Finishing the Draft

As always I'm inspired to write and the boys break up for Easter on Thursday. Yesterday I wrote words for the crime novel!

Muddled Manuscript

I said last week I was inspired by a tiger photo to take another look at my fantasy novel. It has plagued my mind and is not going away, unless I do something. I will read through the draft and take notes, if there's anything worth salvaging I'll find it. A few days ago I saved the draft as a PDF to on my iPad while taking notes. If I printed it out I'd have to lug around a huge amount of paper and that's not going to happen!

I will also carry on writing the crime novel, at least for the time being. Fear caused the stall, again. I get to a particular point in the novel, about two thirds of the way through, and worry about someone reading it. Hearing them tell me how awful the writing is and I should give up because I'm terrible, would crush me. But I know I have to push through this; it's the self-doubt demon trying to knock me off course again. 

When I was tracking my progress and reporting back to you lovely people I always wrote something. Perhaps it was the pressure of reporting but it worked, so my plan is to report progress again. 

Reporting won't start until after the Easter holidays because I will get no time for creation during the holidays. If I can hold myself to this plan then maybe I'll get the crime draft finished. 

Is your writing stumbling or are you on a mission to finish a project?

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Mama and More

Health and Weight Loss Tips 13

Last week I said I'm still struggling to shift the weight, something isn't working and it was time to step it up. On Wednesday I went for my first run in about 2 months.

Morgan's Milieu | Health and Weight Loss Tips 13: health and weight loss tips badge


55, 423 steps

When I stepped onto the treadmill on Wednesday I didn't think I'd be able to run very far without getting out of breath. I haven't been running for months and I know it's hard to retain that ability if you don't keep up the exercise. After dropping the boys off at school I stepped onto the treadmill, switched on my music and began. 

What I Read 12

Another busy week gone and we're only a few days away from the boys' Easter holidays. I haven't decided yet if I'm happy about that or not. But enough about that let's get on with some sharing.

What I Read 12 | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence loves paper, she runs a linky and often talks about how much she loves stationery. That's why I was a little surprised when I read A Blessing or a Curse? In this brilliant post Jocelyn talks about how much she likes technology and is pleased her children get to use it to help with their studies. I loved this post because Jocelyn said a lot of things I'd been thinking myself. 

In #PoCoLo this week I stumbled across a post that I couldn't pull my eyes from. I'll Wait With You was so well written that I had to read it to the end and comment when I'd finished. It is a touching post about a lady with dementia and why the writer chose to work in antenatal care. Please do head over there to read.

Chantelle at Mama Mummy Mum is running a fantastic giveaway right now. Hotel Chocolate Scrambled Egg Review and Giveaway - who wouldn't want to win a Hotel Chocolat Egg just in time for Easter? Head over there and enter the giveaway for your chance to win.

Tara over at Sticky Fingers is also running a giveaway - nab yourself a Vax Pressure Washer worth £220. Now that would certainly come in handy this spring, I've entered - why don't you?

And finally I read a great review over at Actually Mummy today. Time for a change is a post about her Actually Mummy's daughter and how they want to decorate her room. With specific requests from her daughter she turned to someone for help. 

I hope you enjoy reading these posts and good luck if you enter the giveaways. See you next week for my What I Read March Roundup.

Are You Limiting Your Child's Future?

How many hours, per day, does your child use a tablet? 1 hour, 2?

Morgan's Milieu | Are You Limiting Your Child's Future?: iPad Air resting on the top of a Macbook Pro. The Macbook is sitting on a dark oak desk.

Do you restrict the time they spend on devices or do you ban them altogether?

Talking to a friend of mine this morning she told me she doesn't let her children use these devices. I was shocked. She is limiting her children's ability and possibly harming their future chances.

I do not think, even for a second, children should spend hours on end looking at a computer or tablet screen. It is not good for them to stare at screens all day. What I'm saying is there's a place for these tablets. They're a useful tool in the household and can be great for education. 

My eldest, Big Prince, had a school project last year in which he had to give a presentation. He went straight for the scissors to cut things out of a magazine. The Hubby and I suggested he use an iPad, it has apps to collate photographs, write descriptions and organise his thoughts all in one place. Not only that but he could take the iPad into school with him for the presentation, just like he'd practised. He did and after the presentation BP's friends said how impressed they were.

We had BP's parent's evening yesterday and his teacher told us he uses BP to help some of the other children when they're doing computer lessons. BP is confident using computers, iPads, any technology really. He knows enough that he can help his fellow pupils in IT. In the future BP will not be afraid to try out new technology.

And this is my point. If you deny your children access to a tablet, phone or computer you're restricting their ability to learn. The more your children can explore these devices the more they learn and that can't be a bad thing. These tablets are a part of life, that is a fact.

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A Writer's Determination

Since the start of February half-term I haven't done any creative writing. The novel has stalled, again. The problem is I reached the same point that always holds me back.

This morning blogger's block hit and I had no idea what to write about. I scoured the internet for prompts, stared at photographs hoping it would inspire me, but nothing worked.

Well, that's not entirely true - something worked. The picture of the tiger inspired me, it began talking to me and made me think of my fantasy novel, the one that I put away and didn't intend getting back to. 

Even now, after years of not reading that draft, I know the basics of the story and looking into that tiger's eyes brought it all back. I began to wonder if I could salvage something from the rubbish pile of that draft. I wanted to delve into the file, print it out, read and take notes. Then I remembered I'm still not finished with my crime novel.

It would be really stupid to think I can draft two novels at once, especially when I'm having such a hard time finishing the crime draft. The fantasy novel continues to peak my interest and I need to go through it just to check if I can save anything but I won't do that until the crime draft is finished. One at a time Morgan.

Unlike last time I WILL write something. I'm going to open scrivener and finish the crime draft, then print it out and read it. I know it won't be perfect, it's only a draft but it needs to be finished. Only then can I get on to the previous story.

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Post Comment Love

A List of Great Movies from Disney Pixar

In 1995 a film aired that would change the way everyone viewed animated movies. Up to that point Disney had been the kings of animated movies with classics like Snow White and Cinderella.

Morgan's Milieu | A List of Great Movies from Disney Pixar: Toy Story - the first in a long line of great movies.

Pixar stormed onto the scene with the brilliant movie Toy Story and clinched their place in history as one of, if not THE best, creators of animated movies. I was a young teenager when Toy Story came out and I loved it. At the time I didn't realise that my love of Pixar movies would only grow.

As a parent Disney and Pixar movies are a god-send. They entertain the children for an hour or two giving me the peace I need. Over the years I started to notice the script more than the bright colours in these movies. It was actually entertaining for me too! I found myself laughing at jokes that were clearly meant for adults. From then on I've been hooked on Pixar movies.

Here's a list of Pixar movies, starting with the brilliant Toy Story.

1995    Toy Story
1998    A Bug's Life
1999    Toy Story 2
2001   Monsters Inc
2003   Finding Nemo (A favourite of BP's when he was a baby)
2004   The Incredibles
2006   Cars
2007   Ratatouille
2009   Up
2010   Toy Story 3 (I can't believe this was 5 years ago!)
2011    Cars 2
2012    Brave
2013    Monsters University

Morgan's Milieu | A List of Great Movies from Disney Pixar: Inside Out - Pixar's movie out 24th July 2015

In July Disney Pixar release their 14th movie Inside Out and it looks like it's going to be another great movie. You can view the UK trailer and the US trailer - I prefer the US one, it's more entertaining. We traditionally go to the cinema to see Pixar movies and will definitely be going to see this.

We can expect some more great movies from Pixar including The Good Dinosaur some time towards the end of the year, Finding Dory - the sequel to Finding Nemo, some time in 2016 and Toy Story 4 in 2017. Those dates are by no means set in stone but they give you an idea of what's coming in the future.

By the time Toy Story 4 comes out LP will be 8 years old and it's unlikely he'll be very interested but the Hubby and I will continue to buy these brilliant movies.

Re-defining Myself

Last week I asked "Are You A Writer?" and, if you are, when you realised you were a writer. Some of you told me you'd always thought of yourselves as writers and some said it was a few years ago that you realised.

Morgan's Milieu | Re-defining Myself: A tidy desk with Macbook - if only mine was this tidy!

I've been writing since 2011 but didn't think of myself as a writer. I blogged about being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM), I wrote a (terrible) novel, and each time I wrote I felt a sense of achievement. Writing gave me something else to worry about other than Little Prince starting nursery. I was a young mum and letting my youngest go to nursery was a hard step. Writing was my saviour.

Over the past few months I've written daily. The start of the year saw me start writing my novel in 30 minute bursts and I made great progress. I enjoyed the writing time, got into a great routine and my story stayed in my head. Then half-term happened and messed up the routine. Not that I'm complaining, sometimes having a break does us good. The problem is the novel is still waiting for me to get back to it.

But I have done more writing.

Blog writing daily, somehow finding things to write about, has been great. It makes me feel I've achieved something every day.

I always thought of myself as a SAHM but it's time I redefined who I am. I don't just stay at home and do housework anymore. Yes, there's still laundry to do and dishes to clean, but it gets done after picking up my boys from school. The majority of my day is spent writing and yesterday I earned money for writing something - you will not believe how happy that makes me!

I decided to re-define who I am, I'm no longer a SAHM I'm a WAHM (work-at-home mum). I may work for myself but I am working and it feels awesome!

Writing Bubble

Do Your Children Know The Green Cross Code?

Teaching our children about road safety is one of the most important jobs a parent has. Ensuring they can cross safely and know the rules of the road is paramount.

Morgan's Milieu | Do Your Children Know the Green Cross Code?: bent Tricycle chained to a lampost.

Around 1,400 children aged 0-11 are killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads every year. That works out at almost 27 children every week!

When I was a new driver an incident on a quiet housing estate terrified me and taught me to keep an eye out for children when driving.  I was minding my own business when, from between two parked cars, a young boy came running out in front of my car, chasing after his ball. I stomped on the breaks, my car screeched to halt. The boy saw none of this; by the time I'd stopped he was standing on the pavement with his ball. Had I not been paying attention the story could've been very different, perish the thought.

Health and Weight Loss Tips 12

My weight is not shifting. I lose weight through the week then the weekend comes and the same weight goes back on again. 

11st 1.3 lbs

65, 878 steps

I've worked hard this week, walking more, but I'm struggling. Right now I'm at the stage most people give up. My weight is yo-yoing and I'm not happy but I won't give up. What I will do instead is step up my efforts. No more chocolate, no more alcohol, cut down food. I'm hoping combining that with starting running again my weight will begin its descent.

What I Read 11

It's been a busy week but I'm enjoying blogging more than ever. Always happy to share the blogging love I'm back again with another What I Read. Enjoy.

What I Read 11 | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

I love Linkys, who doesn't right? They allow us to share our own work and read other blog posts too. They bring bloggers together, whether through the theme of the linky or the prompt. So you can imagine my joy when I stumbled across another linky. Hosted by Rachel Hirst over at U Me and The Kids, #RetroBlogPosts Linky allows you to share any old post, any niche. Pop over there if you want to get some blogging love for an older post.

Do You Watch TV All Day?

WARNING: This is going to be a rant!

Morgan's Milieu | Do you sit on your bum all day?: Roaring Lion sitting on grass - cue rant.

Before I fell pregnant with Big Prince I worked in an office. I woke every morning, drove to work, spent hours in the office and drove home again. I stopped work to have children and becoming a stay-at-home mum was one of the best things I have EVER done.

Most of the women I know work while their children are at school. On the school-run they're dressed in their suits or uniforms and hurry off as soon as the children are in the classroom. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like. 

As I wander back to my car I think about those mums and how busy their lives must be. Not only do they work but they do housework and take care of the children too. On the plus side they get to talk to colleagues and other adults throughout the day. I would never say they have it better than me, or the other way around, but some people do.

I am a stay-at-home mum, I take care of my children and while they are at school I do the housework. A mum is not all I am. Writing is a huge part of my life now and I most of my time doing that. Recently I was talking to a friend who made an off-hand comment that wound me up. She was talking about returning to work after being made redundant and she said "I won't have to watch Jeremy Kyle anymore". She laughed at the time but I saw the look in her eye and knew what she was trying to say.

As a stay-at-home mum it is presumed that I sit on my bum all day, while the boys are at school, and watch daytime TV. I can't tell you how angry that assumption makes me. I don't remember the last time I saw any daytime TV and even if I had the time for that I'd write instead.

Admittedly the woman I was talking to didn't know that I write but even if she did I'm sure it wouldn't make a difference. Some people think that because you work from home you sit and stare at the TV instead of working. It is not real work. 

*Hear Chandler from Friends* They couldn't be more wrong.

Just because I work from the comfort of my own home does not mean I will sit in front of the TV. I spend my days sitting in front of the computer, as I would if I were working in an office. When it's time to pick up the boys from school I jump in the car and go get them. Then the housework starts. Some days I don't get a real break until 9pm, just like some of those people that go out to work. 

So no, I DO NOT watch TV all day. 

Morgan's Milieu | Do you sit on your bum all day?: Sleeping dog, rant over.

How about you - how do you fill your days?

Post Comment Love

Are You A Writer?

When did you realise you were a writer?

I saw this question on The SITS Girls website as one of their March prompts and it inspired me to write this post. 

Morgan's Milieu | Are You a Writer?: Lit up Macbook Air.

Every writer ought to sit down and think about this question. Be honest with yourself, when did that realisation hit you?

When I was a child (teens) I wanted to be a writer. My English teacher in Comprehensive School encouraged me to try and loved my stories. I wrote stories all the time and had a pretty decent imagination. I enjoyed entertaining people with the words I wrote and dreamed of the day I would write a real book.

Then I grew up. 

Saying that sounds like writing was a pipe-dream but I don't mean it that way. When I left Comprehensive School a lot was going on in my life and I didn't have time for dreams. I had to grow up fast and ended up going to College to train to be a Secretary. I needed a job and this was the quickest way I could think of getting into the workplace. My writing dreams faded and I soon forgot how much I enjoyed writing.

Fast forward 12-13 years, after having children and being thrust into a new routine, I rediscovered my love of writing. I spent a couple of months writing the first draft of a terrible novel, I even managed to write "The End" but didn't consider myself a writer. At the time I defined a writer as someone who had written a book and had it traditionally published. 

I don't think that anymore, blogging has taken over a large part of my daily life and finishing my second novel is an ongoing battle. I suffer from writer's block and other afflictions too, like the self-doubt demon. I write every day, ideas pop into my head at the most inopportune times and I'm always thinking about writing.

I first realised I was a writer early this year after reading a brilliant blog post from Honest Mum. Her post Be Who You Want To Be prompted me to start referring to myself as a writer. With linkys like #WhatImWriting and #AllAboutYou encouraging me to blog daily and the constant battles with self-doubt and writer's block how could I not call myself a writer? So yes, I AM A WRITER.

I want YOU to take a moment and think about this question. 

Don't automatically answer "I'm not a writer", really think about it.

Do you write almost daily? Sitting at a computer and typing blog posts DOES count, even typing posts out on your phone counts. Are you inspired to write posts or stories at all hours? Do you think about writing all the time? 

If you answered yes to any of those questions you ARE a writer.

I'd love to hear when you realised you were a writer, please share in the comments.

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Playing Pool at Riley's, Nottingham

I recently wrote a post about my boys' new obsession with pool and how it transformed their attitude to one another. The attitude change didn't last very long, they yell at each other all the time, but the pool obsession is ongoing. 

Morgan's Milieu | Playing Pool at Riley's, Nottingham: BP playing pool

The Hubby and I did some research into where we could play pool on a proper sized table. The boys enjoy playing so much at home we thought they might like to see a proper pool table. After a Google search we found a couple of places and Riley's in Nottingham was one of them.

Earning Money

I'm lucky, I'm in a situation that allows me to concentrate on my writing. From 9:30am (roughly) until about 3:15pm the day is mine (with a lunch break in the middle) and I can do as I choose. My boys are both at school, the Hubby works and I have the day to myself. I choose to write during these hours.

Blogging here at Morgan's Milieu keeps me fairly busy and I try to squeeze in time for my novel when I can. Generally my days are easy, I don't answer to anyone and I can be who I want to be. I realise I'm a very lucky lady to be in this position.


The last time I earned money was more than 10 years ago when I worked as an Office Manager. The pay was not good but I went to work every day, tried hard and knew that my money was earned. When I fell pregnant with Big Prince I quit work to look after our newborn and decided to be a stay-at-home mum. If I'm honest it drove me mad, I was home alone with the baby all day and the Hubby didn't get home until late. I slowly began to lose myself behind the mask of being a new mum. 

When Little Prince came along I'd got used to being a mum and resigned myself to the fact that that's all I was. One day, after reading a blog post, I thought about writing a story and the exciting journey began. Over the past 10 years I've got used to being the one who didn't earn any money but I always thought I would contribute money eventually, even if it's only a small amount. I don't know if it's pride or ambition but I have always felt guilty for not bringing in any money.

Long ago I dreamed of being a high-earner, I thought I'd get a fabulous job and work hard. Having a family has changed my dreams and these days they're small. I'm blessed with a wonderful family, we have a lovely home and I have time for myself. My dream is to earn money doing what I love. The day I bring in money from my writing I will dance around this house all day.

Have you ever earned money doing what you loved?

Health and Weight Loss Tips 11

Morgan's Milieu | Health and Weight Loss Tips 11: health and weight loss tips badge

11st 0.8 lbs

52, 169 steps

One of my friends has been looking for a job. This weekend she went to see someone about a job and got news that she starts a new job in April. This is brilliant for her and I know she'll love it but for me it means I'll have to change my exercise routine.

What I Read 10

Happy Mother's Day and welcome to another week of What I Read. Please read, share posts and maybe even say hi to the bloggers.

What I Read 10 | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 10: Casey, aka Dashboard Dad

A relatable post that touched my heart and made me remember what it was like when my boys were babies was Casey's post; FLETCH, So this is why people shake babies. I know that just the title is a little shocking, but believe me when I say Casey is in no way condoning shaking babies. Please head over to have a read and you'll see what I mean.

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 10: Mama_andmore, aka Zaz

Zaz tweeted me recently about a post she wrote and I was disgusted and horrified when I read it. In her post she explains that the N word is still out there. I couldn't believe people still say that. I'd like to think if I heard someone using that word I would say something and it's such a shame that people still think it's okay to use as a derogatory comment. A great post from Zaz and I'm glad she was able to rise above it.

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 10: Tarana Khan

Tarana wrote us some tips on how NOT to be a supermum. I am no where near being a supermum and I cheered along as I read these tips. Things like 'leave the housework' made me smile, I do that all the time! I'm sure the Hubby is nodding along right now. Really though, being a mum is hard enough why make it harder by trying to be perfect?

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 10: Virtually All Sorts Badge

I'd like to share two poems I read this week by two very talented writers. The first is by Carol Cameleon and was written for her mum, A Mother's Day poem for My Mum. It's lovely to hear how people appreciate their mum and this poem inspired a post about my mum.

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 10: Wry Mummy

Wry Mummy wrote a fab poem this week too. Other Mums is a poem that sums up motherhood for me. I'm no master-chef and I'm certainly no good at crafts but I do love my boys, better than any other mum could! Great poem.

I'm also sharing a poem I wrote for my mum last year, For Amanda, Happy Mother's Day.

As I said, please do read the other posts and comment if you have a moment. Share the blog love and make someone's day, you know you want to.

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My Mum

It's that time of year again and reading poems about wonderful mums is hurting. Not that I don't love Mother's Day, I get lovely gifts from my boys, we go to see my mother-in-law and I send gifts to my step-mum. 

But something is missing...

This will always be the case, I don't foresee any changes to the situation, there's nothing I can do to change it. My real mum is inconsistent and selfish. There I said it. That might sound harsh but I've been through a lot and when I needed her most she turned her back. 

I was 14 years old when she shattered my heart, she broke me. At a time when a teenage girl needs her mum most mine turned away. She denied me love, she called me a liar. And she will never know how truly broken I am because of her words. 

From a very young age I realised my mum didn't love me as much as my sisters. I have two sisters and to this day she sees them on a regular basis, even taking care of her other grandchildren. But I was different. I don't know why and I don't think I'll ever understand what I did wrong. I have tried, many times, to reconcile. I've given her more chances than I can count and in the end I had to cut ties.

My little family matters more to me than anything else in this world and I will not allow an uncaring person to go anywhere near my boys. Even if that means denying them a grandmother. As I see it I am sparing them the heartache I've endured. 

Mother's Day always brings these feelings up and it always will, we all need a mother's love.

I am a very lucky lady though, my two boys (and the Hubby) will make Mother's Day a great one for me, I can count on that. We'll visit my mother-in-law, chat and have tea, and then return home after a busy day. Although I won't get to see my step-mum I'll be sending her a card and gift and she'll know how much she has helped me through the years. 

To thank her for all she's done I've written a poem and sent gifts, but it will never be enough. She stuck with me through difficult teenage years. We fought, yelled and hated each other but she was there, she's always been there, and if we lived closer I know I'd see her all the time. From now on when I talk about my mum, this is who I'm talking about. A very special lady who took care of a broken child she didn't give birth to. It was a difficult job but she took it on and she did a fantastic job.

This Mother's Day please take a minute to thank your mum for all she has done. To have a strong bond with your mum is an incredible thing and you should NEVER take that for granted. Whether she gave birth to you or not she took care of you as you grew, she guided you the best she could, and you wouldn't be the person you are today without her.

Morgan's Milieu | My Mum: Roses and Thank you.

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The Ice Twins: A Book Review

Have you ever looked in a mirror and saw something off? So has Sarah Moorcroft.

Morgan's Milieu | The Ice Twins: A Book Review - A page turner and a very chilling tale.

I am Kirstie
I am Lydia

I am confident and loud
I am thoughtful and quiet

I lived
I died

Or did I?

The Ice Twins, written by S. K. Tremayne, is a chilling tale about a mother's love (and guilt), a father's pain, and a family tragedy. 

After the accidental death of one of her identical twin daughters, Lydia, Sarah and her remaining family, Angus and Kirstie, move away from London. In their new home, on an isolated Scottish island, Sarah has to deal with her troubled daughter and claims of mistaken identity. Blow after blow hits the troubled family and as I read I was with Sarah, guessing which of her daughters had survived the accident. Just when I thought I'd found the answer another twist knocked me off my feet. I was surprised, shocked and almost brought to tears by the end.

I finished the last five chapters of The Ice Twins in one sitting, I was gripped and my eyes couldn't move across the page quick enough. I enjoyed reading, it was different, intriguing and made me think. It's one of the few books I've finished within 2 weeks.

The last chapter was a little distracting, until I realised what was going on, but I loved the characters, especially Sarah Moorcroft. Her inner thoughts and fears felt so real, it was like I was in her head. The ending of the book was brilliant and shocking.

Sometimes when reading a book I try to analyse the writing, try to figure out how they did what they did. I tried that with The Ice Twins and failed miserably, I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot about analysing. For me, that's the mark of a great book!

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne: 9/10

I was sent a copy of The Ice Twins from Mumsnet Bloggers Network for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

Amazon Original: Renewal of Kids Shows

In a household of movie lovers Netflix is the best thing since sliced bread but did you know that Netflix isn't your only choice for on-demand TV?

Amazon has on-demand TV and you can access it if you pay for their Prime membership. For £79 per year (in the UK) you get free delivery on Amazon orders (which qualify for Prime), you can download one free book per month to your Kindle with Kindle First, and you can watch TV shows and movies with Prime Instant Video.

Morgan's Milieu | Amazon's Prime Instant Video: Kids and adults can enjoy on-demand TV shows and movies.
A selection of movies available on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Apple Watch and The New Macbook

On Monday evening (5pm GMT) Apple broadcasted their event and the Hubby and I sat watching using our Apple TV. We hoped to get more information about the Apple Watch and maybe some new technology. We were not disappointed.

Unlike Tim Cook (there was padding) I will get right to the interesting part; Apple Watch.

A choice of band is just one of the decisions you'll need to make with this new piece of technology. Your choices determine the price you pay for your Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Sport

Choose either a 38mm or 42mm case, made from aluminium, which comes in Silver or Space Grey. The special fluoroelastomer band comes in five colours; white, black, blue, green and pink. The 38mm case costs £299, the 42mm is £339, and the colour of the band makes no difference to the price.

Apple Watch

There are 20 different models, also in 38mm or 42mm case. The case is stainless steel and again you have a choice of strap including the sport band, a classic buckle, or a milanese loop (amongst others). Prices range from £479 to £949, depending on size and strap choices.

Apple Watch Edition

If I could choose any watch this would be it, unfortunately Apple have priced the Edition a little out of my range. The 18-carat Rose Gold case, 38mm or 42mm, comes with selected bands and prices start at £8,000. A girl can dream...

Apple Watches require iPhone 5 or above to work and come with apps already installed. These apps include Fitness, Workout and Messages. I'm a little excited about getting my hands on one of these.

The Apple Watch will be available for pre-order on 10th April 2015.

A surprise reveal at the event was the new Macbook, I'd heard rumours about this but wasn't sure if they would reveal it. The video was amazing and I fell in love - maybe because they showed the Macbook in Gold!

Let's get the technical stuff out of the way first. The screen is a 12-inch Retina Display and the Macbook comes with 256GB flash storage and 8GB memory. With battery life of 9hrs, weighing in at 0.9kg light and 13.1mm thin, the new Macbook is Apple's most portable Mac yet. You can buy it in Silver, Space Grey, or Gold (this makes no difference to price). Prices start from £1,049.

There are two significant things about this Macbook, for me anyway. The first is the keyboard keys, Apple have redesigned them. Instead of the standard scissor mechanism (underneath the keys) there's a butterfly mechanism making the movement of the keys different. Being someone who touch-types this could be a huge change for me. I think I'd want to try out the keys before buying one. The second change is the trackpad, it seems Apple wants to do away with the right-click. With the new trackpad they're introducing Force Touch which senses how hard you touch the trackpad. The whole trackpad is clickable which means there isn't a left and right-click. I'm not sure what Apple's answer to the right-click issue is.

One other issue that the Hubby didn't like is the new power port. Unlike every other Macbook there are no other ports (apart from a headphone jack). The port is a new kind, it's all very technical but they called it USB-C. It's not a regular USB and it's not the same mag-safe power adapter as in the Macbook Air. The downside to this new port is if you want to plug any devices into your Macbook you'll need an adapter. An expensive adapter.

Overall I was happy with the announcements, a new toy to help me track my fitness and a new, more portable, Macbook. All I need to do now is convince the Hubby I need both.

What do you think to the Apple announcements?
Which Apple Watch would you choose?

Do You Analyse Family and Friends?

Writers analyse, they observe, they take notes. People-watching is a skill you learn and use, sometimes daily. You take mental notes on how that woman tipped back her head as she laughed or how the man touched his nose while talking. It's all useful in some way but, as a writer, do you analyse your friends and family?

Writing Bubble

The best way to make a character seem real is to give them mannerisms or ticks, give them a personality. How they react in any given situation is dictated by you (most of the time), and people-watching can be used to aid your character development. But people-watching doesn't show you the intimate side of the relationship. The little things that a husband and wife share, or a mother and son, make those relationships special.

When I started writing I never thought about it that way, I wrote what was in my head and left it at that. The more I wrote the more I realised how flat my characters were; I had to do research. I watched people in the playground when picking my children up from school. I paid attention when out walking with the family, and I tried to remember how people from my past would react in certain situations. All the observations helped me a lot and over the years my characters have developed habits of their own. 

One thing I have never done is use something I saw a family member doing. I am so afraid of a family member realising a character is based on them that I couldn't do it. Although I want my characters to be real I don't want to make them resemble someone I know in real life. All my mental notes are taken from strangers, something I saw in a movie or at the coffee shop. I change little things here and there, add habits as I see fit and create my character as a whole new person. But does this mean my characters are missing something essential?

By using the mannerisms of someone I know would that turn my character from words on a page into a real, breathing person. Am I denying the essence of my characters because I am afraid?

Have you ever used family member's personality traits directly or as inspiration for a story?