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Blogizing: The Book That Changed My Life

We all have that one book that once we have read it, it stays with us forever.  For whatever reason it made a huge impact.  Whether it is because you can relate to the character, the situation or it just ‘clicks’ with you, you know after reading it, it is with you, part of your brain and part of your soul. The book I am referring to is One Day by David Nicholls.  It was made into a film starring Anne Hathaway as the leading lady.  I was so excited when I found out they were making the book into the film and I had high expectations.  Unfortunately…it did not fulfil them and I was left feeling a little disappointed.  Which initially surprised me as I really do like a film with Anne Hathaway normally, she played a great part in The Devil Wears Prada, and I think that is when she first caught my attention.  Anyway….after some further consideration I realised perhaps the film was nt all that bad and it was in fact my actual love for the book, and the fact i had read it a couple of times, not only digested the information contained within the book, but pretty much memorised it, therefore noticing every little thing they actually left out of the film, and the parts they had changed.

This was the first book that I ever finished.  FACT

This was the first book I actually ever cried at. FACT

This is the only book that has had an impact on me. FACT

By why? I hear you say…..

It is written within an era I was growing up in therefore I have a connection straight away…..the 80’s! I was born in 1980 and although the fashion and music in my opinion, leave a lot to be desired I still love the 80’s.  The way people seemed to ‘make do’, the  memories of my family, places I lived, toys I played with, holidays I enjoyed.  These were the happiest ten years of my life, as at the age of 1o my parents separated and subsequently divorced, so I hold the 80’s up there as important, happy, iconic years of my life.

As I began to read the story, I really related to the main character Emma, and felt it could even have been me.  Not actually me, but if I was to be auditioning as a part to play Emma in a film, based upon my love life and my expectation of my love life….it definitely could have been me.

One Day is a funny/sad love story spanning twenty years, a book about growing up – how we change, how we stay the same.

The story basically follows two people, Emma and Dexter-who meet at University on their night of graduation and the following day they go their seperate ways.  However, on the same day every year they catch up on what is happening in each others lifes.  It follows them for twenty years, showing how they change.  You so desperately want them to get together and when it is right to do so for one of them, it is the wrong timing for the other.  Many things happen and they change for the better and for the worse.  Dexter follows the wrong path of drink and drugs and Emma just does not seem to be reaching her full potential.  Eventually they get together and what happens next was such a shock, I cannot tell you!  Well, actually…..I can tell you but it is still painfully difficult…..Emma is hit by a truck whilst riding her bicycle through the streets of London.  I remember reading this book whilst in the bath and I actually sobbed.  Not cried as in tears running down my cheeks….but full on balled my eyes out to the point my cheeks stung from the tears.  This was such a tragic story.  From the point of meeting Emma loved Dexter, but he was so silly not to realise it.  Eventually, he finally came to his senses, sorted out his life, they get together and she is killed.  ‘That would just be my luck, I thought!

It is n’t that I am a particularly morbid person in any way.  I do however have an irrational fear of death.  I am always pursuing ‘my one true love’ whoever that may be and I am so worried that if I find them they will be taken away from me.  Riddiculous I know, and probably the reason I have never been lucky enough to meet my soul mate.  The universe probably thinks I do not deserve it or cannot handle it.  Quite possibly correct.  The good news is, I am receiving counselling for my fear as it extends to all parts of my life, to a point where I can be quite self destructive in order to protect myself and/or others.  I do this subconsciously, so a lot of the time I do not even know I have done it.

I have moved on to realising that I am just as entitled to a happy life with happy things in it that any other person.  This has been a big step for me.  I also now know that when good things happen it does not automatically mean things will be taken away from me.

This book was life changing for me.  Not just because I, at the time, related to the story, but because it made me realise the intensity of my fear and after some years finally get some help. Never have I again managed to engage so much with a book, nor have I cried to that extent.  Thank you David Nicholls for what is likely to be ‘the’ book that changed my life!

http://www.davidnichollswriter.com/one_day

Which book has had a lasting effect on you? We would love to hear about it 🙂

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Solving Storage Problems for Children: I’m Hooked!

http://www.fieldsofblue.co.uk/coloured-pencil-coat-hooks.html

I had a problem.  Every day when I collect the children from school and take them home, as soon as we walk through the door the same thing happens.  They take their shoes off in the hallway and place them on the shoe rack (good work kids) then on the way from the hallway to the lounge area they take their coats off (whilst still walking) and drop it on the floor at the point wherever the coat is off their arms.  (Aarrrgghhh!!!) This is not so great!  This same action every day grates on me.  One day feeling rather stressed out I said “Why every day do you do this?” My youngest daughter who was 5 at the time, looked at me with a blank look on her face and simply shrugged her shoulders.  She did not even get what I was talking about, it was a look of ‘who cares? What’s the big deal mum.’ My eldest daughter, aged 7, looked at me and said rather nonchalant “Because there is nowhere to put it.”

I had always asked them to take their coats upstairs to their bedroom, but when I actually thought about it, when returning from school the first thing they want is a drink and a snack.  As the kitchen is not on the way to their bedroom the likelihood of the coat arriving there before they arrive in the kitchen is zero.

I had to think of a resolution.  Obvious…right? I suddenly had a ‘tahdah’ moment – COAT HOOKS

Oh……coat hooks.  Simple resolution, right? No……

Because if you are anything like me, you wont be happy with the ordinary coat hooks that you can get in your local hardware store….

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This particular example is £210, yeah it is solid wood (which is always a bonus with me) but where is the design, it is not attractive and the hooks are not always going to be covered by coats.  My thoughts were I would like something which is different, and attractive and could be made into a feature.  I also wanted something which my children would actually use, something they find to be a novelty.

After some searching I found the perfect solution.  A fabulous six coat hook rack which look like a set of pencils.  It looks like a great feature and you can even put in photographs of your children so they know who’s hook is who’s – so no more arguing! Win-win situation.

pencils

The rack costs just £119.00 (but if you are quick can get it on sale at a discounted price of £89.00) and can be purchased from http://www.fieldsofblue.co.uk/ But be quick as there is only one left in stock!

For those of you who would love something a little more shabby chic by style, there is a great alternative also available from Fields of Blue, at an exceptional value price of £19.95, and it still offers you the option of inserting photographs so as to avoid the arguments over who’s peg is who’s.  Alternatively, you could insert some of your favourite pictures of small paintings done by yourselves or your children.  Be creative 😉

hook

Since getting the hooks, the problem is solved, my children not only now put their shoes on the shoe rack, but they also remember to hang up their coats.  No more stressed mum upon return from school, and additionally, we always know where coats are in the morning on the way out of the door!

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Going Backwards? It is not possible, time will never allow it

I had my first child at 17, needless to say I was nt married and the relationship did not last. By 28 I had given birth to my second and third children.  I still was not married, nor did the fella ever intend to propose, mainly as he knew he had some sort of control in this matter, and all I ever wanted was the happily ever after.  So I planned the wedding, and when our third child was 6 months old, we got married.  I was never proposed to, and he never said he wanted to marry me, but he did. I am now divorced. Single again and have been for two years.  I am dating, for the first time in my life.  I meet men, go on dates and if I want to see them again I do, if I don’t  then I don’t.  For the first time in my life, I realised I actually had a choice in relationships.  My children are older now.  I go out with friends, I go on holiday with them, weekends away to festivals and allow myself that time to let my hair down.  I am truly living a single life.  With three older children in tow.  They of course also get my time, but as I am sole carer, with not much of a break I allow myself some freedom now and again.  I benefit, but so do they.

I had a career at 21, working in a law firm, receiving a large pay check at the end of each month and a decent annual bonus to boot.  At 30, I left, I’d had enough of the rat race and returned to university.  I am a student. I also work, part time.

I had a house at 21, albeit with a mortgage but it was mine.  After a failed engagement and then a failed marriage and all the financial implications that came with that (thanks ex-husband for eternally lumbering me with your debt) I now live in rented.  Although it is not all bad, as in actual fact this is the first house that actually feels like home to me, since leaving my parents home some 15 years ago.

At 21, despite having a child, I had savings.  Maybe this was because it was before the recession hit us, I do not know.  But I now no longer have savings.  Another way I have gone backwards…..?

I felt at one point I had it all.  Husband, children, career, money. But I did not.  I did not have my freedom, nor my happiness. I was sad, and despite being surrounded by my husband and children I felt lonely.  Nothing fulfilled me.  I felt like a shell, an outline of a person with nothing inside. Empty.

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I used to be very creative, but all of this had fallen by the way side to make time for my career and my children.  I was desperately trying to hold everything together and it worked for a couple of years, but once the cracks began to show, no matter how much I tried to plaster of them, it was just a temporary fix.  I had to strip back to basics, and reassess my life.  At first I thought I had thrown everything away, until I realised I had in fact just began to clear everything away.  The things which I no longer needed in my life as they served no purpose, and in fact made me very unhappy.  However, I am happier now than I have ever been.  I still have problems in my life I have to deal with, but I do not ‘struggle’ to deal with them.  I am not constantly stressed out and have managed to develop a ‘whatever will be, will be’ attitude.  I believe sometimes we are so conditioned by society that we believe the house, car, husband, children, career blahdy blah is what is going to keep us happy. Having lived that live, it did not work for me, and I know plenty others that it has not worked for either.

If you feel unhappy, it is time to assess your life.  Do not be frightened, as you have to do this, for yourself. You have a duty to live life in the most happiest, fulfilling way that you can.

I had difficulty allowing myself time.  I felt guilty, feeling as though I had to be there for my children 24/7.  So I not only felt guilty when I went out for dinner with friends, or for a weekend away at a spa, I felt guilty when I went to work!  Working 10 hours a day in a law firm, meant most days I did not see my children for more than an hour a day-combined from before and after work.  It made it more difficult for me to accept as when I tried to explain it to my husband, he was so money driven (mainly as I paid his bills) that he failed to even consider a reduction in my hours.  So when I was finally brave enough to take a look at my life, and after my now ex-husband had left, I know the next thing on my list was my work.  I had always been interested in people and what made them tick, so I chose to do Psychology.  I left my work, which had always served as a security blanket and I took the giant step of becoming a student. This freed up a lot of my time, and now I can take my children to school every morning and collect them from school three days a week.  The guilt of not being a ‘proper’ mother (this way my ideal of the type of mother I wanted to be) to my children has gone.  Which now means I can also take time out some weekends, guilt-free.

Your steps do not have to be as life changing as mine, I am in no way advocating that every one packs in their jobs and gets divorced.  This worked for me, and I am still in transition after two years, but every day I am a step closer to where I want to be.  So even though I looked as though I was going backwards, (and believe me, many people questioned me, and some thought I was in mid-life crisis) I actually just cleared the decks so I could move forwards. I AM HAPPY.

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Chicken Walker

I really thought I had seen everything, that was until the other day as I was driving down a main road in the town where I live in the North of England a lady was walking a chicken down the road.  Yes you heard that right……walking a chicken!!!

It turns out though that this is not such a strange thing.  I decided to have a look into this and what I found out was fascinating.   Zhu Fushun, born in 1979 from China runs a chicken farm.  He feeds the chicken on herbs instead of grain and takes them for walks (hence why he was nicknamed ‘chicken walker’).  The chicken are reared in the open wild rather than enclosed chicken farms.  Zhu is now very successful and has featured in many Entrepreneur magazines.  A billionaire also offered him more money to grow his business.  Zhu declined his offer, advising what he needed was more sales channels, and these appear to be opening up to him.

Just shows, when you have a vision and you know what you want to do, how and when, stick to your guns!

china_chickenwalker

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What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/help-advice/child-sexual-exploitation-cse

What is child sexual exploitation?

CSE is Child Sexual Exploitation. In very basic terms, it involves a victim being targeted and groomed by adults, with the intention of sexually assaulting and/or raping them.

The children are targeted because they are vulnerable; due to their age.

Grooming can take place in many forms – both ‘on line’ in social media chat rooms, via mobile phones or in person. The child will not always realise they are being groomed.

Often the grooming starts with friendship or a relationship, where the offender may supply gifts such as clothes, money, mobile phones, which may progress to the supply of alcohol and drugs.

Sometimes the children are given lifts and transported around. The offender will usually encourage the child to distance themselves further from their usual family and friends. Soon into this friendship/relationship, sexual assaults and rapes may occur upon the child.

The offenders are very organised and deliberate in their actions, in some cases working together within a group. They are predatory sex offenders, targeting specifically vulnerable children.

How can we educate young people about the dangers?

A great deal of work has been ongoing to make young people aware of the dangers of Child Sexual Exploitation. This includes regular work from partner organisations within schools to make pupils aware of this offence and how to identify it. There have also been a number of educational events which specialist officers have attended. This preventative work compliments the proactive operations, resulting in significant custodial sentences.

How can people recognise where sexual exploitation is taking place?

We offer literature and information via our websites to highlight the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation and how to get help. For instance, some offenders may use gifts to encourage young people to engage with them and is one of a number of indicators.

There will be acute cases of children subject to ongoing abuse and those children whose lifestyle and association means they are at risk of sexual exploitation.

Does technology make this offence more difficult to identify?

Although technology enables such offences to take place online through chat rooms and other mediums, it also leaves offenders open to being caught. We monitor these sites and where there is evidence of Child Sexual Exploitation, we can take action by seizing equipment such as computers and mobile phones. These strengthen the weight of evidence against the offenders.

From a preventative perspective, we also have nationally trained officers who work in schools to alert them to the online dangers and how to recognise the potential for grooming.

Know the Signs

Even something that seems like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign that a child is being sexually exploited.  Some of the visible signs include:

  • Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
  • Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn.
  • Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for.
  • Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
  • Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults
  • A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
  • Spending excessive amount of time online and becoming increasingly secretive about time spent online
  • Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
  • Sexual health problems

If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation report it to West Yorkshire Police by calling 101 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

For more general information and links, see our personal safety section http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/help-advice/crime-prevention/personal-safety

For more information about bullying, please click on the following link that will take you to ‘Bullying Online’, a registered charity that provides internet help and support for parents and children experiencing the trauma of school bullying –

Bullying UK Logo www.bullying.co.uk

Related Links: http://ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/

 

Taken from the above link.  I am no expert in this, but I do feel passionately about this issue.  The only way it can be tackled is to raise awareness of the issue and help people to identify what the signs are.

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Boho Wedding

I am not likely to be getting married any time soon, bearing in mind I am not even in a committed relationship.  However, when I do get married this time I will be wearing a dress that I actually want to wear.  So it got me thinking about what I would wear and I decided to have a look and see what was around.  This is what I decided on:

boho-chic-wedding-dress

This is totally my style and if I had to have one made for myself I would have described something very similar to this. Luckily I have a similar figure and hair so I should just get away with it!

I have to admit my style icon is Kate Moss and I came across her wedding photographs whilst perusing the thousands of images.  This picture really made me think I would love to have a long veil for the ceremony.

kate moss wedding1

kate moss wedding

I also love how all the bridal party are dressing in white.  It  really looks amazing and so different from the usual weddings where you are normally told not to wear white clothing so as to not upstage the bride.

I recently attended a wedding where the bride and groom asked all the guests to wear red and ivory.  The wedding pictures looked amazing so I reckon I would love to go down the same theme and ask the guests to wear a certain colour to tie in with the overall colour theme, that way you could have the decorations as simple and minimum.

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