Monday, 8 February 2016

February Update: How I'm Coping Being Single.



Hi Readers,

Hope you all had a good weekend and week! To answer the question, I'm doing okay. I thought I'd be a lot more depressed, lonely and lacking in the motivation then I've turned out to be. But I guess that's in part because I've willed myself not to be. It's super hard because I'm going through the grieving process and even though my ex and I have had a clean break we are still trying to be friends. So far that is working out, but I wondered if in the coming months we both decided to drift and start over again. I'd love to meet someone else who was better suited to me and giving time it'll properly happen.

Right now though, I've been spending some me time and doing a few things I've been planning to do. I had this huge list in my head and though I've started on it, I've still got a lot of things planned. I think keeping busy and not spending too much time reflecting and getting upset is really helping me to get through. I agreed with my best friend that I had to do stuff that made me happy and I had to learn to love myself again. So, here's what I've spent the last few weeks enjoying and I hope that if you're feeling low at the minute you can find something here to cheer yourself up with.

Happy Book


I started this 'Happy Book' soon after a left uni. My friend give it to me and I didn't really know what to do with it as it wasn't suitable for any purpose I had. Then she told me about this memory box she had which is filled with things that made her happy and I decided to make this little notebook into my happy space. I got some quotes and memes off the internet that meant something to me or else were very positive. Some are to do with writing, others life, love, loss, moving on etc. There's also quotes from books and famous people. I scrap booked some of the pages with stickers and things to brighten them up further. 

Some of the pages have really random things on like cardboard cut outs of Adventure Time and Minecraft characters. There's also some cut up birthday cards, postcards and a poem my mum wrote that had come loose from one of her old notebooks. I've got some prayers too and then there are these plastic cards that I think came with badges or brooches. I don't remember, but I use to keep them in a jewelry box. Now they have a home in the Happy Book and they do seem to be very fitting. I've no idea where they dried flowers came from though! 



The other thing I've got is two pages for Yankee Candle labels. I really like the images on them and had a few stuck to the side of my PC tower. Then I decided it couldn't go on and so decided to put them in the Happy Book. Looking at them and remembering the smells, makes me feel happy and lets other good thoughts appear. Plus, it's a great way to remember all the melter candles I've tried out so far!  



I mainly add to the Happy Book when I'm feeling upset and low. It gives me something to focus on and reading all the positive stuff does help. I also read through it when I need a little pick me up or some inspiration. When I'm adding, I'll go on Pinterest or Google and look up whatever quotes I need, I have a running collection of them on my board now, which is very useful. I'll sort them all out into a word doc, making them as small as possible, but still readable then print them out and stick them in. I do find crafts so calming and I think that helps too. The only problem is that my little notebook is almost full now! I guess I'm going to have to find a new one soon. 

Lip Balm Collection



I've always had a little bit of a collection and addiction to lip balms. I love the smell of them more then anything. Though in winter and summer when my lips tend to be all dry and cracking, they are useful. My favorites have to be from the Body Shop because they smell so good and they had an apple candyfloss one come out at Christmas and I'm fully addicted to it. 

My mum actually got me all these for Christmas and they are a mix of small tubs and tubes. I really like the old fashioned sweet flavored ones, which remind me of the sweets I use to eat as a kid. There's also Coke Cola, Fanta and Spirit ones, which don't last long with me because I end up licking them off! My current favorite is the top one- the lemon berry blast, because it just smells so fruity. 

I'm all set for the next few years with my collection now, but no doubt I'll find more. Collecting things always makes me happy, even though I've run out of room now!   

America sweets


Whilst Christmas shopping my mum and I can across these candy cups in BM bargains. They seemed really interesting and when I opened my mine a few days after Christmas I got kinda hooked on Cow Tales! I have always liked America sweets even though they are expensive in the UK and they are not as sugar sweet as the things we have over here. I just have a very sweet tooth. 

I ate like half of the cup and it was mostly lollipops, nerds and laffy taffy. But I just knew I'd have to  get another at some point. I got lucky because when we went back to the shop for something a few weeks back they still had them and there was one that had like 6 Cow Tales in it! So now when I'm writing and need a quick burst of something I just paw through the cups and decided what to have. The gobstoppers and jawbreaks have been lasting me ages though! but that's been real useful during editing. 

So, trying something new -even if it's just as simple as snack food can also help take your mind off things and get your brain thinking other stuff.   

Chinese New Year 



Every year my family celebrates Chinese New Year, though we're never been to China nor have any Chinese relatives/friends. I think this is because it fall on my brother's birthday, which was yesterday and we kinda stick the two together and celebrate with Chinese food and sometimes going to Manchester to see the parade. This year it's just me and my parents because my brothers are busy, so we decided to switch our normal Sunday Lunch for a three course homemade Chinese meal. That meant a shopping trip to Chi Yip and a chance to get all my favorite snacks. So much for the diet!  

To be honest we only go once a year and though I know a few places that sell panda biscuits and pocky sticks / Pepero / 'stick biscuits' as I call them, I always get them from the Chinese supermarket. I love the strawberry and chocolate pandas -though they didn't have any and I had to get milk instead, but I've not seen the green tea ones before, so eating them is going to be fun! I'm going to try and spread them out over the year, but it's going to be so hard.  


Arts/crafts: Owl pouches


These cute little coin pouches popped up on my Pinterest two weeks back and I thought they'd be great to make with the kids at the youth center. It then turned out that I'd used another owl pouch pattern from this website before, though I'm not sure what happened to the one I made, but I'm sure I did do them with the kids. A part of me is thinking that maybe I never did due to the fact that I needed metal poppers and buttons. But I might made the pattern simpler and that's why I can't remember fully. 

Anyway, this one is a lot easier due to just having a slit at the top.  I thought it'd be quick to make up and great for using up all the scrap felt I'm hording. Which tuned out to be true and I had time to make my mum one too. It's going to go with the owl purse I brought her Christmas in her handbag now. I hope the kids like them and you can find them here;

http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2013/09/felt-owl-pouch-free-template.html

I've got a few more patterns on my desk right now, but I'm going to leave them till the March update as this post is already feeling a bit long.


Bottled Lights


I just had to share this even though I've done a post about it before, but I just so love fairy lights in used bottles. My mum spotted this 100 red lights in BM Bargains for a £1. We talked about what we'd do with them if we got them- no way would they be used on the Christmas tree next year as we'd only just replaced the lights on it this year- but then mum suggested we put them in bottles and I said we could give it a shot. I'm so glad I did and also upset we only got two boxes of 100 lights and one of 200. They fitted perfectly into my large Morgan's bottle that I'd just finished off. I have it sit on my printer and it just lights up the corner nicely.

Poncho mum made



This is another great thing I wanted to share. My mum loves knitting and she gets this magazines which have nice patterns in. I like ponchos for sitting around the house in or when I'm writing. They are so warm, snugly and keep the cold off me. When I saw this big one I had to have it! My mum had a few problems with it and she didn't get it right a lot of the time and mostly it felt like she was undoing it more then knitting it! Finally, she got it right and I just love it. I get wrapped in it like a soft woolly blanket and I just want to go to sleep. 

I like knitting too, but having issues with words and numbers kinda stops me. I know how to cast on, cast off, knit and purl, but that's it. I like making scarfs because they are really easy! I've not knitted anything in awhile though because I've been busy, but on Friday I picked up a knitting mag that had just arrived and I saw this awesome soft toy whale. I like sea creatures and I really wanted him even though he's like 3 meters long! Somehow, I talked mum into making him and now we are going to try to knit him together! (After she's finished off another poncho she's busy making me).  

Patch eating a bone


Three weekends back, I got my dog, Patch, a bone. It's huge and is about the same length as her. I thought it'd be fun to see what she'd do with it. She's not big on bones or food that she can't fit perfectly in her mouth though. Everything has to be made smaller before she eats it and it's turning out to be the same with the bone. She was interested in it at first, but now if I'm not tearing little strips off for her she doesn't seem to want to even attempted to chew on it.

She also has a habit of hiding/burying things too. I guess this is because our other dog, Sindy, use to steal things from her and always ate them first. Then Sindy would cry and we'd think that Patch had stolen her treats when really Sindy had already eaten her's and just wanted more. So, Patch would try to hide stuff for later. I don't think it really worked. Now, she's by herself Patch still buries things in her blankets and we are forever finding dog biscuits in the living room.


Something tells me this bone will never get ate. It's very rare we give her such things anyway- mainly because she doesn't eat them! She seems to enjoy snuggling up to it though.  


Reward Chart


So, I had this idea to try and help me do some more exercise and stay focused on it which was to go back to basics and get a reward/star chat online. I thought if I could set out my goals and give myself the promise of a small reward (I choice the Assassination Classroom manga books because I really want to start reading them) that I might feel better about the whole trying to loose weight thing. I've always been big and my weight hasn't seemed to bother me that much, though there have been times when I've wanted to be slim. I thought now that I'm trying to love me more I should try harder with this, but doing the whole diet thing doesn't work with me.

You see, when I tell myself I can't have something, I want it more and more and then I have to give in because I get so worked up and everything over being denied it. Then I eat it, feel guilty and give up on the diet. So, this time I decided not to do that and instead focus on just doing some exercise and thinking more about that. The reward chat was kinda working till it bugged. I can't click the box to add a star and the screen is displaying wrong. I think I might have to look for another, but I already know I'm not going to meet all the goals I set down. 

I've not done an hour walking or gone swimming last week, so I'll have to double up at some point. Luckily, though I got on this fitness program thing and soon I'll join the gym and the swimming pool be able to go whenever I like. I love swimming. Not so much the gym though, but my mum and I have agreed to go together and help each other out. 

Currently reading: Angelfall trilogy



I'm busy reading a young adult dystopia trilogy at the minute. I won't go into too much detail though because I've decided to review them with the first book being looked at next Monday. I enjoyed the first one and got really into it. I just hope the other two are as good and I'll be reviewing them in the following Mondays. 

I've also been tidying my room today and sorting out my books. I have so many and I feel bad when I have to get rid of them, but some of them I'm just not going to read. I've a load on my pile right now, so at least I'll always have book reviews to write on this blog. 

Viva Pinata game play


Lastly, this is my new addiction. My ex got this game as part of a box set I brought him for Christmas and I played it at his. Then after the break up, I decided I really needed to get this myself and I found because he'd saved the game to the Cloud that I could download my garden and carry on playing! This game is so cute and colorful, I find it really easier to play too. All you have to do is get the wild pinatas to come and live in your garden then you can breed them and make money from selling the babies. 

Of course it has it's challenges and recently I've taken to looking some stuff up online, but doesn't everyone do that for games now a days? I just find it very relaxing and it gives my mind something to focus on. There's a second one, which I do want to get, but I've got enough games to play on the Xbox 360 at the moment. 

I hope you've found reading this informative and fun. Writing it sure did help me! If you give any of this stuff ago I'd love to hear from you and please check out my other blog:    https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/


Images from: 
My own
http://penryn-y-el-fin-de-los-dias-la.tumblr.com/page/8
http://directdownloadstuffss.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/viva-pinata.html

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Time To Talk About Mental Health Day



Hi readers, 

I'm doing an extra post this week because today is mental health awareness day and as someone who's suffered through a lot of mental health problems, I thought I'd take sometime to write about it. 

I've had three lots of depression; one which was undiagnosed when was I fifteen -because everyone just thought I was unhappy at school, but on reflection and knowing what I now know it was clearly depression. One for a brief time when I left uni before returning to do my masters - I was upset that I had to close the door on what had been a great three years of my life and I wasn't sure what to do next. And my finally one which was about three/four years back now, when I couldn't get a job and I just wanted to give up on everything. 

That most recent one was longer and more serious then the other two. I had to have pills and counselling. It all came about because after graduating I spent two years trying to get a job. The first year I told myself was like a gap year because I so needed the break and I did get stuff done and I was okay. 

The second year though the job center and my parents were on my back a lot. I must have applied for 200 odd jobs that year and got hardly any interviews. I didn't want to do anything, everyone was putting me down, so why not agree with them? I begin to beat myself up over how worthless and bad I must be. I told myself that there must be something wrong with me. All my friends had jobs and were moving on with their lives and I was just stuck in the gutter. What was the point?

The job center told me I was depressed and I needed to see my doctor. I did and found out I was dangerously depressed and suicidal. It came as a shock to me because I'd not realized how bad my mental health was. I think that it happens to a lot of people, but they just decided to get on with it and keep it hidden. It's a hard topic to talk about and other people who've not had mental health problems can't always understand how and why people who are affect behave the way they do. 

I've always been very talkative and I found that talking to my family and friends as well as the counselling did help. I started doing a lot more volunteering and found that I was getting into all the crafts and sewing at the youth center. I started to sew at home and discovered a liking for it. It became a hobby and it helped a lot of my depression. It give me something to focus on and do, which meant I wasn't thinking about stuff all the time and I had something of a purpose, because I'd then teach the kids how to do it. Then of course, I got a job and things have been pretty stable. 

Well, until last month when I broke up with my boyfriend. I've been boarding on being depressed again. Some of the signs have been there; lack of motivation, being stressed, ill, feeling uninspired and putting myself down that I won't fall in love again. I decided that I just couldn't go backwards and I didn't want to get so depressed again, that's why at the start of February, I picked up the list of stuff I'd wrote down I needed to do at the start of the new year and began thinking and doing some of them. I still have moments - I guess it's going to take some time to get myself right again- but for now I'm doing okay.  
    
My mum directed me to the Time To Change organisation because she thought it'd be good for me to run an activity on mental health with the 8-12 year olds I work with. I know that sounds a little young, but research is showing that a lot of young people are suffering with mental health problems. So, I thought it'd be cool to get the kids to make these folded claw things -that's what I call them! and talk about stuff with them. 

I think that depression, anxiety and stress - both which I've also had bouts of- are the top mental health issues. I think it has something to do with the societies and lifestyles we now all have. But there's also other mental health problems like phobias, grief and panic. A lot of this just goes undiagnosed because people won't go see doctors or talk to people about it because they are embarrassed. Today is the day to change that. And I know it's hard because you don't want people to be mean or misunderstand you etc, but actually the first step of admitting you might have a problem will make you feel better and of course once the ball is rolling it's a lot easier!  


Finally, I wanted to share this image below about stressing less. There's lots of things you can do when you're feeling stressed or having other mental health problems. Reaching out to people and getting the help and support you need is important and I think remembering these 10 points can also be useful. 

So, I hope that whatever you're doing to do is good and that you've found reading this inspiring enough to either make that first step or help others. Until Monday. Thanks for reading and please check out my other blog; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/




Images from: 
http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday-resources
http://www.dailynewsservice.co.uk/mental-health-misconceptions/
http://historiasdeariadne.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/os-piores-12-habitos-para-nossa-saude.html

Monday, 1 February 2016

Book Review: Not Before Bed by Craig Hallam



Hi readers, 

This wasn't the post I set out to write today, it was meant to be a life update one, but I'm way behind with doing stuff and it's already 8pm. So, I thought instead of spending an hour or two writing and sorting out the photos for the update post, I'd write a review about the book I just finished reading instead. 

The back story behind how I came to own this book is interesting. Remember in December I went to the Leeds Steampunk Market? (http://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/leeds-steampunk-market-and.html) This is one of the books that came from there and spent a lot of time talking with the writer. I think he had like three or four different books for sale and I ended up picking this one because it was a collection of short stories and I liked it more then the others. He did sign the book for me, so I now get to add it to my collection of signed books! Don't worry though I'm still going to give this book a fair review.  

It's a collection of 13 short horror stories and though the blurb warns you to get ready to be scared, I didn't find them that scary. I don't know maybe I've just read too many horror stories? There was a recurring theme of tentacle creatures and my favorite story happened to involve one of those. Lovecraft is about a woman who decides to make her own man and ends up with a blob like alien creature instead. I loved how she and the creature connected and I did feel sad at the end. My other favorite story was Albert which is about a fisherman who is like the last person in this deserted seaside village which holds a dark secret. 

The stories are well written and there is enough subtle in them to grip you, but it is easy to work out what's going on. Like with the female werewolf story or the zombie one. The longer stories make it for me though because the suspense is kept up for longer in those. For me though, I did want it to be a lot more darker and threatening. The monster in the room story was interesting but I think a lot more tension could have been created. I didn't see any major faults with any of the stories or the writing really. It's a good mix of stories that covers the popular horror and supernatural aspects and characters.

I think if you are looking for some short stories that you can just dip in and out of or even some inspiration to write some of your own, then this would be a good book to get. It's small so easy to take places and doesn't take long to read. Though if you are looking for something bigger and better in the horror short story area then check out The Mammoth Books of New Horror. They bring a new one out every year, but there are also lots of other ones in the series. 

Reading this book has made me want to read Hallam's novel Greaveburn, which I think is a fantasy novel. Reading the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, it seems good and my type of book. So, it's on my list and hopefully I'll get it soon. I've got so many other books to read right now and I fear a clean out might be needed in the next few weeks as I'm running out of space again. 

I'll be back next time with that life update. Thanks for reading and please check out my other blog were you can read a new short story everyday.    
   

Image from: Amazon UK 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Book Review: The Shadows by J. R. Ward.



Hi readers, 

It's the first book review of the new year! I was hoping to have finished this book and got it up sooner, but it's been a hard slog. Which is a bit off for me because I love J .R. Ward and her Black Dagger Brotherhood, but this novel which is number 13 in the series, had issues. I know when I read The King (which I didn't review for whatever reason) and Lover At Last (http://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/lover-at-last-review.html) I spotted a few problems and though Ward seems to have cut down her plot lines in Shadows, there's still a hell of a lot going on. 

As normal, I'll try and not spoil anything, though reading the book's blurb does give away the key points to the main plot. I guess to draw you in? But knowing straight off that the main female character is going to die doesn't draw me in that well. Reading about the how and why does though.

So, this time we get the story of the two Shadow brothers, who have appeared throughout the series and most of their back stories are all ready known. Trez and Serena finally get to be together, though they time is very limited as she dying. It's a genetic disease that is incurable and though most of the other characters spend all the books time searching for one, nothing is found to help her. Whilst, iAm meets the female he's destined to be with, though she's not as she seems. For me, not enough time is spent getting to know her, really. Maybe, there'll be another book about them, but it didn't feel like there was going to be at the end.

I was really getting into the whole romance between T and S and I kept thinking that something would happen so that she wouldn't have to die. I was waiting for the twist right up till the no return point and then after reading Rhage's thoughts about how he got to be with his Mary though she was human and dying, made me think about why this time Ward had decided not to let her main lovers be together. That is the massive spoiler and downside to this novel. I was reading a few reviews that other people had done on Goodreads and they said that Ward had stated that though she didn't want things to happen they way they did, the characters told her it had to be so. And I just don't get that. Why have all the other books have happy endings and not this one?

Throughout all the other books bringing the two main characters together has been the first plot point. In the earlier books this could always be seen and how the two lovers overcame their problems to be with each other was always interesting. Somehow there has always been a fix, (expect for Tor and Wellsie) and things have always worked out. So, why when clearly Trez and Serena were meant to be together they didn't get their happy ending? Maybe, because Ward didn't want all her books to end the same why or maybe the death was needed to shake up all the characters? Whatever, the case, it just doesn't work and left me feeling unsatisfied.

After going on a long heartbreaking trip with Trez and Serena, where she does a bucket list of events and really enjoys life, I really got to connect with her as a character. As a reader you invest time and energy into these characters and when the ending is rolling around you want to feel like they are going to end on a high note. Instead, I felt let down by the ending as we are left with Trez trying to deal with the loss of his lover and seeing that he has to repay his brother back for supporting him throughout everything. iAm on the other hand, gets to be with his love! How unfair does that feel to Trez? (Plus, given my return to single status, I really wanted that happy ending for them!) I now hope that Trez can have another chance at love with someone else soon.

So, what are the other problems with The Shadows? I felt that overall the book was just too long. There was stuff that could have been cut. Like do we need to know about the drug trading going on between the vampires and lessers? The lesser war really felt it had slipped to the sidelines this time around too. Those plot points felt lost between the lovers and Rhage struggling to sort himself out. The Band Of B* story and what's happening between Xcor and Layla did keep distracting me in a good way because I really want to know what's going to happen between them, but I feel they are going to need their own book to tell that story. The ending also just felt too neat. Things fell into place quickly in the last hundred pages or so with the wrap up to some of the plot points seemingly too loose.

I still really enjoyed this book though and do like how Ward has created individual and dynamic characters. They all feel so different to me even though there's so many of them. The use of dialogue is just great too and I like how there's lots of slag and male language because it makes it feel more realistic. The sex scenes work fine for me too and I always feel so immersed in the world of the BDB. If you've not read the books I would so recommend them. They put vampires in a different light and it works.

In the future though and as I have heard a small rumor about, I would love for Ward and the BDB to return to the formatting they had at the very beginning. I feel that if the overloading of characters and their stories carries on and if the more then six plot points keep happening, the series is just going to die. Which would be a shame because I really really like the novels, but I'm just so tried of having to read tombs of books where I can see stuff that could have easily been cut or moved to another book. Ward writings does seem to be falling and I can only hope it picks up soon and we see better novels coming out of her.           


So what's next for The Black Dagger Brotherhood

There's a spin off series, Legacy. The first book is already available to buy, but not for me as I want it in paperback. That won't be out till June, so I shall have to wait. (I could get it in hardback but I've very limited room at the moment and well, it won't fit in with the other BDB books and that'd bug me). I do know that the story is going to follow Paradise, a new female character that was introduced in The Shadows and I'd got interested in. Shame, I have to wait so long to read her story though.  




Then there's this: book 14. Which I just stumbled upon whilst getting the image for Blood Kiss. So, once again when I was kinda thinking that Ward was actually finishing up with the main brotherhood, I was wrong. Which now makes the loose ends of the Lessers, Layla's twins, the Band of B* and why there was a lot of focus on Rhage more into context. I've no doubt that this book will pick up where The Shadows left the story and reading the blurb, it looks like The Beast is going to to be all about Rhage. Which should be great for me because he is my favorite brother! This novel comes out in April, but it'll be October for me. 



Thanks for reading. Please feel free to like, leave a comment or share this post. Also, please check out my other links below.  


Images all from Amazon. UK. 



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Monday, 18 January 2016

January 2016 Update: January Blues

Ice Flowers, Frost, Winter, Eiskristalle, Cold, Ice

Hi readers and welcoming to my first post of 2016! 

It's taken me a couple of weeks to get around to writing this, but I've had my reasons, which I'll go into later. Firstly though, I was reading a magazine the other day that January is the worst time of year because we don't have anything to look forward to unlike the other months. Plus, its the deflate after Christmas and New Year because you've eaten and drunk so much, spent lots of money and had a ton of fun. Now, it's back to work or education with little money and feeling like you over did everything. Also, your New Year resolution has probably gone completely out of the window.

January and February always feel the hardest months to get through for me. It's cold and snowy- though I seemed to have missed nearly all the bad weather so far- and it's getting dark so early. Getting out of bed is super hard for me and I do tend to hibernate like a bear during winter. I'm not big on going out either- unless its snowed and it looks nice-because everywhere is muddy, wet or icy. And its so cold and though I do like walking, the weather has to be decent. 

My health, which hasn't been good in years, also doesn't like the winter weather. I've been a bit bad recently with things and something keeps triggering my asthma. I've no idea what it is, but my chest has been giving me lot of grieve. I've had to take strong painkillers for my other health condition and the side effect of that is that I want to sleep all the time. Also, my iron level has been down again, making me tried and grumpy. I've been trying to start eating better to help all this issues and to loss some weight, but my other side effect is that I don't feel like eating and I become sick and nausea, making things harder.       

Thankfully, I'm feeling better today though there is another event which has triggered these problems and I'm still struggling to deal with. I broke up with my boyfriend last Monday. He sent me a message about it then when we spoke I officially ended things. I was really mad at him because we'd just been to my brother's birthday meal on Saturday and spent Christmas and New Year together. I felt he'd just thrown that all way and it was like it didn't mean anything. I know that's not true, but I couldn't help but feel that way. We weren't meeting each other's needs and what I now want is different to what he wants because we are both at different stages really.     

Heart, Bare, Dream, Love, Broken Off, Harmony

It's real difficult because we were together 3 and bit years and I thought 'd found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We never argued and were very close, we had enough in common and everything seemed to be good. I think though he kept this doubt about things between us and he let it grow and come out again. Will we get back together? Not anytime soon. He remembered what I had stated the last time we broke up and got back together, that if we broke again then a good amount of time, in which we dated other people and progressed more with our lives needed to happen before we decided if we should get back together. I think that's the best thing to do really. 

A lot of people give me the classic advice of 'if one door closes another opens,' and 'if it's meant to be it'll find away,' I told my dog- who I've been talking to a lot and been seeking comfort from- 'there were plenty more fish in the sea' and 'it really wasn't the end of the world.'  Sometimes though the classics catchphrases are just what you need to reassure yourself with. I'm going to miss him, no doubt about that, though he won't completely be out of my life. There's still Dungeons and Dragons and he did say he wanted to stay friends. I don't know how I really feel about that at the moment, but what I do want is for there to be a neutral line between us. I want to be mature and calm about it. I know that's going to be so hard to do, but I've got to come out of this stronger now, I don't have any choice. 

I was watching the birds in the garden this morning and I was thinking how that the blue tits, the robin and the sparrows have to live in the current moment. So much of their time and energy is spent finding and eating food. Winter is the hardest month for them and yet they find the will to carry on. They don't seem to have that many worries but for getting the basic needs sorted and it made me think about everything I had to appreciate. My basic needs have been met and exceeded, I've had a good life, been luckier then other people and yeah, even though I'm not rich and famous - which is probably over rated anyway, I'm doing okay. 

Tit, Blue Tit, Cyanistes Caeruleus, Parus Caeruleus

I wish my life was as simple as that of a bird's though. Humans compared to all the other animals live complicated, stressful and worry filled lives. The idea of going back to basics does attracted me, but I guess that would mean going to a small island with nothing on it and trying to survive. A Robinson Crusoe situation, but I couldn't cope without my books!        

Whilst watching the birds I also noticed that the snowdrops and bluebells were coming up in the garden. Though it feels far to early for plants to become up, it seemed the mild winter is causing then to appear. The splash of green in the bare brown garden, made me feel happy. Everything moves on and keeps on turning, things happen for many reasons and the world is full of goodness. I guess I just feel like nature is reminding me that things have their time and place, life just carries on. 

Spring, Plants, Growth, Background, Forest, Green

I feel little bit better after writing all of this now. Having time to reflect is important and I know it's going to take awhile before I move on again. My lack of motivation and wanting to do things will fade and for now I'm just going to do the small things and take little steps. Hopefully, I'll meet someone else soon. It is a big world out there after all. 

I found this last image on another site and I just love it. It really fits in with what I've been writing about too. I thought it looked like a nice thing to finish on. Till next time. 


Images from: 

https://pixabay.com/

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/c3/fe/d0/c3fed0cd1cce09f81cf7a24cf5b48330.gif

Monday, 21 December 2015

December Update: Counting Down To Christmas (Part 2)



Hi readers,

It's another update post today and probably my last before Christmas, though hopefully not my last before the New Year! This last week and the weekend have been a bit stressful though and I still can't wait for Christmas to be over and done with as it just feels like that will solve most of the problems! Anyway, I've hardly had time to think about that today because I've been at work all day and evening. Which is why I'm super glad I decided to get ahead yesterday and write up some of the parts of this post!

Kicking my post off today is an update of what's going on at my other blog. I've just written a nine part fantasy story, which people have seemed to be enjoying. I can't decided if I want to carry on writing or not. This week though it's all about the next six parts of my Trust novella. Yeah, my vampires Brook and Fern are back and this time I decide to bring in a new plot that I've been thinking about and adding in some new vampires. Of course, there are other stories all Christmas/winter themed still available to read and new ones will be up later this week. Here's the link; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ 


The only thing I made last week is peppermint bark. I've never made it before and it doesn't seem to be that bigger thing in the UK compared to USA. I found a real simple recipe that called for milk chocolate, white chocolate, peppermint oil and candy canes. I melted the milk chocolate first and also a bowl in the microwave- I thought it was heat safe, turns out it wasn't! I then poured that into a silicon tray, added some peppermint oil and let it set. I melted the white chocolate, added the oil to that and poured that on top of the milk chocolate. Then and really I should have done this before- I smashed up some of the candy canes with a rolling pin and sprinkled them on top, I pressed some of the bigger pieces down then I left it over night to set completely.

It turned out okay, though it did need some more peppermint oil! I shared some of with my friends from D and D and they all agreed it reminded them of Areo chocolate (which is mint flavored chocolate, for those that don't know). and they liked it. I've still got some in the fridge and might take some with me on Christmas eve.      



Last week, I decided to make small felt stars with the young people at the youth center. I made this one and had this idea of making more and having a string of them on my bookcase. I've just not had the time to do that though, but it would be a great way to use up some of my scraps of felt. The kids once we had thrown away the yellow silk, which wasn't good for this project, did enjoy making them, so I'd say make felt/fabric stars is a good craft for the kids to do. 



My second thing which I made on Saturday, is this stocking. I found the gingerbread man pattern at http://www.dreamalittlebigger.com/post/distressed-gingerbread-man-felt-stocking-pattern.html and it reminded me of the gingerbread men I made the other week. I know I didn't get it perfect, but I really like it. I wanted to give it ago as on Wednesday I'm running an craft activity at work and thought that getting the kids to design their own stockings would be a great idea. To save time and issues, I've spent time over the weekend and properly some more tomorrow cutting out the stockings, gingerbread men and a few other shapes. I really hope the kids like making them.



Christmas is just a great time to do lots of arts and crafts with kids and there's so many different things they can have a go at making. Today, I made Christmas cards and paper plate wreaths with two different age groups; juniors and seniors all of whom had additional needs. They seemed to have a great time and so did I!


This week I'm still burning Christmas themed Yankee Candles and it's one of my favorite set; Hot Butter Rum, Winter Garden and warm Chestnut. I think they were new and limited from a shopping channel and I've not really seen them around. However, I love the rich warm butter and rum scent which really fills the house. Warm chestnut has this hot earthy/outdoor nut smell to it, which to me is better then real chestnuts! Winter garden smells just like a frost covered evergreen garden. I can't decided my favorite out of them to be honest!

It doesn't feel like I've got any new music to share today. I've been listening to my normal things and some natural sound videos on YouTube. I've been listening to Christmas songs -who hasn't?- but due to them being mostly played in shops and at work, and the fact my mum keeps putting them on the TV music channels, I've not really been listening to them in my own time. Though I had to hear Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer a few times because that's one song I just don't hear anywhere else. I just makes me laugh a lot and it far better then some of the depressing Christmas songs. 


I've been getting lots of nice things in my advent count down sack, as the photo shows! I've got a few more things knocking about to, but this week it's mostly been about chocolate. Can't wait to tuck into that! I'm sad I've only got like three more presents to go now, I'm going to miss opening a present a day. Still though, I'll have lots to open on Christmas day! 

Lastly, here's my dog snugging in her new blanket. She's so cute!



Photos:
Christmas house and trees lighting up from: http://giphy.com/gifs/pretty-christmas-bHSCxaHfjZYwE
Yankee Candles 
All others; my own

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Book Review; The Bone Season



Hi readers, 

I'm finally posting up my review of The Bone Season! I'm currently reading the second book, though I've only read like two chapters, just not had the time at the moment due to writing lots of stories and working. I also found out that this is a series of seven books and the publishing dates for the others have been released. I thought it was a trilogy and now knowing there are more books coming, I am not sure if I will read them all. I guess it depends on how the plot develops and if the characters start developing probably. As normal, I'm going to try and stay away from spoilers, but there might be some due to what I want to talk about. 

I'm not sure how I found out about this novel, but it was like around the time it came out last year, but I just couldn't fit it into my reading stack. I believed it was a dystopia novel and I did add it to my list. Then I found it in a very cheap bookshop around March/April and brought it, thus breaking my vow not to buy any books this year! However, it's only now that I've read it. For me it's more a book that boarders a lot of genres; science fiction, supernatural and alternate history, but I wouldn't say it was dystopia because it doesn't feel in the same vein as says 1984 or Wool or The Hungry Games.  

The plot of The Bone Season is that nineteen year old Paige Mahoney is a rare type of clairvoyant, a dreamwalker which allows her to get into peoples' minds and effect them. She lives in London 2059, where clairvoyants are banned and have to live in secret. Paige works with a group of others in order to survive, but she captured after visiting her father and wakes up at Sheol I. There she learns that the government has been sending clairvoyants to an alien race which are training the clairvoyants to defend them and the plant from another alien race. Paige, of course, sets about trying to escape.       

The novel opens with a huge exposition about the world and clairvoyants and what's happened in the past. That alone would put most people off and unfortunately, there are other 'exposition dumps' and repeated facts throughout the novel. I get why Shannon has done this though and that's because it's the easiest and fastest way to give the reader information that they need to understand the plot. However, for me its a sign of lazy writing and a weak point in the novel. I understand that this is her first novel, she is under the age of thirty and the audience is teenagers, which might be the clues to the way this book is written. 

The other downsides to this book are that it feels a lot longer then it needs to be, it's over 400 pages long. I spotted parts that could have have been shortened or cut out and if there was less exposition that might have helped too. Paige seemed a bit static and I didn't connect with her like I would have liked too. The background characters and there seems to be too many of them, didn't develop well enough for me. Also, I read somewhere that there was meant to be a starting romance between Paige and her capture Warden, but this didn't come across for me, if it was intended, but it was probably more like Stockholm Syndrome and also the fact that Paige sees she can't escape without his help. Lastly, the aliens can drink blood and auras which they use to strength themselves and to me that just reminds me of vampires. I know there are other blood drinking creatures out there, but I didn't feel this was needed, just having them drink auras would have been fine. 

With all that said, I did enjoy the world building and the plot overall. I found it different to other things I had read. Though other reviewers say it's not different from books they've read, so I guess that depends on you. There is enough character development from the main characters, but for me it feels very plot led. I was fine with all the supernatural stuff to and I didn't mind the science fiction parts either. I can also understand with this being the first book in the series why it's been written the way it has and I just hope the next book is a bit different and more focused on the characters. It does seem like this book is dividing reviewers, so I'm going to leave it up to you to decided for yourselves, but I would recommend giving it a try.   

That's all for now and next week I'll be back with another December/Christmas Update.