Lady J's Fiction Festival

Lady J’s Fiction Festival

Last weekend, I saw my best friend (who we’ll call Lady J) for the first time in absolutely ages. Due to her being a bit of a nomad and my fear of being more than half an hour away from home, I kind of let things slip, but it was her birthday and I was determined not to let her down. While we were chatting away, she told me that she was very proud of me for keeping Mum’s the Word going (blush) and how she finds it hard to write in the kind of realistic way that blogging requires. She’s much better at making up stories and tales, which is a skill that I completely and utterly lack.

Husband has often commented that I more or less cut myself and bleed onto the page, that I’m sometimes WAY to open and self-critical but actually for me, writing fiction would be far more personal as I’d be putting my creativity out into the world. So, in an effort towards self-improvement, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! So many bloggers write about their every day lives and judging by the other writing link ups I’ve seen (mainly on US blogs), there’s definitely a lot of you who’d like to branch into fiction but just need a kick up the bum to do so.

In honour of my gorgeous and inspiring BFF, I’m launching Lady J’s Fiction Festival. Here are the rules:

1. Once a fortnight, I’ll post a list of topics on my blog. I’ll make them as diverse as I can so you have plenty to choose from.

2. You choose a topic and go away and write a FICTIONAL story about it. Nothing like your usual blog posts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a kids’ story, a Sci-Fi short, a Romantic tale, as long as it’s fiction.

3. Once you’ve written the post, come back here, link your post up and read all of the other offerings, leaving lots of lovely supportive comments.

I’m aiming to have a list of topics by Friday and we’ll do the first Linky the following Friday. There’s a lovely little badge that you can nick and place at the bottom of your post so that all of your regular readers will know that it’s part of a link up and can go and read lots of other posts too.

Simple! If you have any ideas for topics that you’d like to see in the first week, email me and let me know. Leave a comment below if this is something you’d like to get involved in, or subscribe using the the widget in the sidebar and you’ll get the list of topics as soon as they’re published.


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How To · Humour · Parenting · Personal · Rant

5 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming an Adult.

There are certain facts that you just don’t know until you reach adulthood/move out of your parents house/have kids. I was pretty much wrapped in cotton wool until I was 21 (that’s not a complaint Mum, just an observation) and these facts just did not enter my consciousness until I made the decision to propel myself into the big wide world.

Just in case anyone is reading this who is new to the ‘grown-up’ thing, or just wants to brush up on some harsh realities, here are five of the most important things I’ve learned.

1. Any rubbish bags you buy with the words ‘large’ or ‘heavy duty’ printed on them will inevitably actually be the same size as a leprechaun’s scrotum and in fact have the same strength qualities of wet rice paper. I thought this was confined to the ones I bought from the Pound shop or the ever so slightly cheaper 99p shop, but it happens everywhere.

2. Some men seem to think that MILFs (if you don’t know; look it up but keep your Google Safe Search on!) are this exotic breed of experienced older women, and while I won’t debate that many women regain their pre-baby body, the vast majority end up with nipples that point towards the floor, a stomach like a road map and either a whacking great scar across their pubic line or a chuff like a Wizard’s sleeve from squeezing human beings out. Then there’s the sick in the hair, sleep deprivation and cracked nipples (or so I’m told). Sorry lads, that’s just the cold, hard truth.

The Fantasy
The Reality

3. It doesn’t matter if you’re a brilliant cook who can make things from scratch. You may be the master of the meringue, the queen of the macaroon, your talents know no bounds. But I guarantee the first time you boil an egg for yourself, you’ll have to look up on Google how to do it and I bet, even then, it won’t come out perfect. The best advice I can give you? Buy one of these:

The Tefal Toast n Egg. Genius.

4. People will ALWAYS surprise you. Unless you’ve spent every waking moment of your life with someone, there will always be information about a person which will knock your socks off. The other day, my boss was telling us a story about how, a couple of years ago, she and a female friend booked a cheap package deal to a Greek island that turned out to be horrible due to a rotten hotel and largely rubbish beaches. One day, they stumbled upon a nudist beach which was the nicest sun spot on the island and spent the next ten days returning to play beach tennis, stark-bollock naked, with a group of young ladies. Just so you know, my boss is 67 and an accountant.

(I won’t be illustrating this point with a picture, as above. I wouldn’t want to scar you for life)

5. If you’re the type to have kids, you’ll no doubt have a set of ideals that you’ll formulate once expecting, or maybe even before. Once your little bundle of joy is born, largely, these ideas will be torn up and thrown out of the window. I’ve lost count of the amount of parents-to-be who insist they’re anti-dummy, anti-bottle, anti-TV, anti-everything-that’s-not-organic, Gina Ford worshippers who, within weeks of bringing the baby home have given up on their hard-and-fast rules and are helicoptering their arses off with a dummy in one hand, a bottle in the other and a Baby Einsteins DVD on repeat for 8 hours a day. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s called COPING.

So, there are my pearls of wisdom for a Sunday morning. They may not be profound, but they may save you a lot of time and effort and what could be better than that? YOU’RE WELCOME.

Anger · Opinion · Parenting · Personal · Rant

Where the Hell Did That Come From?

Skanking. See what I did there?

One thing we’ve started to noticed since sending Sausage to nursery is that she comes out with things that Husband and I have never heard her say before. It’s largely all positive and her vocabulary and comprehension, although already fantastic, seem to be improving daily.

However, yesterday she came out with an expression which was totally alien to us, but not in a good way. She’s been poorly lately and has very dry lips and whilst watching The Simpsons with Husband she turned to him and said “Daddy, my lips are skanky”. Now, skanky is 100% NOT an expression that either Husband or I use, nor have I heard any other adult use it in our company.

So, our thoughts turn to the kids. The only kids she socialises with outside of nursery are her cousins and not only have we not heard them use the word ‘skanky’, I can’t imagine any of them telling her that as generally, they all seem to dote on her.

We know it’s definitely not come from the telly, ‘skanky’ isn’t a word I’ve ever heard on CBeebies, and I know that Peppa Pig is causing kids to become riotous and end up in juvenile delinquent facilities (what a load of bollocks, eh?) but I don’t think I’ve ever heard such an utterance from her baconey lips.

The thing is, when we questioned Sausage on where she’d heard the expression from and after about ten minutes of clamming up like a good’un, she said to Husband and I “No, I refuse to tell you”. So, where do we go from here? I hate the thought that someone at nursery may have said something so negative to her, but she doesn’t seen adversely affected by it. Do we go to the nursery and ask them to look into it and keep an ear out, or do we drop it and hope it doesn’t happen again?

For the moment, as we have no firm idea of where it came from, I guess we have to just leave it. I don’t want to be one of those parents who flies into the nursery and scolds her teachers for the slightest thing, but at the same time, letting it go has left me feeling utterly impotent.

Any advice, dearest readers?

Humour

Sausage-ism of the Day

Me: “If you had a little brother, what would you like him to be called?”

Sausage: “Errrm, cheese scone.

Me: “Okaaay…What about a little sister?”

Sausage: “Pontypandy….or xylophone”

My Daughter, the surrealist!

Life · Opinion · Personal

Grief and Faith.

Some of you may know and some of you may not know that my stepmum passed away at the end of last year and while we’re all dealing with it, there are times when it still feels very raw and painful. On a seemingly unrelated note, Husband was bought a book on Buddhism by my little sister for Christmas and when reading it, found the story of Kisa Gautami. It goes something like this:

Kisa Gautami was a young woman from a wealthy family who was happily married to an important merchant. When her only son was one-year-old, he fell ill and died suddenly. Kisa Gautami was struck with grief, she could not bear the death of her only child. Weeping and groaning, she took her dead baby in her arms and went from house to house begging all the people in the town for news of a way to bring her son back to life. Of course, nobody could help her but Kisa Gautami would not give up. Finally she came across a Buddhist who advised her to go and see the Buddha himself.When she carried the dead child to the Buddha and told Him her sad story, He listened with patience and compassion, and then said to her, “Kisa Gautami, there is only one way to solve your problem. Go and find me four or five mustard seeds from any family in which there has never been a death.”Kisa Gautami was filled with hope, and set off straight away to find such a household. But very soon she discovered that every family she visited had experienced the death of one person or another. At last, she understood what the Buddha had wanted her to find out for herself — that suffering is a part of life, and death comes to us all. Once Kisa Guatami accepted the fact that death is inevitable, she could stop her grieving. (source)

If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ll know that I’ve been musing over faith, mortality and eternity and while Christian teachings allow us to take comfort from the idea that we’ll live forever in Heaven, what I really like about the Buddhist parable is that it makes no promises. It doesn’t speak of clouds and winged angels and halos, it simply teaches us that in grief we are never alone as everyone has suffered loss and that it is an inevitability in life.

I don’t know why, but I find this very comforting and have felt strangely peaceful since Husband told me. What do you all think?