The Joy of Reading

I’m not a bookworm. Never have been. I went through a phase of reading when I was at college. Trashy books like Jackie Collins and Sidney Sheldon! I liked the glitzy Hollywood escapism and reading about those filthy rich, gossipy characters’ lives! (They were fab weren’t they?! ha) I also used to pick up a book on holiday before I had my son. There weren’t THAT many holidays though as I had my eldest quite young and we all know once you have a kid there’s no lying on a sunbed reading a good book on holiday. Oh no…. you can forget that!

But fast forward 18 years and 4 kids later, I have started reading again and I am LOVING it!

I’m not sure how I’ve arrived here, but I think it may be a mixture of my kids being older and the fact that I’d become fed up of picking up my phone constantly throughout the day and scrolling for England, looking at any old rubbish! Scrolling through mind numbing stuff mostly, once I’d caught up with friends and blogging/work related matters! It had started to do my head in, all that screen time!

So when a friend at work who had brought in The Girl on The Train for a colleague to borrow, I asked if I could read it after. It was a hardback book with big, easy to read writing and I enjoyed the act of picking up a physical (not on a Kindle!) book and settling down to read. I found it relaxing and it felt good to be reading properly rather than reading rubbish on my phone!

the girl on the train book

I made time to read. Usually at night but at weekends too with a cup of coffee when the kids were busy. Maybe it helped that this book was a real page turner but I found myself looking forward to settling down with it!

Straight after I’d read The Girl on the Train, which didn’t take me long to finish, I started to read The Lovely Bones. My sister in law has given me some books to read and now I’m working my way through them!

the lovely bones book

This was a small book with tiny writing which put me off slightly, but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Unusual story, fascinating, from the perspective of a dead person, but wanted a bit more to happen at the end.

Now I’m reading Gone Girl. I know I know, mega late to the party with this one but looking forward to finding out what all the fuss is about! Someone told me I might be reading it too close to having read The Girl on the Train as they’re quite similar….. but we shall see. I’ve only just started it.

gone girl book

It actually feels alien for me to be enjoying reading. It’s something lots of other people do and I’ve always wanted to be part of that gang because, well, we all know it’s supposed to be really good for you! It makes you more intelligent for a start doesn’t it? Boosts brain power, helps you to relax etc etc…. I mean, as parents we drum it into our kids all the time!

My eldest has never been into books though, and my daughter will read sometimes, actually she’s reading the most she’s ever read right now which is great but I do have to suggest it at times. I’m still working on the twins. I would love nothing more than seeing their little heads in a book, being totally engrossed.

Hopefully now that my children are seeing me reading and enjoying books, I’m hoping it will encourage them too!

Lottery Dreaming

So this week it’s the Mega Week with the EuroMillions.

10 GUARANTEED millionaires as well as the usual jackpots.

I’m not religious about doing the lottery as I know I’ll never win, but weeks like this I do believe I’ll have more of a chance!

I don’t know about you but I LOVE secretly dreaming about winning the lottery and could literally drift off into another, luxurious world for hours imagining a lavish life of constant holidays and being surrounded by the most beautiful things.

I love nothing more than deciding what I would buy first. How wonderful to be faced with such a difficult decision 😉 ….. what WOULD I buy first??!!

After having a little conversation with my work colleagues this week, it seems I’m not the only one that likes to dream about this!

Do you?

I have two scenarios in this dream. One where I’m incredibly greedy and my winnings are so BIG there is literally no limit as to what I can spend! This means I have to win the EuroMillions. Especially when it’s rolled over a number of times and the jackpot is somewhere in the region of 55 million (as it has been recently!).

Yes, that’ll do nicely thank you!

After much deliberation, I can be sure my first purchase would be a brand new car! Probably a state of the art Range Rover or something like that. I need a 6/7 seater so my choices are limited. Because of this, I may buy two cars. One for when I’m with all the kids, and a little sports car for when I’m just with one, or when I’m alone! I would also buy a nice new car for the OH (whatever he wants) and something special for Teen! I would LOVE to treat Teen to the car of his dreams, even though it probably wouldn’t be a good idea as he hasn’t passed his test yet (having lessons) and therefore wouldn’t be the safest option for a newly qualified driver but…. just to see his overjoyed, ecstatic little face!

In fact, I imagine keeping my lottery win a secret initially so as to ‘surprise’ my loved ones with gifts! How exciting would that be?!

Next, I would organise to have the renovation of our house completed. I would like to see it all finished, even if we were to buy another, which of course we would, but maybe not straight away. This one is very close to my daughter’s school and she has already told me she wouldn’t move schools, even if we could send her the best school in the Country! Bless her!

However, I WOULD move my twins to a new, private school. There are one or two prestigious, independent schools not far from us that I would love to have them educated at!

Shopping on a massive scale would be taking place continually during this time I have to add.

I imagine being able to treat my family and close friends. This makes me the happiest, knowing that I could really make a big difference to their lives. But it’s more than just helping them out, it’s about them being able to enjoy my win too because if I’m going to start living a millionaires lifestyle, I want my friends to live it too otherwise what’s the point? Yes I could pay for everything, but making them rich too means they feel as though they’ve won too and we can all be rich together 🙂

Ahh….. just thinking about the choices having this much money would bring! How utterly fairy tale like…… We could have anything we wanted…..

I also have the daydream whereby I win only a limited about of money… say £500,000 or one Million. I have to be a little more restrained with this one because actually, even though either of those two figures is a life changing amount, living close to London, it wouldn’t go THAT far, especially if I wanted to buy a house! This requires a lot more careful planning, which is still wonderful, but simply paying off the mortgage and staying put in our current home would be the best option! Thus leaving some for new cars and that all important spending!

But seriously. It would just be great to not have to think about whether we can afford something. To be able to have a good holiday every year and to replace things when we need to, rather than having to make do! It would be nice to eat out more often as a family (it’s an expensive affair when there’s six of you!) and have more days out!

This week I have purchased tickets for Tuesday’s EuroMillions Draw and Friday’s too.

I haven’t checked Tuesdays yet. This is another little thing I do to keep my dream alive. I don’t like to check my tickets straight away because that way, in my mind, I could still be a winner and that means I can carry on with my oh so good daydreams of how I will spend my winnings! The moment I check them and know I haven’t won, it’s a real come down and I feel rather deflated.

So, I could be a winner right now! I could be a millionaire as we speak!

I have my ticket from Tuesday here…..

lottery ticket euromillions

I won’t be checking tonight’s ticket either. For a while!

I have to say that I haven’t won a single thing for years on the Lottery. Not even a measly tenner! It baffles me how the jackpot can roll over for weeks and weeks too, meaning out of all the millions of people who bought tickets, not a single one could match the six numbers! Crazy!

But anyway, I’ll be keeping everything crossed for tonight, and if you’ve bought a ticket, I wish you the very best of luck!

Life Update

I just wanted to write a quick post as I’ve been neglecting my blog a little of late, life has been getting in the way and however much I love my blog, family time has to come first.

I’ve decided to drop out of doing #Project365 which, for those that may not know, is a weekly linky that I’ve been joining in with for over a year and a half. I write a post each and every week with a photo representing each day and a few words explaining what the photo is about. I enjoyed it because it was a good way to keep a diary of what we get up to. I completed the whole year last year and was immensely proud of myself because it wasn’t easy, remembering to take a photo every single day for 365 days! Lots of people drop out so I’m glad I made it to the end.

But after nearly six months of this year I’m going to stop. I’ve missed a few weeks and whereas normally I’d write them all up at once, I have felt as though I’m just taking photo’s of anything really, for the sake of it, rather than enjoying it like I used to.

I think the main reason for this is my time. I don’t want to be confined to joining in every week. As I said, things have been busy at home, I work part time, we’ve had quite a few social events lately, my four children have had lots going on at school and I just want to blog when I can, not because I have to!

I still want to keep a record of what we do but will instead, just write up posts about certain events that have happened that I want to record, rather than the mundane.

If you enjoyed reading my #365 posts I do apologise! I may be back to start all over again next year, who knows!

Gellish Nails

I love my nails to look nice but however hard I try, they don’t grow very long. They just aren’t strong enough.

I’ve tried the whole nail strengtheners etc and they do work a little, for a while, but I get fed up with applying it every day. I also fiddle with my nails (an annoyingly bad habit) and once one breaks and I have to file it down, I lose interest.

A couple of years ago I had the acrylic nails applied. They looked fabulous! French manicure, ever so pretty. I returned religiously to my salon to have them re-done every three weeks or so for almost a year. But then I fell out of love with the whole process.

I hated what was being done to my natural nails.

If you’ve ever had the acrylic tips put on, you’ll know what I mean. The vigorous filing and scraping, the snipping and pulling…. it hurts. My poor nails were like tissue paper underneath it all and I decided I wanted a break from it.

It took a while to get my own nails back to normal. My finger tips felt bruised as my nails were so soft, therefore not protecting me at all. Everything I touched hurt my finger tips. It was awful.

But gradually my nails grew back and I was happy to leave them be.

When I paint my nails myself at home, however much I try to do them properly, i.e base coat, two coats of colour plus top coat…. realistically, with all that being a busy Mum of 4 entails, the colour chips after a day or two and my nails look a mess. This really bugs me. What a waste of time and effort!

So I decided this Spring to go back to salon nails. But not the acrylic tips, oh no – staying away from those, this time I wanted to stay as natural as possible and so decided to have the gel colour.

gel nailsGorgeous Springtime colour

Having Gel nail varnish applied is much the same as painting your nails yourself, but having them done by a professional is a real treat. The nail technicians prepared my nails, primped and primed them, then applied a base coat. But instead of waiting for it to dry naturally, your hand goes into a UV dryer. A bit like a sunbed for hands, but without the tanning! Then a couple of coats of colour are applied, again each time going under the lamp before being topped off with a shiny top coat and oil!

Lovely Jubbly!

The great thing about gel is that it’s super strong. I felt I could’ve put my nails through hell and they still wouldn’t have chipped. I kept this initial colour on for three weeks before going back to the salon. By this time the growth margin was quite big and even though the colour and my nails were superbly intact, I needed to have either an infill, which means applying colour to the part of my nail that had grown, or I could have the colour soaked off and some new polish applied.

I was bored with the peach by then and wanted a new colour. So this time I went for a vibrant pink!

gel nailsMy nails were slightly longer this time round, as the initial gel helped them to stay strong to allow growth!

Of course, once nails are longer, they are more susceptible to breaking, especially if you’re cleaning! I chipped one of mine this time whilst hoovering the bathroom and caught it in the weaves of the washing basket! Aargh – I was so upset! Ha! It was ok though, I just had to file it down slightly.

With that in mind, when I returned to the salon this week, I decided to have my nails cut down. You can strengthen nails further if you want them to grow very long, by having a thin coat of acrylic applied before the Gel process. I didn’t want to do this though and besides, long nails aren’t very practical!

gel nailsI went for a mint green yesterday! 

There are squillions of shades to choose from, all gorgeous. I’m actually enjoying choosing a colour to surprise my daughter – she loves looking at them and gets excited to see what I’ve chosen!

It IS a treat having my nails done. A luxury even. But this salon is extremely reasonable and I can justify it because I don’t go out much, I don’t drink and I work…. so a girl has a right to treat herself sometimes doesn’t she? 😉

My daughter is into nails at the moment! She has some of those fake plastic nail wheels that she paints with all my nail varnishes… hours of fun!

My daughter’s creations! 

She found a shade similar to the mint green I’m wearing now and asked me to paint hers the same…..

nailsMatching Mum and daughter nails! 

I’m loving my nails at the moment… not sure how long I’ll keep on having them done though. I know I’ll probably get bored at some point (maybe once I’ve tried every single shade!) and will then let my nails return to their normal state to breathe.

But for now… I’m enjoying them far too much 🙂

My 3 Blogging Bugbears

I love blogging, I really do. But these past few months I’ve been a little bit fed up with it.

And here’s why:

1. Time

This is a biggie. Blogging is no where near as easy as people may think, it’s incredibly time consuming and I could really do without it sometimes.

It was only ever meant to be a little hobby, whereas now it feels more like a full time job at times, and a very demanding one at that! Finding time for it has become increasingly challenging.

This intensified over the Christmas period, as I was busy with family life on the one hand, and wanting to chill out and do nothing but relax on the other. I had a backlog of posts I needed to get out and reviews to write up which was stressing me out immensely. Having a dinosaur of a PC and a virus riddled laptop to deal with didn’t help matters either… (the latter has since been rectified).

Ordinarily I spend my days either at work, keeping our home in order or looking after four children, including young twins and a high maintenance teenager (yes, they get a lot more demanding as they get older!).

My twins are struggling slightly at school, being the youngest in their year, so I’m spending more time going over reading and writing with them. My daughter is getting ready to take her 11+ exam this September (when she’ll have just turned 10.. go figure), so we are going over the dreaded verbal reasoning and maths. And Teen is taking his GCSE’s in 3 months time which means I’m having to constantly get on his case to revise.

Plus…

We are in the middle of a mammoth building project on our home as the extension has taken a new turn and started up again with a vengeance. We ran into some issues, roof related, a while back and things came to a standstill temporarily but work has now resumed and the whole house has turned into a building site! We’re still trying to live some sort of normal life whilst everything around us is literally crumbling!

So, at this very moment, time is a massive issue.

2. Guilt

If I sit down and watch TV of an evening, I feel guilty. I should really be blogging and getting those posts out, or on social media, networking and/or promoting somewhere.

When I’m not working my part time job, I might steal a few hours during the day at home to blog, which is my favourite time to write, but then I’m stressing about other things I should be doing around the house and feel guilty!

Posts need thinking about. I often find myself rushing if I have a deadline to keep to, and then I’m not entirely happy with the post. Which makes me feel guilty.

Yet, at the same time, I feel as though I don’t spend enough time on my blog. There are so many plans I made for it and lots of new ideas I’d like to implement but I just haven’t. And that makes me feel guilty!

And don’t get me started on the kids. More than anything, when my children are around, I want to be with them, doing things with them, even if it’s just watching tv with them….. I don’t want to look back in years to come and regret spending far too much time in front of a computer, or staring at my phone when the kids were little. The time they’re young goes so fast, I know this because I have a 16 yr old and it feels like yesterday that he was tiny. So if I do spend hours writing up posts when they’re around, I feel guilty.

3. Honesty

This has been troubling me for a while. It’s an issue that I didn’t really consider when I first started to blog but now it annoys the hell out of me.

I want to get personal.

I want to share more about me. Be more open.

But I can’t, because people read my blog! It’s a bit of a double edged sword. I mean, I WANT people to read my blog, of course, but because I’d like to write more about what’s going on my life; relationships, emotions, problems, opinions… as these are the things I believe my readers would appreciate, to help them connect with me, which in turn would be great for my blog….. But I don’t want CERTAIN people reading my blog! Or knowing about those things; people I know, people who I wish didn’t even know about this blog.

It WOULD make for interesting reading though!

I have to consider the children too. I don’t want to write anything that could be used in a negative way against them. Older kids are a lot less accepting. Something we may think is incredibly funny could be considered highly embarrassing for them! I’d like to write more about my Teen… there are some hilarious stories there, as well as some serious issues… but I can’t. He wouldn’t like it and I must respect that. The odd post is fine but I need to be careful, just in case his friends happen to come across it one day, which wouldn’t be difficult, not with everyone being all over social media.

There’s a lot to be said about blogging anonymously! Maybe that’s something I should consider in the future, as a little sideline…..

So that’s it, my three main blogging bugbears.

Even though I’ve made a big deal of them, they won’t stop me from writing. I just have to work around these little issues and find a balance. Blogging is addictive and the positives far outweigh the negatives. And as I said at the top, I do absolutely love it. It’s the one thing I have that’s just for me. It’s still my guilty pleasure, however much it irks me at times!  It’s taught me so much and I love the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to receive through writing my blog, even more so the fabulous people I’ve met, and I’m grateful.

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