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Rated: 13+ · Book · Other · #2049546
My first blog
This is my first ever blog, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing *Shock*. I guess I'll learn as I go along.
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September 10, 2021 at 6:43am
September 10, 2021 at 6:43am
I am taking a semi-break from WDC for a short while. Well, it's not really a break. I will be here every day and read everything that's going on. But, I'm just so tired at the moment. I am constantly trying to catch up with all my commitments (on and off WDC), but my brain does not want to play ball. This is down to, mainly, my mental health, I think. But it is also because of my physical health. My diabetes is not stable at the moment, and I've had problems getting the right medications (thank you, Brexiteers!).

Anyway, the main reason for this blog post is to say the following contests/activities are on hiatus until December/January.

"Verdant Poetry Contest ~ On Hiatus
"Second Time Around Contest ~ On Hiatus
"The Taboo Words Contest ~ On Hiatus
"Rach's Chocolate Emporium

Don't worry, I will still send out all the MBs and award icons that have been purchased. As I said, I will still be here, lurking in the background, doing a few things. If you need anything from me, please, don't be afraid to contact me. I will be checking my email each day. Also, I am still running "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest because I wanted to keep one contest running.

So, that is me. Hopefully, I will be back at full speed quickly. I just need to feel more me before I can be very helpful, I think.
September 8, 2021 at 7:16am
September 8, 2021 at 7:16am
The Great Hall shines with prismed light
As banners wave with all their might
Upon the bench, the centrepiece
Surrounded by one dozen geese,
A quarter stag, a loin of veal,
Stuffed chickens, sturgeon, grace this meal
By my side sits Francis Drake,
A good friend (but that’s all he’ll make)
His gift, a pendant packed with jewels,
Made me, for a moment, drool
But, while I’m fond of Frankie-boy
His gift was just another ploy
To win my heart (which shall not turn)
Oh, will that playboy ever learn?

A sugar plum excites my tongue
It takes me back to days of young,
My mother, the Queen Ann Boleyn,
Obsessed with staying trim and thin,
So, all her sweets were passed to me
And I accepted them with glee
Back to today, my birthday treat
Determines cakes and strawberries, sweet
Shall pass my lips, go to my hips,
But so what? I’m now forty-six!
A long life, I already claim
And, I’m sure, I’ll go down in fame
So, to the food, I raise a toast,
“My birthday repast thrills me most.”

28 lines
September 5, 2021 at 7:40am
September 5, 2021 at 7:40am
What is a birthday without cake? Surely, the sugary treat is every bit as important as presents and spending time with loved ones? Am I right?

Personally, I am a big fan of cake (and anything else that is sweet and delicious), so when I was given the task of making the cake for my friend's fortieth birthday, I revelled in the challenge.

As a child, my parents always made my birthday cakes. My Dad was both a great cook and incredibly creative, and my Mum was good at coming up with ideas. So, every year, I had a custom-made cake in the shape of my Cabbage Patch Kid (not the prettiest of cakes, but I loved that toy), a horse, and Wonder Woman, to name but a few. The cake was always the biggest surprise for me, and Mum and Dad never revealed it until the party. Maybe that's why I am so in love with cakes today *Think* Okay, maybe I just have a sweet tooth.

So, back to my friend's birthday. I've made cakes before. You know, the standard type that are round and have butter cream in the middle and on top. Chocolate, coffee & walnut, lemon drizzle. I've made them, and, usually, they turn out well. For my friend, however, the 'birthday committee' (yes, really; it existed) decided a shoe with a stiletto heel would be perfect. And, yes. They were right. There was probably nothing more appropriate for my friend. But, and I ask this with genuine interest, have you ever tried to cut a stiletto shoe into a lump of sponge? It's impossible. Well, not impossible because professional cake makers do it. I baked three separate cakes, and each time I screwed up with the heel. The first time, I chopped it off, and the second it just came out as a messy lump of cake. The only good thing about this was I had a ton of sponge cake in the house. Vanilla rather than my favourite, chocolate, but cake, all the same.

The day before the party, I was having visions of me having to spend the next morning scouring the country, trying to find a shoe-shaped cake that would feed fifty. However, on my final attempt, my hand steadied itself, and I cut out what I thought was a decent Louboutin. I poured myself a coffee and sat back to admire my work.

My neighbour popped by for a chat, and I showed her my handiwork.

"Take a look at this," I said. "Do you like it?"

"Oh, cool. An elephant," came the reply.

I can't pretend I wasn't hurt. I really thought I'd done a great job. "An elephant without legs?" I wanted to say, but my faith in my ability had just about dissipated.

So, of course, I hit the shops for some grey food dye for the icing. And, if I do say so myself, it turned out okay. On the day of the party, everyone knew it was an elephant, albeit, a leg-less one. My friend loved it. The party was saved. And, I vowed to never, ever offer to make a cake for anyone again.

528 words
September 2, 2021 at 7:00am
September 2, 2021 at 7:00am
The moment I dreaded was finally here:
my auntie’s house, full of birthday cheer,
with twinkling eyes, she proffered my gift,
from foot to foot, I had to shift.
“Open it now,” she said with a grin,
"show everyone what you find within.”
Smiling back, I slowly unpeeled
the paper, saw the present, I reeled,
silver trousers, shining bright,
I had to shield my eyes from their light,
“How pretty,” my dear husband said
“You should try them on, go ahead …”
Grimacing, I climbed the stairs,
into the bedroom, I sat on the chair,
one leg first, then the other,
they fit perfectly, “Oh bother!”
In trepidation, I re-joined the crowd,
my husband actually laughed out loud,
I shot him a look that plainly said,
when we get home, my love, you’re dead.

20 lines

Picture of silver trousers.

Written for
The WDC Birthday Bash Blog Relay  (E)
Form teams, take the baton, and for 9 days share stories for chances at fantastic prizes!
#1803384 by iKïyå§ama

Prompt: Worst Present Ever
September 2, 2021 at 6:47am
September 2, 2021 at 6:47am
Katherine smiled at Mel as the younger woman entered her bedroom. "Good morning, Mel," she said, smiling.

"Good morning, Katherine. What a beautiful morning."

Katherine looked for the smile beyond the mask, for the upturning of the carer's eyes to show the connection between the two.

"I hear somebody has a birthday today. Is that right?"

There. The smile threaded through her voice.

"Yes. But I try not to count them too much at my age." She reached for the cup of tea Mel had placed on her table. "Thanks for this, dear. I was parched this morning."

"You're welcome. I'm only stronger it's nothing stronger than tea. You should be drinking something cold and fizzy today." Mel chuckled as she stood in the doorway. "When you've finished that, I'll help you have a zoom call with your son."

Katherine nodded, a lead balloon falling to the pit of her stomach. Since the pandemic began, John had only visited once. He came alone, and Susie stayed at home with the children. She missed them all. She missed their weekly visits that always brought such fun and laughter to her world.

She sipped her tea and settled back in her chair. Last year, she turned eighty-nine. All her family surrounded her and wrapped her in their love. They all spoke of what she would do for her ninetieth. A day trip to Weston Beach with lunch at Harry Ramsden's. Maybe, even, a party with all her friends and family. Not that that number was anywhere near as high as it had been in the past. She had looked forward to her birthday.

Until the pandemic arrived.

Katherine's care home had closed to visitors three months ago. Residents she counted as friends entered hospital and never came home. Everything changed.

"Are you ready, Katherine?" Mel entered the room. "Have you got your iPad ready?"

Katherine reached for the tablet. "Here. You'll have to fire it up, I'm afraid. I can't use the thing, myself."

Tapping the screen a few times, the picture came to life. Her son's smiling face appeared as if by magic.

"Hi, Mum. Happy birthday!"

"Happy birthday, Nanna!" Daniel and Matthew waved and commenced singing. When they reached the end of "Happy birthday to you" Katherine felt a warmth spread through her bones.

They spoke for twenty minutes. It seemed much harder to hold conversations these days. When Mel returned to the room, she brought Ivan with her.

"Right. Are you ready for us to take you to the communal area? We have a little surprise."

Images of mint chocolate chip ice cream and Baileys on ice flitted through Katherine's mind. I would love a glass of Baileys right now.

A chorus of "Happy birthday!" sounded as she entered the living room. As she settled herself into a chair, people started to sing. From the corridor, Mel emerged, carrying a cake.

"Oh, this is wonderful," Katherine said, her cheeks flushing.

"No candles, I'm afraid. We can't have anyone blowing onto it." Mel placed the cake on a table in the centre of the room. "Wait a minute. One more surprise ..."

She pulled up the blind covering the window next to Katherine.

There, the other side of the window, stood Katherine's daughter and grandchildren. "Lena." Katherine gasped. "My girl. And Harry and Carla. Oh, look at you all." She watched as her daughter placed her hand against the window. Standing slowly, she turned to face her little family.

With all her heart, Katherine wanted to hug her daughter and grandchildren, to feel the warmth of their skin, smell the scent of their shampoo. But, this birthday was not like any other. This year, she had to be content with almost-contact and cake without candles.

By the end of her day, she returned to her room, the sweetness of strawberry jam and icing still on her lips. "Next year, I will be with my family. Next year will be special." She paused. "Maybe, I'll do a wing walk, or something."

669 words

February 12, 2021 at 7:05am
February 12, 2021 at 7:05am
Whew! Busy week. Lots of Chocolate Emporium orders for everyone's Secret Valentines. I just want to say this community is the best. So many people have joined in with gifting other people. I can actually feel the love *BigSmile*. A huge thank you to my Secret Valentine, too. You have been awesome *Heart*

I've been busy offsite this week. I haven't had as much time to dedicate to WDC as I'd hoped I would. Monday, I had a blood test. These nasty blighters always leave me unable to concentrate for the rest of the day. So, not much achieved then. Then, last night, I had my first Covid vaccination. So (naturally) I spent the whole day freaking out that I'd have an anaphylactic shock and my throat would swell up and I'd suffocate. Not that I've ever been allergic to anything, but, well, you know.

But, it didn't happen. I'm fine, and the only side effect is a bit of a sore and itchy arm. I'll take that! Anyhoo, this morning, I had to collect my prescriptions from the pharmacy, and they lost my diabetes injections, so I had to wait around while they sorted it. Then I got a phone call from the doctor's office saying something about my calcium levels are too high. She said the doctor will ring me. I don't know when. I'm not sure how serious this is. (Please, if you read this and know that it is very serious, don't tell me. It won't help.)

Now, I don't feel inclined to do anything productive for for the rest of the day. So I might just read and cuddle with my dog. That is just about my limit for today.

Tomorrow, I need to write reviews for my Chocolate Emporium, and Sunday, I need to write my poem for Promptly Poetry. It would be good if I could write some reviews the afternoon, but, I'll be honest, I'm exhausted!

So. That's me updated. I'm hoping everything turns out okay.
December 5, 2020 at 7:02am
December 5, 2020 at 7:02am
I have signed up to do
52 in 52  (13+)
A reading challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks! Think you're up to it?
#2144341 by Shaye
in 2021 *Shock2* Yes; I may well be crazy. No; it is very likely I won't complete it. I'm not sure it is humanly possible for me. However, I am going to give it my best shot, and I'm quite excited about it.

So, in order to help me do this, I've gone through the themes for each week and found books in my Kindle library or on my physical bookshelves that I haven't read yet that fit with the themes. I am going to list them here and tick them off when they are done. It will be good to see my progress on this list.

I haven't filled in all the slots yet. Some of them are wildcards, so I will see what I feel like reading when I come to them. There are some slots where I've not been able to find books I fancy yet (I'm open to any ideas you may have).

The Big List

Week 1 - 1st January - A book with the first letter of the title being "A".
All The Bright Things by Jennifer Niven *Checkv*
Week 2 - 8th January - A book written in first person POV.
I Spy by Claire Kendal *CheckV*
Week 3 - 15th January - An author's debut book.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen *Checkv*
Week 4 - 22nd January - A book set in a country you'd like to visit, but never have.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy *CheckV*
Week 5 - 29th January - A book published in 2020.
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewel *Checkv*
Week 6 - 5th February - A book by your favourite author.
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes *Checkv*
Week 7 - 12th February - A non-fiction book.
Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes *Checkv*
Week 8 - 19th February - A book with punctuation in the title.
The Ex-Wife by Jess Ryder *Checkv*
Week 9 - 26th February - A book with a number in the title.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut *CheckV*
Week 10 - 5th March - A book from Amazon's 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote *CheckV*
Week 11 - 12th March - A book with a colour in the title.
White Lies by Lucy Dawson *CheckV*
Week 12 - 19th March - A book with the first letter of the title being "N".
Nothing Hidden Ever Stays by H.R. Mason *Checkv*
Week 13 - 26th March - A book that's been made into a movie.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury *Checkv*
Week 14 - 2nd April - A book you chose because you liked the cover.
The Corset by Laura Purcell *CheckV*
Week 15 - 9th April - A book written before 1950.
Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle *CheckV*
Week 16 - 16th April - A book written by an author with the same first and last initial.
All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda *Checkv*
Week 17 - 23rd April - Wildcard! You can choose any book you wish.
House of Correction *CheckV*
Week 18 - 30th April - A book that is also a play/musical.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens *CheckV*
Week 19 - 7th May - A book that has been adapted into a TV show.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery *CheckV*
Week 20 - 14th May - A book with more than one author.
Secret Smile by Nicci French *CheckV*
Week 21 - 21st May - A book with a weather element in the title.
Flowers In The Snow by Danielle Stewart *Checkv*
Week 22 - 28th May - A book with a title that doesn't contain the letters "E" or "A".
Lying To You by Amanda Reynolds *CheckV* Completed
Week 23 - 4th June - A book with a long title (5+ words).
Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom *Checkv*
Week 24 - 11th June - A book with a one word title.
Lifeless by Mark Billingham *CheckV*
Week 25 - 18th June - A book set in a fictional location.
The lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis *CheckV*
Week 26 - 25th June - A book set in your home-country.
Because Of You by Dawn French *CheckV*
Week 27 - 2nd July - Wildcard! You can choose any book you wish.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman *CheckV*
Week 28 - 9th July - A book with an animal on the cover.
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley *CheckV*
Week 29 - 16th July - A book set in the future.
Futuretrack 5 by Robert Westall *CheckV*
Week 30 - 23rd July - A New York Times bestseller.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig *Checkv*
Week 31 - 30th July - A book originally written in a different language.
The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank *CheckV*
Week 32 - 6th August - A book with one of the five W’s, or H in the title (Who/What/Where/When/Why/How)
What She Saw Last Night by MJ Cross *CheckV*
Week 33 - 13th August - A book guaranteed to make you happy, for whatever reason.
Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes *Checkv*
Week 34 - 20th August - A book with a name in the title (e.g. Sarah, John, Lorraine)
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman *Checkv*
Week 35 - 27th August - A book from your favourite genre.
Single by K.L. Slater *CheckV*
Week 36 - 3rd September - A book someone else has previously read for this challenge (check the forum!)
Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner *Checkv*
Week 37 - 10th September - The first book in a series you've never heard of.
A Month of Summer by Lisa Wingate *CheckV*
Week 38 - 17th September - A book not set in the US or UK.
The Blue by Lucy Clarke *Checkv*
Week 39 - 24th September - Wildcard! You can choose any book you wish.
Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor *CheckV*
Week 40 - 1st October - A book with food or drink in the title.
Cranberry Bluff by Deborah Garner *CheckV*
Week 41 - 8th October - A book you've wanted to read for a while, but haven't gotten around to it.
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell *Checkv*
Week 42 - 15th October - A book with a date in the title (day, month, year etc.)
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom *CheckV*
Week 43 - 22nd October - A book with a title that starts "The".
The Accident by Linwood Barclay *Checkv*
Week 44 - 29th October - A book with horror elements.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson *CheckV*
Week 45 - 5th November - A book with an element in the title (earth, air, fire, water)
Stillwater Rising by Steena Holmes *CheckV*
Week 46 - 12th November - A book with a cover that puts you off
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher *Checkv*
Week 47 - 19th November - A book published the year you were born
Curtain (Poirot's Last Case) by Agatha Christie *Checkv*
Week 48 - 26th November - A book with the first letter of the title being "H"
Hard Times by Charles Dickens *Checkv*
Week 49 - 3rd December - Reread one of your favourite books
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer *CheckV*
Week 50 - 10th December - A book published in 2021
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins *CheckV*
Week 51 - 17th December - Wildcard! You can choose any book you wish.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro *Checkv*
Week 52 - 24th December - A short book, less than 200 pages.
If She Knew by Blake Pierce *CheckV*
September 13, 2020 at 7:52am
September 13, 2020 at 7:52am
I don't know where to begin. I've been trying to put together a blog entry acknowledging this honour since Thursday morning, but (for once) the words evade me. Well, that's not strictly true because I'm writing something now, aren't I?

I can't describe the feeling of seeing those words: "You're now a Writing.com Moderator." My heart rate increased, I can tell you that! I thought I must have misread it at first. I thought maybe it was an email telling us some people had been promoted and these were their names. But it didn't say that. It said I had been promoted.

It's surreal. I've been floating on air ever since. This is such an honour. Like, wow. Thank you, The StoryMaster and The StoryMistress, for trusting me to fill this role responsibly.

Do you know what the really weird thing is? When I first joined WDC, back in May 2015, I was a little bit afraid of the mod squad. I felt like they were the people who knew everything, and the thought of interacting with these writer-gods made me nervous. But, pretty soon, I realised they are actually normal people. They don't bite, and they are happy to help whenever they are needed. There are a few mods who have really supported me and helped me out over the years, and I am grateful to them. I hope I can be that kind of moderator. I want to be approachable and, while I know I don't know about a lot of things, I want to think I will try to find out if someone needs help.

I just want to say a little about Writing.com and what it means to me. I know I've said it before, but it's important to remember all the ways my life is richer because of it. (I apologise if I'm starting to sound gushing, but I don't do it often.)

When I joined WDC on 21st May 2015, I was in a pretty bad place emotionally. I'd been ill for so long with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I'd tried various therapies and medications and, at best, they helped me stay alive. Then, my hubby and doctor (on the same day!) both suggested I start to write my feelings. This took me back to my teenage angst-ridden poetry I wrote a long time ago, and something in me shifted. I wrote a couple of poems, and I felt a little lighter. My hubby, though, said I should take it a step further. He found WDC and suggested I share my writing on there. I didn't believe him when he said I was good, so his theory was, if people on a writing website said it, I might listen. And so, I joined. I wrote. I got amazing feedback that brought tears to my eyes. More than that, though, really quickly, I felt part of this community. I made friends and, for the first time in my life, I felt like I fitted in. It felt like home. Within a couple of weeks, I was totally and utterly addicted to this community. Writing was helping to get my feelings out, and reviews were giving me confidence. I felt valid for the first time.

And, so. Here I am; five years later. Promoted to moderator, and so, so proud. And the best thing about this promotion is the awesome group of ladies who were promoted with me:

Shaye GeminiGem💎 Lilli, the Coffee Elf ☕️ Schnujo Won NaNoWriMo! Jayne Roseille ♥ 💙 Carly - Pumpkin Spiced Emily

To be a part of this group is just fabulous!
June 15, 2020 at 7:42am
June 15, 2020 at 7:42am
I have two things to blog about. Both, probably, not exciting for anyone else. But, for me, both really cool.

On Saturday afternoon, I finally — after three months apart — got to spend time with my two best friends. Not seeing them has been the hardest part of lockdown. The three of us grew up together. We became best friends at primary school, when we were five, and we've stayed that way (except for a few teenage spats) ever since. These two women have helped me through the hardest times of my life. I sometimes think I might not even be here, if not for them. They are the kindest, most generous people, and I love them to bits.

So when Nina shot me a text Saturday lunchtime, saying did I want to meet in Shell's back garden for a catch up, I immediately answered yes! Nina picked me up in her car. We both wore face masks, and I sat in the back on the opposite side to her. It felt a little like we were out to rob a bank! We giggled like schoolgirls and took a selfie.

At Shell's, we all sat two metres apart from one another, as per the government's advice, and we chatted and laughed and set the world to rights. I had such a great time. I have missed them so much. It really gave me a boost to see them.

The other thing I want to mention is a song that has become very special to me in the last few weeks. It's an oldie, and you can see by the video how dated it is, but it really speaks to me. The song is "I'm Coming Home Again" by Dusty Springfield. I adore Dusty Springfield. She was a huge and, in my opinion, underrated talent. I am still so sad that she's no longer with us.

I've listened to Dusty all my life, and I've known this song for as long as I can remember. But, it's only recently that I've really listened to the words. And, wow, they are so much more profound than I realised. There's a line that makes me tear up each time I hear it because it's like it was written for me: "I'm starting to believe my own existence has a right to be." As someone who never believed that until the last few years, that is so poignant. The whole song could have been written about me. I can relate to it so much. And, of course, Dusty's voice is magical. You can tell she feels it in the same way I do. I love it.

It's not cool or trendy (or whatever the current word is), but I love it.

May 21, 2020 at 7:41am
May 21, 2020 at 7:41am
Well. Five years ago today, my husband convinced me to join a writing website and share my writing with other, like-minded people. I wasn't sure about doing it, but I took that leap. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

In Writing.com, I have found a place where I can share whatever I write without judgment. I mean, sure, there are reviews, but for the most part, they are constructively critical. I have learned so much from the many reviews I've received (and written). But, this community is not just about writing. Sure, we all have a common interest in being creative with our words. But, I've never known a community like this. People are so supportive. I feel like I've made a whole bunch of friends, and I cherish those friendships more than I can even say.

Without WDC, I don't know where I would be. It's easy to get lost in the fantastic writing of my peers and the creative and wonderful contests people run.

This last year, I've taken part in "CLOSED - The Ultimate Poetry Challenge. This seemed like a huge challenge when I signed up because I don't "do" form poetry. I don't like restrictions, and I find it easier to express myself writing free verse. But, I wanted to push myself a little and write something out of my comfort zone. A year writing form poetry fits that bill. And it was a challenge. But, you know what? I surprised myself. I've written forms I've always shied away from in the past. And I found some forms I absolutely love.

I've written a few stories in the past year. I completed Musicology Anthology with my book based on the 'Manic Street Preachers' album, "Everything Must Go." I placed second for that, and it was the best feeling because I worked so hard on it.

That's all I want to say, I think. I wanted to write something to mark my five years on writing.com. It feels like a landmark, for sure. I look forward to many, many more years!

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