Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone By JK Rowling

I decided to reread this series in the lead up to getting and reading the new releases so let’s see how it lived up to memory…


So as always we will begin with the Goodreads blurb…


Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

First thing I have to say as a reread this was a little bit of a shock to the system. You might ask why, after all the book has been around for ages as have the films but that is exactly what the issue was. Over the years I have watched the films with the kids far more times than I have read the books, and the films are so well done gradually you forget what was left out of the films from the books or added in. First I have to say the writing style is really simple, no frills, exactly as it should be for the age group it is aimed at, it is of course now impossible unless you have been living under a stone not to visualise the characters as those portrayed by the actors in the films, this does make it harder to now regard the book as an individual entity.
There are a few things that I realise I had maybe not really noticed for example, I am now convinced Mrs Weasley was out to sabotage Ron’s Hogwort’s education from the start, when we know how important it is ‘The wand chooses the wizard Harry!” So the fact poor Ron is sent to start his wizarding education with his brothers second hand wand which was obviously faulty otherwise he would not have replaced it. My theory is she knows she cannot keep any of the others at home with her, especially her strong willed daughter and Ron seems like the best bet for her to be able to keep with her to mother.
The best thing about these books is the fact it made reading cool with kids again, it made parents who maybe didn’t bother take the time to read the stories with their kids, have to be honest no idea why people felt they needed an adult cover on the books, if you are going to read something don’t be afraid to let people see what it is. The style is fairly simple and yes you can pick out influences from other works but I feel that criticism is unfair, after all every thing we read influences us in one way or another.
So scores, what else can I give this other than 5 out of 5, my daughter loved the books as they came out, my son now enjoys them via audiobook and I am enjoying revisiting them.
Gold star
Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #4

It has been a strange lazy day here, I actually awoke quite early but decided to lie in bed and watch the wrestling I had intended staying up to watch last night. Then I got up and did a load of washing which I was thrilled to discover I could peg out and allow to dry in the sunshine.

This was the point when I should have sat at the computer but instead I got it into my head to decoupage an old bathroom cabinet, which turned out to be rather messier than expected.

It is now mid afternoon as I finally sit latte in had and rugby on the radio (the Giants are playing) though at the minute they are not doing well and I might wish I were not listening soon.

So I shall begin our wandering through a few blog from this week, so if you have your beverage of choice in hand and are sat comfortably…

  1. If you have followed this blog for any length of time then you will be aware I hail from an Irish heritage, like so many others. I love this blog because even though the photos are taken all over the Emerald Isle it is easy to dream that ancient ancestors may have strode across the fields or over the streams so often featured, plus the addition of great info and poetry is a bonus,
  2. I don’t write poetry very often, but that does not mean I do not enjoy reading it so I have several blogs I follow from which I take my poetry fix and one for today is this one which, as someone who enjoys a good soak, I can totally relate to
  3. Another of the blogs I really enjoy is this one which is a specialist photography blog which concentrates on close up photos. Like writing everything can appear so very different when taken out of perspective and this blog constantly reminds me how many things you can miss if you only look at the big picture and not the details
  4. Sometimes you read blogs where the writing expresses feelings that are so raw that you feel the pain and can empathise from your own experiences, life sometimes deals us hands we would rather dismiss, rather not deal with, bury under a million different excuses, to take responsibility for your own life is not an easy thing but I have so much respect for this lady and her journey
  5. Not much to say about the next blog, if is dark and macabre and he is talking about vampires and mentions my favourite vampires, those created by Anne Rice of course
  6. Finally a post written by a friend, she was the first blogger turned friend I ever had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, just wish she had not moved so far away as to make coffee meetings rather difficult but I chose this post for her honesty which I have come to know is completely genuine. This post is a little different from most of the stuff she posts, if you are easily shocked you might want to put the cup down away from the computer before you explore her blog further but this post I think relates to many of us and to different aspects of our lives. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and I cannot help think of a certain timelord and the words, “Physician heal thyself” while knowing we never do

So myfriends I shall leave you now, my cup is empty and shortly I shall wander to the kitchen to see about making dinner, the monster is watching Pokemon and I really should get a little more house work done, I hope you enjoy this weeks choices and will join me again next week for another coffee time xxx

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Haunted By Lucy Williams

Something a little different today…


Lets see what the Goodreads Blurbs has to say…

This book is a collection of poems written during and after Lucy’s bouts of depression. They delve deep into her emotional state with refreshing honesty about an illness that affects many people.

First up I have to say I received my copy from the author as a birthday gift, although I do not know her personally I have followed her work for a while and she has also read some of mine, however the views and opinions expressed in this review are totally my own honest opinions.

My initial response on opening the packet was that although I loved the cover it seemed a very thin book, more of a pamphlet than a book however once I started reading I soon realised that given the subject of these poems and monologues less is more. They are deeply moving and though the authors experience of depression differs from my own I could relate to much of the emotions depicted and imagery used.  There were a couple of typos but they did not distract from the reading, possibly however one thing that should have been mentioned either in the blurb or at the start of the book was a trigger warning, because of the nature of the poems and references to self harm I do think that this book may warrant one.

The poems themselves are evocative, there primary aim is to provoke empathy rather than to focus on being overly clever.  While there is a delightful use of imagery they do not lose the reader in the complex metaphors, or literary devices many poets use, this is poetry you can pick up without needing a degree and immediately identify with.

Another bonus feature of this book is a Q & A with the author where she addresses questions that have been frequently asked of her, she is candid in her responses and open, you can see her honesty as she discusses her treatments and other aspects of how this illness has affected her life

The one thing I would possibly suggest is that rather than doing this as a print version on its own it may be interesting to see it in a section of a larger body of work, maybe release the individual sections as ebooks but then have a poetry anthology and include a wider range of poetry to show a contrast between the light and dark which I feel would really highlight the emotions for those who have not suffered from depression and cannot personally appreciate its nuances.

So onto the score I have to be honest and say as much as I enjoyed the poetry I have to give it a 4 out 0f 5 stars, I think that without the few typos I would still have given it the same mark, it possibly needs a little more in terms of volume for a print version


8. Vlog Time

Vlog Time 7

I decided to make the Vlogs weekly rather than fortnightly in an attempt to keep the time down so I decided to give you one today but normal scheduling will be for a Friday from now on and that means you get a #TBT photo ever week of me as well which I hope you enjoy, I would love to see some #TBT photos of you guys so if you are up for the challenge post one this Thursday for me to come and smile at xxxx

A - Z Challenge 2014 · Blog Challenges

A to Z Challenge 2014 – P is for Poetry


P I don’t often repost my own stuff but I got behind by a day with this challenge and as it is poetry and I love this poem I wrote I decided to repost this one.

It also fits really well with the O post which I know so many of you really seemed to enjoy.

I would love to know what your favourite poems are either by famous poets or provide a link to your own poem.




The Goddess lies and waits in

Each and every living woman.

As she walks through wind and gale

She does not bow her head.

She looks forever forward

Never dwelling in the past

Facing every challenge

As it crosses in her path.

In young and old alike

She patiently bides her time.

The choice of God irrespective

 Her own strength she bestows.

Subserviant to no one

Her worth she full well knows.

Through her many struggles

She gains empathy and strength.

She loves without condition

She is loyalty beyond words.

She shares herself without

A second thought or pause.

And once she gains her freedom

From her slumber deep inside.

The Goddess can be seen

By those that recognise

The dignity, love and grace

That embodies womankind.

2. Tuesday · Flights of Fancy

And now for something a little different!

It is Tuesday so it should be Mysteries of Udolpho but I will be honest I have not read enough to write a post about, there are just so many more interesting books, maybe I will have to put away all the other books round the house until I get it finished so I don’t get distracted.  So today I debated what to do and I thought I haven’t written a poem in a while and most of the ones I write are a little depressing so I have challenged myself to write a raunchier poem.  I read a few blogs by people who write erotica some in verse form and while I have written rather kinky sex scenes in my novel I have never really tried writing sensual so here goes at least if it fails miserably we can all have a good laugh.

I close my eyes,

Feel your breath

Upon my cheek.

Its warmth

Sends a quiver

Through my body.

Slowly you peel

Back the sheet

Revealing me

Exposing me,

My vulnerability

To your touch

Hypnotised by the

Steady warmth

I wait anticipating

Loving for those

Practised moves

That play a concerto

With my senses

Building to the crescendo

Where I will thrash

In the waves

Of your music.

Eyes remain sealed

To open them

Would break the spell

And I would know

You are not here,

And all I have

Is the memory.

Author Interviews

Author Interview with Maureen Flynn

I know I promised that Sunday Story would be returning and I promise there is a Who fan fiction waiting in the wings but today I have the first of two special guests for this week.

This one is very special as Maureen and I share a passion for the mad man in a blue box and that was how we first got to know each other so please welcome my friend Maureen……

229224_10150180835873546_3183210_nHer new book of poetry My Heart’s Choir Sings has just been released and I was lucky enough that she allow me to prod her with a sonic probe and find out a little more about her and her writing, I hope you will enjoy her answers as much as I did

Tell us a little about you and why you decided to write poetry.

I actually started off writing speculative fiction. I have one manuscript being assessed at the moment. It has been work-shopped before with Kate Forsyth but it needs loads of work. That’s first novels for you! I am also working on a second novel in a different world which is only at 10 000 words. It had to take a back-seat for this poetry release. I also write short stories and want to start marketing them this year. My New Year’s Resolution was that this year I took my writing to the next level.

I first started to write poetry in high school to deal with teen angst. There was the usual stuff teens get angsty about but I also used poetry to express my feelings about being a carer. My brother has autism and my mother been ill for a number of years. Those first few notebooks of poems are truly, truly awful but they did help me when I felt down and everyone has to start somewhere! At university, I joined a writers group and got into poetry that way. I also read the verse novels of Dorothy Porter, a truly wonderful Australian poet, whose free verse is edgy, full of emotion and meaning. Ever since then I’ve been addicted to the idea of telling a story in verse.

I like poetry because word choice is so important. Nothing can be wasted. I love painting images with words and capturing people’s hearts and toying with emotions. I think there is something so passionate and heartfelt about good free verse.

There are many who would say poetry is a dying art. What’s your opinion on that?

Who says that? Maybe I hang out with the wrong crowds. I don’t think poetry will ever die. I do think that its form or presentation may change. For example, many singers write songs that are poetry. For a contemporary example look no further than Amanda Palmer and her Theatre is Evil album. I don’t care what anyone says, songs like Trout Heart Replica and Berlin are poems as well as songs. Songs aren’t going out of fashion any time soon.

Verse novels are huge at the moment, especially young adult verse novels. For example, Ellen Hopkins is famous for them, as is Lisa Ann Sandell. Author, Gabrielle Prendergast, runs Verse, a website dedicated to the popular form. You only have to read a few posts to see how many names are out there!

Do you believe that you can make a living as a poet in this day and age, without using poetic talents for songwriting?

Well, you’d certainly be richer writing songs! I don’t know. The reality is MOST writers never earn enough to give up their day job altogether, and that’s regardless of creative form. I think the average income for an Australian author per year is $20 000 which is very low when you consider that this is an average. As an indie poet, it’s even worse as all of the marketing and promoting has to come from you.

I’d argue that poetry is a niche market. If you find your audience, then you can do reasonably well but that doesn’t mean you’ll be a millionaire any time soon.

Can you tell us a little about the concept behind your book?

Well, as I said previously, I have loved verse novels since I read Dorothy Porter’s crime verse novel, The Monkey’s Mask, in first year university. I have always wanted to write one. Embarrassing story: I have a simply terrible skeleton of a Sydney murder mystery verse novel on my USB which is a shameless rip of Dorothy Porter. It will never see the light of day but it helped me to get better at word choice and poetry.

My Heart’s Choir Sings came about because I wanted to write about London. I’ve been on exchange to the UK twice and I love it. If I could, I would spend half my year there. Anyway, I was stuck in London in December 2010 during that awful snow storm and temperature drop that saw masses of flights cancelled. I’d never really seen snow before and even though I hated the cold, I liked the effect.

I really like writing about relationships using poetry. I think it’s a very visceral way of writing about them. I am also a History Honours Graduate and love messing around with concepts of memory, gender relations and ways the past, present and future can intertwine. I started off writing a poem called Blue, which was very popular on my blog. It was from the perspective of the male in the relationship, remembering his dead partner. Don’t ask me why I ended up writing from a male perspective. I am a feminist and this sequence discusses gender issues so maybe I just wanted to try something new! It went on from there. Image after image came to me and before I knew it I had a little story happening.

Smashwords_E-book_Cover (1)

My Heart’s Choir Sings is set in London and is told from the perspective of Stuart Hinchcliffe, a creative who loses his fellow creative and partner in tragic circumstances.  As he goes through their old flat, each object or item reminds Stuart of a new aspect of their relationship. Where did everything go wrong? Was it all the fault of the mysterious dead woman, or is Stuart and society to blame? The 25 poem sequence acts as a eulogy and as a process of healing for Stuart. It took me two years to write, edit and publish and it is very dear to my heart. I really hope people love it!

What is next for you creatively?

Where to start? Late last year, I started working on a verse novel detailing the story of Merlin of King Arthur fame. I’ve always had an obsession with ‘the historical Arthur’ and I’ve done quite a lot of research into the area. I’ve written about 30 poems for that verse novel and Merlin is just about to prophecy for Vortigan. Given that My Heart’s Choir Sings took me two years to get on the web, I doubt that this novel will be finished before another two years is up.

I am also working on a young adult fantasy manuscript. I really love the idea so hopefully it’s one that I can sell to agents and/or publishers down the track. When I’ve done the rewrite for this manuscript, I have to rework that beast of a first novel. It’s not a total write off yet.

I have a number of speculative fiction short stories in various stages of development and I want to market those to magazines such as Aurealis this year.

As you can see, I like to be busy. I always have a thousand ideas. The trouble is having the time to work on a project. I always want my work to be professional and that’s why it takes me so long to do anything with a project.

I will be working with an author this year on a writing mentorship, so hopefully that will teach me some great new skills!

People here will not know that we met through a Doctor Who fan page, but are you excited about Capaldi taking over the role and would you ever consider writing Who?

This is actually such a tough question. I LOVED Eleven. I knew Matt before he was cast in the role from a television movie called The Ruby in the Smoke. I kid you not, my brother and I both stated that he was Doctor material before he was even speculated to be up for Eleven.

Matt had such a way of being young and old, mad and serious, rage filled and gentle, a wizard, a good man and a fairy story all at once. His era isn’t perfect but he is definitely MY Doctor.

However, I love Capaldi’s fierce eyes from Day of the Doctor and though what we saw of him in Time of the Doctor was brief, he looks to be a refreshing TARDIS change. I always give new Doctor’s a season’s chance.

YES YES YES I would write Doctor Who. Somebody page Stephan Moffat. There has been very few female script writers on New Who. What I love about Doctor Who is that you can write practically anything in time, space and genre. There is no such thing as canon Doctor Who. I have never written a script before, but writing a Who script is one of my secret author goals, so never fear, one day it may well happen! Maybe a tie in book is more achievable…

I just want to thank Maureen and you can find all her links below please pop over and take a look…




Or you can find the book here…

Strictly Spectacular 2013

Strictly Spectacular


Okay I am combining half a dozen things into one post here so please bear with me while I race through them all.

First the September round up is up on the site and you can read that here. Because I chose to do the writing Resolutions and subsequent monthly posts as pages I don’t think you get email notifications so I have to let you know via other posts until I find a way round it.

The second thing even more exciting is I have been published…. my poem My Child has been published in Zest Journal which you can go to by clicking on the title page below (after you read the rest of my post obviously lol)issue_cover.php

Now you may have noticed the title of this post, yes I have dusted off the sequins and feather boas and can now be found prancing round my living room on a Saturday evening.  I have decided normally I post book reviews on a Monday but for the next few weeks they will be suspended while I share my love of dancing with you all.  Now I know some of you might not be dance fans but I hope my comments will amuse you enough to get you through the run up to christmas and the glitterball champions being crowned.  I shall scratch out people from the sweepstake picture below as they are booted out


I promise as there are quite a few people in at the beginning I shall keep my comments brief, for today I shall do a brief intro for each couple what they danced, quick thoughts plus a couple of extra features I intend including each week. No one goes home this week and all scores are carried over to next week.

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271673  Celebrity; Ashley Taylor Dawson, soap actor

  Professional; Ola Jordan

  Dance;  Cha Cha

  Judges Marks; 25

  What I thought; loved the outfits, Ola of course was amazing and at times so was he but at times he looked a little bit too much like his Hollyoaks character Darren and was a little smarmy.  Potentially a front runner if he learns to move his hips in future Latin dances. The routine was okay but nothing that made me want to jump out of my seat, I did wonder if the fact that his girlfriend is expecting any day might be a factor in that,

Aliona-Vilani-and-Tony-Jacklin-2274049  Celebrity; Tony Jacklin. ex-Golfer

  Professional; Aliona Vilani

  Dance;  Waltz

  Judges Marks; 16

  What I thought; I know the theme for this was supposed to be something along the lines of a Brief Encounter but it reminded me of a dad dancing with his daughter at her wedding,  Ailona of course looked stunning and graceful but I already hate to think how he will look doing Latin.  Craig was a little harsh with his comments and his mark giving just 2 but if I am honest I cannot see it getting much better.

Mark-Benton-and-Iveta-Lukosiute-2274047  Celebrity; Mark Benton, Actor (starred in Doctor Who)

  Professional; Iveta Lukosiute

  Dance;  Tango

  Judges Marks; 24

  What I thought;  Loved this, from the humorous start it had me hooked, for a big man he is light on his feet and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I do worry that his build will effect his ability to do the Latin dances but I think he will certainly be one of the most entertaining after this opening performance.  I think that he will do very well at ballroom just hope he can survive his Latin weeks.

Kevin-Clifton-and-Susanna-Reid-2274044  Celebrity; Susanna Reid

  Professional; Kevin Clifton

  Dance; Jive

  Judges Marks; 28

  What I thought;  I loved this.  It may not have been technically perfect but the energy and fun levels were off the scale.  You could not watch this without a smile on your face.  I also love the fact she looks like a normal woman she has curves but still looked sexy and was not dressed in the frumpier dresses they normally choose for curvier ladies. They also got the first 8 of the series,

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271676  Celebrity;  Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Singer

  Professional; Brendon Cole

  Dance; Waltz

  Judges Marks; 28

  What I thought; Beautiful, elegant, I loved her dress but hated her tattoo showing, don’t get me wrong I love tattoos I have my own hers just did not go with the dress or the feeling of the dance.  Loved the song choice of Moon River.  Possibly my favourite ballroom of the week. It will be interesting to see how she copes as from her dancing I have seen in her videos she is more of a stand and wiggle type dancer than one used to moving her feet.

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271675  Celebrity; Natalie Gumede, Actress, ex-dancer

  Professional; Artem Chigvintsev

  Dance; Cha Cha

  Judges Marks; 31

  What I thought; Okay let me first say what I am about to say is not a slight on her I get she loves dancing and would jump at the chance to appear but she is a trained dancer, she only went into acting when an injury at 19 ended her dancing career, the judges are already singing her praises, though Darcy pretended to be surprised by her placement and finishing.  I do not know what the injury was that ended her career and whether that will prove to be limiting in some way but I do feel she has an unfair advantage on the others.  Right rant over, I was not actually thrilled by this routine, she was dressed in a Cleopatra style dress, he was a shirtless Russian dancing to Boney M, I like Bruce kept expecting him to burst into cossack dancing which was a little distracting, I think a different music choice or costume choice for Artem would have served them better and I don’t often think Artem should have more clothes on lol.

Kristina-Rihanoff-Ben-Cohen-2274060  Celebrity;  Ben Cohen, ex rugby-player

  Professional; Kristina Rihanoff

  Dance; Cha Cha

  Judges Marks; 19

  What I thought; First I think it is worth mentioning that Ben only has 50 percent hearing, which I think may have played a part in him losing his timing on this first dance, while I have no doubt that confidence will help him compensate as he progresses I would imagine that for this first number it did play a part.  I am also thrilled to see he had his chest on show and it had not been waxed, hopefully his chest hair will be allowed to remain.  It was not the best dance but it was okay and I think Craig was overly critical but nothing new there.  Loved the outfits, liked the song choice, think he will be good in ballroom.

Anton-Du-Beke-and-Fiona-Fullerton-2274048  Celebrity; Fiona Fullerton, Actress and Bond Girl

  Professional; Anton Du Beke

  Dance; Tango

  Judges Marks; 24

  What I thought;  This was one where I was torn. They certainly got my vote for music of the week using Duran Duran’s View to a Kill, the theme to the bond film in which Fiona appeared, and she certainly played the character well within the dance.  For the most part I loved it there were just a few moments where it was almost as if her mind had gone blank and Anton was throwing her into place.  It is good to see Anton with a partner who can actually dance and I think with time Fiona will improve, should be interesting to see if she can get her bond girl attitude back for the sexy Latin dances,

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271679  Celebrity; Dave Myers, Hairy Biker Celebrity Chef

  Professional; Karen Hauer

  Dance; Cha Cha

  Judges Marks; 16

  What I thought; Dave describes his dance style as dad dancing crossed with a gyrating troll,  I have to say in technical terms it was pretty close to a car crash but you could not take your eyes off him and it was fantastic, totally crazy, energetic and fun.  I challenge you to watch it without a grin on your face.  I really hope he stays in for weeks as I can;t wait to see what he will do next. I am not sure what he would be capable of dancing wise if Karen could rein him in but I am not sure that will be even possible,

Rachel-Riley-and-Pasha-Kovalev-2274046  Celebrity; Rachel Riley, TV presenter and Maths Whizz

  Professional; Pasha Kovalev

  Dance; Waltz

  Judges Marks; 27

  What I thought;  Beautifully elegant but it felt a little sterile, I know it is obviously early days they have only been dancing together a couple of weeks, and the fact she is not an actress means she can’t fake a bond between them and I just didn’t feel any connection between them.  I hope that they will get better as they get to know each other more, they look like they will be a great couple, the costumes were great just needs a spark to bring the partnership to life.

Janette-Manrara-and-Julien-Macdonald-2274041  Celebrity;  Julien Macdonald, Fashion Designer

  Professional; Janette Manrara

  Dance; Cha Cha

  Judges Marks; 20

  What I thought;  First I think he suffered this week from trying to organise his fashion show and train at the same time so possible it is unfair to judge him too much on this performance.  The music choice and the catwalk setting were perfect for him, he definitely looked to be having the time of his life and I can see potential there it will be fun to watch him develop, though the costume department will probably by squirming every time they have to show him costume designs.

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271678  Celebrity; Deborah Meaden, Businesswoman and Dragon’s Den Investor

  Professional; Robin Windsor

  Dance; Tango

  Judges Marks; 24

  What I thought; Deborah could not have a better partner than Robin, last year he took Lisa Riley almost to the end of the series and showed that personality teamed with some dance ability can compete with technical perfection.  I think she will de really well in the ballroom I am not sure if her age might not count against her in the Latin unless she plays it with character rather than trying for outright sexy.

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271677  Celebrity; Patrick Robinson, Actor

  Professional; Anya Garnis

  Dance; Jive

  Judges Marks; 28

  What I thought; They drew the short straw getting this dance first on so many levels, fitness levels, Patrick’s dodgy knees and the general speed especially for a bigger guy but all that said I enjoyed it, it was fun and fairly fast although he looked to be tiring towards the end.  It could be a blessing that he has actually got this dance out of the way week one with a decent first performance rather than later in the competition when more will be expected for him as he definitely has potential to go to the end.

Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271674  Celebrity; Vanessa Feltz, TV Presenter

  Professional; James Jordan

  Dance; Cha Cha

  Judges Marks; 19

  What I thought;  Okay it was amusing but a dancer she is not.  I think that James will have to take off more than his shirt to cover up Vanessa’s failings when it comes to the Latin dances.  I think she will do a little better in the ballroom but I fear she does not have the acting ability to put enough character into performance to compensate for the lack of technical competence.


Strictly-Come-Dancing-2014-2271680  Celebrity; Abby Clancy, Model and Footballers Wife
Professional; Aljaz Skorjanec

  Dance; Waltz

  Judges Marks; 32

  What I thought; Truly beautiful. elegant, serene, as a model it is to be expected that Abby would have a degree of poise but as has been proved on previous series that is no guarantee of the ability to move.  Many other models have failed in impress on Strictly and I hope that the public can forget any preconceptions they have about her as a footballers wife and judge her on the dancing.

My Dance Of The Week

Costume of the Week




I confess I do rather love the Latin costumes with all their frills, tassels and glitz, and of course am envious of the figures in them lol but one can only aspire to Kristina curves in my dreams so I shall have to leave the cut out dresses to her for now lol


Frocky Horror Picture Show

darcyI have no idea what Darcy was thinking with this dress, it actually reminded me a little of a WWF Diva’s wresting costume and does make Darcy look a little butch, maybe she upset the stylist but her boobs were rather distracting trying to work out what was actually going on whether it was a wardrobe malfunction or the squashed in look was intended.

2. Tuesday · Mysteries Of Udolpho

Part Six Review Volume 2 Chapter I

the-mysteries-of-udolpho-1-480x480-75 Just the one chapter this week and a fairly short review.

This chapter sees the journey to Italy begin and really very little in the way of character or plot development.

Emily is relegated to a second carriage rather than travelling with her Aunt in order to make room for Cavigni to ride with his friend.  This does enable Valencourt to leap into the road and thrust a letter at her completely unseen, totally ridiculous of course to believe the maid travelling with her would not have noticed or the driver but we must suspend reality at times like this.

The only real character development we see if on a stop in the Italian Alps when Montoni and Cavigni discuss Hannibal, this gives us the opportunity to see that the two male characters do have a degree of learning between them although their discussion is purely academic.  Emily also considers the same subject but from a more emotional angle imagining the feelings of the soldiers as the faced the perilous peaks.  Finally Madame Cheron now Madame Montoni whose thoughts are engaged planning events to rival any of the courts of Europe believing now she has the title of wife she no longer need fear Montoni’s wandering eyes and believe his frugality displayed previously will be overcome by his desire to impress in his home town.

One rather impressive element of this chapter is the way in which Radcliffe avoids repetition, having through herself thoroughly into the Sublime and Picaresque during the previous trip through a mountain landscape she touches on it only briefly using Emily daydreaming of Valencourt superimposed from one landscape to the other, them moves on to briefly describe the Pastoral.  She then hits upon the perfect way to describe these things without long descriptive passages by having Emily write poetry which she then interjects into the text.

For this week I leave them in the Alps and you with a taster of Emily’s poetic exploits


 Ah, merry swain, who laugh'd along the vales,
 And with your gay pipe made the mountains ring,
 Why leave your cot, your woods, and thymy gales,
 And friends belov'd, for aught that wealth can bring?
 He goes to wake o'er moon-light seas the string,
 Venetian gold his untaught fancy hails!
 Yet oft of home his simple carols sing,
 And his steps pause, as the last Alp he scales.
 Once more he turns to view his native scene--
 Far, far below, as roll the clouds away,
 He spies his cabin 'mid the pine-tops green,
 The well-known woods, clear brook, and pastures gay;
 And thinks of friends and parents left behind,
 Of sylvan revels, dance, and festive song;
 And hears the faint reed swelling in the wind;
 And his sad sighs the distant notes prolong!
 Thus went the swain, till mountain-shadows fell,
 And dimm'd the landscape to his aching sight;
 And must he leave the vales he loves so well!
 Can foreign wealth, and shows, his heart delight?
 No, happy vales! your wild rocks still shall hear
 His pipe, light sounding on the morning breeze;
 Still shall he lead the flocks to streamlet clear,
 And watch at eve beneath the western trees.
 Away, Venetian gold--your charm is o'er!
 And now his swift step seeks the lowland bow'rs,
 Where, through the leaves, his cottage light ONCE MORE
 Guides him to happy friends, and jocund hours.
 Ah, merry swain! that laugh along the vales,
 And with your gay pipe make the mountains ring,
 Your cot, your woods, your thymy-scented gales--
 And friends belov'd--more joy than wealth can bring!

Free Me

Free me from myself

If I am my own master

Am I not therefore my slave?

Self flagellation of the mind and soul

Inflicts wounds deeper than any blade

Could penetrate, flay martyred flesh

Torn by the lashings of mine own tongue.

I am my own worst enemy,

And rage against any solace

I might find in my solitude.