Sunshine Award – Q&A

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A special thank you to MJ Cobra for tagging me in for this little Q&A and making sure that I have been writing rather than staring at a blank screen. Check out her great blog  HERE

Hope you enjoy the answers:

1. What’s number 1 on your bucket list?
Erm maybe to start a bucket list? I actually don’t have one, I prefer to just take the opportunities as they come rather than sigh at a list every time another year goes by without the accomplishment.

2. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
Watching really cheesy films (especially Christmas ones), I don’t just mean bad chick flicks, I mean full on Hallmark type romance ones. Sometimes it’s just nice to get that heartwarming ending that is expected of that type of film.

3. How do you envision your handwriting if it were a person? Would you be friends?
My handwriting is a little bit unstable and tends to change depending on circumstances and moods. As a person I imagine it would be pretty much the same a little whirlwind of emotional baggage that changes every hour of every day…wait did I just describe myself? I think we could be friends, well some days.

4. If you could bring someone back from the dead, who would you choose?
Eww this just sounds gross, I’ve seen some of those zombie movies and they ain’t pretty. Although if we are talking in a nice clean skelatal form like Scraps from Corpse Bride then I will opt for my cat so he can once again stroll around thinking he is a dog.

5. What is your kryptonite?
Cute helpless animals – No matter how angry I am a cute baby otter can sway my attention – Anyone seen finding Dory?

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6. If you owned a restaurant, what would be the best selling dish?
Surprise stew! Sometimes it works out spicy, sometimes bbq style and sometimes just plain with dumplings. I don’t really start out with a plan but it always seems to work out in the end.

7. What is your favourite part about blogging?
The random interactions. In the real world we are all so stuck in our own little bubbles, and penned in by our status in life that we often don’t interact with people that we would always choose but by those people our surroundings choose for us. Through blogging you are able to find interesting people that might not be within your usual sphere.

8. Do you have a crush on any fictional characters?
*thinks*
I’m guessing the obvious one would be Mr Darcy but if I’m being honest I’ve always had more of a thing for Brontë’s Heathcliff anyway. But if I’m steering away from the classic then I think I would opt for the odd choice of Geralt of Rivia – yes this is me crushing on the Witcher. He has just about the right amount of passion, fight and oddness to make it work for him, and if you haven’t read the books then these come recommended. He has, shall we say complex relationships yet there are definitely some heart racing moments in there.

9. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received or heard?
I can’t remember the exact words but it was a pep talk email from NaNoWriMo and it said something like –

Even if you think it’s crap then just keep writing, even perfect roses need fertilser

10.Which of your blog posts is your favourite?
I think perhaps this one – Creativity meets Warcraft
A combination between two great loves and something I wrote after discovering a really friendly twitter community among Warcraft players.

The rules for this award are as follows:

Rules

  • Show the award on your blog.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the given questions.
  • Nominate a blog(s) and give them questions to answer.
  • Link your nominee(s) and let them know of your nomination.

 

However being a rule breaker and not wanting to try and being unsure of who would appreciate a nomination and who would not need the extra writing then I am not going to choose but I encourage anyone to take up the mantle and if you are so inclined then here are my questions.

  1. If you could be a comic book hero/villain then who would it be and why?
  2. What was the last film you saw in the cinema and did you enjoy it?
  3. If you could only eat only thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  4. Do you enjoy reading and if so which genre do you enjoy most?
  5. Would you rather be in a life like an old Western film or a Sci-fi one?
  6. If your characteristics were an animal what would it be?
  7. When you were a child what did you wish you could be/do?
  8. Given the choice would you want to be cryogenically frozen?
  9. What landmark have you always wanted to see?
  10. Is there any advice you would give to your younger self if it were possible?

If anyone does use these questions for a blog post then please drop a note in the comments and I would love to pay a visit and read them.

Also

Have fun 🙂

 

sunshine

 

I wish I were a Raccoon

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I wish I were a raccoon with tiny grabby hands
To know exactly what I want and openly demand
I’d sport a nice snug tail and roll instead of walk
to get me places faster and I’d never have to talk
Instead I’d have cute glassy eyes
that no one could resist
and people would just give me cake
because I would persist.

A little snuggly raccoon, full of tenacity
I’d be a chubby, fuzzy ball of voracity.

 

Thanks for the Inspiration call over at

The Invitation

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It lay, glaring at me.

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Bold as brass but far more flashy. It wasn’t meant to cause offence of course, just inspiration: an invitation from a friendly source with the aim to inspire.

Yet it lay on my screen, blinking out it’s gesture in defiance of my inability to react. It sat, expectantly in my list, silently demanding a reply with its innocent face. For a time I stared back, waiting to see if I could scare it into submission, assert my own blank dominance and allow it a healthy retreat.

But the invitation stood its ground, raising my heckles and taunting me with its propitious  prompt. It mocked me for idleness, chided the brain numbing sloth I had succumbed to, and spurred me into action.

The singular word became clear.

It was an invitation to write.

 

via Daily Prompt: Invitation

 

2017: The catch up year

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After finally feeling the urge to actually get moving and do something, I realised that what I need are a few nudges here and there to start the momentum and if left to my own devices I can happily just eat cheese and binge watch Netflix. So in order for this not to happen  (erm continue happening) I felt it was about time to find myself some new challenges or goals .. easy ones to begin of course.

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One of the oddest things about last year is that I didn’t really seem to find the want to read, which is a strange place for me since I love reading and always have done, even as a child I would rather sit and read a book than play kerby (yes that exciting game of hitting a ball off a kerb and waiting for cars to pass) or tag with the other kids. Yet for some reason 2016 just was not a reading year..at all. In fact I can’t think of one single book I read over those 365 days which is not only sad it seems alien to me. Now I think it is time to put something in writing so this doesn’t happen to me again. How can anyone expect to write if they don’t also read? .. ridiculous!

So today I took a look around at some blog challenges and decided to register with Goodreads in order to nudge me to get at least 12 books read this year, also I found The Herd Presents blogspot that encouraged me to actually read outside my usual material. So this year I shall be trying a different genre or three.

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Now I just have to find something to read … runs off to window shop

P.S Any recommendations are welcomed.

Choosing your path

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Ever have that feeling of being too thinly stretched in life and wanting to push forward but not being sure of the direction you want to go?

Well I get this all the time.

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I have always been slightly envious of those people who have seemingly got it all together, who know what they want out of life and just go for it. People that have a clear passion for something or a true calling if you will and they just work hard in that area to become the best they can be at it. How do they do that?

No matter how much I would like to I simply cannot sit still with one area of life for long so instead I find my interests flitting from one thing to another and then back again as whim demands. In fact I think my longest standing relationship with an interest must actually be with World of Warcraft and even now I am finding less time to enjoy this and more time wanting to focus on more productive outlets.

It’s not that I am actually as flippant as it appears, I do love and have a passion for all the things I do (well except the obligatory things) but I cannot just keep to one particular thing, I feel my crafting highlights this best of all. Yet I am starting to wish that I could at least settle in one area for a while and explore how far one can go or at least get organised enough that I do something instead of waste time wondering what I actually want to do.

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Bzz Agent review:Seriously Strong Cheese

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I thought I would never actually get to try out these lovely cheese squares, it didn’t seem to be my fate. First off I lost the coupon to claim the taster pack and then I tried to just buy them and Tesco had none left, then Morrisons had none left and even Asda was all sold out!

So then I thought to myself, well these must be delicious if everywhere has sold out so I made it my mission to track down a packet and eventually after many stake outs Tesco came up with the good hoorah.
So were they worth it?

Yes..yes I think my smile says they were 🙂

First off I have to commend the packaging because usually if I want a spread I will buy a tub because the foil packets are always a fiddly pain. Not only do I get in a mess with these I also get annoyed about the waste when it gets stuck in the corners of triangles or left in a tube. But with these little squares the tab pulls a full top clean off so no waste or getting fingertips messy.

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Now when I say little squares, in reality they are not actually that little in fact they cover between 2-6 crackers depending on the size and your generosity – I used 2 crisp breads with a generous spread and then tucked right in.

The flavour of the spread is nice, there is a good sharpness that you would expect from strong mature yet it still gave a really creamy taste. My parents also enjoyed this spread which is high commendation since they usually only stick to their usual brand, and even asked if there were any leftover. The pack itself contained 8 squares so it works out to an economical purchase if you are single or part of a couple: this also means that you don’t have to worry about a whole tub going mouldy if opened. Also being individually packaged makes this spread perfect for pack lunches or picnics or if you are a bit odd like me then just eating them straight from the fridge for a creamy cheese fix.

Overall a great snack to keep in the fridge and I would buy (and already have bought) them again

*I received free coupons to try out Seriously Strong Spreadable Squares via Bzz agent & Tesco

3am and still awake

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I don’t know what it is about 3am but I always feel more alert, more alive somehow. Even though most of the day has been spent walking around feeling like a zombie with my brain only working on autopilot: there is something about this time of night (or morning) that kicks it into gear.

It might be the fact that my body finally feels balanced with all its levels or perhaps the caffeine taken earlier to prop me up for the day finally comes into to its own. It could be the fact that 3am allows me to actually just enjoy silence and finally I feel relaxed enough to enjoy it. I’m not sure what it is about 3am – I only know that it works for me.

Ideas race around my brain and I begin to think about all the possibilities (and sometimes the impossibilities) that life could hold and feel more inclined to want to reach out and grab them. Maybe it’s just my brain working overtime but in the dead of night is when things actually feel possible.

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I start to plot together ridiculous ideas of future plans and how I can leave the rat race and focus on something more fun, something I can throw some passion into – This is about the time I start to believe that sitting in a box, staring at a screen whilst making money for somebody else is a terrible idea and maybe I could just use some creativity and keep myself afloat without the daily grind, or at least make the daily grind something I can feel happier doing.

Then I get to thinking about all the things that I want to do and all the things I should do, then all the things I need to do…and alas I’m back at square one knowing that I have to at least try and sleep so that tomorrow isn’t even more terrible.

I guess tomorrow I can at least say I updated a neglected blog (even if it is only inane wittering) so that’s one thing more than I did yesterday…slow progress is still progress I guess 😉

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July CampNanoWrimo

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Yes it’s here once again, that lovely boost from a writing camp: yes CampNaNoWriMo really does help to add some focus to the everyday writing aim.

This time around though I am not rolling up prepared and pitching up an idea to write about. Nope, instead I’m having a good old clear out , a spring cleaning of thoughts and ideas if you will. This time around I am just typing, any little thing that pops into my head because let’s be honest my brain is filled with so many weird and wonderful (or just plain bizarre) thing that sometimes it gets a bit hard to focus on one solid project. so instead I feel like I need to get a lot of things off my chest, sketch out a few ideas for stories to get back to at a later date. Trawl through anything left unsaid that I just want to vent about but not necessarily out loud, and perhaps flesh out a character or three so I can use them in future.

My main aim this time is just to type and get back into the habit of it, with the idea to actually make it to the end of a NanoWriMo this time. This year I want to be more focused and actually complete the Novel draft. I would like to go in with some kind of vague plan and direction. OK, I know this will most likely change as the days near yet still if I’m prepared maybe I might just get there this time.

So here’s to July may it be a good testing ground for me and a great experience and productive for those of you who entered camp *raises hot chocolate*

 

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Amazon reviews: How much do we trust them?

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How much faith do we put into reviews when buying products? Are you one of those people that ignores reviews and shops on instinct, or are you like me and often base your purchases on other people’s reviews?

If you buy from Amazon and do make purchases on the trust of reviews , you may want to rethink after reading this: or at least read the reviews with a keener eye.

Personally I am a big fan of Amazon: I’m a prime customer and regularly buy from Amazon as my first port of call. It’s easy, the choice is wide and I trust it on the basis that other people like me are adding honest voices to the reviews, however my recent review was rejected which makes me wonder how many bad reviews are kept away. Not only that but the discovery that there might be a loophole for suppliers to link good reviews from different products is worrying and means I will definitely be keeping a closer eye out in future.

My honest if somewhat aggrieved review (which was rejected) for

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01930RLEU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

When deciding upon a laundry basket I had hoped that this one would reflect the reviews given however I am currently learning my lesson about reading them more closely!

The product I received was alike to the image above with four canvas bags that sit on a frame but the product received showed the poor design where aesthetics have been valued over practicality. I do admit that I was swayed by all the good reviews that I skimmed over and the star ratings, yet PLEASE DON’T BE FOOLED – ACTUALLY READ THEM!

Now that I am attempting to return this product and wondering why there were so many good reviews I notice that somehow most of these reviews are about a different product!!!

If you actually read the good reviews, many mention the ‘natural’ effect rather than metal or plastic and some say ‘sea grass’ in the review so I can only assume that these were given about a different product: perhaps a woven laundry basket or even a waste paper bin: either way most of these reviews were not written about this product! – HOPEFULLY AMAZON WILL CHECK THESE LINKS FOR INTEGRITY!

The product itself seemed to be good at first, the frame went together well and in good time: it seemed sturdy enough for the price. The problem began when we added the hooks which hold the laundry bags. Due to the sloping nature of this design the hooks were not able to sit well between the poles: they have not been made with differing ends so they would only ever be able to sit right on a level frame.

After reporting this to the supplier, I was informed that I could bend the hooks to help them sit on the poles. So taking a pair of pliers I set about trying to bend a hook so it would stay on the pole which caused the end safety caps to pop straight off. I wasn’t really happy having to force the design however it seemed easier than having to return and find another basket. After forcing a hook to stay on the poles however it was realised that the bags would also not stay on this slanted hook, obviously they slide down the hooks too and gather up (this was without even adding any laundry).

When reporting this to Tinkertonk customer support, I was offered a £4 refund and the offer to keep the basket, however I really don’t want to have to bend bars and sew bags just to get something functional, and I also don’t want to be left with extra rubbish that will have to be taken to the tip.

I had thought that a courier would just pick up the return however I didn’t realise it wasn’t prime  ( the postage was free) which meant I would have to post it at the post office. I would have asked someone with a car to do this for me however after speaking to Tinkertonk, I was also informed that they would not refund the postage anyway: leaving me very much out of pocket due to poor design!

So now I am left with a box sitting in my hallway and a loss of £21.19 from my bank so I am not a very happy customer: especially after realising that the main reason for my purchase (the good reviews) were not even connected to this product!

Hopefully this review might stop anyone else falling foul to this hoax!

Ok so perhaps on reflection this was a bit of a shouty post with far too many exclamations however I don’t appreciate being out of pocket for something that just isn’t fit for purpose. If I had ordered something and just not liked it or changed my mind then I wouldn’t expect a refund, and yes I am still annoyed, maybe because I am annoyed with myself for not actually reading the reviews properly and leaving myself open to blind faith in Amazon reviews.

The annoying thing is perhaps that if I had bought this via credit card or Paypal then they would have honoured this refund however Amazon leaves this disagreement between seller and customer. Overall though I really hope that Amazon might look into their reviews and supply better quality checks: who knows how many other products are being marketed in this way.

Failing that I hope this post might at least encourage one more person not to be deceived by a shiny star review

 

 

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Seeing Green

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Today’s #coloryourworld is the lovely sea green

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Which is perhaps not so lovely, if you happen to be a duck

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I cannot remember exactly where this was

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But I do remember going there to visit a waterfall

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It soon became clear that the brochure photographer had used a more ‘artistic’ license

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