thought of the day

Thought of the day – Plastic Whale

This video broke my heart. It’s the very subject I touched upon just a few short days ago. This whale was sick because it had swallowed so much plastic it’s stomach was blocked. See the video here.

Plastic is killing and threatening marine life NOW. We all need to do MORE! The only way we can all do something is to stop buying non-recyclable plastics and to dispose of any plastics we do use in a responsible way. We can also lobby our MPs, write to supermarket head offices asking them to reduce the amount of plastic used in their packaging.

This next video shows a dolphin in distress. Luckily someone was able to save it by removing the plastic bag. Had they not been there the outcome would have been another dead marine mammal.

I know it’s easy for me to sit here writing this and for everyone to think that it’s other people’s fault, but if we’re all honest we need to acknowledge that this is everyone’s problem.

thought of the day, Uncategorized

Thought of the Day – Pain


Today was not a good day. Over the last few weeks my pain levels have been increasing. I wasn’t going to go into too much detail as to what my conditions are but it’ll make it a little easier to understand my descriptions of pain if you’re aware of them. The first is hip dysplasia (yes dogs are known to have it, but to find it on the-oracle-that-is-Google for humans you need to enter ‘human hip dysplasia’. So that’s both hips (pelvis), directly related to that is my lower spine, pain which is due to my having walked incorrectly my entire life, and there being damage due to un-natural wear and tear. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. There is a ton of stuff out there about it now and no one seems to be 100% sure exactly what it is but I can tell you, hand-on-heart that it involves a lot of pain, and other weird stuff that for me is just inexplicable.Added to that I was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands.
Back to “Pain“. As I said it’s been increasing the last few weeks. Put simply I’m in pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Constant. It’s been that way since May 2011. Some days I’m able to feel it but try my best to function. Some days it gets to the point where I just need to take extra medication and some days I just have to dose-up and try to sleep/rest to get a break.

A few days ago both my hips and my tail bone (coccyx) were on fire. I thought it was due to it being a certain time of the month as the pain does increase at this time. It’s not improved the last few days and when I awoke this morning I had what I call TBP (Total Body Pain). It’s common on very cold and damp days in the Winter and also humid days in the Summer. Today was neither of those.

Imagine you’ve been kicked in your coccyx by someone wearing steel toe-capped boots. Then imagine both your hip joints feel like they’ve been stung by giant wasps/bees and that the sting never lets up. The additional pain today ia bilateral sciatica which is pulling on my already painful coccyx and also referring pain down both legs.Then imagine the side of your head feeling sore – no cuts, bruises, just so tender and so sore. Your arms feel like someone stood on them and your arms and legs fizz and burn. Your fingers feel like they’ve been dipped in to a sink of boiling water. That was today. I took my usual meds, my increased option and have one other to try – which is oral morphine – which I will only do if I just can’t bear it anymore.

I’ve decided as it’s close to bed time that I’m going to just try without that option, and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

I’ll probably be discussing hip dysplasia and fibromyalgia in the future at some point but feel free to ask any questions.

Daily Challenge

30 Day Challenge – Day 9 Pet Peeves

Hubby would say that pretty much everything is a pet peeve of mine, but it’s only frustration at not being able to do so much stuff for myself that I used to do that I get peeved because I believe it’s not been done as well as I’d have done it. Sorry hubby (♥)

Image result for peeves
© Original Artist n/k. may have copyright info.

Yes, I do have a long list of things I could whine about but I’m not going to share absolutely everything – where’s the fun in that? I need to save some material for other articles!

The first one is a typical female complaint- the toilet seat being left up by a male after they’ve used the facilities. It drives me to distraction as only takes a second. There are also 2 additional reasons for my gripe with this and they are, 1) All disabled toilets are unisex. When I go in to the disabled loo I can only just reach the loo seat from my chair. For that reason I am having to lean over a loo which may or may not have been cleaned thoroughly by the cleaning staff (I’ve worked as a cleaner before and I know some of the tricks used, not that I used any of them -seriously I didn’t (OCD)). Some cleaners will not wipe the bowl or seat over if they don’t look dirty, despite the fact that any number of germs are currently partying away, multiplying ready to jump/transfer to your lovely warm hands! Plus it could have been more than that 1 hour since they were last checked, or maybe just signed but not really checked properly. The worst loos are usually in 1 of my favourite coffee shop (I’m not mentioning names here) and the disabled loo at my local supermarket, which is usually filthy every time I go in, despite a recent renovation.

Image result for partying germs

2) If a male doesn’t fully remove the pee from himself there’s a little drip puddle in front of the loo. While struggling to reach the seat to pull it down my wheelchair wheels become wet. This freaks me out (OCD!) and means I worry that pee-pee germs are travelling around my wheels, transferring to the self-propelling ring, etc, etc!

Also, Have you ever tried to pull a door open from a wheelchair? It’s difficult. All doors should be two-way, double-opening hinges. When I was at Uni I got stuck several times, both in classrooms and toilets struggling to pull the door open so I could get out. This also happened to me at a motorway service station. If there is a particularly heavy door it’s really hard to pull it back whilst trying to manoeuvre the chair through. We all know it’s easier to push a door than to pull it so these should be installed as standard in all new builds (in these modern discrimination-free times), and as and when there is an opportunity in older buildings i.e refurbs, etc.

Another pet peeve is the dumbing down of the English language. Firstly, it’s my native language so I like to hear it being spoken properly – this isn’t a complaint against accents – there’s nothing better than a Newcastle/Geordie accent, and I’m not saying we should all speak with a Received Pronunciation , the standard form, but about usage of non-words or incorrect words being used in the wrong place. I’m not the grammar police and I believe that self-expression is a very important thing so spelling and punctuation I’m happy to overlook. My gripe is with those things like ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’, ‘to’, ‘too’ and ‘two’ and ‘our’ and ‘are’ being used in place of each other! “Are Dad took us to see are Nan.” (sic)Image result for there, their, they're

Having worked in secondary education – not as a teacher – I’ve witnessed children arrive at secondary school (for American readers this is 11-16 education) completely unprepared for the level of learning required. Reading and writing skills are shockingly bad, and I believe the lack of funding for education is directly to blame for the lower standards. Targets are a good idea to give an overview of how a system is working, but the quantity of administrative tasks teachers at all levels of education have to do puts too much pressure on them. Teachers should be employed to teach, not to spend a high percentage of their time completing tick charts! There is something wrong with our education system. Too much pressure is put on to children from too young an age. I personally believe that the initial 2-3 of years of school should be play-based learning. Children should be taught how to tap in to their natural sense of curiosity and be encouraged to search out the information they want to know about the world. Additionally no two children are the same, thus an education system where children are all expected to know exactly the same and to retain it will never work. I could go on about the problems as I see them but it will all fall on deaf ears. The education and healthcare systems in this country would improve if those in the main roles i.e teachers and nurses firstly were able to just concentrate on their main job, but also give feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Wishful thinking, but it’d save billions.

Related image


Left or Right? I’m supposed to be psychic when behind the wheel of my car. The car in front just turned right at the junction

I had no idea. He could afford the car but couldn’t quite extend his budget to buy that magic wand! Grrrrr! It drives me crazy – my hubby isn’t great at always indicating – I do it for him and tell him I asked the dealership for the automatic indicating package 😉

Lazy dog owners – those who let their dog do their business right outside of your gate, and then usually walk off leaving it there so you have to step around it, and inevitably have to clear it up yourself. If you don’t want to pick up your dog’s choccie parcels don’t get a bloody dog! On the subject of dog owners – those who walk their dogs off a lead in an area where there are other dogs walking. How do they know as a dog owner that their dog/s will like the dog which is just around the corner, about to meet them. And if it’s by a road…! All dogs should be on leads unless they’re in an open space with no other dogs, or animals, such as cattle or sheep.

Ok, I’m leaving it there. I could probably come up with more but like I sad earlier I don’t want to come across as a whinge bag! Until the next challenge…

Daily Challenge, Uncategorized

30 Day Challenge – Day 8 – Three Things You Want To Say To Different People.

This post has taken a lot of thought – which is why I didn’t write it yesterday (Saturday 24th) or get around to writing it today until 15 minutes before midnight, (and why now it’s gone past midnight so I’ve had to come back to add this bit in) as we’re in to a new day (which will feel correct once I’ve gone to bed and slept).


The first something I want to say is to groups of people – friends and family, from different this town, other towns and cities who I don’t see anymore. I’ve been struggling with my physical health for a good few years now, and I’ve tried to remain in the mindset that it’ll all be fine, after the next procedure, after another round of physiotherapy, after, always after. As of yet, after hasn’t arrived and the positive thinking, the affirmations get harder and harder to stay on the positive side. All of this has meant that I don’t have much to talk about when I get together with people and really don’t want to bore them with which part of me is aching the most on that day, or how it’s becoming harder and harder to sleep, or to do activities that a few years ago I found easy. I’m not asking for sympathy. That’s never been a wish of mine. All I really want is for people to understand that it’s extremely wearying to feel a constant level of pain, which with the slightest wrong movement, going over a bump in the road, sitting in a different chair, can add to the pain both quickly and to a level which makes it hard to function. It makes it hard to focus and concentrate, which is another reason I write in small burst, and also why sometimes a post will be flowing great but then suddenly there’s a rush to get it finished because it’s too much to continue with it, to make it the well-rounded blog entry I’d planned.


Along with the physical side of things are the effects the pain and discomfort on my mental health. I can snap for no reason, I can lose my temper – I describe myself as a demon as I feel like one when I let rip. It’s not good. I can’t control it but once the explosion has happened I feel guilty and upset for the things I’ve said or the way I’ve behaved. I can sit for days just doing nothing and I can’t tell you why. I don’t see or speak to anyone other than hubby because it’s been so long since I saw my friends I feel awkward about sending a text or popping in to say hi. This is me saying hi. A safe way of saying hi, in the hope you’ll forgive me for my lack of contact in the last, what is now months. Yes, I have a phone, I have a laptop, I have a way of getting to see you, but I just can’t do it. Have I become institutionalised within my own home? I can go to the supermarket, and I’ve attended things I’ve been invited to – have made the effort to dress up and join in, but then everyone asks what’s wrong with me – why do I need crutches or a wheelchair. Vicious circle as it means explaining that I have duff hips and spine and blah blah blah….

So now I’ve done that thing where all I’ve talked about is me and my conditions again. Boring, so boring.

The second person I want to say something to is my hubby. He’s been at my side constantly through all of the ups and downs. Over a quarter of a century of them! We’ve had some absolutely brilliant ups. So much fun, so many laughs, experienced so much great stuff and made so many beautiful memories to store in the mental scrapbook. We’ve also had some heart-breaking, sad, tear-filled days. I know this is life and you’re supposed to take the rough with the smooth but more smooth would be great, especially now we’re both facing middle age!


I just want to say to hubby thank you. I wouldn’t be able to get through the days without you. I know we’ve been having a hard time the last 2 or 3 years especially but I hope that things will improve soon – I’m going back to that “after my next surgery” thing again. They say if you don’t have hope you have nothing so let’s use that..? You really are my rock and you’re always there for me. I’m sometimes horrible but I always love you, always have loved you and always will love you. Enough of that! This is a blog post!!

My third person I can’t speak to as they’re too famous and it just wouldn’t be a good idea to tell them what I think about them and how and why they should change…I’m not brave enough to give too many of my opinions about things here yet. Maybe I’ll get a big dose of confidence at some point in the future. Until then….thankfully tomorrow’s challenge is pet peeves.

Daily Challenge

30 Day Challenge – Day 7 – Do You Read? What Are Your Favourite Books?

Okay so I’ve slipped back another couple of days! I’m still going to follow the challenges as it helps me to focus, although my ‘Thought of the Day’ posts are also helping with that.

So…Reading. YES I read! Do I ever?! I love reading! I’m one of these people that will be happy reading pretty much anything – fiction, non-fiction, text books, pamphlets, guide books, blogs and everything else not in that list! With fiction I’ll also read across genres. I prefer literary fiction but I will read chic-lit, the odd romance novel (Mills & Boon is a whole other thing!), horror, fantasy, sci-fi, timeslip/paranormal.

Favourite Books is going to be hard for ^that^ reason! But I’ll give it a go.


As a child I was an avid Enid Blyton fan. I read Adventures of the Wishing Chair,  The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Folk of the Faraway Tree,  Up The Faraway Tree, The Famous Five series, Secret Seven series, The Twins at St Clare’s. The Malory Towers series. I also loved the Nancy Drew mystery books, which were the female equivalent of The Hardy Boys – which I also read! I’ve been wracking my mind thinking of other books. I also loved Monica Dickens The World’s End Series. I think the Follyfoot series was probably more popular at the time but it didn’t do much for me!  I didn’t read a lot of classics until I was much older but I did read The Hobbit, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. I also never read any Roald Dahl until I had my son and read those all to him. Bedtime Stories with my son was where I passed on my love of the magical lands Tolkien, Blyton, C.S.Lewis described and where we both enjoyed Dahl together.

Getting older I started to read James Herbert. He was the UK’s Stephen King and wrote some great books. The first of his I read was The Jonah. It scared the life out of me, as did Domain, Rats, etc! I was obviously a glutton for punishment as I read every single book of his, whilst trying out Stephen King and also his other stuff writing as Richard Bachman – Thinner and The Running Man (forget the tacky film!) both in my list of favourites. Stephen King stuff – I liked some of his work but not others. Everyone disagrees on the favourites. I love both the original The Stand and the un-cut version. Desperation is one which I can’t forget. It’s stayed with me all these years. I’ve not read one of his books since the early 90s though – after I had my son I went off horror for a good while and have just never got back to looking up his work since then (and I have a lot to catch up on!)

I also read Barbara Erskine and have every book of hers in print. I always wait for paperback releases though which is frustrating but I can’t manage Hardback/Hardcover books anymore so paperbacks it is.

I got in to classics in my early thirties. I wasn’t sure I’d manage to read them but surprised myself – I still have War and Peace on the shelf, along with Don Quixote and I’m determined to read them both one day, but over the Christmas period I got 10 books! Anyone would think….yeah this is what the post is about!!

So now to my favourites, these are in no particular order:-

Tess of the D’urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings – (all 3) – J.R.R Tolkien

Dune – Frank Herbert

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S Lewis

Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho

Prince of the Tides – Pat Conroy

The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

Any Enid Blyton.

Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman – Thinner

Otherland – Tad Williams (only the first one in the series. At the time it was a very original concept).







thought of the day

Thought of the Day – Plastic Oceans

The Earth is 72% ocean, correctly described by Sir David Attenborough on Blue Planet II as ‘The largest habitat on Earth.’ [i] Our oceans are beautiful, but they are being destroyed by the effects of human pollution, most recently the huge quantities of plastic.

Blue Planet II clip re Plastics

I admit here that I am naïve, was naïve, and even blind to the extent of human consumption and usage of plastics. Why my usage of bottles, tubes, plastic wrapping didn’t ring alarm bells about how their usage was devastating large areas of our oceans I can’t say. Convenience? Yes. Ignorance, very definitely. I’ve signed petitions to ask supermarkets to reduce plastic packaging, I’ve been sorting those plastics which can be recycled into a separate bin for my local authority to take away, to I presume, recycle it. I wasn’t aware that a majority of the UK’s waste plastic was being shipped to China for them to process until it was announced that China was banning imports of plastics, and the two-thirds of UK waste plastic, 2.7 million tonnes since 2012, [ii] would have nowhere to go, unless something was done by the government, namely Thérèse Coffey, the environment minister, and the environment secretary, Michael Gove.

Today Mr Gove met with a family in Bristol, UK who have been trialling the reduction of plastics in their home for 10 days. They reduced their rubbish pile, but it has also doubled the cost of their shopping. This the man, who like the rest of us had never really given the subject much thought – he was quoted when asked about what the impact of the reduction in exports to China and whether the government would do more to back the UK recycling industry “I don’t know what impact it will have. It is … something to which – I will be completely honest – I have not given it sufficient thought.” In today’s interview he agreed that more needed to be done but gave nothing away as to whether, or what action the government would take regarding legislation, most especially to enforce supermarkets to discontinue the use of non-recyclable plastics.

Researching the subject for myself – the information is out there, we just need to become aware of this desecration and search for the information, I then discovered that plastic waste piles had been found in the North Pacific as early as 1988! Known as ‘The Great Pacific garbage patch’ in an area between Hawaii and California. They estimated the patch weighed 80,000 tonnes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States witnessed ‘marine debris accumulating in regions governed by ocean currents’. [iii]That was 30 years ago! Why has the increased reliance on plastic escalated when governments were already aware there was already a significant issue? Sadly, this report today uses the same information from the 30 year old study.

Back to Blue Planet II, in late 2017 I was distraught to witness the death of a whale calf, which was poisoned by its own mother’s milk; the mother having absorbed plastics; the toxicity of the quantities of plastic she’d absorbed being passed to her child. There was a further case when an albatross unwittingly did the same, and whilst filming for Blue Planet II a cameraman had to ‘play’ with a baby sperm whale to prevent it from chewing a plastic bucket[iv]

Microplastics, such as polyethylene and polyester are used in packaging, clothing and (prior to a change of legislation in the UK in October 2017), as microbeads in cosmetics and hygiene products such as toothpaste and facial or body scrubs. These wash in to the oceans and gradually increase. A survey by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Oban sampled marine life in the Rockall Trough off the Western Isles and found 48% of the marine animals there had ingested these microscopic pieces of plastic[v]. Lead author Winnie Courtene-Jones estimates 660 species globally are documented to be affected. [ibid]

All of this is saddening, disgusting and [insert here any other verb to describe the feeling], but there may be some progress to try to reverse the quantities of plastic being used, clean up areas of oceans, islands and beaches and pressure for the government to do more.

93 percent of UK families are working to reduce their consumption of plastic packaging, however, as mentioned by the Bristol family earlier, their grocery bill increased hugely because alternatives were more expensive. My view is why are these more expensive options. Isn’t paper packaging cheaper than plastic? In the case of large vegetables, such as cauliflowers, or fruits, such as bananas or melons, why do we need a bag at all? I remember when carrier bags were brown paper. This wasn’t for much of my life, but I do still remember it. I don’t understand why it’s just not feasible for supermarkets to return to this?

A typical couple, such as hubby and I are estimated to throw away 658 plastic items a year. I know this has got to be a conservative estimate as our recyclable items wheelie bin is always full at the end of the fortnight. Admittedly there are cardboard boxes (cereals), cans and dog food foil trays too but with 98 percent of people polled in the earlier mentioned survey saying they would actively prefer to purchase a brand illustrating efforts to reduce their reliance on plastics there’s no excuse for the food industry, or any other industry for that matter. If manufacturers and supermarkets get their heads together on this there’s no reason why so many items can’t return to non-plastics. I’m not sure if anyone else remembers but I do, buying lasagne in a cardboard carton, burgers wrapped in paper, then boxed and fruit and vegetables being wrapped in newspaper or brown paper, why can’t this happen now?

There has also been an increase in the percentage of people ordering milk from a milk man, having their milk delivered on the doorstep in glass bottles. It’s only 6 percent at the present time but I could see that rising. As a soya milk user (for allergy reasons) my only issue would be the availability of soya milk in glass bottles, but I hope that would be sorted out at the same time.

Let’s follow the example of ‘Timberland’ and recycle bottles in to boots, bags and clothing, which hopefully could be recycled again and again. Let’s encourage those brands we use throughout our lives to lessen their reliance on plastics and let’s all be mindful when shopping and try to not use good packaged in plastic. Until more of us take a stand the manufacturers and supermarkets will carry on as normal. I don’t want to see anymore images of dead or dying marine mammals with highly toxic levels of plastic in their systems, or islands of plastic waste floating on top and underwater our oceans.

[i] Blue Planet II, 2017 [TV] BBC One 10th December.

[ii] La Ville, S., 2017. Chinese ban on plastic waste imports could see UK pollution rise. The Guardian Online, 7th December 2017 [online]. Available at:

[iii] Day, Robert H.; Shaw, David G.; Ignell, Steven E. (1988). “Quantitative distribution and characteristics of neustonic plastic in the North Pacific Ocean. Final Report to US Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Auke Bay Laboratory. Auke Bay, AK” (PDF). pp. 247–266. Available at:

[iv] Lavender, Jane, 2018. Emotional Blue Planet chief reveals incredible truth behind heartbreaking sperm whale intervention. Mirror Online. 23rd January 2018 [Online] Available at:

[v] BBC News.2017. Microplastic found in Rockall Trough deep sea creatures. BBC News Online. 22nd August 2017. [online] Available at:

Daily Challenge

30 Day Challenge – Day 6 – What band or musician are most important to you?

I think I’m always going to be complaining that the challenges aren’t flexible enough! 😉 I love so much music and so many artists, however the most important band to me is Duran Duran.


I’ve been a fan since I was 11 and have their full back catalogue on CD and mp3. I know I’m likely to get some stick from people who just don’t know about this but they are my main band and they have provided most of the soundtrack to my life, especially during my teens and twenties. I had a bit of a blip between my mid-twenties, when motherhood overtook pretty much everything in my life and I just didn’t do music much at all, other than the charts on the radio, but a few years ago I fell head over heels all over again and have been following their new releases – the latest 2 years ago with ‘Paper Gods’.

paper gods lads

The biggest thing for me, is that as a fan of 36+ years I have not once seen them in concert, other than televised, released to VHS/DVD. I’ve never breathed the same air as they have in a concert hall and I am desperately hoping that I’ll be able to see them before they hang up their tambourines (Mr Le Bon) guitars (JT), drums (Roger Taylor) and Keyboards (Nick Rhodes). If this reaches them, please write another album and tour before you retire! I just need to see you live once, just so I have had my ultimate experience…

paper gods




Thought of the Day – An Earworm

I know I’m not the only person that gets a song stuck in their head but for me it’s usually a favourite song from my past or something I’ve heard recently.

This morning I awoke to a song I didn’t even know the name of, or who it was by. Thank goodness that these days we have search engines so I was able to type the lyrics in and discover what and who was filling my mind. I wonder if I was dreaming and the song had been playing at that particular time, or maybe a message from my subconscious…?

So, the song is Iris, by the Goo Goo Dolls. The lyrics which were circling in the blank space between my ears are the chorus:

“And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand.
When everything’s made to be broken. I just want you to know who I am.”


30 Day Challenge – Day 5 – Five Places You Want to Visit

My first thought is only five? I would happily travel the world for the rest of my life if I could as there is so much beauty on this planet! There is also ugliness, caused by man, sadly, and I don’t think the current middle-aged-onwards generation gives a d*mn about it. I know this is a contentious issue and there are those who would say that they, and everyone they know, love this planet and are doing everything they can to reduce pollution, etc, etc,.

This post isn’t about that though so I’m leaving it to lie here in the nether regions of the world wide web to be raked over at some point in the future. What this post is about then…5 places I want to visit (and preferably before all that nastiness above occurs! 😉 )

1) Hawaii – I partially blame Elvis Presley for this. Then I blame James A. Michener. For whatever reason/s I have had a lifelong fascination with this particular archipelago and feel I have to visit before I die (or have at least half of my ashes scattered there if the unspeakable happens before that). Elvis singing the Hawaiian wedding song during Blue Hawaii makes me float off into a world of brightly coloured leis, ukuleles, steel guitars, cocktails, sand and palm trees. James A. Michener, however, stoked my interest in the history of the islands – the legends of the early settlers (Bora Bora/French Polynesian migrants I think), and the migrants from East Asia, looking to work on the sugar cane and pineapple plantations. Hubby thinks I’ve built up this perfect, fantastical image in my head and that if I ever get there that I’ll be disappointed. For me, the journey would be one of curiosity and discovery though and I’m prepared to be open minded.


2) Machu Picchu – I want to visit here because it looks so beautiful, so peaceful and full of history! I would find the terraces and ruins fascinating.  For me it’s likely to be impossible to visit due to my mobility issues but it’s still high on the list of wants.

3) Egypt – I know so many people who would like to travel around Egypt. It seems to ignite so many imaginations and offers a blend of romanticism and adventure. I wonder whether everyone should club together financially and just fly over, hire transport, a local guide and book accomodation as a group. No visit would be complete without seeing Cairo, the Great Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, Abu Simbel and Luxor Temples, a gentle cruise down the Nile…basically everywhere it would be possible to visit!

4) The U.S.A – I’m being greedy with this one! I have this wonderful idea of spending 6-12 months travelling coast to coast U.S – stopping at so many places along the way – it’d be a zig-zag and not a straight A to B (L.A to New York for instance). At the top of my list are Seattle – I have friends there and I need to visit the grave of my late long-term friend and penpal to place flowers there in her memory as I sadly couldn’t get over for her funeral. I then have a list an arm long; San Francisco, L.A, Denver, Dallas and Austin, Texas, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Oklahoma, the Smoky Mountains, New Orleans, Florida, New York (beautiful state and city), Washington D.C, Charleston, Nashville and Memphis (especially Graceland) to name just a few! I’d be contacting friends in those areas for meet-ups while I was there too!

5) New Zealand – As this is my 5th choice I just had to go with NZ rather than Australia, mainly because it’s smaller and there are no poisonous beasties there! I’d love to see a Maori welcome on an organised visit to a marae so that I could experience the culture, traditions and arts. I’d also want to visit Kaikoura to witness the marine life there. Sites where Lord of The Rings were filmed is also on the list. The landscape looks breathtaking in its beauty on film, television or online but I can guess that the real vistas in full, glorious colour would be awe-inspiring.

For me, as well as history and culture of all of these places, my interest is the food and drink. As a foodie I’d be willing to try any food in every of the countries I would visit. Sadly, hubby would probably struggle, although in Machu Picchu he’d probably be ok given that potato is still a staple food in the area!

This has been painful as there are still so many places I want to visit; The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, The Great Barrier Reef – and the rest of Australia (I’d just be worried about the poisonous critters!), Brazil (Rio de Janeiro Carnival!), Venice, Rome, the rest of Italy, including Pompeii, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, the Galapagos, [insert name here….!]At the very least I hope that I’ll get to see the chosen 5 and it’d be great if I’d be able to blog about them while I’m there, or once I was back home! For now though I’ll stick to imagining I’m an international jet-setter!




30 Day Challenge. Day 4 – What my Tumblr name means..

Ok so I do have a Tumblr account. I practically never use it and I can’t share the name of it because I can’t remember it myself – I know, that’s shocking 😉

As I’m not doing the 30 Day Challenge on Tumblr, but I’m doing it here I’ll give an explanation for my WordPress blog name, although it is pretty much self-explanatory.

My real name is Natalie. I’ve chosen to not use my full name and prefer the abbreviated name of Nat. I’ve been called all sorts of names over the years – ( I think it’s safer to keep it relevant to the post. No kiss and tells here of random names, or bitchy names which still fly around very occasionally despite the ages of me and my friends!) I’m Nat, Nats, Natti, Nattinoo.

My Mum still calls me Natalie (grrr) – you’d think that in my late 40s I’d be able to get my Mum to accept my wish for the abbreviated name to be used but her opinion is that she named me Natalie and so that’s what she’s going to call me!

I use Nat everywhere where it’s not official or formal – doctors, hospitals etc but the rest of the time its the informal.

My Dad always called me Nattinoo and that stuck. That was then abbreviated to Natti or, by one of my younger sisters, to Noo-noo (Teletubbies fans I was there before the Teletubbies vacuum cleaner ever existed!)

As I ramble on and on I remembered the way people used to say “So and so doesn’t ‘arf natter…goes on for hours!” The link between Natti and Nattering had a nice sound to it, I’m able to recognise this title as alliteration, proving there’s some intelligence to this blogger! So there you go. I like talking, could go for hours, and also know a little about how languages develop and are used – degree all about it 🙂

Tomorrow is Day 6 but due to the weekend I’m going to run a day late from now so will pick up where this post ends and start with Day 5. From then I won’t mention the missing day 🙂 Have a great day/evening wherever you are in the world!


Missed another day from the 30 Day Challenge. It’s just past midnight..!

I was organised Monday to write up the challenges, as per the 30 Day Challenge I’m following,which I know was originally posted on Tumblr. Here’s a reminder of the image…

My next Day should be Day 3 – About my day in great detail. I should have written this on Friday 16th but was too busy making individual soda breads, etc which I covered in my previous post. I’ve decided that Saturday’s shenanigans should stay safely in the not too much detail category. Firstly, because it was a private occasion and secondly I’m unable to remember the whole day in detail as don’t remember much of the last part of the evening/night. So what I’m saying is Day 3 is already pretty much covered. On to Day 4 then…next post!


Thought of the Day – Weddings

I love weddings! Last year we were lucky enough to be invited to share in these beautiful occasions 3 times. Sadly we missed one at the start of this year but have 2 coming up. One is this Saturday and one at the end of April.


I’ve been busy getting some things together for the bride’s favours. The bride is Irish and has chosen homemade chutney and Soda bread to be gifted to her guests. I’ve made enough Red Onion and Irish Whiskey (Jameson’s) chutney for 102 mini jars (1oz) and tomorrow I’ll be making the 102 individual soda loaves to go with them. I’m surprising the Bride and Groom with the look of the favour bags but I’m at the stage where I’m so excited I’d love to share photographs with the bride on Facebook. I mustn’t! Tomorrow’s daily challenge is to share my day in detail so anyone following me will have the intricacies of measuring and weighing the exact ingredients in enough batches to make 102 identical loaves and then getting them bagged and finished before bed. My mantra today and tomorrow is “It’ll be ok, it’ll be ok, it’ll be ok!” And it will. I hope. From Monday (or Tuesday as I may need to lie for 2 days in a darkened room post St Patrick’s Day wedding) I will then start the ongoing bits and pieces for another friend who is getting married to her girlfriend on the last Sunday in April. With the speed this year is already flying by I know it’ll be here in the blink of an eye. Then I’ll be planning the party to celebrate hubby and I’s 25th (Silver) wedding anniversary which I’d like to make as special as a wedding day for both of us and those we’ve asked to join us to celebrate this milestone/achievement. From July I’d just like to concentrate on our impending house move and hope that we can get moved and settled in in time for Christmas. Anyone getting married this year I wish you a lifetime of happy memories and the luck of the Irish in your journey together.




30 Day Challenge – Day 2

Day 2 – 10 Likes and Dislikes

Before I continue with this I wonder if it is 10 in total or 10 of each? I’ve decided 10 in total or I’ll be here til a week next Sunday typing out my justification for my likes and dislikes. Also, what type of likes and dislikes does the idea include? Is it covering people, food, drink, rules, behaviours, fashion, politics, etc – the list could pretty much be infinite couldn’t it? I’m going to try and write those things which won’t start a huge debate, or argument, although all subjects will never be agreed upon by everyone, thus the term subjective – each to their own. I respect an individual’s right to believe in whatever they wish so if you wish to comment at all in the negative to my likes and dislikes I’ll simply agree to disagree…

10 LIKES (Stuff, Foods, Behaviours, Politics)

1) I like having the world at my fingertips.

Back in the day (I sound like I’m old!) when I needed to know about something; research it for homework for school, or just to find out more about a subject I used to have to go to the library – school or city/county library. I’d then have to go through drawers of index cards to find the reference number for that subject and then go to the shelves to find the book/s with the information I needed. Now, I am, and everyone else is, able to look up things almost instantly. The oracle that is Google (other search engines are available) finds so many results for subjects, no matter how vague or random, in seconds and I’m able to discover what I want to learn about a subject or learn how to do anything by reading how to, or going to YouTube to watch a ‘How-to’ video. It’s perhaps the one thing which is positive about the world wide web.

2) I like LOVE. I love LOVE. I love it in its simplest form – the love for your family as you’re growing up. The love you feel for your parents, brothers and sisters, which despite annoying behaviour, lack of contact or any other circumstance is strong within you. I love the love I feel for my hubby and for my son. My love for my hubby is stronger than ever as we approach our silver anniversary. The love we have is unique and special, especially in this day and age where so many people divorce. Yes there have been testing times, frustrations, periods of doubt, but we’ve come through it all and we’re still here. That love is to be celebrated, and we will on the big party day, but we also celebrate it ourselves every day in the sharing of the smallest touch or look, the kisses and the constant affirmations throughout the day. It’s in our text messages and in our calls. It’s in the links to pages we think the other will like on Facebook, or to websites which we know the other will love and it’s in special moments like one which happened the other week. I was streaming via Spotify and the first dance song from our wedding started to play. We just happened to be standing talking to each other but just stepped closer and danced to the song. All the memories from our wedding day encircled us and it was one of those moments that are so random but so sweet that you tuck it away in your heart and mind to keep it alive for eternity. It’s also in the joint love for our son who is a part of both of us and that shows in him physically but also in his personality. He can say something and it’ll be hubby 20 years earlier. It’ll be a certain look which is the same look I would give in a certain situation. It’s in his beautiful laugh and in the most wonderful hug I get when I am seeing him for the first time in months. It’s the joy I feel when I see him love, when I see him laugh, but it’s also when my heart feels for him when he’s having a bad time of things and I just want to reach through the phone and hold him tight. Love. I know it’s also in the many friendships I have, both physical relationships and online/virtual friendships. I have some beautiful online friends with amazing souls and hearts and who every day love through challenging circumstances in their own lives to offer support from hundreds or thousands of miles away. That’s another good thing the world wide web has created.

3) I like food! I’ve recently been following an eating plan and lost 21lbs/9.5kgs. I still have a way to go to reach the target weight I set for myself, and have struggled the last few weeks to stick to it, thus the scales not moving very far – hen nights and weddings aren’t great for people attempting to lose weight. I can see a difference and so can others, which is a great confidence booster for me and I hope to get the remaining 28-35lb off in the next few months. I like to cook and bake. It’s part of liking food but cooking and baking are enjoyable activities. I learnt how to cook in my mid-teens due to my parents divorcing. I lived with my Dad and younger sisters so needed to feed us all. I had some awful disasters but everyone survived. I love to experiment with flavours and have shelves of herbs, spices and other ingredients. My hubby doesn’t eat much outside of traditional British staples so sometimes when I want to experiment I have to consider if he’ll accuse me of trying to poison him! Thankfully he will eat some Thai, Mexican and Italian food which he wouldn’t have even tried 25 years ago, and despite his lack of love for fruit and veg he will now eat Leeks (al dente only – I slice them into flat squares, put them on a plate, put the microwave on and a few seconds later turn it off again – basically I show the leeks the microwave or vice versa!), beansprouts, watercress, rocket and mushrooms. All other salads and vegetables, except for onions and potatoes are off the menu for him, as are pasta, rice, or other grains. As for baking I bought Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake book back in the noughties and made my way through it. We now have a few family and friends favourites. When Great British Bake Off started I was so excited. Despite everyone saying I should apply I’ve not done so. I just don’t think my baking is good enough and I’m not sure I want to be on TV.

4) I like diversity. I lived in Cambridge for most of my life. The population there is extremely diverse, despite the official demographics reports – which, due to Cambridge University do not always correctly reflect this – for instance the 2001 census, taken during a University term found that 89% of residents were white, versus the national average of 92%. Meanwhile, 84% of University undergraduates identify as white. In 2009, the ethnicity of the city was reported as 73.5% white British, 8.4% British Asian, 7.1% other white, 3.1% black British, 1.1% white Irish, 2.4% two or more races, and 4.3% Chinese or other ethnicity – this information from Cambridge Demographics at World Population Review. Growing up my parents, despite having 4 children of their own, welcomed students from all over the world in to our home, acting as host family for the many language schools in the city. I didn’t think anything of it and just accepted these people. I can still remember how to count to 10 in Arabic and also remember most of the students we had and from where they came. Once I was married and settled we did the same, exposing our son to different cultures too. I wanted him to know and understand that we’re all human beings, with feelings, despite our skin colour. I now live in a semi-rural area with an extremely low ethnic dynamic, which is a shame, however this is likely to change in the coming years as people continue to move further out of the built-up, cramped cities looking for cheaper properties and a slower pace of life.

5) I like animals. Actually I love animals! I’ve always had pets. We had dogs briefly when I was a child, and had cats throughout my childhood. As an adult I wanted to be a dog owner, and shortly after hubby and I had moved in together we got our first dog. We now have our 4th and 5th dogs, which are both Romanian rescue dogs via the charity Paws2Rescue We also have 2 cats – a Mum and son. We lost her other son at the end of 2017 aged 12. I bawled my eyes out as they just burrow their way into my heart so deeply! I also love to learn about animals – how they behave, communicate, etc and when I went to Uni as a mature undergraduate student back in 2004 I read quite widely on animal communication/use of language and found it fascinating.


1) I dislike discrimination in any shape or form. I believe that all creatures on this planet should share equally its land and resources. It’s one planet and it’s the home of billions of people. People who bleed the same colour blood, and animals too. I don’t care about skin colour – each person had no choice over that and what does it matter anyway? Why should we treat someone unfairly because their skin differs from ours? I’m White. In the Summertime I go outside and sit in the sun with the hope that a little bit of a tan will enhance the way I look. That’s a 1980s thing! But my skin changes from white to rosy-pink, and then goes Brown. Brown I said. The same colour that many people are persecuted for having. Hypocritical behaviour at its worst for anyone else who is happy to sit out in the sun for the same reason. Religion is another reason for discrimination. Why?! We are all free to believe what we want to believe. My Universe, my light is known to others as God, Allah, Jehovah, etc. It’s the same thing. This is a controversial subject and not one I wish to argue about. I just want people to understand that personally I don’t care if you worship any or all of the Gods, deities, or your own personal God. That’s up to you and as long as you respect me for not attending a church or mosque through personal choice I’ll respect your choice to attend your church or mosque, or similar. 

2) To lighten the page after the one I above I have a simple dislike. Marmite! I’m sorry to those who love it but I just hate it! Yuk! The smell gives me goosebumps and sends shivers down my spine! I’m also odd in that I LOVE Twiglets – those wheat sticks which are covered in, yes, Marmite! I also love Marmite flavour crisps, but get a jar within feet of me and bleurgh! Sorry Marmite lovers, sorry! 🙂marmite

3) I dislike cruelty in any form. I dislike persecution, killing and beating, of people, of animals. I don’t understand how a person with the same DNA qualities as myself could act so maliciously to maim/disable or kill another living being. As a carnivore that may sound hypocritical but I believe that as a species we are carnivores and our bodies were designed to eat both meat and vegetables. I try to buy my meat from reputable suppliers, preferably organic, where the animals have lived a good life with access to clean water, good quality food and freedom to roam. I know there’ll be a number of vegetarians or vegans who will strongly disagree with me and I’m sorry but we’ll have to agree to disagree.

4) I dislike pain. I suffer from pain daily, constantly. It’s now a part of my life. It’s never going away, and I wish desperately that the pain would ease for just the shortest of time so I could not feel it anymore, but I know that isn’t going to happen, despite the many medications I take. I have friends and family who are going through similar things and it’d be wonderful if pain could be wiped from those feelings we have as a part of us.

5) I dislike trolls. I hate that these people sit at their pc or on their phone with the sole purpose of putting others down for their beliefs or to make a nasty comment when someone is grieving, or has a sick child, for instance. I wonder why they don’t have anything with more value to do with their days. I wonder how they would feel if they were in the same situation as the person who is suffering and has to endure further suffering via the evil words of these individuals. It makes me wish desperately for Karma. 

6) My final dislike – as so much time has passed since I sat down to write this blog article – is that I dislike Donald Trump. I’m in the UK and I sit and witness the things he says and does and it fills me with trepidation and fear. I feel any progress made whilst President Obama was in office is being completely erased and that the U.S is taking steps back centuries in its values and ethos. I fear the implications this has for the rest of the planet. With that I’m going to leave it there. I could go on for a while but I’m choosing not to. 

So, I hope this has been an interesting exercise. It’s so difficult to think about and narrow down those things you like and dislike and there probably could be 10 of each or more but I have other things to do…maybe a part 2 next month! 





Stephen Hawking


Stephen Hawking was a miracle. Given only a few, short years to live when he was initially diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the U.S., he went on to become one of the most influential figures in modern science.

I’ve been aware of Stephen Hawking since the early 90s when my husband had heard something on the radio or seen something on TV about the book ‘A Brief History of Time’ and decided he wanted to read it. My husband is an intelligent man but gave up a few pages in, which I ribbed him about for weeks. That was until I thought I’d give it a go before it was due back at the library. I also gave up a few pages in. It’s since become the most popular book never to have been read. Everyone knows Stephen Hawking wrote it. Everyone knows Stephen Hawking is the disabled guy in the wheelchair with the computerised American accent.

What I wasn’t aware of was the fantastic ideas he had about life, love and everything. Until the night after he died. I saw a video on the Facebook page ‘Ideas For Life’. A video of ‘Stephen Hawking quotes which could make a difference in your life’. See“>here for the post. As the video played I started to feel extreme warm and fuzzies. I’m disabled and use a manual wheelchair to get around, especially when I know I’ll need to be taking more than about a dozen steps. This is even with my crutches, thus supermarket visits, socialising, etc are difficult. Mr Hawking’s ideas about being disabled slapped me in the face. There is a man, who despite an extreme disability, has gone on to have a brilliant career, global recognition from the highest institutions and who is respected widely for his efforts to bring science to the masses, including children, with the book series George’s Secret Key to the Universe written with his daughter Lucy Hawking.

So, these quotes gave me a bit of an epiphany. I’ll list them here and say what it was that made me feel different about my life circumstances, health, etc.

1) Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. I take this to mean you should hold your head high. Lift that chin! Firstly, you’re likely to walk into lamposts, which would give you an almighty headache but secondly, there’s more to see up there than the cracks in the pavement, scuffed shoes and wrinkled socks! It’s about being proud of who you are whatever your circumstances. It’s also about not letting life go by without you seeing it, witnessing the joys as well as the pains, the good rather than the bad. Stephen Hawking, despite his circumstances with health achieved much, and had he chosen to spend his life looking down at his feet would have achieved exactly nothing. Thankfully, for all of us he looked up at the stars.

2) Never give up work. Work gives you purpose and life is empty without it. This is spot on! I got to the stage physically a few years ago where I couldn’t continue in my chosen career because of my physical disabilities. It was a combination of my employers needing to fill the role I was in as I’d had a lot of time absent whilst waiting for diagnosis, surgery, recovery. I was at the stage where I wasn’t improving and it just wasn’t financially viable or fair to certain parties who relied on my presence. Since then I’ve  struggled with the other areas of my life. I’ve become less sociable. I can’t cope without a proper routine. I’ve tried to set the alarm and get out of bed the same time of the day Monday to Friday but when there’s nothing to get up for this becomes difficult. This quote proves to me what I’ve known all along – my mind and body need work. I’m putting that alarm back on! I may not have employment but I can make writing my work. 

3) If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away. I found the love of my life at age 21 and only 6 months after I’d told my whole family I didn’t plan to get married and have kids until I was in my 30s. That went out of the window at speed once I met my hubby. We’re celebrating our Silver Anniversary (25th Wedding Anniversary) this summer. It’s hard sometimes to not take each other for granted, let things slip. I so very nearly threw away my relationship, several years ago now, and I know that had I done so it would have been a huge mistake. I am so grateful every day that hubby and I are still here and that we still love each other as much as, or more with every passing day.

4) Concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically. My disability has impacted my work life, my social life, my relationships with others and also prevented me from completing a master’s degree I started, in order to use my mind – which is the part of me which works (excluding the times I’m sitting around moping!) I’ve felt over the years that more and more of my life is being closed off – basically like being in a corridor and each door closing as I get level with it. This is not good for the mind at all. I’ve struggled to accept this interference and it has sapped me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to the extent I’m more of a closed book than I’ve ever been. I think now that I should concentrate on the things I can do. My writing is one of those.

5) Life would be tragic if it were not funny. This is totally right. I’m not sure I’d still be here if I wasn’t able to use my sense of humour to get through the challenging times.

6) However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope. It is my hope for better surgical outcomes physically and it has been for several years now. That’s never going to change. I desperately attempt to hold on to the positivity which has got me to here, today. And as I’ve said in the previous paragraphs, I’m here, I’m writing, so my mind can help me to succeed with writing, until the day I can succeed at something physical, like walking around instead of being in the wheelchair for instance 🙂

7) People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining. Yes this is totally true. Gone are the party invites, the coffee dates, etc. I try not to moan but when your only subject of conversation is your x or your y because you’re doing nothing other than being at home what are you going to talk about? It’s boring for others as much as it’s boring for me. I pledged last year to only give the answer “Battling On” in response to enquiries as to how I am unless someone asks further questions, in which case I’d update them. 

8) Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. I’m obviously not as intelligent as I once thought. I’ve struggled to adapt to the changes. Time for me to accept them and move forwards.

9) People who boast about their I.Q. are losers. I’ve never really heard anyone do this and it’s not something I’d do. I think my I.Q. is lower now than it was, simply because I’m not using my brain much anymore. I need to get researching and do some proper writing and use the grey matter.

10) Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist. I know that I’m not perfect. I am far from it. I do have high standards though and like things to be done properly and can be a whinge-arse or a nag if things aren’t done right. I know that I am also capable of making mistakes and really should bite my tongue, or expect that everyone is only human and doing the best they can with whatever talent/s they’ve been given. 

So, less than 24 hours after his death Stephen Hawking inspired me; had me realising that I need to change the way I think, need to change the way I am living my life, and for that I offer my gratitude, love and thanks, and hope that wherever he is he feels the love and gratitude so many others are sending his way since learning of the loss of his truly special and unique soul.



Got to come here more often!

I’ve just not come here like I promised I would all those weeks ago when I set up my blog. There’s been stuff going on. Not much, but stuff in my head as well as other things. As I’ve been a bad, or non-existent blogger I’ve decided to use an image I chanced upon from tumblr user katxx. Ok, WordPress isn’t tumblr but the suggestions will work as a way of getting me to blog every day – and hopefully by the 30th day I’ll be so much in to a routine with it that it’ll continue to be a daily thing. So I’m off to do Day 1 before this day runs out (it’s currently 23.15).20180207_2328501161519434.png


30 Day Challenge – Day 1

Some Basic Things About Myself

I’m in my late forties. I could say so much about that…but won’t. I had a conversation with someone only the other day where we said that all of a sudden you realise that your life is passing by (and faster with each passing year – it only feels like a couple of weeks since Christmas!) I’m in the period of time where I realise that I’m probably closer to my death than I am to my birth – unless I live to be 95, which I doubt will happen. 

I’m married. To a lovely man. And have been for almost 25 years. We celebrate our Silver Anniversary this year. How he’s put up with me for over quarter of a century I don’t know, but he’s a saint, which is probably why! 

I have a son. I’m very proud of him, as despite many challenges he’s been able to achieve so much and still is.

I like to read, write, bake, cook – which is why I should be here more often. I need to learn how to split my WordPress area into several areas where I can share my baking, cooking, writing and book reviews with everyone. If anyone knows a simple way of doing this I’d love to hear from you – I’ve read the WordPress bumpf about how to do this but, despite the fact I’m not a technophobe, I just can’t do this successfully.

I’m diabetic – I’m officially sweet. Actually sweeter than I should be! Bad life choices in my 20s and early 30s and I became a Type 2. We live and learn right? Even if it’s the hard way.

So there’s a few little basic snippets about me. I’m happy to answer any questions on whatever random subjects you come up with! I won’t answer overtly personal questions though.