K is for kindle – #AtoZChallenge

kindle1

[kin-dl]
verb (used with object), kindled, kindling.

1.

to start (a fire); cause (a flame, blaze, etc.) to begin burning.

2.

to set fire to or ignite (fuel or any combustible matter).

3.

to excite; stir up or set going; animate; rouse; inflame:

He kindled their hopes of victory.

4.

to light up, illuminate, or make bright:

Happiness kindled her eyes.
verb (used without object), kindled, kindling.

5.

to begin to burn, as combustible matter, a light, fire, or flame.

6.

to become aroused or animated.

7.

to become lighted up, bright, or glowing, as the sky at dawn or the eyes with ardor.
And the timer begins…
This is another one of those words where the first meaning that springs to mind is not one listed in the dictionary, until a few years ago these meanings would have all rattled round my head but now Kindle is a trade name for my ebook reader. Don’t get me wrong I do still prefer real books but my Kindle is a life saver when going on long journeys, and free ebooks have been a great way to find new authors that I can then happily invest my limited funds in at a later date.  In one way of course, the very name Kindle for the device, ties in with one of the original meanings, because if you find a good book to read upon it then it does indeed kindle the imagination. Maybe on a winters evening you could even light a bonfire, using kindling of course, then sit with your Kindle and allow it to set your mind ablaze round the fire, while paying suitable attention to the actual fire of course, I have recently bought a incinerator bin so when the weather allows a few dry days I hope to sit by that as it burns my garden rubbish and enjoy a book in peace, of course dry weather also means having to wait until no washing is out and no one is having a BBQ as rose wood can be quite smoky.
I have to admit I do like having fires, even without reading a book just sitting watching the flames can let the imagination run lose, the pictures you can see in the flames the way the embers glow and move as the fire dies, so many chances to think on things. I grew up living in a coal board house where we had coal fires and there is something very comforting about sitting reading by a nice warm fire but I have to admit I do like the ease of modern heating systems where the house can be kept warm with the turn of a thermostat instead of getting up in the cold and having to wait for the fire to be built and lit to get warm, in an ideal home I would love to have both.
The timer has pinged so time to do some house work then get another post done.

A is for air letter – #AtoZChallenge

air letter
noun
noun: air letter; plural noun: air letters
  1. a sheet of light paper folded and sealed to form a letter for sending by airmail.
    Set the timer and let 30 minutes commence…

I like writing letters, even today in the digital age there is something so much more personal in sitting with a pen and paper, and letting the words, flow from the heart. I have written letters I have never sent, cathartic, vitriol filled rants at those who have done me wrong, well in my eyes anyway but I have written just as many love letters filled with words I cannot say, that I could never allow to spill from my lips.

As a child I used to write to my grandma once she moved away, I have some of those now, returned to me before the dementia took hold, such innocent lines of nothing but they had meant enough for her to have kept them for over 25 years. I think of the letters I wish I could write now, that it is too late for, to give her news of my books, my first grand child impending, so much more information than those lines she saved on the floral notelets that you unfolded to give you more writing space. I need to write to my great uncle, I have not been in touch with him for a while, at one point we rung every week but then my grandma passed away and the contact got less, not from a desire to lose contact but laziness, he probably feels I do not want to hear from him and I know he struggles with the phone so writing is better for him but I put it off so often. My great aunt is on Facebook so I keep in touch there with a series of likes, comments and tags, but my great uncle is not as tech savvy and I know he had trouble accessing the emails I sent him with stuff about the family tree.  U have photos of him and my great aunt as children, I know in theory the idea of digital albums people tagged and shared should mean they last forever but you have to wonder whether with the accidental hit of the delete button will entire sections of history disappear.  there is of course another reason the letter is so much more personal, the writing. In the family tree research we came across an uncle of my grandma’s repatriated to Australia after the first world war, in this cache of records there was a letter, scanned into the computer but a request for his army records, it seems so silly, the least personal type of letter you could imagine but as I sat staring at the screen I thought about the fact this man, dead before I was born, on the other side of the world had written those words. It had an address and though I am pretty sure the area had chanced I could put it in Google Maps and look at the address he had written that letter from, the street he would have walked down to post it. I love the idea that history is passed on in something tangible, that you can smell perfume on the letters, just the faintest smell of what the writer might have been wearing, that you can look at their choice of paper, pen and even in my case wax seal to tell you even more about them, I love the idea of something that though it will not last forever will, if passed on tell far more than an email ever could.

Resolutions 2017 – February

Another month gone and I feel I have not been particularly productive this month but we shall see

01)  Lose weight, yup this old chestnut again, I lost a stone and a half in the second half of last year so just set up a fresh spread sheet and new targets, while I know I have a lot more weight to lose than my target weight I am simply being realistic about losing weight in a healthy way.

No change or should I say no weigh, I have had a really weird month and I have avoided getting on the scales, I have changed a couple of things in terms of routine and with half term everything has been up in the air, I have a feeling I may have put weight back on as I feel really bloated but I will get my backside on the scales for a fresh start on Sunday then really need to get a move on with shifting some weight for Darker I need to get into that dress lol

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02) Publish the remaining two parts of the Queen of Ages trilogy

I am still down on where I want to be but I know that by focusing and getting stuck in I can get back on track next month, I just need to get my time managed better and get my focus back.

03) Exercise more

I have managed a couple of trips to the pool this month though still not as much as I should have. My average step count over the 28 days is actually down as last months was 6,740 however in my defence you will notice a whole day missing there on the Thursday of week 19th Feb – 25th which was as a result of me heading off for a day out without checking it was sufficiently charged, also that whole week is down overall with the fact it was half term and therefore no school run.

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04) Blog at least four times a week

Failed terribly again but now feeling much more positive about what I want to do with both the Vlog and the blogs, it can be quite difficult sometimes thinking what to write but I also have the A – Z to start thinking about and planning.

05) Get out more

Nope not been anywhere though I am guaranteed to have at least one for next month, and the following month. I blame the fact I am single and the big event this month was Valentines!

06) Write every day

As you can see I have had a terrible start to the year in terms of productivity/word count but I have done some plotting in on paper a lot of mental brain storming and plotting now just to get back to getting it all on paper.

07) Work on my self belief

I know this month I have fallen short of my goals but carrying on from last month I am not getting stressed, instead I am looking more at what I can do to change my own actions to achieve what I want and to accept some things are beyond my control and I just have to deal with that.

08)  Time management

I just reinstalled my Pomodoro app to help me focus on set tasks for periods of time and set my Freedom app back up, both these help with focus and productivity so fingers crossed next moth you will start to see results.

09) Update my wardrobe

Because my weight has not changed I have not really thought much about this, other than drooling over clothes in the Joe Browns leaflet that fell out of the paper if you are unaware of this company you can take a peek here, I love the books and tweed type jackets.

10)  Publish the newsletter each month

Two weeks into March and I am ashamed to say that the newsletter has not gone out yet however it is on my list of things to do in the next 48 hours so do not despair also need to try to contact last months prize winners again as they have not responded to the email.

11) Work out what I want in my personal life

My personal life is still stalled but I think it will be a case of if/when it happens it happens. I have so much going on, so many exciting things coming up with signings, new books etc and of course would love to have someone to share them with but it is not the end of the world, would rather wait for the right person than settle for just anyone.

12) Keep my website up to date

As I write this need to post two updates, to be fair I had done one of them and saved it but because I didn’t hit publish for some reason it did not save properly and it wiped it, lesson definitely learnt, if I am not ready to publish then write the post in word and copy and paste at the appropriate time.

Glossybox Review December 2017

Finally up to date as I wait for this months box to arrive and I have to say I love the box…

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Sadly as much as I liked the box I didn’t have it long as my daughter also loved it lol so lets see if the contents matched the packaging…

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I have to be honest I was not blown away despite the fact it was full of make up products but did I feel the same after I had used them?

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MDMFLOW Semi-Matte Lipstick in Vamp

The first thing I should say was I chose the colour for this which also influenced the next product as well. I am not sure if I like this packaging, the lipstick does seem quite small however I did like the colour when I opened it…

dsc02272I chose this colour out of the two options as the other was a more neutral shade of which I have plenty when I swatched it I did find it was lighter than I initially expected but was still a nice berry colour…

dsc02273I love the packaging for this and I really like the colour. The lipstick stayed on quite well though required definite topping up after eating and drinking, at £18 I am not sure if I would buy more especially given the only option would seem to be online so the fact photos do not necessarily show true colour would put me off.

Next up…

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Revlon Nail Enamel in Valentine

I have to be honest out of the whole box this was the biggest disappointment. The colour sent was chosen to be paired with the lipstick you chose, to be honest the match is not a good one colour wise in the first place and this nail varnish left me frustrated, seemed to either have to be applied thin and streaky to get it to dry and more than two coats it would not dry properly, in the end gave it up. At £6.49 it is not really expensive but I still would not buy it.

Next…

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Collection Cosmetics Define & Perfect Eyebrow Powder

I cannot make up my mind on this product, the colour is just about right for me, maybe a little dark…

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I don’t mind the little brush application process…

dsc02276I already mainly use a powder to do my eyebrows so that was not problem. It took my a while to put my finger on it but the issue is the ball bearings that for some reason are rattling around in the brush bit. The thing is I can’t even work out why it is there, if it was in the powder side I might have thought it was there to loosen it except that it would actually pack it down, there is no liquid in the brush part that need agitating it is just annoying and distracts me as I use it. At £4.19 it is a good price and I like the product, they just need to sort the rattling noise.

 

The next product is this one…

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Lipcote Lipcote

Sometimes a product can have been around for a long time before you ever try it, for me this was one of those products. To an extent I think I never needed it, most lip products these days are designed to have a long lasting formula, so I tried this out over a range of lipsticks, I have to say it did make some last longer, others I could not say I saw a difference, I confess I do not like the tacky feeling that you get when you have first applied it however that does fade very quickly and at £3.99 it is actually a reasonable price if it makes lipsticks last longer before you need to reapply after all many of the lipsticks cost far more.

And the final item…

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Essence Light up your face luminizer palette

When I first looked at this palette I was not impressed, the colours were not really suited to my skin tone however once I stopped and considered how I could use the palette I have become rather fond of it.

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Rather than using them all as luminizing powders I have been using the two outer darker shades to use for contour shades when I feel the need to contour during the day, they give a little glow along with the shading and I use the middle highlighter if I want a more subtle glow or over the top of a liquid highlighter. I will say that for nights out the shades are not strong enough but they are fine for during the day r for when you need to be understated and at £3 would also be great to take out to top up rather than carrying your more expensive products with you.

Resolutions 2017 – January

So the first month has flown by and I hold my hands up, it has not been the start to the year I would have wished for but O really want to concentrate on finding the positives so let’s see how I did…

01)  Lose weight, yup this old chestnut again, I lost a stone and a half in the second half of last year so just set up a fresh spread sheet and new targets, while I know I have a lot more weight to lose than my target weight I am simply being realistic about losing weight in a healthy way.

Well at the end of the months technically I am down but would have been better if I had not had the blip in the middle, the problem is nights out and stress have both contributed this month to that pound put back on but I want to just focus on the positive and the 2lbs lost. I really want to be losing a pound a week so I did half of what I wanted this month lets hope next is better.

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02) Publish the remaining two parts of the Queen of Ages trilogy

I have started on the second part but am well down on where I wanted to be by the end of this month, however I am determined the first draft will be done before the middle of March so time to get stuck in this month and make up for lost time.

03) Exercise more

I have not made it to the pool this month at all, just bad timing with other things I have had on but next month I fully intend to start getting back into the Monday morning swim at the very least. As you can see I did not hit my 10k step target very often, it is annoying that I cannot get it to show the full month rather than the 28 days but as I can’t change it just have to work with the stats we have. as they were all set at zero on first of last month the increase looks fab but the important thing will be to keep that figure going up, the one thing that is obvious is I need to do more than just housework on Sundays.

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04) Blog at least four times a week

If you are reading my blog you know I failed this terribly but I promise you it is going to get better, family issues and commitments as I discussed earlier in the month have had to take priority but am now getting better organised and balancing everything better.

05) Get out more

If you get my newsletter or follow me on social media you will know I did get out twice this month, once with friends and the second time with the monster (it counts for now okay) both times to the Chinese Buffet, which actually accounts for that pound put back on lol. No actual nights out planned for this month but do have a lunch planned with my lovely friend Debbie and hoping to arrange a coffee meeting with another friend. I am also working on a special outing the month after which I will tell you more about nearer the time.

06) Write every day

I did not manage to write daily but what I did do was write when I had chance and also sort out several old folders with different bits of short stories, as you can see this actually is providing the basis for two very different short story collections potentially, well actually you can’t see both just the one but not going to say which one will come first lol, at the minute one looks like it may be family/relationship based and the other horror, just out of curiosity please answer in the comments do you prefer themed short story collection or ones that are a complete mix of genres?

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07) Work on my self belief

This month I have taken on a new mantra ‘It is what it is!’ By this I am looking at accepting my failings without judgement upon myself, I will not rip myself to pieces because I did not achieve all my goals, I will not waste energy fighting the tide on things I cannot change and I will embrace situations and make the most of them. It does not mean I shall not strive to push myself but it does mean that I shall have faith that if I fail there is a reason and it is not always myself at fault.

08)  Time management

Well obviously I as have not been hitting my targets it would seem I have been failing miserably however it is not quite true, because I have been making more time for family and to spend quality time with my son. I do need to focus more and be more productive during the daytime hours I have spare for writing and that will be my focus for the next month.

09) Update my wardrobe

Well obviously two pounds is not enough to justify a new wardrobe but I have been thinking about what I want my look to be, I recently added some purple to the pink in my hair and I am tempted to move more towards purple than pink, I am rather liking the idea of a ‘steam-punk’, Victorian ‘Gothic’ I like the idea of the corseted structured look with maybe the long bustled /layered skirts however with a butt the size of mine that may not be the most flattering look to go for.

10)  Publish the newsletter each month

The February newsletter went out on time and I am pleased to say I had plotted out half of it during the month, with the exception of a book to my friend Heidi and the January prize sending out I am now caught up on the mailing situation so that is a huge bonus. I am hoping to have more exciting things to discuss in the newsletters as time goes by because it is hard to make it so they are more than a rehash of FB and Instagram posts and not just pushing the same book over and over again.

11) Work out what I want in my personal life

This month my personal life has not taken a step forwards, backwards or in any other direction. My son has been my priority and my one night out was not exactly the sort of night that was going to give the opportunity to meet someone. At the minute I have so much on making time to met new people is going to be hard, I don’t really want to go down the on line route and just talking to people on line because you can’t judge if the chemistry is there via text or even on the phone, it is a physical reaction, I did meet someone last summer but due to other issues it did not work out but the chemistry was off the chart and the memory of how alive that spark made me feel means I am not about to settle for anything less.

12) Keep my website up to date

I am technically behind by one post as I write this, mainly because I struggle to think of interesting things at the minute to put on up there, I also am due to add another today as I am finally finishing this in the Sunday despite the fact it has been on the go since Wednesday but it has been a rather chaotic week personally so I am going to forgive myself as after all ‘It is what it is!’

Lazy Sunday #28

I want to say this is the first Sunday of 2017 but technically it is the second however as you got a vlog then it is the first Lazy Sunday. So have you got your coffee ready? For most of the posts this week you will notice the theme is resolutions, you can read my post here but I just want to take a minute to talk about why I make resolutions each year. I am later than usual publishing this but I went out last night so am slow getting my thoughts together today lol.

If you have followed me for a while you know each year I post a set of resolutions at the start of the year and then follow them through to differing degrees of success. Last year I was terrible at doing a monthly update, this did not actually mean all the resolutions failed, for example Ascension and Voices were both published. for me the actual act of writing my resolutions post is a way of actively focusing my mind on what I want to achieve in the coming year, both personally and professionally, the updates allow me to see whether I am on track. It is worth noting that missing out on writing the updates does not mean things are not going well but rather sometimes I feel that there is nothing new to add to a previous month although I am still moving in the right direction. for many of us our lives are so busy that giving ourselves targets and reference points we can refer back to helps us maintain a focus on some aspects that it is easy to lose in the chaos of everyday existence. Making time to exercise seems like something that would seem simple but until it becomes an established part of a routine it is easy to neglect, having told the world you intend to do it can be the motivation needed to make it happen.

Enough of me anyway and onto some blogs…

  1. The first lot of Resolutions come from Emmy Leigh I especially love the one about creating an environment in which all can flourish, I frequently find myself getting stressed trying to balance everyday house work etc against writing time and need to find a better balance https://emmyleigh.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/new-year-again/
  2. The next one really does embrace the idea of learning from each experience and moving forward https://blessedwithastarontheforehead.com/2017/01/02/new-year-time-to-renew-and-redo/
  3. The final lot of Resolutions is from Ellie and are quite similar to some of mine I love the idea of an office but until I move one day that is not an option https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/new-year-new-plan/
  4.  There is going to be another Annual Bloggers Bash  in London this year and they are running a competition to help fund it, I have the date pencilled into my diary and am hoping to be able to attend this year http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/01/01/the-big-bash-competition-2017/
  5. And the final blog for this week is one I hope you will all follow, not only as I am one of the signing authors at two of their forthcoming events but also I hope to be at many more https://hourglassevents.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/2017-the-year-for-darker/

That is it for this week hope you enjoy xxx