Monday, 15 August 2016

August Life Update: My Brother's Wedding

Hi readers,

Today I wanted to write a quick post about my brother's wedding. It happened on Thursday at a place called Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, UK. The castle was really lovely and dates to the 1800's, so it's all intact still, not like the castle we stopped at on the way there! There's not much left of Beeston castle, it looks like the ruins of a large tower on a tall hill now. The well was interesting though and you could see a lot from the top, though it was a very clouded day.

My room, photo below, at Peckforton was really nice. I was staying in the top floor of one of the towers. It faced out over the chapel and tower gates as can be seen in the photo above. I had a window box and a fire place, which I'm a lover of both, but I do wish I'd had my parent's bathtub as mine was just a normal bath/shower combo. I didn't sleep so good though, I don't like beds that are not my own and I think on the night of the wedding I was so over-tried that sleep was beyond me! Well....my parents and I had been up till 3am in the wine cellar reflecting on the day.  




I did so want to take a bath in this tub, but I didn't get the chance. In fact everything went so fast, I sort of feel like I missed it all and I so wish I'd taken more photos. Speaking of, I decided I'm not going to post up any photos of anyone but me. That's because it's personal family photos and I do feel the need to ask people if it's okay for them to be published here. Though even if they said it was okay, I'd still feel like this wasn't the place. So, I'm just going to share the photos I think are okay for here.

For the last few months/weeks leading up to the wedding, I'd become worried that I'd be super bored or wouldn't fit in. It had been weighing on my mind a lot, if my dresses were okay and what I'd look like in the photos. Well, beside from the photos - I'm so not good in any photos really- everything else was good. The day went by with lots of things to keep me busy - like chasing around after my brother to drag him in the photo booth and meeting relatives and friends I'd not seen in ages. 

My brother and his new wife had ordered a bird of prey display, an ice cream cart and an string quartet to keep everyone happy whilst they got all the photos out of the way. I loved all these things and I had a lot of ice cream and watched the birds flying about. I even got to hold one! He was an owl and his name was Mango, he also was the bird that delivered the wedding rings at the ceremony.  



This is an eagle hawk. He was a bit scared and didn't really want to fly around everyone. At one point he went off to investigate the ice cream cart and we didn't think he was going to come back! But then he did and everything was okay again.


I tried all the ice cream from this cart, but the vanilla one. It was really nice and since the weather was warm and sunny, it was very fitting. A few people hopped on the bike behind the cart and had their photos took, but I didn't. I have a nice one of the bride though. It was a hit with everyone I think. 


This was the room in the great hall were my brother got married. They then used it as the dance room for the party. The theme was purple and sliver, with a touch of Game of Thrones and Disney. I really liked it and it looked great. The DJ played some good music too - most of it seemed to come off the list I put together online as I reconsidered a lot of the songs! I really loved the table decorations too! They were floating candles with purple flowers underneath them in the water. They were present everywhere and this photo below with them by one of the great hall windows is really nice.  
  


Of course, no wedding would be complete without a cake! Their's was just so awesome. They had Game Of Thrones on the bottom with them seating on the throne at the top. The middle section was images of Totoro, which is the bride's favorite anime and like my second. I love it and it was so cute. The top was Disney couples. each layer was different, but we only got to eat the lemon one. The other two were red velvet and chocolate. I got a good picture of them 'mock' cutting the cake with a big sword.  


I think one of my favorite things was the chocolate fountain. There was lots of things you could get dipped into the chocolate, including mini doughnuts, fudge, fruits and gingerbread man! I think that's one of my new favorite things. I tried to find a photo of the chocolate fountain, because I didn't take one, but it seems that no one else so far has! I got this photo of me eating a gingerbread man, though I don't think it's a good photo, but I wanted to put up something. 


 Lastly, we went into the wine cellar. It was really nice and the perfect place to have a few more drinks before going to bed. My other brother's girlfriend and my next door neighbor ordered some tea and I was surprised that no one had thought to serve hot drinks down here. Like I said at the start, my parents and I were the last to leave. It was such a long day, but also really good. 

I still can't believe how fast it went though! I'm enjoying seeing all the photos everyone else took too. Hopefully, I'll get to see the one from the photo booth and the hired photographers. It's nice to be home, but I do miss the castle. Also, I have a sister now! That's going to take awhile to sink in. 



Next week will be a book review. See you then. 


Photos all my own.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Book Review: Imprudence by Gail Carriger


Hi readers,

I finally finished this! I know it's like two week over due now, but the first week I had like four days to read it in and that wasn't happening. Then last week, I realized I was rushing through reading the book and losing my enjoyment fast. I decided it wasn't worth speeding through it just to write about this novel on my blog. So, I slowed down again - at least until the last few chapters! 

So, this is the second book in a new series by Gail Carriger, which follows from The Parasol Protectorate and is the story of Alexia and Conall's daughter, Rue. She has the power to steal supernatural forms and can become a vampire, werewolf or other were-beast by touching said creature. This can led to some funny moments, but also very useful. 

This novel is about Rue's trip to Egypt to relocate her parents as her father is under the werewolf alpha curse and going crazy. As we know from the other series and get reminded a little in this book, there is a God-Breaker-Plague which is made up of dead soulless's bodies that makes all supernaturals mortal. Of course, this was all set up at the end of the last series, so people who've read them will be able to make more sense of things, but of course enough information is given for those that have not. 

There's a lot more going on then just a pleasure trip to Egypt though, as news of the werelion, who Rue and her friends met last time has gotten out. The werelioness is still traveling with them as The Spotted Custard starts getting attacked, Rue decides it's due to people hunting the werelioness. Throughout the novel they are chased and often engage in fights with unknown enemies. Rue decides they need to warn the Pride of werelioness they are all being hunted, but just maybe the enemy isn't after werebeasts after all?

As with the first book, I thought the chapters were too long and they were too broken up. The pacing too was slow, which might be the reason I didn't read this as fast as I've done the other books. I know that most people won't made these facts and maybe I'm being too fussy. To be hones those are the only downsides for me. 

The characters were really good and it was nice to spend more time Alexia and Conall, even though I think this might have been their last appearance. They both come across as being their good old selfs', if just older! There is also the appearance of a very old friend too. I kinda don't want to spoil that though, I wouldn't say the introduction is a plot twist, but there is one later on. I do see why this character has come back though and I think it'll be useful in the other books too. We do get to see a lot of development of the characters in this book.

I think this happens especially to Rue as at the start and later on, she 'loses' her family. She can't be part of the werewolf pack now her father is gone and she doesn't want to stay with her parents now they have moved to Egypt. She has to find herself again and also her own family. That's really what this story is about, though it stays mostly in the background. The romance between Rue and Qusenel finally takes off and they get together. Though and I'm still not sure how I feel about it because of me it just feels wrong, especially with the historic setting, but they end up sleeping together before they enter anything else. 

I also don't feel that the same level of bedroom activity language that was in the first series is present here and in away I feel a bit let down by this. I get the narrative is trying to stick within the historic time zone and the over all theme of the novel is not sex. I think maybe I found the whole thing jarring and just thrown in there when so much else was happening. I think that I'd have liked the characters to have more time, instead of the danger of their adventures, as it were, pressuring them into falling in love. Anyway, they are together now and we'll see where things go. 

The novel has a good ending, which does leave one thing open ended for the next book and it'll be an interesting read. Looks like Rue is uncovering more of her family history. I also wonder which country she'll end up in next. I'm guessing it might be a little bit of a wait now though! 

Overall, I did like reading this novel. The setting and characters interested me greatly and find them all so likable. I don't think I'm that excited for the next book though because I still feel that compared to the original series this one doesn't quite hit the mark for me and that really comes down to pacing and now the narrative is structured. I would add don't read this one without reading the first one as they are not stand alone books, but you don't have to have read the first series as enough information is given. 

Thanks for reading and next week I'm going to be looking at the first book in a new series by my favorite author.      

Monday, 18 July 2016

Book Review: Prudence by Gail Carriger


Hi readers, 

Today I'm looking at the sequel to the Parasol series. This follows Alexia and Conall's daughter, Rue, as she sets off to have adventures on her own. Well, sort of, she brings some friends along too! I was excited to see how Carriger would write this story and the contrasts to the first series.

My first in impression is that it's really good. It stays in the same vein as before with the focus being on the supernatural and adventure theme with the steampunk being in the background, though it does feel a little more developed here. Also, there's only a small bit of romance as none of the characters have got together yet. I don't made this though as it means there's lots of time for things to happen between the characters. 

The plot of the novel is that Rue, now a young lady, has been giving a quest to travel to India to investigate a new kind of tea by her adapted vampire father. She's given a state of the art airship, which she names The Spotted Custard, and most of her crew. Rue then recruits her best friend Primrose and her twin brother Percy - Alexia's best friend Ivy's twins- as well as Qusenel, Madam Lefoux's adopted son. Bring all the next generation from the Parasol books together! 

They then travel to India, making some new friends along the way and once there - including a lioness and some monkeys. All isn't as it seems though and soon Rue is dragged into a problem that is a lot more deeper the missing tea leaves. I won't give anything else away, but the ending is happy and solved enough for my liking. 

All the characters work well together and they do develop as the pages turn. Rue does remind me of her parents a lot though and I love one of the scenes were she turns into a werewolf and ends up running through London in bloomers! That image is going to stay with me a long time. I also like her airship being painted like a ladybug and her quick thinking. The other character don't seem to sit on the side though as they all seemed very detailed and come across as them being the main characters. I like all the different friendships too and there wasn't a character that really bugged me. 

I have like three issues overall though. The first is that I felt this book was longer then any of the first series. The chapters felt long and sometimes I found them too broken up for my own liking. The second is that this book does have it's dippy moments. Unlike, the first book of The Parasol series which felt like a run with one thing after another, the same style is a bit less in this book and I don't think it works well. There were a few moments were I got bored because of this, but that just made me want to push on. The third thing is that there's more terminology used, especially to do with the airship and my dyslexic brain didn't understand, though I always felt like I knew what was going on though. 

Overall, I did actually enjoy reading this novel. I don't think you need to have read any other books by Carriger, though of course having that background of everyone's parents etc is useful knowledge, but with all the focus being on Rue and her friends, anyone could pick it up. It's a nice introduction to anyone interested in steampunk and alternate history too. I'm looking forward to the second book now! But I won't get it read for next Monday's review as it's Amazon says it's not arriving till the Thursday after! I might not post anything then so that they follow on from each other. Going to have to see. 

Thanks for reading. 


Image from; Amazon UK. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Soulless: The Manga, Volumes 1-3 by Gail Carriger





Hi Readers,

Just had to take a moment there because for some reason I thought it wasn't Monday! It was really weird because I knew it was Sunday yesterday so why would my brain think it was any other day? I don't know. Anyway, so today I'm continuing to review Gail Carriger's Soulless/The Parasol Protectorate Series with the Manga Trilogy. I decided to write about these three books together as they just re-tell the first three novels and nothing new is added.

I'd so recommended reading my reviews on the novels before reading this because I don't plan to go into the same level as detail as I did for them. Also, I'd say to read those novels before you read the manga. This is because I found that somethings that happened in the books don't appear in the manga. Those things were mostly details about the other plot lines and characters, which just had more depth. In a way, I wish I'd read something else to clear my head before racing through these mangas, but it was also good because of the things I noticed.

What I did love about these was that the opening pages are colored in so you get a sense of how the manga artist has interpreted Carriger's descriptions. I found that the drawings were also good and it sparked my wanting to read more manga! The opening to the first book is actually something that is set a little bit into the first novel. Alexia and her family are at breakfast and her step-sister is reading the newspaper that tells of how a woman was attacked at the ball they all want to last night. Then we get the flash back of this event. Though that is the actual opening to the novel.

So, basically the manga trilogy is a condensed version which focus on the main plot from the novels. This actually works very well and I couldn't see it done any other way. I love the drawings of the different dresses and the wolves! The characters do come across well, but I got a lot more about them from the novels then I did from the manga trilogy. It was interesting to see the characters in a different way though.

I did enjoy the first book and it was a refreshing read for me. The second one followed on from the first and covered most of the second novel.
  


The opening pages were once again in color and I do wish that the rest of them were too! But I'm guessing that would be real expensive. Anyway, this time Alexia is on a trip to Scotland to catch up with her husband and solve the loss of supernatural elements. I did like the flying airships and the sense of adventure in this one though. It does stick more true to the second novel then the first I thought, but once again it's a very cut down version of the main plot and it didn't seem to have much of the other plots that the novel had. 

I liked reading it though and I think it shows that novels can convert in manga easily enough. I don't think it took me very long to read and the others either, though I did try to space it out to enjoy them more. Also, I wouldn't say these books are aimed at children. They were done for the fans and readers of the novels. There's some nudity and a bit of violence, but not that much that easily offends. The dialogue is simple and short like in other mangas and comics. For my dyslexic brain it was a nice break! And I did really enjoy reading them.

The third book fits in well and it's a shame they only decided to do a trilogy! I think books four and five would have worked out okay, but for some reason they stop here. The actual ending is nice enough, but I really felt the wanting to read more! I did try to see if I could find anything in the same vein of Victorian Steampunk, but I haven't found anything I liked. If you know of any manga series comment and let me know. 

Overall, I enjoyed this manga trilogy. I think they fit in well and go along side the novel series. I'd recommend these for fans of the series, but I'd say if you like this kinda of manga but didn't want fancy the novels for whatever reason then give them ago! 

Thanks for reading and next week I'm looking at the spin off series which follows Alexia and Conall's daughter Pru.      


Images from: Amazon UK. 

Thursday, 7 July 2016

July Life Update 2: Leeds Trip!



Hi readers,

I decided to write about my trip to Leeds after all, only because I want to share these three places I found whilst I was there for two days. I'd planned everything out like I did for London and then I found out when I got to Kirkstall Abbey that everywhere was closed on Monday for cleaning ect. It's traditional for museums to be closed, but I don't think I knew that and also I never noticed that about places in Manchester.

Leeds is less then an hour away from me and I'm surprised that we've not been to these places before. They tick all the boxes for a family day out and fit in with what my parents liked taking us to during the summer holidays. Anyway, now I know where these places are I'll plan to visit them again and there's a steampunk fair at the Mill in October too!

I do actually like Leeds and there are lot are interesting places to go and visit. Last time I was there we visited The Thackeray Medical History Museum, where there was a steampunk fair and we also walked around a Christmas market, here's the post on that;
http://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/leeds-steampunk-market-and.html
I've also been to the Leeds Armouries Museum, which is a great place to check out. I also like the city center because there's a good choice of shops and there's the massive indoor market which dates back to the 1800's.

I actually went into the center and the market on Monday afternoon and I had a good walk around. I brought some stuff from the market too. Mostly sweets and some craft stuff, but also these knitting patterns. I saw this fluffy purple hedgehog and I really wanted it, but then I saw this rainbow one and the dragons and I brought both. Mum was fine with me adding them to the knitting list and we even brought all the wool! I'll post up some photos when they've been made.  


So, the first place I want to was Kirkstall Abbey. It was twenty minutes on the bus from the hotel we were staying in and there were bus stops close by, so it was super easy to get too. The bus goes to the city center too, so I got a day saver ticket to travel back and forth. The Abbey set in a large park area, so even though it wasn't open, you can still walk around the outside and you can see just about everything from that. It was smaller then some of the other Abbeys I've been too, but I still felt inspired by the place. I got to walk around inside the ruins the next day and that was cool too. It's free as well and the visiting center and shop are okay. The park area is really nice to walk in too and it seemed popular with local young families. Here are some more photos;





Stuck for lunch, I got back on the bus and went to the retail park I had past on the way. I got some stuff then went back to the Abbey and had a small picnic. It was really nice and I sat under some trees and also read my book. Then I decided to go into Leeds city center and try to come back the next day to see if I could have a walk around inside.

It me it was worth coming back for, but I didn't really see much more then I'd seen the day before. I did find out this Abbey was built in like 1152 and then it was abandoned around 1539 due to the dissolution of monasteries. Most of the stone was then re-used to make other stuff over the years then in 1895, Leeds council did some restoration and opened it to the public. The Wikipedia page also makes for an interesting read about it; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkstall_Abbey

I did get a few story ideas from this place and I do wish I'd had spent more time sitting and writing because that would have been fun. Actually the Abbey seems to have always attracted creative people as some artists are famous for drawing and painting the Abbey. Maybe I'll go back one afternoon and spend some time writing. Here are a few photos from inside the Abbey;





The next place I went to is Armley Mills. I found out about this place via Most Haunted. I'm not that big a fan of it now a days, but my chance it came on after another ghost thing I'd been watching and when they said they were in Leeds I got interested and then once I had the name of the place, I found it was it like a 20 minute walk from the hotel! I just had to go. I do love old mills because they normally have lots of interesting stuff in them. Also, they smell really good too!

So this Mill has a few working weaving machines but they weren't working when I was there due to being under repair. I learnt some stuff about the spreed of diseases though and about the working conditions. There were some other displays about making things and fashion. But I liked learning the history of the Mill more. Turned out the first Mill on the site actually brought down and they had to rebuild it. There was also stories of children and adults getting trapped in the machines. Always makes me freak out though!

They had farm machines and other stuff too, but I really wanted to see the steam trains as they are my favorite things at museums. But the Mill got flooded last year and since the engines were in the buildings near the canal, they were closed. There's a nice picnic area though and I spent sometime outside, having a snack. I really wish I'd spent some more time here because I ended up rushing through some stuff due to knowing I didn't have that much time- though really I did! Anyway, I'll go back for the steampunk fair.






 
The last place I went to was the Abbey House Museum. This was across the road from the Abbey and I'm so glad I went as the children's' toys and games section was amazing. They always have a Victorian style high street where you can walk into the different shops and the pub and look at the layout of things and the items for sale. Behind is also a side street of houses and it was just lots of fun to be transported back!

The floor above had crime and punishment and I found some of that interesting too. Then it was all the childhood stuff and the history of the house. There were lots of super old toys and games, some of which I did know! They also had lots of doll house furniture and two huge doll houses, don't think I've seen doll houses that big before! They had some creepy china/pot dolls too and I sort of avoided those, I blame all the horror movies/ghost documentary things for my feelings about dolls and clowns!

Surprisingly and like the Mill the museum was pretty much empty, so I got around fast. And once again I wish I'd spent more time, but I was hungry and tired and had been rushing around all day. Maybe I'll go back one day. They had a really nice garden area and a cafe, so I chilled out there for a bit then had to head back because my mum wanted to leave before rush hour traffic started.

Here are the photos and I'm sorry they didn't turn out that well but I wasn't allow to use my flash. I might have gotten away with it at some points, but I always try to respect the photography rules.








So that's it though I'm sure I'll be back to Leeds soon. Thanks for reading and remember to check out my other to blogs and come back here on Monday for a book review. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

July Life Update Part 1: What am I doing right now?


Couple, Wedding, Married, Marriage, Romantic


Hi readers,

I'm writing this early too to try and get a head as I'm so busy right now. Originally, the sewing project post was meant to be up first, but then I realized this follows on well from last week's post when I wasn't able to write about two things on there. So, I'm moving that post to August now. Which means the three Mondays for the rest of this month will now be the book reviews of the Soulless Manga trilogy and the first two books in the Custard Protocol series. Though as I've just checked, the second book isn't out till the Thursday 21st July and that's 5 days to read it in. Just pre-order it so it'll come just before or on that day now. Should have got it with my birthday presents, oh well.

The first thing I want to write about today is the question of if  I'm a 'serial dater' or not. Now, my only slight risk of writing and publishing this is that there are certain people I'd rather not see this post. But I do want to reflect on recent things and prove that I'm not really a serial dater. So, as most of you know I broke up with my boyfriend back in January. Since then we've still stayed friends and though this has been hard it's working...beside from not being able to break some of the old habits....

Around April, I decided I had to move on and prove to myself that I was still date-able and not stuck on the highest shelf like a broken doll. I joined two dating websites, both of which I had used before though, this time I was going to juggle being on both of them at the same time. My inboxes every since then have been stacked high with messages from men. Unlike the last times though, I tried to be more picky in which men I message back.

Internet dating is hard. Everyone seems to think it's easy, but to be honest it's a lot easier to lie and just say what you want, because you feel more protected by the screen and being home then say if you met some at a bar or public event. So, I get a lot of messages with men just saying "I have great ect 'place body part here.'" or do "I want to have a one night stand ect ?" I don't reply to those messages. Also, its rare I reply to people not in the same country as me, just long distance dating isn't my thing and I have enough friends right now. Okay, maybe I could do with a few more...but I like meeting up and doing stuff, not just talk online.

I have a lot of rules and stuff in place for my safety as I am so aware of the problems online dating can led too. One of my rules is that I try to spend awhile talking to the guy to get to know him. Another is that the first date is actually called the first meet up and we meet as friends. That's how it's been for all my 'dates' and I have stated this every time, we are meeting as friends. Because it's less pressure off everything really and I'm not in a hurry to get back into a relationship. Not because I'm holding a candle for my ex, but because I've suddenly discovered the freedom of being single. Though sometimes I don't like it, I'm enjoying it for the most part. My long term goal is of course to find someone, but right now I'm happy building friendships. They say that's how the best relationships start anyway.

Man, Woman, Love, Dating, Email

So, Over the last two months or so I've meet up with four guys now from the two dating sites. To code them, I'm going to give them letters of the alphabet and try not to go into too much detail about them personally (just to protect them and myself, because I'm nice like that).

The first guy, A, I have meet 3 times now. I really like him and we get on, there's this flitting between us which I enjoy too. He's very funny and sarcastic, which I like. He makes me laugh a lot and he finds my stories and jokes funny. Also, all the meet ups we've turn into mini adventures as we end up wandering around looking for places! The downside for me is that he does live far away from me, but he sees the city I live in as his true home and he does want to move here one day. I am hoping things will develop with him, but I'm not sure if it'll last, we don't seem to have that much in common as of yet anyway.

B lives a lot closer and we had an okay first date, even if I ended up taking the led on it. Which I don't mind, but he was lacking in confidence for me. Plus physically, I didn't feel attracted to him. He was really sweet, but I think he was too nice and was happy doing whatever I wanted. Which I didn't trouble me, but some input would have been good. We've stayed in connect and I said we could be friends, which I know he's not too happy about. We have yet to arrange a second meet up.

C and I have met twice now. He seems nice, but like B he is lacking in confidence and also he's shorter then me and I just can't deal with that. There's just something about tall men I like and it doesn't help that I'm tall myself! The first time we met, I had to buy my own drink. which I don't mind - it's not a date! but I think it jarred with me that he didn't even ask me about it or anything....unlike the other two guys. We had a good talk and we did have a bit of a walk too - which is how I noticed the height difference!

We went bowling and for lunch as our second meet up and he talked a lot about this girl he liked. I was actually in one of my low moods and the conversation wasn't that interesting. Bowling was fun though and lunch was okay. I fear that he'll go the same way B went though as he's not for me, but a friendship might work.

D does live a bit away from me and we have met twice now. The first time, I broke my rule of not eating on the first met up. I'm not a shy eater, but I can be a bit messy and I'd rather just get something like a drink which can easily be handled. And I was messy! We had a talk about a number of things and I do feel once again that I was far more confident then him. Though for some reason I was really on edge and so chatty. He was taller then me though and paid for lunch - super nice of him because he didn't have to. But then he give me super mixed signals because he decided to leave.

I don't normally set an end time unless I have to, but that meet up only lasted about an hour and 40 minutes. Which isn't that short but compared to the the four- six hours I'm use to it kinda is. I so thought I'd come on too strong and he'd not liked me. I had all this paranoia about it until he texted me and asked me if I wanted to meet again...turns out he was just super worried about missing his train home though they seemed to be every hour. I agreed and decided to give it another go.

The second meet up went a lot better and actually changed some of my first judgement about him. I think it helped that we went and did something this time. We went to an art gallery and had fun looking at the paintings. He made some jokes and we talked a lot about art and relationships. We went for tea and it was my pick this time, I choice a new place I'd not been to before, but the food was good. We split the bill this time and we hugged like three times before he left.

I'd like to see him again and not just because he said he wanted to go to the zoo for our next meet up! But because I think his confidence will grow and we have lot in common.

Cupid, Cloud, Sky, Angel, Love

So, am I serial dater? I don't believe so. For starts, I'm not actually 'dating' them and they and me know where we stand and I make it repeated clear that's the case. Also, this the first time I've seen a number of men at once. Normally, I stick with one guy and if the first meet up doesn't work then I move on to the next. Actually, I only started dating in my early twenties. As a teenager, I wasn't that interested in boys and it's only been over the last six or seven years that I have changed my mind and become interested in finding someone to spend the rest of my life with.

I looked up what the actual differentiation of a serial dater and there's lots of interesting information out there, but I came to understand that it's a person who has a few dates with someone then moves on to someone else and the pattern repeats. They do this because they like the first stage of dating and don't want to commit to anything. Also they don't want to spend time getting to know people, they enjoy having money spent on them and date people who have nothing in common with them. I don't really tick any of those boxes.

Of course, I know there's going to come a time when either I decide to start a relationship with one of these guys or another I've yet to meet. I currently have two guys I really want to meet up with as well. Then I know I'll have to sort things out because I'm so not a cheat. At the minute I'm having a bit of trouble juggling the four guys I'm making friends with, so I can't imagine managing two different relationships! To be honest, I'm just having fun meeting and getting to new people, which is something I don't do really do.

And before I forget here's a link to a tumblr I llike and some of the posts on here just sum up internet dating messages for me really well; http://really-not-ok-cupid.tumblr.com/ If you need a giggle it's a good thing to check out, also it reminds me why being single can be a good thing!

Board, Mentor, Hand, Learn, Education, Training, Chalk

On the flip side of this, for the past six weeks I have been giving up my Sunday mornings to be a part of the group mentoring at the youth center. It's the first run of this and it's to help 8-12 children who can't do 1-1 mentoring because their problems are not big enough or do to their additional needs they are unstable. But, if once we finish in another seven weeks, the young people still need support they'll go into the 1-1. I thought this would be a good way to start my mentoring as I've not been matched up to a young person yet.

I am finding it tough. It's hard to do anything for the first time even with training and support. I think it's going to take awhile for me to get into it as even after all this time I'm just not getting to grips with it. I'm not going to say mentoring isn't for me, I just think I need more practice at it as with everything. Maybe I need to do some more reading around the subject and look at how I can improve myself.

So the group mentoring sees three mentors, a supervisor, a supporter and eight young people meeting to do a range of activities which I divided into doing an activity often based around teamwork and looking at emotions/feels, lunch and small group time which sees the mentors working with the same 3 or 2 young people in a more focused activity. Now, my two kids are brother and sister and they have a bit of a rough home life, not in any abusive and neglecting ways, just that their mother has a lot on her plate it seems.

Last Sunday was also the second time they'd not turned up and it was the four time all together. It bugs me because I'm giving up my free time to help these kids to reach the reasons they are on mentoring and their mum doesn't seem so bothered to bring them. I'm so hoping this is going to change and that I can now spend the next few weeks actually helping this kids out. I keep telling myself that even if I'm just there for them and they can talk to me and I can teach them one coping technique they remember when they are having a bad time, then I'll feel like I achieved something. It'd be goo if I can do more, but as a mentor there's only so much you can do anyway.

Job Search, Career, Work, Resume, Job Hunting


Even though I love my part time job, I'm currently looking for another. I'd love to find some morning work in an office somewhere, so that I could still keep my shifts at the youth center. It wasn't my plan to really stay so long and I wanted a full time job, but I've not had much look and I guess I've become to comfy where I am. But I want to move out and get a car and the only way to really do that is to save up and I need more money to do that. So, I'm on the look out again and hopefully, I'll find something soon enough.

The issue is that job hunting doesn't get any easier really. I find it takes up so much time and it's tiring. Being on sites like Linked In and signing up to temp and agencies does make it easier, but it's putting in all the leg work and the fact I don't get many replies triggers my depression. A few weeks back I had a phone call and I was headhunted for this job as a research at a recruitment center. But the interview was cancelled the evening before because the guy said on reflection I didn't sound confident enough and that totally didn't make any sense to me. Also he wanted to hand in my notice that day before I had the interview so he could hire me the next day! That's just weird too.

Books, Bookshelf, Book, Read, Literature

In some other news, I have finally got a goal date set for my short story collection anthology release. It's going to be on Monday 1st August. This is going to be published on amazon kindle for £1. Which seems really cheap to me! It's going to be a collection of around 30 short stories from the first year of my other blog The Story Files over on Wordpress. I've been saying for ages that I'm going to do it and now I really mean it. I'll post on here when it's ready.

I so want to look at getting money from my blogs. I know its' difficult to do and most people say it's like a full time job. I've never really wanted to actually get money out of this because it me it's always been my space to just out pour, but it'd be great to get some else in return for writing now. Speaking of that and blogs.....

Blog, Blogging, Wordpress, Leave

I had a great idea for a new blog and I plan to start that up next week. My plan is to post on that blog on Fridays and it's going to be about fighting negativity and how to stay positive. This blog is different from my current two and others I've done in the past because it's going to focus on advising people. I had this idea after having a talk with my dad then seeing some self-help books work. Originally, I was just going to make a life post about it but when I started planning it out there was so much I wanted to write about that I thought I could just turn this into a new blog.

I have set a word limit of 500 words per-post because that's about the right word count to draw people in and to read it fully. I try hard to keep the word count down on here, but like I said with this being a space to out pour it can be hard to keep things short!

So, I'll let you know about that when I've sorted it all out.

Update! I've set it up and done the first post! You can check it out here; https://negativitybreakout.wordpress.com/


Time, Imagination, Development, Imagine
Lastly, I wanted to write about my future plans. Right now, I'm on a short break in Leeds with my mum. On Saturday it was actually my birthday and this trip to Leeds is apart of that. I might write about that at some point. So, I've got some books lined up for reviewing, more short stories to write, two novellas to finish and I want to get the other two short story collections for the second and third year of my blog sorted and published. I think I'll carry on with what I've been currently doing on this blog, because it seems okay, but I'm hoping my new blog takes off.

Thanks for reading and please stay posted for some updates on all of this stuff soon!


My other blog: https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/


Images from https://pixabay.com

Monday, 27 June 2016

June Life Update: Home Improvements.


Hi readers,

It feels like an age since I last did one of these posts and I've been so busy! But also, the Soulless books have been taking up the last few weeks. I actually got the idea for this post at the end of May/ beginning of June, but actually I'm glad I didn't post it up then because it's meant I've had more time to write it. However, it's now become a lot longer then I first planned, but I've got lots of photos to break things up with. So let's start! 

Last month my old desk chair broke. It had been on it's last legs/wheels for awhile but one night as I sat in it singing along to Five Finger Death Punch, the chair snapped in half and threw me against my bookcase and floor. My foot was trapped underneath the seat, but luckily, I got free and after a few minutes of laying on the floor I got up. My chair was announced totally broke by my dad and so began the search for a new one.

I had this idea that I wanted like a comfy plush armchair, but all the ones I looked at online, in charity shops and furniture shops were not desk height. My mum took me to IKEA for the first time as the last place to look. We arrived at the right floor and the first thing I saw was someone being told off by a member of staff for using the wrong trolley! Seems the long flatbed ones could only be used on the floor below and not in the home area.

Visiting IKEA for me felt like visiting a number of different houses. I love how you can just walk into a living room or kitchen etc and take a good nosy around. You so get a really taste of what you could make any room in your own place look like and I enjoyed that experience, even though it felt a bit weird and it took me awhile to actually step into one of the rooms.

I saw a number of chairs I liked, but none of them ticked all the boxes either because they were too small for me - I need a big chair because I like to curl up and I do move around a lot, plus I spend a lot of time at my desk- or they weren't the right height or they were too expensive. So, even though I saw lots of cool stuff, I didn't get anything. I think when I've a place of my own, then I shall go back to IKEA. The bookcases were awesome!

In the end, I went back to the internet and looked on Amazon. It really is my go to place when I want/need to buy things. Finally, after a lot of researching into desk/computer gaming chairs, I went with this one;


I know the photo isn't that great. The sunlight appeared at the wrong moment and I've just not get around to trying again. Plus it's really tall, so actually getting a full photo of it without showing the mess my front room is currently in is hard. So, its a computer gamer's chair with fake leather and plush panels that actually have an autumn leaves print on them and I do so love autumn and leaves! It's super comfy, really supportive and it was well within my budget. I'm happy with it and hope it lasts an age now.   

On to the second thing. For anyone who's been reading this blog awhile you'll remember my addiction to cacti. I have a huge one called Bob, who I took to uni with me and it was given to me by my now passed away uncle as a small baby. Well, I decided he needed re-potting again. This is like his fourth new pot now and he seems to suit it. Sadly, I think I choice the wrong time because he was flowering- as you can see below- and normally he gets large pink flowers on all his tops, but it's not happened and they have started dying. I hope he's going to be okay. 


The cacti in the photo at the start of this post are all my new ones. They were really cheap from a supermarket and I couldn't say no to that. I re-potted the one that looks like Bob in his old pot to encourage him to grow big. It's the same for the cactus next to Bob in the above photo. It looks big already, but I want it to grow more. They all look really good on the window sill which is next to my desk and computer. I added the bunnies from one of my old posts next to them as I've been sewing so much new stuff lately that I've run out of room.

The cacti below I've had for awhile and actually they are the only ones that I didn't re-pot. That's because I'm pretty happy with them as they are. They haven't grown much though, expect for the two tall ones at the back, they seem to be doing really good. The cactus in the middle is a special one I got from the Eden Project in Cornwall on my birthday. I did have another one that was orange which I got from my first trip but it sadly died. I've no idea why though! The other cacti came from a garden center and it's the same place I got the seashell stones from. I like them because they just add some color and decoration on top of the soil.




One of the things I love about summer is all the outside decorations you can get. This year my mum and I decided to buy some new solar lights for the trees we have in the garden. I went with stars as I really like them and they do look good. Then I choice some twinkling fairy lights to make like an archway between the trees. That turned at really well. I love waiting for them to come on and though they've not been so bright recently due to lack of sun -feels like another washed out summer in England- they still look good.



At the same time, I also got this which is meant to be fireflies in a jar. I love the effect and I have it inside on my window sill, balanced on a cactus pot during the day then moving around my desk in the evening/night, so I can enjoy it. I really like it and also it could easily be made with a jar and some lights, but this was super cheap! 



To fit in with this I recently brought some new LED fairy lights for my seashell collection. I have always collected shells when I've been at the seaside. I try to get the ones that I think sea creatures won't want to use and then I only take a few. I've also brought some too. They use to live in a shoe box under my bed, but a few years back I decided to get a large glass vase to put them in. I then brought a string of 20 fairy lights to put in with them and it's stood on the end of my desk under my bed for ages. 


A few weeks back whilst tidying my room I decided that I'd love this on my PC desk where I could have the lights on more often and enjoy it more. So I brought it and my large lava lamp, which I felt the same about to my PC desk. It was there after having it on a few times I decided that it would Benefit from having more lights in as only the middle section was really lit up. So, I went on Amazon and got some. 

It's taken me four tries to get it right. The problem was I got 100 lights when before there was only 20 and the wire was really thick, so twice all the shells won't go back in and the third time I decided that I didn't like the arrangement of things. It took a lot of thinking, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Also, having just the blue and green lights on gives a really nice affect.   




My younger brother moved back from uni about two weekends ago now. He wanted to sort though the corner wardrobe that's in his bedroom. I ended up giving him and my mum a hand, we found a lot of interesting stuff and were able to get rid of most of it. I still have some books and a bathroom stuff to give to charity. Though what I really want to do is raise some money for arts and crafts supplies at the youth center. Going to have a look into doing that very soon.

Among the finds we discovered these two Charlie bears! Mum said she was sure one of them - the panda on the right had been a Christmas present for me she had lost a few years back. The other shares the name of my other brother and that's why she got him, but for reason he then got left in the cupboard. I'm glad to say that both bears have now joined all the others in my bedroom. 


The other thing I wanted to write about were these Dungeons and Dragons Role Playing books. I had for sometime kept three of them in my room on the top shelf and we found the fourth one in an old box of childhood books. I'm not sure how it got there! They date from 1992-1993 and were meant to be used with the 1990 D&D board game as additional adventures.

We don't have that board game and though it's easy enough to get one, I'm thinking I might sell them. Right now they are coming up as being somewhat expensive. Seems there's a surge in old D&D stuff.

But I feel kinda attached to them and I don't know why. Maybe it's got something to do with the geek in me and I keep thinking I could keep them, get the board game and find some people to play it with. On the other hand, that's unlikely to happen and maybe someone who wants them for memorabilia and knows about them better then me will want to buy them? 

I don't know, but I'm storing them inside my small bookcase next to my desk till I decided. Take a look at these maps though! I've got them for each different adventure and I love the detail in them.   




To tie in with this when I cleaned my bedroom last month I found these novels. I knew I had them as they were giving to me by a high school friend back in the early 2000's. I just about think I've read the vampire one, of course it's about a vampire so why wouldn't I? But I've never read the others. I got them before I knew what D&D was and I think I just thought they were fantasy books like the role playing ones I got at the same time, but now I know them for what they are and I like them a lot more.

They are on my to read list now. Strangely though the D&D adventure I'm playing right now is linked to the vampire novel as we are playing The Curse of Strahd and that novel is based on the original adventure. I think one of the reasons I've not started reading it is because I'm worried there might be information which could be seen as meta-gaming actually in the novel. So I'm going to wait until the adventure is finished and then read it. Also, I've a huge pile of books to get through right now! If you're interested in playing D&D here's the link to the website;  http://dnd.wizards.com/

And I'm sure I've wrote a lot about how playing D&D has changed my life in the past, so I won't go into that all again here. I've got three things left to write about now and then I'm finally finished. 


So, recently, I've become really big on products from The Body Shop. I have also loved their strawberry wash stuff and lotions and the orange one they have too. At Christmas I got into their apple scent and now with summer under way, they have brought out a range of pina colada - pineapple and coconut stuff and that's like my second favorite smell. I'm totally in love with it! Also they have some hand cleaners, which I love too and carry around with me wherever I go.


The other product I'm addicted to is the peppermint foot treatments. I love the smell of it but also my feet have so improved using the deep intense cream. When I was a ballerina I never kept on top of my foot care like I should have done and now I've become super aware of the pressure points on my feet, eg. the heel and base of my toes. With wanting to wear sandals - despite the rain now taking over the summer- I thought I should start giving my feet some TLC. So far it's really working and my feet look better then they have in years. 

Last week, during one of my first meet ups with a guy from an online dating website, ( I was going to write all about my 'first' dates and how my mentoring Sunday's are going, but this post is too big all ready so I'll carry those over to a second July post I think as the first July post is about all the sewing projects I've been doing) I had a shopping trip. I don't normally spend so much money at once, but I wanted get a few things anyway and then I found more. 



I needed some strips of fabric to make my new craze of hair scrunches. I learnt how do them from the fabric activity volunteer at the youth center and when I made my first one I become hooked. So now I've got all this awesome fabric to make some more!    


A few posts back I wrote about my happy book and how I fill it with positive quotes/Menes and things that make me happy. For awhile now I've been looking to get another notebook to continue the happy book in as it's almost full now. I spotted the small two notebooks on a top shelf in The Works and decided they were too cheap to pass up on even if they didn't become the next happy book. Also the inspirational quotes drew me in. 

The white book behind them is actually a design your own cover book and though it's too big really to be my new happy book I liked the idea behind making my own cover and also it's plain paper inside, unlike the others which were lined. So, maybe it's work as my new happy book? Have to see when I actually need to switch out.


I also got these books too as they were very cheap and I thought the two sewing books would be great inspiration for my job. Some of the projects in them look pretty good and I thought it'd save me sometime looking on the internet. The other book is about funny newspaper headlines and yeah I was drawn in by the custard shortage line. I thought this would be useful for writing prompts. One of the things they say to look at is news stories and I like the sound of some of these headlines. There was one about a dog being attacked by swans, a man being found dead in a graveyard and one about boiled egg exploding. I also thought if I need a giggle then it'd be good for that. 


I also brought the new J .R. Ward series book 1! It was on my birthday wish list, but with Waterstones giving it a buy one get one half price sticker I thought I'd get it then find another one. It took me awhile as the selection they had wasn't great for me, but I decided to get the home for peculiar children because I had seen the ad for the movie on tv and though I have actually looked at the book a few times I didn't know it was about children with supernatural powers. So I thought I'd give it ago. Two more books to add to my reading list!

I'm close to finishing now, there's only one more thing I want to write about and that's; 

Up and Coming Book Reviews. 


So, I just thought I'd share this list of some of the books I plan to read and review for the rest of the year. Of course, this list isn't set in stone and a few others will pop up. I've tried to do it by month too, but this no doubt will change. If you want to keep up with what I'm reading here's the link to my Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7400715-hayley-hardman

End of June, but reviewing next week as one post; Soulless Manga Trilogy.

July; Gail Carriage The Custard Protocol book 1 and 2, J .R. Ward Blood Kiss.   

August; Darren Shan's The City Trilogy, Stephan King's Joyland and Cujo.     

September; Joseph Fink Welcome to Night Vale Volumes 1 and 2.  

November; The above writing books as it's write a novel in a month time. 

October; J .R. Ward The Beast.   

December; To Be Decided.

That's all for this update. Thanks so much for reading and if you have time please check out my other blog were I write a short story everyday https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/. Next month, I hope to launch a new blog which will also be on Wordpress and I want to get the first collection of short stories from my blog self published on Amazon too. 

See you next week. :) 

Images: all my own.