December: what I’m looking forward to…

  1. Russell Brand on his ‘Messiah Complex’ tour  in London on Thursday with my sister – can’t wait – first night out in I don’t know how long!
  2. Booked a few days off work to get my Christmassy bits done which should get me into the Christmas spirit!
  3. Taking JJ to see a show called ‘Gorilla’ at the Polka Children’s Theatre in Wimbledon with my Mum on the 14th – wonderful place to take little children, highly recommended.
  4. NCT kids & mum’s Christmas get together on the 23rd at my lovely friend Suzy’s house – another fab excuse to get into the Christmassy vibe with mince pies and festive fun!
  5. NCT mark II (the EJ ‘Refresher’ years) Christmas get together at my lovely friend Anna’s house on the 16th – more of the above!!
  6. Christmas!!! Say no more.
  7. Going to the panto in Woking on Jan 4th (not December so cheating a bit here!) – Cinderella starring Justin Fletcher (AKA Mr Tumble) which will probably make JJ’s year!! Going with my lovely friend Clair and her son.
  8. Meeting up with friends we haven’t seen for ages on 7th with their son who is EJ’s contemporary – Christmas time really does encourage us to re-connect!
  9. Christmas pressie swap and meal at Jamie’s Italian with one of my oldest besties on 14th. Bit of a tradition, lovely to indulge ourselves and reminisce about old times.
  10. Big family pre-Christmas ‘in the place of Christmas’ celebration with a meal out at a lovely pub on the 15th. (My sister, BIL and nieces will all be skiing in the Italian Alps (again!!) for the festive season this year so this will be our chance to raise a glass and enjoy each other’s company for the last time in 2013).

And one for luck – albeit another January one! – Jan 18th going to the National Theatre in London to see Tori Amos’s musical “The Light Princess” described as “a dark fairytale about grief, rebellion and the power of love”. Its been a long time since I’ve visited the National although I was brought up on theatre-going, particularly this amazing venue and I absolutely love, love, love the vibe both inside and out on the South Bank.

So yes, once again I find myself counting my blessings and realising that, whilst time enjoying the children is fab (especially at Christmas) not everything in my life has to involve them!

Linking up with http://www.mummyfromtheheart.com’s Reasons to be Cheerful (R2BC) (currently being hosted by Becky at Lakes Single Mum http://www.beckywilloughby.blogspot.co.uk)

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Losing the muse…On writing

When I was a young teenager I used to love writing so much. I wrote everything from diary entries, to a romance novel, to poetry to a sit-com! My mum was a journalist of sorts and both my mum and dad went to, what was, The London School of Printing (my dad was a graphic artist) so when it came time to decide what to do after school ended I was thoroughly encouraged to apply for a course in journalism at (then) The London College of Printing (now The London College of Communication). I duly applied, was accepted for the interview/testing day and was put through a series of gruelling challenges and an interview which weeded out the less able and was (thrillingly!) accepted onto a two-year Btec HND in periodic journalism.

I enjoyed my time on the course although a lot of what we learned became very quickly obsolete (measuring up a page layout by hand!) just pre-dating the technological revolution (this is back in the early 90s). However out in the real world I found it frustrating and impossible to get the kind of job which I had dreamed of. Technical periodicals were too boring; women’s magazines drove me mad with their recycled material and patronising tone; and I just didn’t consider myself political or intelligent enough for hard news.

In the end I threw in the towel and headed back to full time education, opting for a four year BA in American Literature at Sussex University (American? I hear you ask… well it did include a year Stateside so why not??!). Writing took a distinctly academic turn for me at this point (obviously) and there is a huge gulf between writing off the cuff in a journalistic style and writing planned and cerebral arguments on facets of literature.

I got a little taster of being back in the journalistic saddle round about the turn of the millennium when I got a fabulous opportunity to write and edit the children’s commercial book website The Book Monster which was affiliated to The BookPlace – a site competing with Amazon (on the book front) in the UK. This was a fun and fulfilling highlight of my working life as it also gave me the opportunity to learn some HTML and get an understanding of web structure.

Since that time I have really lost my writing muse as there has been no real outlet until now. With this blog I have begun to enjoy the fact that I can write what I want in any way I choose. I’d like to think that what I have to say is of interest to someone out there but it is quite difficult to gauge in anyway when you get so few comments! I realise that the downside of blogging within any given niche is that your potential audience has literally thousands of other blogs and posts to choose from and this whole social networking is bloody hard work trying to make the magic happen!

Coming back from holiday I have really let it slide for the last week or so as I haven’t been able to find the time or motivation to string a thought together – let alone a thought interesting enough to share with others in an entertaining way!

I’ve just looked through some of my old poetry and wanted to share a bit to find out if I ever really did have a talent for this…To be honest the only one I’m happy to share is this:

Birds of Prey

We drop from the sky and we come in for the kill
we never lose that feeling
the adrenaline, the thrill
the sound of the echoing death cry,
the mixture of the mortal
and immortal so appealing

Our meaning in life,  our purpose, our love,

is not for one another but for our prey
we have the power
and we never need suffer

we haunt by night and we shimmer by day

There isn’t a moment
we don’t feel the wind,
the rain and the moon,
rarely seen through the clouds,
is our brother, unearthly, immortal kin
shining through at last
like a final shroud.

Perhaps this is how it feels to be falling, slowly, deliciously, towards the rocks,
chilling, the speed at which everything changes,
a feeling closer to madness than shock,
omitting the thought that this should be appalling,
like a book omitting its final pages.

Yet we have the power of self preservation, gliding and stalling in frantic turns,
swooping and spiralling with such grace

and we have so little left to learn that our movements will seem like a practiced formation

our fatal blow, a majestic embrace.

Seems I definitely had the muse once…

 

Cafe musing…

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Mum, JJ, EJ and I have just returned from the local swing park at King’s Field near Kingston upon Thames. It’s Sunday morning and while we were there we thought we’d pop into the cafe there (pictured behind EJ in the photo above). It is one of the Pistachios in the Park franchises which also sell a range of wooden toys.

While we were buying our drinks we noticed there was a new section in there aimed at parents with small children containing a paddling pool filled with balls, some story books, stickers and colouring books with crayons, children’s chairs and a freestanding bead table.  This is a lovely idea and JJ immediately wanted us to decamp into this area with our refreshments.

After we finished our drinks I started to put JJ’s sandals back on and noticed that the bottoms of his feet were black with dirt. Considering the fact that EJ had been putting balls and other bits and bobs in his mouth this worried me a little. It also gave me cause for concern regarding the hygiene and cleanliness in general in the food & drink prep area as much as anywhere else.

The people who work in there are very young and seem very concerned with their image and hanging out with the local youths who go down there for the skate park. In my experience they do not offer a friendly or welcoming service which is such a shame as I love cafes in parks and this one has so much potential.

I have now written a letter of concern to Pistachios through their website contact form so I’ll keep you posted on any feedback!