Give Away & Page Take Over


Join me tonight 9pm UK time as I take over the #Leeds2018 #HourglassEvents page click the link and join in advance


Four years ago this incredibly brave little man lost his fight against cancer, he left an army of followers all heart broken by his loss and devastated for his family, I wrote Voices Across The Void to honour his memory and to raise awareness and funds for the charity set up in his name Cords4LifeUK, I said Iwould never give this book away free because of that but today and tomorrow to honour him and this family I am with the hope if you like it you will leave a review, spread the word and help make cord donation something offered to all new mums so they may help save a life or at the very least give those precious extra few months cells from a donated cord gave Charlie with his family.…/…/B01GZ5NFPU


My Bowie Tribute

The last week everyone’s time lines on Facebook have been full of grief and shock at the passing of the icon David Bowie, mine included, I thought about posting yesterday but decided I wanted to reflect a little more about what I was going to write, I am putting this up today and will post the vlog over the weekend as I have a lot on my mind at the minute.

You see I realised that when someone like Bowie passes away and proves they are as mortal as the rest of us they take a little bit of us with them. When a star dies young, in an accident or from a drugs overdose, we sagely nod our heads and mourn a young life lost, but the loss of someone of Bowie’s stature is different. For most of us it is true we did not know him personally, in fact he was an intensely private person, he shared his music and creative persona’s but very little of the behind closed doors life so many share so openly these days. The fact is that when an idol dies that it was not a person who died for many of us it was part of ourselves, part of someone who made us what we are.  I heard Bowie’s music long before I have a visual image of him, there was no MTV back then and you listened to music on the radio and maybe bought Smash Hits magazine, but lets face it if I bought the magazine I was far too busy drooling over JT to look at Bowie that was until he stepped out onto my screen in those trousers and I fell in love with the Goblin King! I thought Sarah was an idiot for demanding her little brothers return and not surrendering her heart to the all singing all dancing deity, even now as an adult I still feel the same way even though I know I should question falling for a kidnapper who wants to seduce young girls, there was one scene in particular that has always stayed with me and one day I want to live this, and though I am going to a masquerade ball in a few weeks I know it will not be as magical as this one.

Even if my heart is forever trapped with an image of Bowie from the 80’s he continued to push boundaries and his final album could be argued pushes the boundaries of life and death itself. Imagine filming a video about being on your death bed as you battle a disease that is killing you? When someone you think of as immortal has the audacity to prove to be only a mere mortal and die on you it makes you question everything in ways that losing even your own family members fails to, we expect our grandparents and parents to go before us but those we adore we expect to live forever, and in one way they do because they leave a legacy and continue every time we introduce a new generation to their work, think of generations who will only ever know Judy Garland as Dorothy because that is the image we share with them, Marilyn Monroe with her dress forever blowing up over that grate despite being dead before many of us were born.

Just before I finish I need to address the other celebrity death that happened a couple of days later and was just as upsetting, that of Alan Rickman.  Both these celebs were taken by the evil that is cancer and the fact their illnesses seemed to have been kept under wraps made the deaths all the more shocking, in some ways both created characters that will live on long beyond the few years they spent on the planet so I just wanted to share a couple that come to my mind at the mention of Alan, the first less obvious than the second will be.


Moving Forward.

Okay so it is the time of year where everyone gets annoyingly lovey-dovey, it is also almost a year since I joined the ranks of singledom index2though hopefully with far more grace than Ms Jones.

While I am certainly not in a rush to get back out there in the dating world I have recently started considering what I am looking for in a future partner and I have realised that I am looking for a person who certainly does not exist. In fact I think of the spell made in Practical Magic to find the true love with a person who could never exist to stop Sandra Bullock’s character from ever falling in love.

So let’s examine my impossible man…

imagesLets start with looks, and yes as I say I fully accept not only am a shallow but I am also aiming way above my own level, and yes I know I am not quite hideous but I am no supermodel either so Brad Pitt is aiming high, but I am even fussier than that as I like the young pre-Angelina Brad, you know long hair Legends Of the Fall Brad, I would also accept Thelma and Louise Brad or Interview With a Vampire Brad but not Fight Club Brad.

I like my guys tall so over six foot is a must, and as well are in fantasy land here he of course will have the perfect body, not for me that is something like this,Awesome-Body-Of-Wade-Barrett think rugby player, wrestler, preferably with the tattoos. Actually any type of sportsman with muscles will do, as long as they stop before the veins pop out, that makes me feel a little queasy.

Right so far seems fairly simple, I need to find a sporty model who doesn’t mind a girl with plenty of curves, except this is where is gets really complicated, you see what I want mentally from a partner is not something that is as easy to match up. You see in many ways the things I am looking for in terms of personality and compatibility are far harder to find.

I need a guy who gets quotes like this without me having to explain it…


I want someone who understands this world without me needing to tell them about it…


I want I guys that will love me as much as this man loved his Elizabeth…


I want someone who has the brains and mental complexities of a genius…


And on top of all this he has to understand my kids will always come first, that he will find me sat at the computer at silly o’clock because I can’t sleep and so I am writing or chatting to friends on the other side of the world.  They need to understand when I sit staring off into space that sometimes it is better not to ask what I am thinking as the answer may be disturbing and involve a gruesome death.


Sometimes I think the only way I would ever find my perfect man is if I wrote him as a character, but then he would still not be perfect, after all perfection gets boring very quickly.

As I said at the start I am not seriously in a place right now to start a new relationship and maybe my wish list is indicative of that but should you have the phone number of a wrestling, geeky, sci-fi nerd then feel free to send it my way lol but until then I think the only men in life will be a monster and a timelord from Gallifrey and you know what I am okay with that.


I started this post a dozen times, then decided not to write it , it simply hurt too much but not writing it does not ease the pain either so instead I will talk about the raw emotion that hurts so badly it is a physical pain. I am writing this Friday night but not posting until Saturday morning, that is assuming I do not change my mind again.

If you are not an animal lover you won’t understand how losing a four legged family member hurts as much as losing a two legged one but it does, I won’t even enter into that discussion and the ocean of tears I have cried today would confirm it to the hardest of hearts.

Today was the fourth time I have sat and said goodbye to a a beloved dog.  The first time was my sisters dog, that was devastating, it was also the worst way to experience it as the vet got the dosage wrong and it took several injections before she was at peace,I was not happy and as it was at an animal charity vets it made me realise you do get what you pay for.  Ever since, even when I would have qualified for free treatments I have always found the money to pay.

The second time was Smokey, he was a rescue dog on death row, age unknown but the vet thought about eighteen months old and I was only blessed with 7 years with him before he collapsed one morning and had a fit.  He got back up after and seemed okay but a little while later had another.  I rushed him to the vets, they gave him medicine to stop the seizures and I had to leave him there for a few hours for observation. I rung at the instructed time was told he was doing well and was on my way to collect him when they rang to say he was fitting again.  They concluded that it was a brain haemorrhage nothing could be done, they had run numerous blood tests looking for any other cause for a perfectly healthy dog to keel over but nothing showed at all, I sat on the floor in the back room at the vets and held him with his head in my lap as he went to sleep, it was so peaceful and tranquil and I knew I had done everything I could.

Roll forward several years and Rat the Yorkshire Terrier, he came into our lives middle aged and from a good home that could not keep him at that time, he was around eleven and was beginning to suffer with the doggy version of dementia when he began to have kidney failure. again nothing could really be done, he stayed home until it became clear he was beginning to suffer, at that point I took him to the vets and he was put to sleep, again it was a blessing and he went peacefully to sleep.  The only guilt I felt after at his end was that he loved going to the vets because he always got a new squeak toy whenever we went but on that final trip I went home without one.

Then there was this morning.

I knew it was coming, we had known for the last week.  Unlike the other dogs there was no illness, no pain, just the inevitable finality of age.  For 16 and a half years Boris had been my shadow, I lost track of the number of times I turned round too quickly and tripped over him.  The last few days he had literally not let me out of his sight willingly, when I had to do the school run or go to work he had sat by the door and waited, you might ask how I knew but I just did, I could read that dog just like my kids, I knew him inside out.

I know he wanted to stay with me and in one way I am glad he was at home when he went but his passing was harder than all the others put together.  Partly there is the length of time I had him of course, then just the type of dog he was, he was convinced he was a lapdog and never accepted he was really too big to sit on peoples knees.  But there is another aspect that I never experienced until today and that is the fear that you are doing the wrong thing.

The clinical induced sleep you go through at the vets is different to the way it happens at home.  I was lucky my ex’s mum was with us to help hold me together and reassure me because I was scared.  Your hear about the death rattle but at the vets you don’t experience it, my ex’s mum has worked in care homes for decades and has attended deathbeds more times than she likes to think about, she helped me understand what was normal and stopped me doubting that I was doing the right thing.  And believe me the final few hours I was doubting myself, I knew he was not in pain but I did wonder if I should take him to the vets and put an end to it rather than waiting for nature to take its course. The irony is I had discussed it with my daughter earlier that morning and we decided to wait a little longer but then I texted her and said it was killing me watching him as he seemed to be fighting to stay with me, she rang the vets and was ringing me to discuss the options at the exact time he took his final breath. I believe he went as he wanted, at home with me by his side, but that is another thing that you struggle to cope with when you are home alone.

You see at the vets they are trained, they know the signs to look for, have the stethoscope to listen to the chest, but when you are sat there trying to see through the tears pouring down your cheeks your mind plays tricks on you.  You think you see breathing but the hand on the chest tells you there is none, you think you feel a pulse but then realise that it is your own pounding through your fingertips, you know they have gone but you are terrified you have got it wrong and they are still there and you should be doing something. It is the same panic that you feel when you flush a fish down the toilet, it does not make a difference it was floating belly up the second you hit flush you become convinced that you saw it swim and that you have sent it to the sewers, now times that by a hundred or so.

Then there is the pain, this is no different whether you are at home or at the vets, but you cannot explain it to someone who has not felt it, the tears that pour, stinging your eyes, you try to hold it in but then it feels like your head will explode, it is like someone has hands clamped on your temples and is squeezing slowly, increasing the pressure constantly until you allow the dams to break again.  Then the pains in your chest, when they talk of dying from a broken heart it is assumed to be metaphorical but anyone who has felt this knows the actual pain is physical, not a knife through the heart, the pain is not that sharp more like someone hitting you with a sledgehammer over and over again.

Why have I written this? In part because I am a writer, that is what I do, this is how I make sense of what I am feeling. You see the hardest part right now is that the tears are flowing down my cheeks and the one who would normally lick them away, as he has done so many times down the years is no longer here to do so.  Do I believe he is in a better place? Do I believe we will meet again? The fact is the answer to those questions is totally irrelevant at the minute because right now the pain is too raw for beliefs to even begin to numb the heartbreak…

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Lest We Forget


Today at 11am I shall like thousands of others fall silent in remembrance of those who gave their lives during the two World Wars, I wear my poppy with pride but this year there have been many issues which have caused me to think about what this means to others.

Firstly the threats made to young poppy sellers in various locations that physical violence would be done to them for selling this symbol of respect for fallen soldiers, my initial response it to be outraged by this and of course the threat of violence by anyone is totally reprehensible but does it also damned questions be asked?

When One Direction wore poppies during their X-factor performances at the weekend their followers flooded Twitter completely unaware of what the ‘red flowers’ symbolised.  It leaves the question are these our own children who are ignorant of what the Poppy stands for or are the people asking the question simply from other countries and unaware of our custom?  But another news story then grabbed my attention, that of footballer James McClean who refused to wear a poppy and has received abuse despite an open letter explaining his reasons.  His reason for his refusal is simple that while he fully supports the original purpose of the poppy to show respect and support for those who fought and fell in the two world wars that he cannot support it’s attachment now to all who have fallen in conflict.

While for the majority of us that new distinction does not really matter for many others it does, James McClean grew up in Northern Ireland through the worst of the troubles for him Bloody Sunday was more than a U2 song, many recent conflicts have been controversial as far as many people are concerned but again I reiterate none of that justifies threats.  What it does justify is the right of people not to wear a poppy, infact my Great Grandad died in a field in a foreign country to ensure you have the freedom to choose whether you wear a poppy or not. poppyboxa

Some people are taking a different tack and promoting White poppies to remember the victims of war and those non combatants who died and again I have no problem with this but once again it has to be stated that tragically lives had to be lost to ensure they have the freedom to reflect on the loss of innocent lives.

I am not sure if there needs to be different colour poppies to distinguish whether you respect the fallen or the innocent or just the fallen in certain wars, surely the most important lesson we should have learnt from all those who have lost their lives in conflict regardless of when, where or how is to respect the living, to agree to disagree without resorting to threats of violence.

Personally my only regret this year is that I cannot make it to the Tower of London to see the ceramic poppy field they have created to mark the centenary of the First World War sadly it will be taken down in a few days time, I think it should stand in remembrance and honour until the centenary of the end of the war but hey who asked for my opinion lol.


I choose to wear my poppy with pride I refuse to allow it to be hijacked by political groups and to allow them to change what it stands for to me, and at the end of the day we can only be responsible for ourselves, we cannot know another’s heart and should never judge another unless the are directly doing us harm.  If you choose not to wear one I do not judge you for I do not know your story but I expect you not to judge me for my choice to do so, and I ask also that you remember how we retained to freedom to have our differing opinions.  But if you want to know my story this is why I wear my poppy…Memorial

Prayers For Oklahoma

312144_391318930972432_67259919_nMother Nature can be a cruel mistress at times, while men argue over the actions of others and squabble over rules made by other men, she takes more direct action in her protests with tragic consequences.  She screams at the way her skin has been scarred by our drills and diggers, the wounds inflicted deep into her soul, we have even desecrated the very air she gave us to breathe with pollution, one might even at times think she is vengeful as she claims her sacrifices.

oklahoma-tornado-photo-damageBut when the fires have been quenched and the dust settles, it will not just be mourning for the dead that takes place…

400210-oklahoma-tornadoThere will be stories of miracles and heroism, of those who reached out to give when they themselves had lost it all…

130520234628-ap-23-oklahoma-city-tornado-0520-horizontal-galleryThere will be the reaffirmation of life which can only be appreciated when death has walked in the shadows…

400224-oklahoma-tornado And for a brief time people will remember that the material possessions in this world can be replaced, and that all that really matters is the health and safety of those we love, wealth and comfort are nice to have but it is only when you lose everything you realise what has true value.

Day 16 – A song that holds a lot of meaning to you – Plus Give Away Reminder and General Catch up

This is another that is a hard category pure and simply because there are just so many to choose from.  So for today am going to try to pick a couple of more obscure ones rather than going for obvious ones.


A reminder you can have the chance to win one of these limited edition bookmarks by leaving a comment over on this post here you have until Wednesday teatime to comment so get over there now it doesn’t have to be a long comment just say hello.

The other thing I really want to tell you about is a now segment that I am going to be starting about Inspirational People being involved with #CharliesArmy raising awareness and spreading the word about the petition has brought me into contact with some really amazing people who in the face of the worst realities any parent could contemplate have turned adversity into something positive.  They have fund-raised, promoted causes, started charities and above all supported others in their suffering.  They have fought not only for their own children but for all children at a time when most of us would be at our most selfish.  I hope you guys will get behind these people and show them how amazing the wordpress community is.

In Memorium

Charlie Harris-Beard

25/06/2010 – 8/02/2013

RIP Little Man


In the arms of the Goddess

Sits a small and broken child.

His heart heavy with sadness

For the pain of those left behind.

As she strokes his furrowed brow

She softly explains his plight.

That the pain would fade in time

But that from him a beacon shone

That travelled round the globe.

His legacy of love and light

And courage would be known.

As her hand swept over him

His illness washed away

That he should wait pain free

And lovingly watch over those

Whom he would see again.

The value of a life is not

Judged in terms of years

But the hearts that it has touched

The love it has endeared.

And if you doubt my son

The mark you left

Look down upon the world

And see the lights that flicker

The lights to guide you home.

In my arms you shall remain

Kept safe until the day

That your mummy comes

To take your hand and

Your family re-unite.

Spread Some Love

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo Vlog again as you know from yesterdays post I am having a few issues with windows 8 and the compatibility of certain software and programmes but I want to take a few minutes of your time to look at the links I am discussing and consider making someone smile.

Next week is valentines and many of us are safe in the knowledge we are loved and those that aren’t in relationships know they have the possibility of happiness and that it could be waiting round the next corner.  But there are children out there like little Charlie who do not know what tomorrow will bring or even if tomorrow will arrive.  I did not know about this amazing scheme until today when someone posted the link for Charlie’s page but it is amazing.

post pals

Post Pals provides a chance for children in long term hospital or hospice care to make contact with the wider world.  Obliviously home addresses are not provided but a mailing address is where mail can be sent safe in the knowledge that it will reach the child for whom it was intended.  One recipient until her tragic recent passing was the amazingly courageous Alice Payne well known for her blog and bucket list.   As well as their site which can be found by clicking on their name at the start of this paragraph you can find them here on Twitter and on Facebook I have looked for a US site for them but not found one so far.  There will be heartache along the way lives cannot brush against each other without leaving a trace and some of those on these sites will not be there to receive cards for year after year and a lucky few will get better and leave the programme to make room for others.

What I would ask of you guys is please consider taking a few minutes and a couple of dollars/pounds/euros or other currency and making a child smile.  I do not ask that anyone send huge expensive gifts to strangers but instead to pick up a post card when you visit somewhere cool or scribble a few lines on a pieces of paper and post it.  In some ways sending to children overseas has an extra bonus in that the child gets to see lots of cool stamps from around the world my little boy loves it when I receive post from fellow bloggers as he loves looking at the stamps I may even have to start a little scrapbook for him with them.  We can’t fix the world but if we all take a few minutes out of our day to think about making someone else happy in a way we make the world a slightly better place. If someone has a link for a US version of this please let us know.  I stated at christmas I wanted to start writing at least one handwritten letter per month well I am changing that to two one to a friend/blogger and the other will be a card or postcard to a child fighting illness.

Will you join me?

2nd Day of the Year but the Real Start

For me the 2nd of January is the real start of the new year.  The 1st is spent by most nursing a bad head, and a cold that they caught going out looking good in totally impractical clothes.  For most today is the day they return to normality of balancing work and home life and here in my house it is the final week of chaos before normality resumes with the new school term.  As I sit trying to write this the monster is throwing a yoyo about, throwing being the right word as he has yet to coax it into performing the return journey up the string.

I really need to motivate myself to head into town and do some shopping but the idea of it fills me with dread, you know that today no one will be happy to serve you as they all feel aggrieved at being forced out of bed to drag themselves in to work.  Those working in retail get a rough deal over the Christmas season if I had not been still on sick leave after my surgery I would have been ironing my work shirt today and joining those heading to work. I would not even think about going shopping if we did not need some veggies for the healthy eating part of my new year resolutions.  I am determined that the soup maker will be getting some use this year after all what can be healthier than combining veg to create tasty soups – well as long as it doesn’t involve half a loaf of bread to soak it up with lol.

I have procrastinated as long as I can the monster does not wish to go shopping so that will add an extra fun element to the trip however emotional blackmail involving the threat of withholding certain children’s TV channels should do the trick plus he loves cooking so maybe if I suggest getting bun ingredients he might perk up although that won’t help the eating plan.

Tomorrow I intend to reveal the new blogging schedule and banners for each day.