Camp NaNoWriMo

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What is Camp NaNoWriMo?

 

July brings up Camp NaNoWriMo, a month of scheduled writing to reach targets we set on any writing projects we may have. If you have never heard of NaNoWriMo before I will tell you what it is but first do any of the following points resound for you?

  1. You are halfway through a current novel and stuck for ideas?
  2. You lack inspiration and haven’t got the energy to get back into the writing zone?
  3. You procrastinate thinking of ideas but don’t do anything other than think?
  4. You want to write but never actually get round to doing it.
  5. You never schedule time to write?

If you can answer yes to any of those five questions then camp NaNoWriMo is most definitely for you and you should 100% consider signing up!

 

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What commitment will I be making?

National Novel Writing Month is approaching in July and is the ideal time for you to get back into the writing chair and either start your first novel or finish what you started.

A month of scheduled time within your day that you spend writing and adding to your current work in progress. Its very well claiming  ‘I will start tomorrow’ but actually never do it. If you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo you are making a commitment to write 50’000 words. This can be added to what you already have or will make a start on what you already have. You may feel that is a lot of words but you set your word count. If you want to do less that is fine too as is to set it at a higher word count.

What you need to do is sign up to the official page www.campnanowrimo.org and create an account. Once you have done that you can start by creating your writing project. Deciding your word count you are aiming to write in July and browse the website for the other feature on offer.

If you decide to join me and millions of other writers around the world you will have many other features to access, including chat rooms called cabins. I have created a private cabin called The Fiction Cafe. Cabins are Camp NaNoWriMo’s version of a writing group. Up to twenty writers can bunk together in a virtual cabin to create a personal writing community. Some readers are part of our Facebook writing group so most of our chatting will be done there but this is another option. There are also inspiration writing resources and forums where you can chat to other writers.

I participated in NaNoWriMo in November 2016 and won by writing 52’000 words which created the basis of my first novel Forgotten Memories. In July I will be aiming to write a further 50’000 words which will then create the basis story that I will then edit and flesh out to create my first manuscript. Writing a novel in a month doesn’t mean it has to be completed to submit. It just means you have a basis to perfect! The thought of having a novel written by the end of July is an amazing achievement and I hope that many of you will join me in my writing journey!

 

Madison

Video

8 Times That Take That Will Have You ROFL on Carpool Karaoke!

Carpool Karaoke with Take That and James Corden

Comic Relief would not have been complete without James Corden and his Carpool Karaoke. It is now an essential part of Comic relief after last year when James Corden appeared with George Michael and created what it is today. As is, in all James Corden’s sketch videos he ropes celebrities into singing along with him as he transports them to their next appearence which is normally held at the CBS studios in Los Angeles. The show was originally a feature on James’ late night US talk The Late Late Show.

Comic relief 2017 had us in stitches as we watch Take That band members Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald as they sing along with James Corden.

Here are the top 8 reasons to watch the video! 

  1. What is funnier than four grown men embarrassing themselves wearing little red foam noses? No man can be taken seriously looking like that but in all true Comic Relief spirit they do it to raise money.
  2. The reference to the spandex thrown onto the stage in replacement of knickers and bras… obviously now their original fans are now in their 40’s and 50’s and not young teenage girls. us older fans need a little tight elastic to help hold everything where it should be.
  3. The fact that it really is time for Howard to retire. He is just there to make up the numbers right? Duo’s never do well … unless in some irony they are Irish band Jedward and for comical effect.
  4. The amazing singing! It doesn’t matter how old Take Thats fans are, the songs still take you back 25 years to the 90’s and the ultimate Take That tour!
  5. The funny story of Take That trying to break out in America … checkout from 10.15 minutes into the clip.
  6. Mark Owen looking like he is either drugged up and high, drunk, has hay fever or is severely allergic to something. He looks like he has aged considerably and most likely from his alcoholism. I was pretty shocked to see him now after his time in rehab.
  7. The glimpse of Howard’s body! Nothing like a bit of eye candy!
  8. The story of trying to break America and some very questionable choreography.

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Overall though with all joking aside, Take That have always been an iconic band. It really doesn’t matter how old you are because the feelings when listening to their songs still evoke emotions from the time everyone listened to Take That. It’s a fun clip of a group of four guys having fun and reminiscing to their songs and the high of a successful boy band of the 90’s. James Corden did well this year! The ultimate question though is should James join and become member 5?

To learn more or donate to Comic Relief go to

http://www.rednoseday.com

My Sweet Dreams Turned Into a Nightmare.

 

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It began when I went to bed. I had just finished a long stretch of writing for my book and realised it was gone midnight and knew I needed to get up early. This is normally where my problem starts. Im not good at going to bed and I’m really bad at waking up in he morning. When i’m tired my mind plays tricks o me.Having anxiety also doesn’t help.

Deciding I was too tired to write anymore, I  pack up the Macbook, I shut off the lights in my hallway and glanced at the glass fronted front door. This in itself was my first mistake. I will advise you to never, ever, look out of the window as you’re getting ready to go to bed. Especially when there are no curtains. I mean this when I say that I scare myself.  I’d just finished writing a particularly hard chapter in my book,without giving it away, a knife was involved. I sharp knife, I’m sure I need say no more. Well, I stood with forefinger paused on the light switch, bracing myself for the long run up the stairs… I liked from front door to the stairs… I flicked the light switch and bolted up the stairs. I always have that feeling of being watched and tonight was no exception. Do you get that?  You ‘feel’ a strong presence in the room and think someone is there. It’s watching you, through the window, from the dark outside. Don’t think about it just turn and run!

Tired legs that barely hold me up, or comfortably  carry me up the stairs ache as I reach the top where the safety is. Before going to bed, I walk to the bathroom clutching my chest as my heart threatens to beat outside my chest and brush my teeth. As I write this I am now realising how many windows in my house have no curtains. I really need to fix that!

I go to bed and spray my pillow with the lavender mist. Settle into bed and think of my partner, Phil. He is working away in Bristol this week so I’m already feeling a little nervous in the house on my own with just the children who I need to keep safe. Really? I guess I could set the little toddler on any burglar. I’m pretty sure she is braver than me and she can be pretty intense and scary at times!

I lay in bed as I feel myself drifting off to sleep and think of my accomplishments from the two chapters I have finished and think of the progress I’ve made as I’m falling asleep. I realise I can officially call myself a writer. I’m writing so that passes as a writer. I may not yet be a published author. Anyway, I’m drifting off to sleep. I’m relaxed and asleep dreaming of how my life may change once I publish my book. The kind of thoughts when you want to turn your life around for you and your family. You have doubts but keep pushing forward because until the book is written, it can’t be published. I think of publishing deals and meeting other fellow authors. I’m comfortable and snuggled into the warm quilt… ice and relaxed as I drift off to sleep… or so I thought.

Do you ever get that leg kick in bed when you’re falling out of a plane, or slip off the curb. Yes?  Well, that! That, is what I experienced yet I was just stabbed. Repeatedly with a kitchen knife as I run up the stairs in my house and as I woke from the nightmare I realised that there is a shadow in my bedroom in the corner that is the shape of a tall man. Im under the cover at this point crapping myself, heart palpitating and I’m screaming as my teenage daughter comes in the room. Se sleeps in my bed that night because I was too scared to sleep alone.

Moral of the story is. NEVER look out the window into the dark as you go to bed.

It will turn you into a quivering wreck who has to be saved by your teenage daughter that is quite obviously braver than you!

Madison Ward

What No One Tells You About Anxiety

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Anxiety is the fear of the unknown!

It grips your chest and squeezes every little bit of breathe out of your body. It clenches around your heart and makes you paranoid and scared.

Anxiety. It invades every pore on a bad day making the simplest of tasks hard.

A happy thought can turn to worry and paranoia. Your feelings crash against each other in their own personal battle.

It makes daily routines and simple tasks like the school run feel like a marathon you’re not fit enough to tackle. A fear rises and the dread is like a wall blocking your way forward.

You worry people are watching and judging you so it is easier to stay in.

It can have you pacing the floor wearing out your carpet as the fear bubbles and escapes into a cry.

Your mind takes over and mixes your feelings up like a tornado of debris crashing around your brain.

Then the panic attack happens, you try to talk about your feelings but the words don’t come out, you stumble on words and sentences come a jumbled mess as the fear takes hold and squashes any brave thoughts you had.

Isolation takes hold. The friends visit less and become people from the past. The odd nod in the street as you pass, compared to the strong friendship who you had and who you shared secrets with.

You get invited out for a coffee which you really want to do but something happens in the morning that catches you off guard and suddenly the coffee you were looking forward to is just a bitter taste in your mouth.

Slowly friends stop contacting you because they think you’re avoiding them but don’t ask why, they assume you’re rude or you are not the person they thought they knew.

They think their feelings about you are right when really they are far from the truth.

Anxiety will break you unless you fight it!

The daily fight is real!

It’s time to talk!

Madison Ward

Mummy Talks #4 – Daddy’s Birthday!

 

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Tomorrow is my partners birthday so as is customary in our house the children always make a birthday cake. They love the whole messiness of cooking and the licking of the bowl just like all other children. My children have strong stomachs so raw egg here is like a  weekly treat!

The first batch of cupcakes went into the oven came out over cooked which resulted in them being in he bin. There is nothing worse than expecting a lovely fluffy cupcake and ending up with a mouth full of chewy biscuit! … If only they were taken out by oldest daughter after two minutes as I asked. The distraction of son being picked up by daddy for football and I was talking to him, it was too much to ask child to do that for me right?

The fact that we have family coming over this afternoon for a family games night is obviously pressure at the back of mind that we need to be tidied up cleaned, hoovered and be ready to present a beautiful chocolate cake to daddy once he arrives home form work at 5pm. The nice tidy front room that was painlessly tidied and cleaned last hit that now looks like a tornado has flown through for a visit!

Not only that but an optician appointment for the daughter to be told as I know will happen “How often do you still wear your glasses Bethany?” The child who is a teenager and full of righteous emotions tells me that she can see better without them. The same glasses that are correcting her 40 year old eyes! She is 15 in case you wondered. Apparently the whole new age of iPads phones and the need for kids to have gadgets tied to their faces has caused the worlds children and teenagers to have an increase of glasses needed. Another reason I really hate gadgets… ask Max! He will tell you how much I hate electronic toys! They have their place i know but really? They need to be attached once you roll out of bed and fall asleep with them still attached to your ears?

So while Im waiting for cupcakes to now cook… (second batch) and icing of birthday cake and the little cupcakes to go with them which will be decorated by the children, I am updating all you Mums out there who are also pulling your hair out getting cakes baked tidying up and getting stressed out that another birthday has arrived to celebrate wanting everything to be perfect!

The irony is …I’ve cooked the chocolate cake and cupcakes myself!

 

Madison

 

 

The Blind Date #4

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Candice was late for a lunch date with Drake. She hurried along the busy  London streets to try and catch up time to arrive before he did. She wanted to arrive before him so she had time to observe at a distance and run in case he was another weirdo like the last one.

The air was warm with a touch of heat, enough to make sweat marks on the underside of her pale tunic. She flings her long, dark chestnut hair over her shoulder to cool down her neck from the clamminess.  She was unsure of the time but to take a moment to check would slow her down. She notices the man in front of her walking with a sway as he took long strides along the pavement. He has an aura of confidence with his smart dark blue jeans and white shirt. His sleeves rolled up halfway between his elbow and wrist which held a Rolex and exposing tattoo’s peeking out of his sleeve. He bumps into a man walking toward him. As they collide, a piece of paper falls out his pocket which she retrieves as it whooshed past her and settles on the ground. She picks it up and rushed to catch him so she can reunite the scrunched up piece of scrap.

‘Excuse me.’ She slips through the crowd as she sees him getting away with his long strides. She picks up pace and catches him. ‘Sorry, can I get through’ she says as she squeezes between the strangers slowing her down. Candice is a few steps away as he stops in front of her, and checks his pocket. She smacks straight into his rear and trips over the curb where he was waiting to cross. Two girls outside Costa, sipping Lattes titter at her clumsiness and snigger to themselves. As she glares at their rudeness she taps him on the arm.

‘Excuse me, Hi, you dropped this.’ Her smile turns into awe as she drinks in his face as he turns towards her. She is taken aback at his sheer perfection!  She freezes and stares as she takes in his neat facial hair trimmed to firm perfected lines around his strong sharp jawline. His face tanned with the most piercing aquamarine eyes she ever saw. Hair so dark and naturally smooth, partly shaved to the side and an aroma of spicy aftershave. She opens her mouth to speak as she faulted and apologies ‘Sorry… but… Shit! Your the most beautiful man I ever saw!’

‘Urr, thank you? I’m flattered.’  He turns away with a puzzled look and frown that a beautiful stranger complemented him so frankly yet so sorry he doesn’t have the time to properly complement her back. He takes the paper from her outstretched hand and smiles, holding it up ‘Thank you. You too. Well… not a beautiful man obviously. Your beautiful too.’

‘… Thank you.’  Candice, not being used to compliments, lowers her eyes a little embarrassed,  which he finds endearing.

She calls after him as they walk, ‘I understand it’s bizarre to tell a stranger they are beautiful, especially a man but You are! It’s your eyes… they are absolutely mesmerizing. I just had to tell you!’

He smiles at her over his shoulder and reluctantly faces forward again and continues his rushed journey to his destination that he is already late for. He wants to arrive before her to be the gentleman he is.

A few meters up the road Candice sees the newsagents and quickly nips in to buy polos. She picks up the pace as she notices the time as leaves the shop in a hurry. Two minutes to be at the uptown cafe. She thinks to herself of the perfect man born to be a model and wonders why she isn’t lucky enough to meet such gorgeous men like him on Lonelyhearts.com. Sherolls her eyes as she realises any guy that gorgeous would not be single. With those looks he could have pick of all of the available girls in London.

She sees the Cafe on the corner. A local French Pattisiere in the Centre of London. She rushes across the road and pushes open the heavy door with its long vertical brass handle and drops her bag to her feet  upon entering. She bends down to pick it up admiring the black shoes polished so shiny she could check her makeup in them. She raises her eyes and stares into the pools of ocean blue.

He passes her the bag and she stands slowly as she drinks him in. ‘It seems we meet again.’

‘Yes. I’m meeting someone here. You?’

‘Me too. A blind date actually.’ She smiles. ‘Drake’

‘Yes?’ he looks puzzled at her as the realisation washes over him and grins at his luck.

‘His name is Drake.’ she looks at him puzzled.

‘Yes. I am Drake, it is a pleasure to meet you officially.’

‘Fucking hell! Hi!’

Madison

Privacy

 
Our private life is on Social media for all the world to see. Privacy is a forgotten word that people no longer have a conscience to protect. When you look through your news feed there are hundred of posts of personal details out there for all to see.

You can pretty much open up any social media page and find personal details about anyone who has a profile. Even profiles that are locked down will have accessible details about them inclucidg emails, telephone number and area they live.

In a world where privacy is now a luxury how did we ever keep our business to ourselves thirty years ago? So much has changed yet we are exposed to people through apps, websites, social media, telephone and email. 

The world has changed but has it changed for the better?

What have you experienced where your privacy has been compromised?