Monthly Archives: December 2013

Birthdays, Winter Colds & Christmas Preparations


Today is my youngest nephews birthday – he’s 6 and spending the day at a chocolate factory with his friends! ūüôā happy bday
Despite still being full of winter cold, I woke up at 6:30 and felt quite alive! (Due to a 9hr sleep plus sleeping through most of yesterday!)
I had to get to my brothers early before they all went out to collect excited children and eat chocolate! Fin had asked for a Thor fancy dress costume WITH hammer, which I managed to get- it was a real shame because he wanted to put it on and couldn’t as he was party dressed ready!
He is such a sweetheart.
Although my visit was quick (especially as I didn’t want to share my germs!) it was filled with love and smiles.

bday Bless him Рhe was so excited to have a birthday to celebrate before Christmas this year!

Then I headed for the supermarket (make as much use of being up and out) -it wasn’t open for half an hour but I took my writing magazine with me to read in the car park. I went for a few last minute Christmas bits, medicine¬†and milk. I came out half an hour later to a manic, thriving car park and was on the way home before I realised I had forgotten the medicine!

keep calm We have treats to eat today Рwhich is fabulous because I was far too tempted by the Christmas stock piles out in the conservatory! Actually we did both have a bowl of wasabi peas and crisps last night whilst watching a film.

Today I making myself feel better by being up &¬†dressed…¬†I plan to write Christmas cards (far too late to send them on time) and wrap Christmas gifts. I am surfing the net looking for some homemade table decorations for Christmas (I still need to collect the table!) and after all that, if I have any energy left¬†I may treat myself to some writing time.

Bookish Christmas Trees


© 2013

There have been lots of pictures shared on social media this Christmas which I have enjoyed. I wanted to share the bookish ones here – maybe one year I will have a go myself. Full credits to other websites for these pictures.

blog tree

© 2013


© 2013


© 2013

Winter Solstice


Any of you unaware of the calendar significance of the 21st December may have seen the scarf knitting icon on Google today. Google doodle

I did a little surfing of my own to compile this post celebrating the Winter Solstice the facts are taken from

Istock win tree Enlightening Facts About the Winter Solstice

By Todd Wasserman
All of the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday will experience the darkest day of the year. Specifically, at 12:11 p.m. ET, we will witness the winter solstice. In the U.S., we’ll have just nine hours, 32 minutes of daylight. For many this time of year, that means leaving home and returning from work in darkness.For those who are not fans of winter, take heart. From here on out, the days will get lighter and lighter. For winter lovers, there’s good news also: The coldest temperatures are still to come.

istock hse

1. It happens at a specific time

The winter solstice isn’t the full day of Dec. 21, but rather occurs at a specific time. At that point, the sun is shining farthest to the south, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. There’s no duration to the event, per se.

Of course, the sun isn’t actually moving, the Earth is. At 12:11 p.m. ET, the North Pole is tipped about 23 degrees away from the sun. When summer rolls around, the South Pole is tipped 23 degrees away from the sun. During the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the Earth is not tilted in either direction.

2. It happens at a different time each year

The winter solstice doesn’t always occur on Dec. 21. Sometimes it comes on Dec. 22, which will happen again in 2015. The hour of day also fluctuates. Last year, the solstice came at 11:12 a.m. ET. Next year, it occurs at 11:03 p.m.

3. The meteorological winter began three weeks ago

If it feels like winter has already begun, you are correct. Meteorologists consider Dec. 1 the start of the meteorological winter and March 1 the start of the meteorological spring. That’s because December, January and February are the three coldest months of the year. By the time the Spring Equinox rolls around on March 20, 2014, average temperatures in most areas will have already started rising. The winter solstice isn’t the coldest day of the year, either ‚ÄĒ that comes later.

xmas1 snowflakes

In the UK, the precise time of the solstice will be 5.11pm on Saturday December 21st 2013. The solstice, regarded as the beginning of the winter season, occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. For the next six months, the days will continue to grow longer as the sun spends more time above the horizon.

How do people celebrate it?

The winter solstice is a major pagan festival, with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years.

Every year revellers gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on the shortest day.

Many of the traditions we now think of as being part of Christmas -including Yule logs, mistletoe and Christmas trees – have their roots in the pagan celebrations of winter solstice.

dazzle junction dot com winter solstice familylorecouk winter solstice

Facts from

Merry Christmas!


We are just 5 days away from CHRISTMAS!santa snow elf 2

And I am excited as a younger version of myself would have been! Despite being full of winter cold!)

Today¬†Mr G & I are both booked off work to do our FINAL Christmas shop… starting locally in the shops, then later driving to the¬†supermarket for the BIG Christmas Food¬†Shop!

Then I am going to spend the rest of the day tucked up warm – in an attempt to get rid of the cold that has been with me most of the week. joy

I haven’t done much writing since making my submissions earlier in the week. I have to look at the action plan and catch up a bit. Monday has been allocated as a wrapping presents and writing day. keep calm

I will probably post again before Christmas – I am sure it is a busy time for all of us, but I will not be posting as much as usual over the next 5 days.

Have a Merry Time preparing for your festive celebrations!









Black Dog – A Wonderful Advert: World Health Organization


We do not talk about our black dogs – these are the kind of pets that society doesn’t accept easily, it is easy to feel alone. You feel like you are the only one on the planet with a black dog, but they breed widely.

This is an amazing awareness video from the World Health Organization and timely viewing, speaking with my doctor¬†yesterday he said if more people could recognise the trigger he could help recovery quicker. It is hard to know sometimes though…. What I thought mine was wasn’t really it in the end.
Watching this this reminded me of how it used to feel 2 years ago, how I felt. It is incredible how far I have come. I want to thank my Black Dog though, because without him my life wouldn’t have changed beyond recognition, it was from my mood journals, gratitude journals¬†and depression diaries that the writer in me re-emerged.
I am grateful – because I know rock bottom and I realise the only way from there is UP!

Reading Poetry at The REP


I found out about an event hosted by library of birmingham com poet L Joanna Skelt. An idea to bring music and the spoken word together around twilight to ease the transition from day to night. A mellow gathering in the winter. bbccoukrep It took place in the REP Theatre on the Mezzinine floorbirminghammail rep away from the general bustle but still in a public spot. It was a great evening.

Fantastic performances and inspiring poetry, it was great to hear more of Joanna’s material. We were joined by two former laureates Jan Watts and Charlie Jordan and I was able to share some of my recent poetry too.

I met some people there who had seen me perform before (back in October) it was lovely to talk about poetry and writing.

I left on such a high that I didn’t actually leave the city straight away. The Frankfurt Christmas Market is there this month and the weekend Mr G and I were supposed to go we were too tired and never made it! Last time I was out in the city for a Book Launch I didn’t go and look at the stalls as I knew I was coming back a few days later with Mr G (which, as mentioned – never happened!)

I didn’t fancy the bustle of the main¬†market – the crowds were thriving and I didn’t want to be in them on my own. The top part of the market used to be a few stalls up from the food¬†court and bars. This year it practically meets the library – well it would have been rude not to.

I bought presents, tasted samples, avoided buying large sausages and bags of Pork Scratchings or 2foot liquorice РI was so hungry! I did buy 2 gorgeously unique (ish) poetry dresses for next year, my incentive to get fitter and lose weight!

For a free gig it turned out quite expensive ūüėČ the happiness has lasted for hours though.

I hope Jolibraryofbirminghamdotcom joanna skelthas another go at organising a night soon.

Images  © &

SOLC – Slice of Life Challenge – A Grand Day!


sols_6Today has been a wonderfully inspiring mixture of events and coincidences! So much so that I have decided to post this general slice and link the other posts into it.
I have JUST realised it is TUESDAY still – so this qualifies as my SLICE OF LIFE post for this week – I would love to start the ritual of a weekly post again and get time to read other slicers – maybe in the NEW YEAR!

I worked today – I was booked for the morning only – which is a farce because it is always afternoon before you leave. I didn’t get a break and worked through what would have been dinner if I had worked all day – so I did 5.5 hours without food, water or breaks! Small wonder I felt a little aggrieved by the time I left. Not to mention the first lesson was a practical science class and I had no support! The kids were fabulous though and I shouldn’t complain because it is still worlds better than it used to be!

Next came the adventure of collecting my nephew’s birthday gift – which I ordered online on Sunday and was a Click and Collect – ready in store yesterday – but I spent the whole day writing and the evening out at¬†Amy Rainbow’s Book Launch. It took an hour – because I had to go through the store with a basket 1st, there were a few small items I needed to buy including a snood to replace the one I lost last night at the book launch. I collected his gift and had planned to go home via shops in town, but after I had fought the great battle with the self serve tills I had had enough and came home.
I had an hour before another appointment. I spent it online and discovered that Joanna Skelt – the Poet Laureate was organising a Mellow Winter Evening Event¬†at the REP Theatre which started at 5.30pm, I wasn’t sure I would make it in time – but I did.
It was great, a lovely way to break into the evening.

Joanna was fantastic and performed a lot of her jazz inspired/ jazz poetry, Jan Watts (former Laureate) performed her theatrical, funny, less mellow poetry, I had a chance to read a set of my own, Charlie Jordan shared one of hers and other people performed poetry and music, it was a great night.

Afterwards I made my way home via the Frankfurt Christmas Market – I may have some poetry dresses for next year – an inspirational device to make me lose weight! I sampled lots of tasty treats and bought a few gifts before coming home!

A great day and a grand adventure.

The Moon tonight was massive and beautiful (I should describe it more poetically) I wanted to snap a picture but was driving on the motorway at the time and couldn’t!

I phoned Recon (venue last night) and THEY HAVE MY SNOOD – it is in lost property… they will keep it safe until I manage to travel over that way – guess I will take my new one back for a refund!

Amy Rainbow’s Book Launch


The Book Launch was a fabulous night out, I seem to have lost my much loved -pre-Christmas-present-to-myself snood/ scarf though, which was a little upsetting when I realised. It wasn’t expensive and comes from the same store I need to collect my nephew’s birthday present from tomorrow though, I hope they still have them in stock. Buying a new one seems easier and possibly cheaper than driving a round trip to collect the old one or even paying the postage.

‘Jasmine Somers Makes Amends’ was kept under wraps for most of the evening, whilst we were entertained by the wonderfully talented¬†Jenny Hallam and Loungetoad. Amy Rainbow read some poetry in between the musical sets and then finally read part of Chapter 1 – enough to whet your appetite! The evening was as sparkly as Amy’s evening dress and it was a well attended book launch and I met Ali, one of the writers from Writing for Children classes I attended at the Custard Factory earlier this year. It was nice to see her again.


Latest Submissions


I haven’t submitted any writing since the summer, this month I have gone back to the desk (not strictly true as I don’t have one yet!)
I made a 100 Flash Submission to the Reader’s Digest Competition earlier this month. My 16th submission this year.
 rd1 This is the competition I posted a poll about as there was some question over copyright. I posted a similar question via social media and was assured by what some writers said and at the end of the day, the only bad thing will be not realising when my work is published.
They retain copyright (which is unusual) but they say it to use for advertising or future publications, generally the latter if last year was anything to go by. If I am lucky though I win the cash prize or runner up book tokens.


And tonight I spent the time between the shower and getting ready for the Book Launch writing poetry.

1 emmap
I managed to finish before the deadline, speed edit and send emails full of hope to the next two anthologies planned by Emmapress for publishing next year.
7 poems in total, 2 more submissions, that’s 18 this year. I wonder if I will make it to 20?


Schedule Time for the Schedule!


It has taken two and a half hours to work through my writing action plan for this week.write1

I have researched websites and scheduled in this week’s writing. I have 8 poems to attempt to write today, for two competitions with the 16th December as a deadline.
I need to take some of my own advice and motivate myself again, I have known about these competitions for over a month and here I am on the¬†¬†deadline day trying to create suitable material. Let’s hope I get there before getting ready for the book launch tonight!

xmas1 snowmen¬†Fortunately that’s it for today – the rest of the writing has been neatly programmed throughout the rest of the month – alongside Christmas for a while, of course there is no guarantee that it will be done in the planned time, but much of the rest of the writing this month is actually for submission next year so I’m not concerned.

I haven’t experienced Christmas as a AWF Writer banner since I last wrote (a decade ago) and I think back then I took Christmas off. I am not having to do my day job over Christmas so I should be able to divide time between festivities and word-craft – although I think festivities will get the higher claim!

As long as I succeed with today’s writing I will be okay. If I end up with just 4 suitable poems, I will submit those instead.

Wish me luck, I’m going in!HALLOWEEN 2011 081 motivate write do