Back to the Book

In my How's the Book Going? post I mentioned that I haven't written anything for the book in a while. In fact the last time I wrote any words was ten weeks ago. The problem with taking such a long break from a book you're in the middle of editing/rewriting is you forget the story.

Yesterday I stepped back into the world I created. I had to familiarise myself with characters and settings. I began by reading through my draft and resisted the temptation to change it. Instead I planned my next steps, making sure I knew where the story was going and what the characters were doing. Although I had forgotten the majority of my story it didn't take long before the characters were talking to me. They retold their stories and I got caught up in minutes. The story came flooding back.


I'm getting to know the shadows in my head again.

The Storm Rages On

The Prompt this week was Thunder and I was immediately hit with inspiration. It has taken me all week to hone this flash fiction and I hope you all like it. 
A lightening strike in the night

The walls shook as the front door slammed. My heart jumped into my throat.


He was home.

I put on my mask and smiled as he walked into the kitchen. But something had happened, he glared and the anger in his eyes burned my skin. I fought back the tears.

"I told you the drive needed clearing!" He said.

Shit.

He left the kitchen and headed into the lounge. Not wasting a second I darted out of the kitchen and hurried upstairs, making sure to keep my footsteps light. I closed the bedroom door behind me and as it clicked I froze. Holding my breath I listened for him coming up the stairs. Nothing.

"ANDREA!" His voice boomed from the lounge.

My heart hammered in my chest as I looked around for somewhere to hide. The wardrobe was small but tucked away in the corner. He wouldn't look in there. I pulled the doors open, climbed inside and closed the doors. I shuffled into the corner, wrapped my arms around my knees and prayed that he wouldn't find me.

"Andrea!" He shouted.

I heard his heavy footsteps as he stomped from one room to another looking for me. The storm was brewing and it would make landfall soon.

"What is this crap? I'm not going anywhere!"

He shouted from the bottom of the stairs. A moment's silence and he ran upstairs; footsteps like thunder raging inside the house. The bedroom door burst open. I held my breath.

Please don't let him find me. Not again.

The bedroom door closed but I couldn't bring myself to check. My heartbeat thumped in my ears.

"I won't be back." He called.

The front door shook the house again and I let out a breath. I clambered out of the wardrobe and inched the bedroom door open. I peeked out. The house was silent.

I creeped downstairs. My foot landed on the carpet at the bottom and I sighed. As I walked towards the lounge my heartbeat settled. I glanced in and stopped dead.

His cases still sat in the centre of the room.

"Hello Andrea." He smirked.

iPhone 6 Review

Awaiting Delivery


On Friday my iPhone 6 was due for delivery. I waited for most of the day, wondering if UPS had missed the house or just decided not to bother.





As I left to pick up the kids from school I decided I wasn't getting my phone. I was in a grump. But on my way home I spied a brown van... a UPS van! It was heading back up the road past me so I knew it had been to my house. I pushed on the accelerator and sped home.

New and Shiny!


The hubby took a photo of my lovely brown box as I opened my brand new iPhone. More photos followed.

I've always loved the presentation of Apple products, they don't bother with any books of instructions or wires. The first thing you see when you open the box is the product, shiny and new for you to admire. Underneath a pull out 'plate' hides the wire to charge the phone and classic earbuds.

Hereditary Writing Bug



In the past I have written about passing on your love of reading but is it possible to pass on your love of writing? 


Hereditary writing bug

"You have to read to be a good writer." That's what most writers say.


If you read my post Reading - Pass It On you'll know that Big Prince isn't a big reader. He hasn't found a series of books that he's enjoyed reading (yet) enough to work his way through the whole series. We've tried to encourage him, tried making him read, but it doesn't work. My latest ploy is to find 'boy' books. 

Even though Big Prince doesn't like to read he sat in front of his computer last Friday and started his own story.

He spent the whole weekend working on this story and on Wednesday morning, before school, he asked me to print it so that he could take it to school. He was so proud of his story that he wanted to share it with his friends and his new teacher. 

I read through his story while he was at school. Although the punctuation and spelling could've been  better the story itself was good. He'd managed to get in some action, come up with fictional creatures with abilities and created a whole world for them. As I read I imagined the world he was trying to paint for me. I was so proud.

He started another story a couple of days ago and that made me wonder if he's got the writing bug. Mine bit when I walked into the world of novel writing and it's here to stay. I'll be watching Big Prince over the next few weeks. He gives up on things when they become too hard but I'm hoping he continues with this.

If writing is what Big Prince loves to do I will support him every step of the way. And maybe one day I'll see my son's book on shelves at Tesco.

What do you think, is the writing bug hereditary or do you "catch" it? 

5 Tips for Coping with Sudden Alone Time

This morning the hubby has headed off to London for an overnight stay. He's working and that means I am suddenly alone in the house. It almost never happens but when it does I struggle, it's like a part of my brain shuts down.





I have an evening planned out and wanted to give you 5 tips for surviving alone time when it is thrust upon you.

1.      Lock away chocolate, crisps, snacks, cakes etc...


I have a tendency to eat whenever the hubby is away. I don't just mean snack either, 4 packs of crisps at least, then a chocolate bar. A coffee and biscuit followed by another pack of crisps. The hubby goes  away and has business meetings in restaurants and I sit at home and eat my way through our cupboards. Ugh!


2.      Do something you enjoy while the kids are at school



I spent an hour playing a computer game this morning. It's time that I should've spent writing or cleaning but I decided to give myself some time to adjust to the quiet. I am now relaxed and ready for the kids coming home.


Listen to music, play games, sit and drink a hot cuppa - go on, you deserve it.


3.     Plan something for you and the children to do together


Me and the boys are going to be watching Frozen this evening. They love having a movie night and were excited when I told them. It gives them a chance to wind down before bed time, they get to munch on goodies and I get to forget about being alone for a couple of hours. Win.

4.     Use time for hobbies


I love reading and sketching (sometimes). When the kids go to bed I may get out my pencils and sketch something. Or I might read my book. Or I could write more. The possibilities are endless. 

5.     Wind down


Watch an adult movie alone (perhaps not a horror) and pour a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Allow yourself to be taken into the movie and forget. Enjoy your wine/coffee, snuggle under a blanket and cry your eyes out at the girly movie you chose (c'mon, you know you did).

Every single one of these things are on my list and I'm hoping that I'll still be sane this time tomorrow. Wish me luck!



How do you cope with sudden alone time?


Mama and More

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch

Bigger Phones


The Apple event was held on Tuesday 9th September. At this event the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were unveiled. Two new phones, as predicted. 

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7inch display (just like the Samsung Galaxy Alpha or the HTC One) and its dimensions are: 

Height = 138.1 mm (5.44 inches) 
Width = 67.0 mm (2.64 inches) 
Depth = 6.9 mm (0.27 inches) 
Weight = 129 grams (4.55 ounces) 



The iPhone 6 Plus has a massive 5.5inch display and its dimensions are: 



Height = 158.1mm (6.22 inches) 
Width = 77.8mm (3.06 inches) 
Depth = 7.1mm (0.28 inches) 
Weight = 172 grams (6.07 ounces) 


With an A8 chip (computer stuff inside) the phone is now 25% faster, 50% better graphics and 50% more efficient. That means that it can do internet stuff without slowing down, maybe. A new M8 processor (more intelligent computer stuff) enables the iPhone 6 to track data such as the steps you're taking and your elevation (whether you went up some stairs). The new Health app makes it far easier to keep track of your activity, great if you love to keep track of what exercise you've been doing. 


Camera 


The 8mp iSight camera is enabled with improved face detection, image stabilisation (stops the wobbling when filming) and burst mode on the FaceTime camera. Improved slo-mo and time-lapse so you can capture fantastic looking slowed-down videos or time-lapse videos too.

Apple Pay 


Apple announced a new payment system at their event but rather than go into details I will say it's not coming to the UK for the foreseeable future. It does look cool and futuristic but, as usual, we'll just have to wait. 

I did order a new iPhone 6 and am hoping it will arrive tomorrow (Friday 19th September). I will be spending lots of time taking photos, playing and checking how everything works over the weekend and intend to write a review next week. 

You can find the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Store



One more thing... 


At the event Tim Cook used a classic Steve Jobs line. One more thing... 

The Apple Watch, previously thought to be called the iWatch. This amazing piece of technology had me drooling. Mesmerised by its shiny metal and soft looking leather straps I stared on. I have never wanted a watch more! 

Not only is this device beautiful but Apple have utilised the side dial as a digital input for the watch which they call the Digital Crown. By twisting it you can zoom in and out of the home screen, zoom in on photos or scroll through lists. Underneath the Digital Crown is another button which, when pressed, brings up a list of your favourite contacts. 

Again the health and fitness angle was a big thing and Apple came up with a ring system that gives reminders to get you up and moving. You can set goals, track your daily activity and heart rate and it will even measure the calories you're burning. 

The Apple Watch will be available in two sizes, 38mm (height) and 42mm (height). There are 3 collections: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. All different in their own way and each with customizable straps. 

The only news for when this awesome device will be available to buy is Early 2015, who knows what that means. 

I could go on and on about these devices but I won't, this post is long enough already. All that's left to say is the best bit (I literally screamed!) was when I saw this... 



Yep, that's a dancing Mickey Mouse watch face! OMG I want one NOW!!! 



Friends

Friends

Ranting and raving
Alcohol and laughs
Shopping and coffee
Hiccups and gaffes

Chats with one
And drinks with two
All at the bar
To have a few

Friends from school
Friends down the road
All of them there
To lighten the load


A giggle or two
Venting a must
Friends together
Sweep away the dust

My friends are mums
Just like me
They need to sit
Have a cup of tea

Our lives are hectic
Hard to find time
But we do and together
We all drink wine

Friends are important
Always there for you
And you made a promise
To be there too

No matter what grief
Or troubled times
You're there for each other
And you'll all be fine.



Friends


Prose for Thought

mumturnedmom

Shine

Last week was hectic, my diary was full. The first three days of the week I had appointments which meant no writing time. On the plus side I had planned to write something for The Prompt and Prose4T.

Writing Bubble


At the hairdressers, while surrounded by chatting women, I wrote two poems. With my notebook (paper not virtual) an dpen I wrote the words that were in my head. I planned to type them into the computer later. Unfortunately that's when the tech-gods decided to stiff me with a malfunctioning iMac. The rest of the week whizzed by in a blur.

It may not be amazing but I wanted to share my poem with you. The Prompt last week was 'Shine'.

Shine


Make-up on and hair all done
Check the mirror one more time
Going out to see everyone
Got to make sure you shine.

Girl at home, alone and sad
No make-up and hair all gone
The pain inside is getting bad
But she will tell no one

You're out with friends drinking wine
Music loud and boys nearby
You smile and laugh, glad to be fine
To live your life you'll try

The girl at home sends a text
She's thinking of a friend
Closes her eyes and thinks 'what next?'
As oblivion descends

Your phone beeps and you glance down
She's grinning up at you
"Goodbye my friend and don't you frown,
DON'T be sad or blue."

Tears trickle down your cheeks
Her fight was lost today
You know she has been ill for weeks
This was the only way

"Shine!" she said long ago
SHINE is what you'll do
SHINE for her and not be low
SHINE your whole life through



The Near-Death iMac Experience

Safari (not responding)


For the last few days I've been plagued by technical issues. I haven't written anything since Tuesday, I've missed some of my favourite linkys and I've been stressed. All down to the iMac being near death.

On Thursday morning, after going for my walk, I sat in front of the iMac and tried to refresh my tabs in Safari. I waited a moment but when nothing happened I tried quitting Safari. Again nothing happened. My iMac just froze.

I called the hubby and he came to investigate. After lots of key presses and mouse-clicks the iMac refused to respond; we had to force a shut down.

How's the Book Going?

Writing Bubble

Last Friday when I took part in the 'Word of the Week' linky I was pleased with myself. I'd had a good week organising the house and planned to get a new desk to make working easier. The kids were back at school and I was enjoying the peace and quiet by sorting things out. But my good mood was about to be crushed.

This morning I went for a walk with a couple of friends and one of them asked me that dreaded question:

Organised

In our house we have two spare rooms, one downstairs and one upstairs. Both of these rooms were filled with junk over the years; old toys that I couldn’t throw away, old clothes that the boys had grown out of and old shoes (who knows why).

We started a clear-out a couple of weeks ago and filled the car with bin bags full of junk. It took three trips to the local recycling centre to empty both rooms. I can see the carpet in there now!

The start of this week I spent my time making sure uniforms were washed, ironed and ready. I got winter coats out as the weather turned and had new school bags and lunch boxes ready for the start of school.

I have now realised, after spending the day working in my office, that I need a bigger desk. My current desk is very narrow and I can’t work properly. I feel squashed in, even though the room feels so much bigger. This weekend there will be a trip to Ikea to get me a new desk.

I have spent the last couple of weeks putting things in their place and that's why my Word of the Week is ORGANISED.

Everything in its place, a tidy house, and peace and quiet when the kids are at school. Bliss.

The Reading Residence

Apple Event: iPhone 6 & iWatch?

The next Apple event is imminent!

Apple Event September 2014


The event will take place next Tuesday, 9th September at 10am Pacific Time. For all of us in the UK that's 6pm. In previous years Apple broadcasted the event and the hubby and I watched it, for free, using the Apple TV. An icon pops up on the main screen just before the event and it won't do anything until the event starts. 


iPhone 6

At the event Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone. It may be called the iPhone 6 but if rumours are to be believed this time round there's going to be two new iPhones. A 4.7in model and a 5.5in iPhone are both expected so does this mean they will have different names like they did with the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C? I've seen some people saying these new phones will be the iPhone Air and the iPhone L but I'm not sure about those names.

Historically Apple announced an iPhone on, say 10th September, and then shipped two weeks later. This means, if they stick to that, the new iPhone could be on its way to you by 23rd September. However rumours also suggest that the larger iPhone, if they do it, would be shipped later.



iOS 8

Along with the new iPhone comes iOS 8 and lots of new features. At their event in June Apple showed the new photo editing, Family Sharing and something called Health Kit. I can't wait to find out about Health Kit; tracking my exercise has become a big thing for me. QuickType is another new feature that will be in iOS 8 as well as being able to download personalised keyboards. I'm sure we'll hear lots more about these features on Tuesday.



iWatch

This is the one thing people are unsure of. It's the device everyone wants Apple to make but as yet they haven't. They could announce it on Tuesday at the iPhone event, thought to be an accompanying device that would make sense, but Apple don't like to shift focus from their main device. They may decide to hold a separate event for the iWatch.

Thoughts...

I am ready for a new iPhone, I own an iPhone 5, now two years old. If there is a choice of size I'd go for the smaller one, I don't want to lugg around a 'phablet'. Holding a device a little smaller than an iPad to my ear? No. I don't think so. I'm interested to see if they offer the coloured backs on the phones too.

I'm excited about iOS 8. There are a few new apps that I'll be looking at and the new integration with OS X Yosemite will make working a lot easier. I'm most excited about HealthKit.

The iWatch... what can I say? Ever since the rumours started about this device I needed one. I didn't buy a fitbit or tom-tom watch because I've been waiting for this announcement. I will be disappointed if they don't announce it.

Are you looking forward to a new iPhone? What features would interest you?

Check back next week, after the event, when I'll be reviewing the announcements and translating all the jargon!

What Makes You Happy?

I was tagged by Maddy at Writing Bubble in the happiness meme. Maddy is about to launch a new linky for writers, opening on 9th September, called What I'm Writing. If you're a fellow writer/blogger you should come and join in. Share your stories/writing annoyances with those who understand what you're going through.  



Who makes you happy?

  • The hubby. When I'm in a bad mood he will repeat a line from our favourite TV show (Friends) to make me smile. He makes me laugh, encourages me to push myself and is always there when I need him. I don't know what I would do without him. 

  • My boys, Little Prince and Big Prince. Little Prince is our entertainer; he wakes up every morning with a smile on his face and always does his best to make us laugh, sometimes resorting to sticking out his bottom and blowing raspberries! Big Prince is much more comfortable making us proud and is often found in front of the computer. He creates animations, he writes stories, and he loves to draw. He has started learning to draw using his computer too. Again - I don't know what I'd do without these two.

  • Family. My mum and dad visited over the holidays and it made me realise how much I miss them. They live 90 miles away and I hate that I don't get to see them enough. My brother and his little family came to visit too - loads of people in the house and I loved it!

  • Friends. I have a few close friends, all mums. Last week we enjoyed a night out at a pub, ate good food and had a laugh talking about our stressy holidays. Who could do without their girlfriends?

What makes you happy?

  • Writing. Whether it's blogging, poems or writing my novel, it all does the job. I love that sweet spot when you don't need to think about what you're writing, it just flows from your fingers. The ability lose myself in the words is magical.

  • Running. No one is more surprised by this than me. A year ago I couldn't run up the stairs never mind 2 miles on the treadmill but the more I do it the more I enjoy it. Music thumping in my ears, my feet pounding the treadmill and my lungs burning - a great way of relieving stress.

  • Music. All kinds. I love jazz when I'm working, P!nk when I'm in the car and Meatloaf when I want lots of noise. Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Where makes you happy?

  • Orlando, Florida. As a family we've visited Orlando many times, creating new memories each time we go. When we come home I feel like I'm leaving behind a part of myself. Wonderful memories of both LP and BP running around with big smiles fill my head and I'll never forget the first time LP met Mickey Mouse.

  • My little office. I have just cleared out a lot of junk from my office (old toys, old shoes etc) and it feels a lot more open. When I'm working I can shut the door, put the music on and zone-in on my work. It's my own space.

  • Home. It has all the things I love, the hubby, my children, coffee and my bed. I moved around a lot when I was growing up but this house is my home. I've watched my children grow, entertained family and seen many christmases here. As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home."

I'm tagging Lysa over at Welcome to my Circus. I'm looking forward to reading your post Lysa.

Reading - Pass It On

Me and the hubby love to read. Getting in to a good book, living a different life and experiencing new things through the eyes of a character is brilliant. 
I have read lots of books including the Twilight Saga, the first Dexter book and a few books by Ben Elton. My all-time favourite author is Michael Crichton, his books are always interesting, even the science bits, and they make you think about your ideas about various subjects. 
If you haven't read State of Fear you should, it has some good arguments on both sides of the 'climate change' issues.
Reading - Pass It On | Morgan's Milieu: Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss
LP's favourite book of the moment

Why am I talking about how much I like reading? 
Well I'd hoped that my love of reading would rub off on my children. Big Prince is not much of a reader - he thinks of it as a chore. We've tried to get him interested in various books but nothing seems to grab his imagination. 
I'm hoping a new book I've found will help and before long he'll have the reading bug. Keeping my fingers crossed might help. Maybe.

On the other hand Little Prince has the bug already, he is 5 years old and can't get enough of books. He has a bookcase in his bedroom filled with all kinds of books and he picks one for me to read every night. 
Not only that but whenever I go into his room in the middle of the day I'll find books in his bed (that he's slept on), on the floor by his bed, down the side of his bed and under his pillow. I must pick up twenty books every day! 
Does it annoy me? 
No way. 
I think it's great that LP loves books and I will continue to read stories to him until he asks me to stop. 

I get to enjoy all the classic stories again as I read them to my boy. Last night we read The Gingerbread Man and he read along with me.
LP's favourite book is Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss, his favourite part being the tweetle beetles. If you don't know what I'm talking about you should get this book. It is a tongue twister but great to read.

Big Prince may not want to read (just need to find the right book) but Little Prince does. He can't wait to be able to read himself and I can't wait to listen to him.

Do you have readers in the family? 
What books do your children enjoy?


What Lies Beneath

This week's mommy reality challenge is to show all of you what lies beneath my couch cushions. Here's what my couch looks like...
Brown Leather Sofa

And this is what is under the cushions...

Crumbs. Not much else there. Before you ask, no I'm not a neat freak. However I did spend two days tidying the house from top to bottom a few weeks ago because we had my parents coming to stay. If you'd caught me before the clean up things would've been different, believe me. I think I found a baby toy under there and my youngest is 5!
Jenerally Informed

Back To School... Ah That's Better

Six weeks is a long time with no routine. These last few days I have been stressed (to say the least) and the boys have been bickering and fighting (with fists!) with no end in sight. Although we managed to get out quite a lot and the boys went on lots of play-dates they still weren't satisfied. The iPads were boring, it's been cold outside and they didn't want to play with their toys. I was ready for a break, a long one.


At 6:45am this morning my alarm woke me up and I dragged my lazy bottom out of bed. I groaned; lots of things to do before driving the boys to school. School... *Ding!* Smile. My boys are back at school today and I couldn't be happier about it!

I'm sitting in front of the iMac, gingerbread latte in hand, soft jazz playing. Peace and quiet has descended over the Prince household. It. Is. Heaven. Listening to my music without having little voices screaming over it, fingers tapping away at the keyboard with no one around to interrupt. I love my boys (so much) but how I've missed this!

New routines are starting today too. I went for a walk with a friend, something I've been unable to do over the holidays. Two runs on the treadmill was all I managed (in six weeks!) and even then I was interrupted both times. More exercise - done. Healthier eating too, no more KFC or curry for dinner and definitely no late-night snacking on McCoys. The other thing I'm starting today is no alcohol. The hubby and I like to drink, a lot. In fact over the last year or so our drinking has increased to scary proportions and it's time to do something about it. From now on (at least until Christmas) there will be no alcohol consumed.

Me and the hubby aren't the only ones starting new routines, as I said the boys are back at school today. That means they're both at school daily, attend after-school clubs and will be given homework. Big Prince is now in Year 6, a big year in which he'll sit his SATs and Little Prince is in Year 1, quite a change from playing all day in the Foundation unit.

Today I have achieved so much compared to the last six weeks. I got the boys ready for school (lunch, uniforms etc), drove them to school and went for a walk with a friend. After my walk I got home and did the housework, including dusting (which I hate) and then sat in front of the computer. I sit here (latte now gone) knowing there are many more days of school ahead and I am smiling. I could get used to this.

How have you coped over the holidays and are you glad the kids are back at school?


Mama and More

Rainbow Braid 5400 Refill Kit Review

Rainbow Braids 5400 refill

Big Prince has really taken to the loom band fad that all the kids are into at the moment. I recently had the chance to review a Rainbow Braid 5400 refill kit and thought the summer holidays was the perfect time for it. 

Blue & Red Single Loom Band
When the packet arrived in the post it was perfect timing; the hubby was about to start a week of busy work and I had nothing planned to entertain the kids. BP has been making loom bands by hand (without a loom) for a while but could only manage the single ones. With a new loom and these new Rainbow Braid bands in the lounge he was eager to try making the different kinds of bands. We opened up the pack and emptied all the colours onto the carpet. Each colour comes in its own little resealable pack which is really handy when you have a 5 year old wandering around.