Category Archives: Stop the press!

And the winner is…

We had a lot of fun yesterday coming up with ways to pick a winner for Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things!

My son suggested we let our hamster – Falcao – choose…

Falcao

….so I wrote all the names on paper and the littles arranged them and put a sunflower seed on each one…..

Seeds

….no photos of this bit, because Falcao was too quick! He ran straight for….

Barbara

…so Barbara, it’s yours!

I’ll pack it up and send it off to you as soon as I can get to the Post Office!

Heads up….

8438464c58d37d8af2820bd6f450074a

Two quick things:

1) Deepak Chopra/Oprah Winfrey are offering a free 21-day guided meditation course….starting today….sign-up details here (I know many of you asked about it when I did my meditation post for my ‘Self-care week’ series, so I thought I’d let you know so you can sign up for it…..)

2) [I feel so silly writing this, but would like you all to have a chance to win!]…..do leave a comment here to be in with a chance of me sending you a book I recently reviewed….(Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of all Things).

OK, three quick things…(couldn’t resist!)…

3) Have a great rest of your day!

Get to know your blogland neighbour

My lovely, lovely blog friend Carrie from Northwood’s Scrapbook has had the great idea of posing/answering a few questions about ourselves and inviting others to do the same, as a (great) way of getting to know each other a little better.

Here goes, in answer to some of the questions she posed….

1. How long have you been blogging?

Since September 1st 2014 (just over 6 months!)

2. To visualise what you look like, what colour is your hair? Your eyes? How tall are you?

I have long (but, unfortunately, not thick) chestnut-coloured hair, green/yellow-y/hazel eyes (depending on the light) and I’m 1.67m tall (I think!). I can most usually be found wearing either pyjamas (whilst in my natural environment) or inappropriately fancy attire in the street. 

3. What’s your favourite colour?

Blue or green. The calming colours of Nature. 

4. What’s your favourite kind of music?

Jazz, baby….my son calls it ‘Mama’s weird music’, but I just know he’ll grow to love it 😉

5. What’s your favourite food or kind of food?

Thai or Indian. Anything spicy spicy spicy with lots of complex flavours. Or cake! A good big piece of cake with a cup of tea. 

6. What’s your favourite drink?

Tea! Earl Grey. Camomile. Depending on the time of day (camomile for breakfast and bedtime, Earl Grey for all other times. Tea at 3 is obligatory in my home!)

7. What’s your favourite place you’ve ever traveled? And where would you like to travel that you haven’t so far?

Favourite place travelled: probably Mexico. I’d like to travel to many places: Thailand…Paris….Japan…..India….

8. What famous person (dead or alive) would you like to meet and why?

Oh my goodness….! So difficult! Shakespeare (imagine sharing a few beers with him! [And I don’t even drink!] It’d be the best night of your life. Pretty much guaranteed!)…..Richard Branson (business tips galore!)…….Martin Scorsese (his creativity might rub off on me!)….Anthony Hopkins (no explanation needed!)….Hemingway (so he could teach me his tricks for getting down and dirty and bare in my writing)….a day’s photographing things with Cartier Bresson…..Mother Theresa (no explanation needed)…..Rumi (I imagine I’d just sit in awe)…..Da Vinci (imagine!)……Picasso……oh my goodness…..so many many people I’d love to meet! 

9. What new or unique hobby would you like to try?

Hhhmmm…..difficult…..mountain climbing? I fear I’m too old to scale Everest but I sorely wish I could just set off and make it as far as possible up a bloody big mountain….something about the call of the wild and the idea of ‘Its not the mountain we conquer, it’s ourselves’ that’s attractive to me at the moment…

10. What’s something unusual about you that people might not know?

Hhmmm….I’m kind of an unusual person, so there’s probably a million things…..and I can’t think of any right now….hhhmmm….I can speed read? And can read with the book upside down/wrong way up/backwards, you name the position of the book, I can read it like that. Weird…..or the fact that I really can’t stand it when I get toothpaste on my hands….yuck yuck and triple yuck….

Looking forward to other people joining in (and to reading your posts)!

back soon!

bluebird

Hia all…

Urgent ‘family business’ to deal with….

I’ll be back before you know it 😉

[Sorry I’ve had to abandon Fab-ruary like this…..]

TMI Tag

The ever curious Britney (love ya, girl xxx) invited me to answer some questions about myself….here goes!

What are you wearing?

A long red dress and gold high heeled shoes (I would usually be in sports clothes or pyjamas but had a meeting for work just now). I wanted to feel beautiful today so tried my best to! [Red dress and gold shoes….hhhmm…it’s not as tacky as it sounds. Promise! Think this not this (obviously)!!!].

Ever been in love?

Yes.

Ever had a terrible break-up?

Enough said.

How tall are you?

1.67m

How much do you weigh?

64.5kg

Any tattoos?

No, although I’d like to get one. A small something (a bird probably) on the inside of my left ankle. I love how, more often than not, tattoos tell stories of events of significance. I love looking at tattoos. I find them fascinating.

Piercings?

No….I’ve been indecisive about getting my ears pierced for months. Had an appointment in December and chickened out (again….)….I will do it…just a question of when!

OTP?

I had to Google this, as I didn’t actually know what it meant…Google tells me it means your ‘one true pairing’ from fandom…..(I hope that’s right?! I am showing my age here!)…..it’d have to be Leonardo DiCaprio in Great Gatsby (Mr. Gatsby is the most interesting male character, in a book, that I’ve come across so far – apart from, maybe, Falstaff….) or Robert Downey Jr in The Judge (so strong in his vulnerabilities) (sigh….both are gorgeous! Insert ‘swooned’ blinkie!).

In reality (not reality reality….you know what I mean!), my one true pairing would be someone like Alessandro Squarzi (oh my…what a man….gorgeous….creative entrepreneur…need I say more?!). [Please note: I don’t spend my time ogling over random males on the internet! – I follow The Sartorialist (his photos give me a kick of inspiration always) and Sr. Squarzi features on there quite often! He’s kind of hard to ignore, don’t you agree?!!….]

Favourite show?

Homeland or Downton Abbey (yeah….one full of violence, the other completely the opposite….!)

Favourite bands?

I like solo singers better. Am I showing my age when I say The Cure and The Smiths?!

Something I miss?

England. Yep, the whole country.

Favourite song?

It’d have to be this one (Chet Baker, My Funny Valentine):

or this one (Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong, Cheek to Cheek):

or this one (Billie Holiday, There is No Greater Love):

or this, which I’m obsessed with at the moment (such talent, what a crying shame she didn’t know how to cope with it):

How old are you?

40 (Shush!)

Zodiac sign?

Cancer. And I’m definitely a cancer.

Quality you look for in a partner?

Still too hurt to answer this one!

Favourite quote?

inspirational-quote-do-what-you-cannot-do-eleanor-roosevelt

Favourite actor?

Mark Ruffalo. Such dedication and total surrender to every role he plays. One of my favourite Inside The Actors Studio interviews ever (I love Inside the Actors Studio! I love it when anyone creative explains/outlines/tries to lay bare their creativity…).

Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the few actors where you can believe even his eyes (and, oh my goodness, what eyes!)

Robert Downey Jr. Blew me away in The Judge(I honestly don’t understand how he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar; Steve Carrell assumes the character he developed well, don’t get me wrong, but, really, he doesn’t have any range in Foxcatcher)

Recently discovered (and working my way through his filmography)…Miles Teller….why on Earth he didn’t get any major nomination for his acting in Whiplash? Really? J.K. Simmons gets a nomination for Whiplash and Miles Teller doesn’t? A travesty.

Anthony Hopkins. Of course. In anything. 

Jared Leto (I was so pleased when he won the Oscar for Dallas Buyers Clubhe was incredible in it). I also love his off-screen style (he just makes me smile when I see him ‘doing his thing’!)

Javier Bardem. [Yum. Mind and body in one smouldering package! LOL! His performance in Before Night Falls is, in parts, probably one of my favourite acting performances ever, on film…]

Favourite colour?

Green or blue. Depending on my mood. Both bring me immediately back to Nature, one of my favourite ‘things’.

Loud music or soft?

Soft, mostly. I’m a typical INFJ in that loud music grates on my calm, somehow, and I can’t stand it. But, when I need to, I’ll blare it out with the best of them 😉

Where do you go when you’re sad?

Inside myself.

How long does it take you to shower?

Hah! About three minutes….show me a Mama of littles who has time for a decent shower?! LOL!

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

Mental preparation: about an hour (run – quiet time – meditation – journalling).

Getting dressed: about ten minutes.

That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me!

Ever been in a physical fight?

No (I’m assuming brothers don’t count?!)

The reason you started blogging?

I’d been wanting to start a blog around the idea I Will Bloom and hadn’t acted on it because, although I had a million ideas for the space, I was worried I didn’t have time. I then saw the Blog-tember challenge (in September 2014) and decided to go for it: I decided if I could manage to fit in a post a day for that challenge, I’d be able to carve out time to maintain I Will Bloom. I did and I’ve been blogging here since then.

I wrote this recently (in another post) which explains a little bit more about where I want to take this space:

“…one of the main goals I have for this space is to turn it in to a place of encouragement and hopefulness, of bright shining positivity, for women in need, whether that need be practical, emotional…or sartorial! I’d like I Will Bloom to become an online space women turn to because it lifts them up in some way, enhances their wellbeing and makes them feel that little bit better about themselves, about being alive….there, I’ve said it….written it. Finally…my mission statement for I Will Bloom”

Fears?

Death. I’ve got so much I want to do and am increasingly conscious that time is, unfortunately, finite.

Last thing that made you cry?

This morning. A hummingbird was trapped in our living room, getting really stressed and really tired, trying to find a way out, whilst refusing help. I eventually managed to catch it and was absolutely amazed by how beautiful its feathers are: so many colours, so vibrant. I found myself crying because it was just so beautiful. I basically cry at everything. (I’m not ashamed of crying and actually quite welcome it. It’s my soul somehow trying to adjust itself back to a new normal).

Last time you said you loved someone?

I say it all the time, to everyone who’s close to me. The last time? This morning, to my two littles, as they went off to school and nursery.

Meaning behind your blog name?

I’ve been through Hell and back and I need to bloom. The name came from that. I also really want the blog to become a place where women can go to get inspiration to help them to bloom…I love the name. Love what it stands for.

Last book you read?

Manuscript Found in Accra, Paulo Coelho.

The book you’re currently reading?

The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Loving it.

Last show you watched?

Oh my goodness, such a long time ago (we don’t have a TV service connected (by choice!) so I mostly watch films on DVD). I think it was Downton. I’m toying with getting a Netflix connection….

Last person you talked to?

My insurance salesman. Really! 

The relationship between you and the person you last texted?

She’s becoming a close friend; the Mum of one of my daughter’s friends…we were arranging a playdate for tomorrow afternoon.

Favourite food?

Anything with fresh, healthy, ingredients. Oh, and cake. [Yep, I nothing if not full of contradictions!]

Place you want to visit?

Thailand.

Last place you were?

Not sure I understand the question?! I just had a meeting for work and went to the bank after that – what a glamorous lifestyle I lead ;).

Do you have a crush?

No. [Does Alessandro count?!]

Last time you were insulted?

Two days ago, unfortunately. I won’t go in to details.

Favourite flavour of sweet?

Mint. Or chocolate. Preferably both together.

What instruments do you play?

I used to play the clarinet. I want to take singing lessons.

Favourite pieces of jewellery?

I had quite a bit of jewellery that I loved. It was all stolen. I’m kind of liking the freedom of not wearing it (especially my engagement/wedding rings).

Last sport you played?

Basketball at University. I’m not tall. It was more for fun!

Last song you sang?

I’m actually not a really big singer although I’d love to sing. I sort of hum or whistle. Aha, no! We did have a dance off yesterday afternoon and I sang ‘Shake it Off’……!

Favourite chat up line?

Oh my goodness, I don’t have one! I really don’t like them!

Last time you hung out with anyone?

Saturday night.

Who should answer these questions next?

Any of my darling and much appreciate blog readers who feel the calling to do so!

[Britney: hope I’ve satiated your curiosity a little ;)]

Liebster Award

Hi all…

Have been ‘off the radar’ for a few days: the events in France have really shaken me deeply, left me reeling, and I’ve also spent the past few days enjoying my littles before they went back to school/nursery (Today! The house feels so very empty). Lots of extra special hugs and ‘yes’ days (where I say ‘yes’ to all reasonable requests). They were a very special few days, despite being tainted with great sadness.

Charlotte emailed me to tell me she’s nominated me for a Liebster Award….thanks, Charlotte! Much appreciated! I frivolously spent ten minutes or so googling to find my dream awards ceremony dress (!)…voila!….definitely something from Ellie Saab (so much gorgeous attention to detail!)….and I’d definitely be wearing Chanel’s holographic nail polish (not the classiest polish but so fun!)….

Dress

On to the questions Charlotte posed:

1. What 3 words best describe your blog and why?

I found this one really difficult to answer! I think I’d have to say: positivity, encouragement and hopefulness. I lay myself bare in a lot of my posts (a friend says she loves “reading my heart”, which is just about the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid me). Why? I’ve (we’ve) been through Hell on Earth (I don’t use that term lightly; if anyone’s offended by it, I apologise, but I can’t think of another term to describe what was done to us) and feel that if my writing reaches just one woman in a similar situation and helps that one woman, I’ll have served a purpose. I feel, generally, that I’ve learned a great deal from my experiences (about myself, about life) and I’ve come to realise that I’ve been given a gift (writing) and that I should use my combination of skills to help: to encourage, to give hope. As my ‘About Me’ page says, “I want to be a light that lets others see”.

Quite lofty reasons, I realise, but I’m all about being more purposeful nowadays and one of the main goals I have for this space is to turn it in to a place of encouragement and hopefulness, of bright shining positivity, for women in need, whether that need be practical, emotional…or sartorial! I’d like I Will Bloom to become an online space women turn to because it lifts them up in some way, enhances their wellbeing and makes them feel that little bit better about themselves, about being alive….there, I’ve said it….written it. Finally…my mission statement for I Will Bloom. 

2. What is your favourite quote and why?

Another really difficult one, as I have so many! I find myself reading Eleanor Roosevelt again and again and I spent most of my 20s with this quote stuck in my purse (so I could see it, and it would give me courage, every time I opened my purse): “You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. I’m starting 2015 with a handwritten copy of it in my purse again. I think it might find its way on to my headstone, to be honest: it’s helped me so much, throughout my life, and, recently, has helped me through so much. It always reminds me to strive for that little bit more, as I am capable of doing so much more with my life.

3. How long have you been blogging?

I started blogging here at I Will Bloom on 1st September 2014 (when I blogged every day for Blog-tember) so I’ve been blogging here for nearly 3.5 months.

4. Who do you admire? And why

Who do I admire? Another difficult one. I admire anyone who lives a true life. What do I mean by ‘true life’? I mean anyone who’s living a life that’s completely true to their values and their talents. Artists, creatives, entrepreneurs who go out on a limb because they believe in themselves and that belief in themselves sustains them through thick and thin. I’m drawn to that level of self-belief, that level of commitment. I’m being drawn to creative people more and more recently. I find myself seeking out fashion/photography/artist’s blogs more and more. Loving, as always, The Sartorialist and Susie Bubbles (who makes me long to be 19 and in London again, walking around Saint Martins and singing inside, seeing all the amazing combinations of clothes on the fashion students). I guess it’s my current search for what authenticity means to me that’s leading me to seek out – devour – extreme expressions of creativity. I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway and Fitzgerald recently (longing to learn more about the ‘bare bones’ school of writing) and Charles Bukowski is currently holding my mind captive.

5. What are some of your guilty pleasures

Dark chocolate. Silly reality TV programmes (why – if I dislike KK with a passion – am I always drawn to watching their shows?! I think it’s because they just allow me to switch my brain off). Pinterest (guilty because it takes up too much of my time, some days). What else? Can’t think of anything else. I’ve been living a life largely devoid of pleasure of any kind (living in survival mode does that to you), so any pleasure – however small – still kind of feels like a guilty pleasure. I’m a work in progress on the ‘pleasure’ front! I remember reading something by Tony Robbins a while ago that said, ‘What are you looking forward to?’ and it stumped me. Absolutely stumped me, because I realised I had nothing to look forward to. No trips out or meeting with friends or concert or well, anything….That’s the day I decided things had to change. I slowly emerged out of survival mode and am now moving towards ‘total wellbeing mode’.

6. Tell me something you feel strongly about

I feel the world’s heading in a very grave direction and that we’re not doing enough to avert this. I preach kindness, live kindness, and strongly believe that if we considered our fellow men – regardless of the fellow man’s race/religion/age/colour/clothing type/job/’whatever’ – and were kind to our fellow men, the world would slowly but surely become less selfish, less self-absorbed, a much nicer, kinder, place in which to live. It doesn’t escape my thoughts that if the world were kinder, abominable acts such as those the world witnessed last week, would no longer have a foothold. [I realise it’s probably ‘pie in the sky’ thinking but all the world’s religions – every single one of them – tell their followers that compassion – thinking about one’s fellow man and treating one’s fellow man as one would want to be treated – is the basis of good citizenship].

7. Think of a TV/book/movie character that is basically you – but tell us why.

Goodness, I can’t answer this! There isn’t one! I’m so unique (LOL!). No, honestly, I don’t really identify myself with any character. I’ve always said, however, that if anyone were ever to play me in a film, it’d have to be Kristin Scott Thomas: she’s so very British and just so ‘sort of me’! Strong. Classy. Very British. Cultured. Confident.

8. What is your main goal for 2015

To live my best life. This means, for me, making the best choice out of all possible choices, making the best decisions with my ‘long-term’ lens fitted, being the best ‘me’ I can be. It’s about forging something wonderful out of the ashes of my life. For my littles. Always – and everything – for my two littles.

9. Tell us about a cause you feel passionate about.

I feel passionate about many, many things. I believe strongly that many of the world’s problems could be solved if we made the conscious decision to be kind. Choose kindness, choose the kind option, and people’s problems will lessen – if not practically, then emotionally (and I know, from experience, that that’s sometimes more than half the battle; win that half of the battle and the other bit of it will be overcome).

10. 5 weird things you like?

Goodness, I wonder what might be classed as ‘weird’?! I really like healthy food. I really like to run. I like getting up really early when everything is quiet. I really like being alone. I love going to the cinema on my own. Love it. I like travelling alone. [I think I’m basically just a little weird!]

11. Where in the world would you like to live and why?

Two places: England (it’s my home and I miss it terribly) and a small island in the Caribbean (where – I have promised myself – I will within three years have purchased my dream plot of land). Why the island in the Caribbean? The first time I set foot on it, nearly twenty years ago now, I felt something in the land calling to me. I knew – just knew – I’d live there one day. We spent summers there every year until recently and I got to know the islanders and fell in love with the place, the history, the stories, the dramas, the simplicity of it all, of how stripped down, how bare but how rich life can be there. [Please note: I’m not a millionaire! Far from it! I had almost all the money I needed for my plot of land all saved up – from years of sheer hard work – until it was stolen. I’ve promised myself I’ll have the deeds to that land, in my name, three years from now. I don’t break promises to myself. Ever. So it will happen. By hook or by crook…].

I should now nominate ten other blogs for the award and pose ten questions….but I’m going to back out on that front. Sorry. Charlotte nominated a lot of the ones I would have nominated and the other ones not on Charlotte’s list…some of them are on blogging breaks. Sorry, Charlotte – you passed me the baton and I dropped it. But thank you for the nomination and the great questions. Much appreciated! 

Universal Letter Writing Week

I will – I promise! – be around again shortly with an original “quality content”-type post.

[I have bloggers block as I can’t find the right angle/words to write the post I want to start 2015 with. I’ve challenged myself to sit at my laptop from 6am on Sunday morning until I’ve finished it. As the littles get hungry around 8am, I guess I have around 2 hours to nail it!].

In the meantime….

woman-of-letters-1

One of my favourite online thinker/doers, Alexandra Franzen, has just posted about the fact that it’s Universal Letter Writing Week from the 8th-14th January. “Eek!” (she squeals in a fit of excitement!).

[I know I’m not the only one who’ll be excited about this fact as I know a lot of my readers are letter loving people as well!]

Head over to Alexandra’s blog** and sign up for a newsletter (with prompts) that she’ll be sending out every day next week, with a promise to share some of the greatest letters of all time.

Be still my beating heart!

If only I’d known about this sooner, I’d have arranged to set up a ‘letter writing swap’ or something. Actually, if any of you are interested in such an idea, let me know in the comments and it might be possible to arrange a swap later in the week (it’d ‘just’ be gathering/partnering/sending out addresses, after all).

It’d be rather cool to think of some of my readers writing, sending and receiving hand written letters to/from each other!

**I don’t know Alexandra but admire her greatly for her clarity of thought/written expression and, as I say, thought some of you may not have seen her post and would appreciate it’s content!

I did it!

Participant-2014-Twitter-Profile

I did it!

I wrote 2000 words every day in November.

61,288 words in total.

My first book.

Out of my head.

Now on my laptop.

I’m one proud lady.

Wish me well for the editing…

….and for the whole process of deciding what to do with it now!

[I hadn’t ever thought that far ahead ;)]

Gratuitous ‘OMG, it’s just too cute’ image….because I finished my book and I’m HAPPY!!!!!!

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Wish me well…

…for NaNoWriMo is here.

Participant-2014-Twitter-Profile

The start of something good.

I can feel it in the air.

“In my bones”, as my Gran used to say.

The task? 2000 words a day, every day, in November.

The aim? One book. Out of my mind. On the page.

How am I feeling? Exhilarated. Excited. Raring to go…

Send me all your best wishes in the comments, ladies…

…they’ll be wind beneath my wings when I get disheartened (because it will surely happen)…

[Shout out to Liane – we can and will do this, girl xxx]

Stop the press!

All would be well with the world if I could wear these babies all day every day!

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Anthropologie, I love you.