Friday 24 February 2012

Competition Time

Regular readers will remember this time last year I ran a competition giving away free books; well I’m doing it again this year!

On April 23rd I will be collecting 48 copies of; Room the award winning novel by Emma Donoghue. It's up to me who and how I give these books out.

I am involved in World Book Day UK (TWITTER) and last year they gave away 1 million books to 20,000 givers to encourage not just reading but giving a book a go that you would never normally read.

Please read the books description click here. Although clever, heart warming and completely compelling; the book’s theme is disturbing.

Here’s How!

For my readers I’ll be giving away 5 paperback copies of Room (3 to UK readers 2 International). If you would like to win a copy follow these instructions.

Simply e-mail me @ and include your name, age and address – easy!

If you have Twitter, Facebook or Google+ please repost, retweet etc on your pages – if you do share let me know and I’ll add your name again - one for every time you do so, to the hat I’ll be pulling the names out off!

L x

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Ode to Erin

As I said in my Valentine’s post, last weekend I was at a family do. I’ve mentioned my extensive family before but on my mum’s side alone I have 34 cousins who so far have had 8 children themselves... can you imagine if each of my cousins had two babies?

Some of the Family

Luckily very few of us send cards or give gifts I would be permanently skint! My Nan used to send each of us £10 for our birthdays and Christmas.... with me, my 4 siblings plus the 34 of my cousins that’s a lot of cash – not even counting the cards to send them in!

So when there’s a Wedding, Birthday or Christening, very rarely does it work holding a house party. Before the last 15 of my cousins were born we used to gather at my Nan’s 3 bed East End terrace for New Years Eve. My cousin’s Lee, Terry, Scott and I used to hide under the buffet table or in the garden just to breath!

I loved these parties; UB40 on the stereo, a Tesco bought spread and crates of Bacardi... I can’t even smell this particular rum let alone drink it now – and weirdly I never have despite all my drunken nights out; it’s the drink of my Aunts.

Last weekend’s get together was in honour of my cousin Erin. Erin’s Dad and my Mum are brother and sister. She’s 21 and had never met any of us before – some might say she’s lucky, we’re a rowdy, annoying London family but I felt for her. I hardly get to see most of my family any more but least I have the Bacardi fuelled memories.

Erin lives in Sydney, Australia and from her stories she has a lovely family, great friends and work mate’s, a degree to look forward to and to top it off she’s beautiful – not a bad life at all – No, I’m not feeling so bad for her now either!

The party in Erin’s honour was held in an old pub in Leyton, there was an Iceland’s buffet and I made my infamous “mixtape” CD’s. The party went really well and I think Erin felt welcomed if not a little overwhelmed!

Erin and I

On the Sunday there were 10 of us at my Aunts house and we took our time getting up and ready, with a breakfast of sausage rolls, sandwiches and chicken nuggets – you guessed it – leftovers!!

Erin, our cousin Lee and I decided to do the tourist thing and explore London’s most famous sights, first stop St. Pauls Cathedral, all three of us were in awe of such a splendid place but Erin was horrified to find out that neither Lee nor I, both London born and bred, had ever been there before – the shame!

From there we visited Fleet Street, The High Courts, Australia house, Convent Garden; where the Bafta’s were being held that day, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square, the Olympic Countdown Clock, up to the House of Commons and Big Ben and lastly a trip on the London Eye. On such a grey winters day London looked very old, mysterious and almost as though we’d gone back in time.


And do you know what? No matter how many times I go on the Eye, walk through Convent Garden watching street performers and take a million and one photos of Big Ben; I never get sick of London. I love it! I love that I was born there and even though I only lived there for 6 years, if I say I’m from Essex in front of my cousins I get told off!


My day was marred by public transport’s lack of consideration for those less able like myself. I was travelling back to Southend on my own. We had to try two different stations to let me get on their trains, then the second of those didn’t know where their ramp was and there was nowhere to buy a bloody ticket so I fretted all the way home that A. There would be no ramp to get off and B. I would be fined for the lack of tickets. I made it home after a tearful phone call to my Mum and Dad. Sad when something so simple like taking a direct train home leaves you feeling that vulnerable!

Still, despite the ending I had a brilliant weekend and cannot wait for the next gathering in May when the first of my cousins is getting married!

L x

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Sharing the love

It’s Valentine’s Day, love it or hate it, there’s no getting away from it! My boy Mike is currently in Texas working, so we’re not celebrating together (it’s our 6th Anniversary in 3 ½ weeks so we’ll do something fun thenJ). So as a treat to myself and still recovering and in a lot of pain from a family party last weekend – more in my next post on that! I’ve cleared my diary today so that I can rest, write and maybe even use some weekly Weightwatchers points for a little chocolate covered treat whilst I watch Valentine’s Day on DVD.

I’m not going to bore you; banging on about my love for Mike; family, friends and even occasional readers get the notion I adore him and wouldn’t be without him. But for something different I’m sharing the love and showing you my favourite blog’s & businesses, I think you should all check out!


Piano Pavilion – The Pavilion is run by my great friend Karen, as the name would suggest it’s a piano retailer, selling both acoustic and digital instruments. Not only do they sell piano’s, they can tune and fix them, they have practice rooms, an extensive list of piano teachers and are gearing for Piano Buddies. Time for a new hobby?

Butterfly Therapies – Is the company of my buddy Lauren who treated me to a lovely hot stone massage when I was suffering with my back late last year. Lauren offers a huge range of holistic and beauty therapies and can even travel to your home! Lauren is chatty, funny and you’ll instantly relax in her company.

Fantasticake’s – Is the work of Mother and Daughter team Elaine and Lauren, these guys turn out some brilliant cakes for all occasions, have a look through their online gallery here and I can vouch they taste as great as they look.

Sara De Groot – Sara is one of the sweetest holistic therapists you’ll ever meet. She provides treatments such as Metamorphic Techinique, Aqua Detox and Indian head massage. Sara has been round many a time to try some healing on me, and I don’t whether it’s just her sweet uplifting nature or something higher; but each time she leaves I feel a bit brighter for the rest of the day.

TheHaze – are a 5 piece rock/pop band, which are perfect for any wedding or function. I’ve seen the band several times and each members performing within other bands – but I think they work best together in the Haze.  With both male and female vocalists they can cover most songs usually with their own funky twist.


Rellacafa- This Caf an Australian CRPS/RSD sufferer – like myself she’s trying to get through a life as a “normal” young woman coping with pain, as well as a written blog she is a braver girl than me who makes a video diary; some are hard to watch when she’s clearly in agony. Great awareness though!

The Incredible Adventures of Miss Lacey – Elly is one of Mike’s college friend’s who is currently in New York for a year as an intern. Each day Miss Lacey take’s a photo of what sums up her day in the big apple. Although 161 day’s into her 365 there I would suggest going back and looking through the last 5 months, it’s addictive waiting for the next photo! I couldn’t be more jealous if I tried!

Pop Goes the Feasible...- Is the blog and artwork of my friend Lucy, who is a sufferer of Endometriosis, a painful gynaecological condition. A real inspiration having raised thousands of pounds for the Endometriosis UK charity.

Curious Tendency- I can’t remember if I found her or she found me! A blog of gruesome folk law, psychological studies and philosophy, such a brilliant interesting and very radom read.

AlRightTit - Is the blog of Lisa Linch in her words she’s Author, Editor, Blogger and Cancer Bitch. An honest account of Lisa’s journey through life and loves and cancer a.k.a Bullshit.

Not Without Salt - My favourite foodie blog!! Just go enjoy and drool, future dinner parties of mine will be made extra special with some of these delights. A chatty fun food lovers heaven!

And lastly I follow a few newbie’s on the old blogging scene; Trials and Tribulations of being Mrs T my friend Leanne’s blog; only a few posts so far but a fantastic writer and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some of her unpublished work released!

Short, Fat, Bald Bloke Blogs Tony is the above Mrs T’s Dad, he’s currently training for the K2B (Keswick to Barrow) 40 mile walk for charity – always a funny, slightly grumpy read!

L x

Friday 10 February 2012

I'm a Slave....

I’ve been stuck indoors since last Saturday evening, which is of course when it snowed – 6 inches worth covering most of England! So on my todd a lot I was able to crack on through my never ending to do list. You know the feeling, e-mails you’ve meant to concentrate on for weeks (Or sometimes months – luckily I have patient friends!) paper work to file and all those menial tasks that build up until they wake you up at 4am (alongside a hearty spasm!)

I’ve also been tackling my TiVo box as I still had programmes sat on there from Christmas! Every once in a while I realise I watch a lot of TV! Shamefully some of it I’m A. Surely  too old for (Pretty Little Liars? Gossip Girl?) or B. Have seen them (or at least types of them) all before (Come Dine with me? Biggest Loser?).

I don’t know about all of you but don’t you feel a bit squashed by media and social must haves? Let me explain.

I am a girl of the 21st Century, I love books, films, TV, social media, Apps, new technology and above all the Internet (without it I there would be no Diary of New Freedoms - *gasps in horror*). When I meet with friends, chat with them on Facebook or text them there is always an inevitable conversation about the latest book trilogy, Sky Atlantic premier or ridiculous must have game. I can’t keep up.

Before the first Twilight film was release, I was apparently the only female under 30 who hadn’t read the books and worst of all; when admitting I hadn’t even heard of it, I was bombarded with that very 21st Century “Oh my God, you’ve not read/seen/heard of *whatever is in media fashion at the moment*”.

I haven’t read Hunger Games, 2 out of the Four Twilight saga or any of the Harry Potters, I’ve never seen Star Wars, Gone with the Wind and only last week saw the Lord of the Rings movies. I’m waiting for repeats of Mad Men (Don Draper who?), Dexter and I’ve only seen three episodes of the now finished 24. I have both Adele albums, both Lady Gaga’s and all of Rihanna’s – doesn’t mean I’ve listened to them!

The list continues! Not that should be bothered.... but I am... a little.... because I want to watch/listen/read them all – now does that make me a slave rather than a fan of all things entertaining?

And for all these mediums that I slave away on sometimes the most hyped are my least favourite; because not only am I slave I’m apparently a slave with poor taste; the programmes I do watch get decommissioned after 1 or 2 sessions (Privileged or Pushing Daisies anyone?). Black Swan – beautifully made but I have to say I was a bit bored.... and when I admit that to most female friends I’m given that look as if to say “You should be struck from my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin all at once”.

Least for being so behind I can say one thing in my defence the reason I’m so behind is that I’m usually seeing friends and family and that my readers is the 1984-1997 (pre internet) old fashioned me!

L x