Thankful

This morning I started out trying to be inspired by The Prompt for this week which is 'thankful'. A great prompt but it wasn't helping my blockage. A few words came but I stumbled.


Morgan's Milieu | Thankful: A darkened view of a grassy field

I wanted to write fiction. I have written no fiction for a while, I need to get back to it. Then I remembered being inspired for a blog post I hadn't written yet. All I needed to do was take a look out of my window. 

I got up, pen and paper in hand, and stared out of the window in my office. I wrote a few words, and it happened. That magic writers love; inspiration. The words flowed. And here they are...

The house is quiet; they've gone out. I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing I'm alone for a few hours. I drag myself from the bed and wander to the small window. The chain, that's secured around my waist, drags across the floor.

From my window I peer at the world. Fog lingers on the hills in the distance blurring the browning trees. The sun is trying hard to burst through the clouds but failing. Fields span the horizon, green sheets lined by brown trees. Behind one of the smaller hills I spy the tops of rushing cars and lorries. They speed along that busy road, not knowing that I'm here. Maybe Dad is driving one of those cars.

Tears fill my eyes. My heart aches, my chest tightens.

A sob escapes and echoes around my dark prison. I turn and scan my surroundings for the hundredth time. Wooden beams support the roof above my head, restricting space. My bed, the thin mattress on the floor with a sheet on top, sits between two beams in the far corner. One end of the chain is wrapped around the beam next to my bed, secured by a large padlock. The other end circles my waist, again secured by a padlock. My hands are free, for now.

The tears spill onto my cheeks. Accepting my fate I walk to my bed and sit, crossed legs. I cover my face with my hands and scream into them.

A loud bang beneath me shakes the house. I raise my head from my hands, eyes landing on the attic door across the other side of the room. Out of reach.

My heart races and my muscles tense. They're back already?

Muffled voices come from below. I shuffle back on my bed, huddling into the wall. I wrap my arms around my knees and watch the door.

The stairs creak. The banister cracks. Adrenaline rushes through my body and I wipe the tears from my face. I won't let them see me crying. Footsteps come closer. The attic door clicks and light floods into my room as the door opens. Metal scrapes against metal as the ladder slides down to them.

Boots on metal.

I don't think I can take it again. Please let them leave. Please.

A head rises through the hole, black hair and a pale face. It peers into the dark corners of the room and I freeze. I hold my breath. The person steps up the ladder again. I jump and the chain drags on the floor.

"Lou? Louise is that you?"

Am I hearing things? That sounded like...

"Dad?" I whisper.

"Lou!"

He rushes up the ladder and storms across the attic. I get up, my legs shaking. Tears flow from my eyes. He wraps his big arms around me, enclosing me in a warm embrace. Dad unlocks the padlock at my waist, drops the chain, and it thuds on the floor. My legs give way beneath me and dad picks me up and carries me towards the attic door.

It may not be great but getting inspiration makes me feel better. I've written a piece of fiction and I'm hoping it's just the start. And you know what? It fits into this week's The Prompt too (kind of). Yay!

Prose for Thought

mumturnedmom

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Christmas Shopping - How Do You Do It?

I prefer this to the manic shopping centres!

There's less than a month to go...

How prepared are you?

Are all your gifts bought? Wrapped?

Or, like me, have you still got EVERYTHING to do?

Hello World!

It's World Hello Day!

Celebrate World Hello Day


World Hello Day began back in 1973 in response to the conflict between Israel and Egypt. It's aim is to promote peace all over the world and their message is to use communication rather than force, to resolve conflict. Since the start 180 countries have taken part.

It's easy to take part.


Simply say hello and give a good-day greeting to 10 people or more today. It can be friends or family but try and be brave; say hello to a stranger or someone in the street. It could be a chance for you to speak to the secret crush you have, and if they look at you strangely you can blame World Hello Day.

You can even take the opportunity to learn something new and say hello in a different language. Here's how to say hello in 10 languages (click on the links to hear it):

Russian - привет (privet)
Greek -   γεια σας (geia sas)

German - hallo 

Turkish - merhaba

Finnish - Hei

Spanish - ¡hola

French - bonjour

Chinese - 你好

Italian - ciao

Czech - ahoj

Go on, spread the love! Say Hello.

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Top 10 Kids Movies

Watching movies has always been one of the ways we spend time together as a family, but it’s also how the boys enjoy spending time at weekends and after school, especially if there’s a new movie out they’ve been waiting for. Over the years we have accumulated hundreds of DVDs and most evenings the Hubby and I sit and watch something, whether that’s a movie or our favourite TV show. The boys enjoy sitting in our 'movie room' munching on popcorn and watching a movie They love it even more when their friends visit for movie night. Given our love of movies I asked the boys to share their top 10 kids movies with you.


Top 10 Kids Movies | A cinema is a great way of spending time together with your kids.
Visiting the cinema with your kids could be a great way of finding new movies.



At 5 years old LP has his favourites, they’re all animated and that just reflects his preferences at the moment. 



Wreck It Ralph 


He loves Wreck It Ralph, all the jokes and the colour gets him laughing. This is one movie we don’t mind watching with him too, it’s amusing seeing all of the “old school” references like PacMan and how all the characters from our favourite Arcade Machine games interact with one another. It’s a fun movie with a good story. 



The Incredibles 


LP loves the action in this movie, and his favourite character is Dash - to be honest I think he thinks of himself as a bit of a Dash! He’s always rushing around and trying to speed through everything. He enjoys watching Dash help his dad (which he also likes to do) and be the superheroes they were born to be. A fantastic movie, made by Pixar (I haven’t seen a bad Pixar movie yet!), and one all the family can enjoy. 





I have a very simple definition of a good movie: a good movie makes you forget you're watching a movie.

Michael Cimino





Toy Story 3 


Another Pixar movie LP always enjoys a Toy Story day. He will often want to watch all three in quick succession. And of course he has to have his Buzz Lightyear and Woody dolls with him when watching. Woody is his favourite, and he even has a pull string too. It’s funny watching him play with Woody as he watches the movie. 



The Lego Movie 


Young boys do love Lego don’t they? Imagine a movie that brings that lego to life. I have no doubt that’s why LP loves this movie so much. Seeing characters like Batman brought to life who have a brilliant sense of humour too - a young boy’s dream. The Hubby and I have watched The Lego Movie too and I have to say it’s very entertaining. There’s some jokes that must go over the kids heads and Hubby and I always laugh. I love a kids movie that acknowledges adults will be watching too. 



Ice Age Series 


This is a bit of a cheat because there’s 3 movies in the series (so far) but LP tends to watch them together. He has a bedding set themed on Ice Age, and he has books to read too. I think he likes all the snow and watching the animals have fun while beating the challenges thrown at them during the movie. 


Top 10 Kids Movies | The snow in Ice Age is very appealing to the kids.
A winter wonderland the kids would love.



BP, now 10 years old, prefers the older movies. He does enjoy a good animated movie but his tastes are starting to change a little and there are a one or two live action movies he likes too. 



Star Wars 3 


I’m not sure why he chose this movie in particular but it is his favourite of the Star Wars movies. To be honest I’m not much of a fan of the series but I know it’s huge and very popular. I think BP likes it because of all the fantasy - the aliens and space travel is very appealing to a young aspiring writer



Lilo & Stitch 


Being a huge Stitch fan, he’s even drawn him once or twice, this one was an obvious choice. He likes the story but I think what he likes most is that he gets to see Stitch. I love this movie because it’s about family, and teaches children that even though someone might be a bit different they can still be part of your family. A good lesson I think. 





One of my main weaknesses is a good movie. I'll just bawl my eyes out. 

Randy Houser





Rio 2 


Not having watched this movie I don’t know a lot about it, but I do know it’s about birds. BP often has this movie playing after school when he’s “chilling out”. 



The Simpsons The Movie 


It’s so funny when BP watches this movie because he laughs a lot. His funny little laugh echoes through the house and I have to laugh too. The movie is full of amusing things and I think the fact that it’s about The Simpsons, a dysfunctional family that truly love one another despite driving each other mad, makes it fantastic. And BP loves the SpiderPig too. 



The Sorcerer's Apprentice 


Another movie that also fuels his love of fantasy. A young boy learns to be a sorcerer, as the title suggests, but BP likes it because I guess he can imagine himself being that boy. He likes the magic and mystery of this movie.


Magic...


When given the choice I’m not sure whether BP would choose an animated or a live-action movie, I think it depends what mood he is in. 

We have friends coming over this evening because the Hubby is in South Korea and we decided to have a movie night. The boys chose their movie - Frozen. LP said he wanted to watch that movie because his friend is a girl and he thinks she would prefer that. I have no doubt he is right. 



What are your kids' favourite movies? 




If you enjoyed this you’ll also enjoy The best movies to watch with your children or if you’re looking for other ways to spend time with your kids check out How we spend time together as a family

Do stop by Facebook and let me know what your favourite movies are. 

And if you’re looking for ways to keep your kids busy during the holidays I have this Christmas themed Activity Book for you. Why not check it out?

A Week of Lone Parenting

A week of lone parenting when you're used to dual parenting?


This week the Hubby goes to South Korea and I'll be alone with the boys...

Zombie and Frankenstein children's costumes
*screams

Forget About Technology

Surrounded by laptops, tablets and smart-phones 24 hours a day can get overwhelming. Never being out of range and always having the ability to access the internet can make you forget the simple pleasures. 


Morgan's Milieu | Forget About Technology: Two boys sat on a brown leather sofa playing games.
The boys playing games, as usual.

These days children entertain themselves with iPad, Xbox, Playstation, DVDs, Netflix and loads of other technology. They’re bombarded with advertising, whether it be on the TV or iPad, and they always want new things. New Xbox games, new characters for said games, new apps for iPad. My boys rarely ask for new toys, not real toys, like an action man or something. 

Salt-Water Engine Car


For Big Prince's 10th birthday my brother-in-law bought him a salt water engine car kit. On opening the box the hubby said BP needed help to build the car. I think the hubby was excited and wanted to play too!

Alton Towers Fireworks 2014

Alton Towers Castle at sunset
Alton Towers Castle
Every year Alton Towers reserves the last weekend of the season for their Fireworks show. On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening at 7pm the show begins. 
We attend most years (with merlin passes it's free) and the boys look forward to it every time. This year was no different and as we headed home from school on Friday 7th November they were super excited.

It's The Simple Things

We dream of a better life. 



Whether it’s winning the lottery or snagging that perfect job we have an urge to do or be better. No matter where you live or what job you have there’s always that nagging feeling someone has a better life than you. Their lives are easier, or they’re more lucky, or more beautiful. 

We work lots of hours, push ourselves hard thinking we can get there. We chastise ourselves when we don’t succeed and push harder next time. I’m guilty of this myself, I try hard to achieve something and when I don’t self-doubt eats away at me. 


Forts made from blankets
Cue blanket forts...
But lately I’ve been paying particular attention to the times when we are together as a family. Those times when the boys are playing or when we’re sitting watching a movie together. Even a simple drive in the car when everyone is singing along to a movie soundtrack. These times make me realise it doesn’t matter how much money we do or don’t have. We could be sat on the floor of an empty house or relaxing on the couch in a mansion - the only difference is the setting. My family makes my life awesome.

A drive in the car fills me with such happiness I want to cry. My boys singing along to Shrek the Musical soundtrack at the top of their voices brings tears to my eyes. They play together and a  magic sweet spot drops over them and there’s no bickering. Even ordering a pizza brings us together in a way that can’t be ignored. 

Lego Chima set
...and lots and lots of Lego
It’s those simple things. The things that just happen. Taking a minute to appreciate those times can change a dull and boring day into a magical one. It makes you realise no matter what ‘things’ we own, no matter how much money we earn, the simple things matter most. The time spent together and the love between us. That’s what makes life worth living. 

Are you ever overwhelmed by the simple things?

Drawing Stitch

Back in my teenage years I loved to draw; sketching, shading, colouring, anything artistic. I’d spend hours on one drawing and even though I had little talent it made me happy. I was self-critical, but I always enjoyed the challenge of sketching something intricate.

Drawing of Stitch by adult
My attempt at drawing (and colouring in) Stitch



My eldest son, BP, likes drawing too. When he’s inspired he can spend ages on a drawing. For christmas last year we bought him two ‘how-to-draw’ books. They taught you, step-by-step, how to draw Disney characters and villains. We are big Disney fans and thought this would be the perfect fit. So far he’s tried three Toy Story villains including Zurg. 

Back in September last year I impressed BP with my attempt at drawing Stitch. He has avoided drawing the little alien since then. For half-term I challenged BP to draw Stitch, and it lit a fire in his belly. He spent the whole afternoon sketching. When he’d finished he was proud of himself but wanted to colour it in too. He asked me if I would colour in my drawing so he could watch how I did it. I agreed.

He surprised me with his enthusiasm and he listened to my advice, which is a novelty!



Drawing of Stitch by 10 year old

BP's drawing of Stitch. He makes me so proud!



I’ve challenged him to do more drawing. At the moment the Disney characters are enough and he has a Marvel how-to-draw book for later. I want him to get to a place where he can challenge himself. But I look forward to the day he creates his own characters and I see them animated in the next Pixar movie!

How do you challenge your children?


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A New Yoga Routine

At the start of half-term, concerned that I wouldn't be doing any walking, I checked out yoga videos on YouTube

I rolled out the mat. The instructor recommended doing yoga every day for a week. And this is how it went...

Monday 27th October

Day 1


Followed the instructor on the video. My whole body stretched and lengthened which is a new experience. I enjoyed it though. Being able to exercise my body without getting out of breath is nice too.

The Wonders of Organisation

Half-term is over; time to get back to work. 


The house is empty and quiet. My room is waiting…

At this point in my cycle I’m usually struggling to find the motivation. The kids are back at school, I have plenty of time to work but motivation escapes me. 

Except this time it’s different. I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. 

In the past few weeks I’ve spent time organising my files in Scrivener. My chapters are labelled, my scenes colour-coded. The novel is the most organised it’s ever been, and it has done wonders for inside my head. The labels and colour-codes are in my head too and without even loading Scrivener I can think about a chapter. Before opening the page I can see the characters interacting and get it straight in my head. 

Thinking what comes next isn't an issue, I can choose which chapter to write. And that makes the experience of writing the novel more exciting. I can't wait to start writing again. 

It's great when you can start a period of work with positivity. I hope I can keep it up until Christmas.

How are you doing after the half-term break?

Writing Bubble

The Bickering Siblings

When I was a child, living at home with my parents, me and my sisters fought. We bickered and taunted each other. We pulled hair, scratched, bit, punched and kicked. The older we got, the worse the fighting got.

I remember our mother yelling. A lot. She told us to stop bickering and annoying each other. She confiscated toys, took away TV and punished us in every way she could. In fact I remember getting a clip around the ear once or twice.