night.

Saturday, 10th November 2018

10:00 pm

Today was all about preparing for Christmas. We went to a fair but it was so busy we gave it a miss as you could hardly move and cost £3 per person for the privilege. So we went into town instead.

Then in the evening, I created my Xmas wish list on Pinterest… but, still no writing. I hope I’ve not lost my mojo.

Sunday, 11th November 2018

9:00 pm

Today we worked on getting the house straight then went for some drinks at our local Royal British Legion for Remembrance Sunday. I got to have my first Malibu in over a year.


Once home, we ate dinner, got the kids to bed and now I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m gutted as this is day three that I’ve not written. But, I won’t give up! Sweet dreams all, tomorrow is a new day…

Monday, 12th November 2018

9:00 pm

Tonight, I can’t relax to write. Noah has come home from school with a cold and isn’t himself. To make matters worse, Aria is so unsettled. I’m running between rooms and I don’t think I’m going to sleep, let alone write!

Tuesday, 13th November 2018

9:00 am

No surprise here, Noah is off school today. He really is full of cold. I think Aria is teething, she’s dribbling, chewing her hand, off her food, doesn’t like her dummy and unsettled. This is going to be a long day.

3:00 pm

I finally got dressed.  Noah is now with my mother in law as we need to take Aria to the hospital for her appointment.

8:00 pm

Aria was tired but didn’t want to sleep. Every time I put her down she would start screaming. This time she has stayed quiet so I’m hoping she’ll keep asleep as I am starving and want my dinner.

Not sure I’ll get to write today and in really disappointed. This weeks word count is dire and I’m worried I am too far behind now despite my strong start.

10:30 pm

I got to eat my dinner and I had pudding! Then we wrapped Noah’s bday presents ready for him to come down to in the morning… But, I didn’t add to my NaNo word count. With only one day left this week, it is not looking good.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018

9:45 pm

Noah was off school again today and it was his birthday.  Although he was unwell, he was also really happy and full of excitement which didn’t work well with Aria being grumpy. I’m pretty sure she is teething as she is chewing her fists and is really sensitive about her bottle or dummy going in her mouth.  It is has been a tough day trying to keep an excited birthday boy – now 5 years old – calm when I have got a tired baby to sleep.

I was exhausted when my husband got home and after dinner, he asked if there was anything he could do to help and all I wanted was a shower.  It is funny how something so simple can give you a new lease of life.  After putting the little ones to bed, I felt ready to write.

Dabble says I need to write 947 words today to keep on track for my 25k goal.  I have managed to write 822 words which I think is pretty good considering the day I had.

Reflecting on week 2

Week 2 has not been great.  I am embarrassed by my progress but I am tenacious so I will not give up.  I can still make 25k by the end of the month.  I hope next week is more promising.

My motto for this week’s NaNoWriMo is “Make excuses or make progress.”  Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  How are you getting on?

If you like this post, then you may enjoy my week one diary for NaNoWriMo November 2018 or Week Three. If you want to know what I have been working on then check out my NaNoWriMo Project post.

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Book Review: Who runs the world by Virginia Bergolt

Author: Virginia Bergin

Who Runs The World

At Felixstowe Book Festival, I treated myself to this book following Virginia’s talk about how she wrote it.

What is the book about?

An airborne disease infects all the males in the world but women are immune. Males are kept safe in sanctuaries as soon as they are born. The rest of the world is run by women. Only the elderly remember life with males.

Virginia wrote this book imagining what the word would be like if men were not part of the world. First she had to decide how to make this world possible and then how this impact would change life as we know it.

How it starts

Fourteen year old River finds an XY (what boys are called) unconscious in the road. She takes him home to her family.

The middle

The family decide to keep the boy and help him heal. It is a miracle he has survived outside the sanctuaries. The laws require he be reported and returned or killed if to sick. The family have to keep him hidden.

Adapting to life with a boy is the main focus. River needs to be aware of her nudity. The boy, Mason, has different mannerisms and customs – like a foreigner in her world.

How it ends

River has an obsession with planes and one of her favourites arrives at a nearby town. She goes to the hanger but it is being kept locked up.

River manages to get in by offering to help refuel the plane. Whilst there she sees a man and helps him escape but things turn nasty and she ends up killing him with a rock. There hasn’t been any murders in years so when Mason takes the blame, everyone believes him.

River then helps Mason find his mum because if they can there is a way around the law. River and Mason then leave to find his mum. When they do, she accepts him and as a result keeps him safe. C

What did I think

The book really made me think about how our genders do play a part in our identity and how others perceive us. I found the world Virginia created was cleverly thought out.

The book started by throwing us right into the action. It was written in first person POV enabling me to feel her distrust and fear of the boy.

Virginia’s writing was really strong and vivid. I would definitely be interested in reading more by this author.

I met Virginia at Felixstowe Book Festival. You can read all about it by clicking here.

I preferred this to The Gender Game by Bella Forrest which is about the world divide between men and women. You can read my review here.

Have you read any of Virginia’s books or have any recommendations for my reading list?


A week of celebrations

This week has been full of celebrations and it’s just the start of more to come.

Guy Fawkes Night

Every year, in the UK, on 5 November we celebrate Guy Fawkes night.  Often, the fireworks take place on the closest weekend to enable people to attend.

Traditionally, people create a ‘guy’.  This is like a scarecrow and will be thrown onto the bonfire.  Then fireworks are set off.

This was Aria’s first firework display and I was so pleased that she loves them as much as the rest of the family.

The story behind this celebration is a little odd.  Guy Fawkes was a Catholic that was trying to blow up Parliament and the King in hopes that a new Catholic leader would take the throne. His plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes and his accomplices were tortured and killed.  It’s rather strange that this has become an annual celebration.

My birthday

My birthday is on 7th.  This year, we didn’t really do much to celebrate.  It wasn’t a special birthday and there is so much going on at the moment it doesn’t feel important.

I was happy to get a cake and some flowers.  My husband bought me a lovely warm coat which is exactly what I wanted.  Some people sent me money, so I shall try and treat myself to something nice.

Festival of Light – Diwali

Noah has been learning about India and Diwali at school.  We went to the Library to borrow a book about festivals and we searched the internet.  He drew the flag, traditional Indian dress, we looked at animals like tigers and elephants. He made an elephant out of a milk bottle.

I got to visit Noah at school and saw all the activities they were doing in celebration of the festival which is all about light over coming darkness, and good over evil.  It also involves fireworks.

Diwali has a much better story than Guy Fawkes Night but the date shifts each year depending on the Hindu Lunar calendar.  This year it was on 7 November, although it is celebrated for 5 days.

I decided Diwali was a good excuse to treat myself to a nice candle.  I got the Neom Travel size in Complete Bliss for £16.00.

Although, it is described as being travel size, I think it is a decent size candle.  It filled the room with a gorgeous scent even before it had been lit.  I love this candle and I shall look forward to using it all winter. I’m now tempted to buy more by Neom – their products are a high quality and never disappoint.

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