Week 27 | My favourite quotes

I’m not typically into motivational posters and photos of cats saying “hang in there!”, but I do have two quotations that spoke to me as soon as I heard them.


flowers in the rain

The first is from a poet called Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī), which is:

“Raise your words, not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

I find this quote is so evocative and uplifting. Coming from a household which admittedly shouts its way through conflict, Rumi’s words filled me with a sense of peace when I heard them; that it was better to convince than to verbally batter. In order to break the cycle of my very loud family, it is a quote I try to live by (although not always successfully).


The second is a quotation from Virgil that, if I were to have anything scrawled on the walls of my study, it would be this:

“Come what may, all bad fortune is to
be conquered by endurance.”

The last couple of years have been up and down. There’s been illness, death, work difficulties, personal difficulties… but nothing more than anyone else in the world has experienced too. This is the quote that gets me up in the morning, that convinces me to have another crack at my novel-in-progress, that no matter what’s happening in my life, there is something I’m aiming for and will achieve.

It is also my go-to ‘Hufflepuff’ quote, because I feel it embodies the ‘hardworking’ and ‘patience’ aspects of that particular Hogwarts house (of which I am a member – Go Hufflepuff!).


What are your favourite quotes?

Week 25 & 26 | My favourite recipe and the best parts of each season

Cc3gQI3WoAAGuNMI’ve been horribly remiss with my blog. I can’t even claim I was doing anything constructive in my absence because I was binge-watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix and sending short story snippets to my writing partner, S.E. Berrow, which have no bearing on my WIP novel whatsoever.

Alas, my impromptu holiday had to come to an end eventually, so I decided to play catch-up in the most efficient way. For this reason, I’m answering a fortnight of posts in one fell swoop.

 

 

Continue reading

Week #24 | My biggest dream in life

Part of the 52 Week Blog Challenge


My biggest dream – or ambition – in life is the same now as it was when I was seven: to make a living by writing and publishing novels. This blog post is actually slightly very delayed because I was busy taking steps to fulfil this dream by attending a course on how best to write an attention-grabbing query letter and submission pack.


lives a thousandThe desire to become an author is the first decision I remember making about my life. My Year 3 teacher, Mrs. Goode, told me I had a talent for writing and pointed out that, behind all of the books I was reading, there was an author who wrote them – who did it as a job. I loved reading; I can’t explain how much books have influenced the way I see the world, how much they’ve shaped the person I am today. Growing up in a socially conservative family, I consider books at least half the reason I’m an unabashed liberal.

Books open your mind to concepts you might not experience in real life; some can teach tolerance, shape your views on taboo subjects before you even experience them. They test your mettle, your values, the way you think and feel, and they never stop teaching you how to look at life from someone else’s perspective. To quote George R. R. Martin: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Well, I’ve lived a thousand lives and I’ll live a thousand more, but I want to contribute to the ocean of worlds that live inside books. That’s my dream, to just reach one reader and open their minds (whilst having fun at the same time, of course).


The problem comes in realising this dream. Continue reading

Week #23 | What I spend my money on

The answer to this is pretty easy: BOOKS.

books

It’s no secret that I’m a book addict – in fact, it’s in my site’s tagline. I try to read at least 30-40 books a year and I honestly wish I could manage to read more. I’m happy to switch between genres: I read classics, sci-fi, fantasy, children’s books, horrors, crime, historical novels, romances, young adult contemporary… you name it, I’ll try it.

Obviously, such a huge reading habit requires money… on top of reading the words, I’m also a bit of a collector. I like libraries and have always wanted my very own since I saw Beauty and the Beast. I have a love of fine, leatherbound books and beautiful regular covers too… and I try to keep all of my purchases as pristine as I can even whilst re-reading them to death.

I allocate about £30 a month specifically towards buying books (Waterstones loyalist), but occasionally I will find a must-have that costs substantially more than that. This usually happens if I spend any length of time on the Easton Press website.


My library of books is constantly increasing, so much so that I have had to double-line my downstairs bookcase and get my partner to build me a modular bookcase upstairs so that I can add shelves to it whenever necessary. I even have a collection of Discworld books in the downstairs bathroom (safely away from any water, don’t worry!). There have been talks of getting a bookcase in the bedroom as my partner understands this is a sickness that is not going away! For instance, I currently have 141 books on my TBR list… I long ago accepted the fact that I will never be wealthy, except in terms of paperbacks.

I’m still in the process of moving some of my books from my parents’ house to my new home, but here is what I have managed to transfer so far:


Obviously books aren’t the only thing I spend my money on. Food is a big part of my paycheque, along with a mortgage, household bills, pet insurance for my various fluffies and travel. I also enjoy gigs, theatre tickets, treating my nephew and nieces to days out, going to the cinema with the Boy or with friends and buying materials to make craft like pillows and blankets for my family:

… but it’s mostly books.

Week #22 | Workin’ on my fitness

Part of the 52 Week Blog Challenge


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This is a sore point! I had such good intentions in January. I joined a gym, I attended several classes (every week) that I really enjoyed… and then I got Norovirus and skipped a few whilst I recovered. Ever since, I’ve been struggling to get back into my energetic routine.

These past two weeks, I’ve truly endeavoured to ‘get back to it’. My day-job is intensely desk-bound and my hobby / primary career goal of being a writer means that most of my free time is spent sitting too, either writing, editing or reading. Unless I want to wheeze every time I run for the bus, I need to do something about my fitness.

Here are the classes / exercises that I try to partake in once a week. Continue reading

Top 15 Friday | The Best of British (Authors)

fish_and_chips


Today is National Fish and Chips Day, which is all about celebrating this iconic British dish, as well as everyone who works hard to get it from the sea to the table. Fish and chips is a staple takeaway food in my house (I’ll certainly be having it tonight!) and I started thinking of what other British greats make my life as enjoyable as my delicious battered cod. As always, my thoughts turn to books. This post was initially going to be my Top 5 British authors but I simply couldn’t whittle it down to that small number. So, here are my Top 15 British Authors instead…
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Week #21 | If I could eat ONE last meal…

Part of the 52 Week Blog Challenge


This week is an easy one. (Click the picture for the recipe)

Slow-cooked BBQ Ribs

bbq ribs

Although additions to this ‘last meal’, if allowed, would be honey dew melon as an appetiser, a cashew-nut salad as a side, with a dessert of yellow-lemon icecream (not sorbet).

Honeydew-Melon Yum-Cashew-nuts-12 Scoops-of-yellow-ice-cream-with-mint

Mmmmmmmm.

What would your “last meal” be?