Monday, 2 July 2018

Book Review of The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

My mum has been nagging me to read this book for months and I’ve been putting it off for so long that I actually thought she had forgotten about it until I found it stuffed in the baby’s changing bag a couple of weeks ago. 
                                                   Image result for the lovely bones alice sebold

There was no reason for me not wanting to read the book other than feeling too preoccupied with a new baby, a litter of puppies, worries about being made redundant and also my commitment to complete re-reading the Harry Potter books again. Life is pretty hectic and I didn’t think I had much room for another literary world to think about, boy was I wrong. 

In a bid to dig out the Sudocrem from Albie’s changing bag, I came across ‘The Lovely Bones’ and placed it on my bedroom windowsill, only to be forgotten about for a few days until one night, I was finding it difficult to ‘shut off’ and sleep; my mind was so full of boggling dilemmas and fruitless problems that out of sheer desperation and the need to delve into a world where my problems disappeared, I picked up this book that my mum had raved about so much, turned to the first page and gave it a chance. 

The cool flow of narrative drew my attention straight away, I was intrigued (as I usually am with such an approach due to the personal nature of it) with the first person narrative of Susie; the young girl whose experiences of death, heaven and after life I would go on to follow throughout the book. 

Without giving too much away (you’d need to read it to fully understand how special this story is), the book starts out with Susie explaining her life and in detail, the moments leading up to her traumatic murder at the age of fourteen. 

Through Susie’s narrative, Sebold goes on to paint a picture and build dimensions of heaven and afterlife with depths that I couldn’t even comprehend before reading the book. The way in which she describes how Susie watches and reaches out to her family (although unbeknownst to them) to provide comfort or hints as to the identity of her murderer, is sheer brilliance and I can be nothing short of impressed by the emotional context and constructs of the story which unfolds. 

Susie tells the story of how her family copes with the grief of losing her, how she can only watch whilst the grief, anger and shock settles into her family home, how it affects each of her loved ones in their own way and their journeys to finding how to cope with life after Susie. 

However, alongside the grief and frustration that is a common theme throughout the book, there are also notions of understanding, forgiveness, community, and the exciting beauty of love which can help to bring families back together again after facing such trauma. 

All in all, Sebold offers some bold ideas about the possibility of life after death, just how close our lost loved ones can be after their passing and with subtlety, exhibits the painful journey from traumatic grief to gradual acceptance of letting a loved one rest in peace. 

If you haven’t read ‘The Lovely Bones’, then you’re missing out and I would implore that you open your heart to Susie and the several dimensions of heaven she can show you. 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Its been a while ...

So... its been a good two years since I blogged, yes I know, shameful! Its safe to say, my laptop has been considerably neglected since I smashed it's screen but its all fixed now and here I am, back again :)

A LOT has happened in the past two years since my last post which introduced you to Indie, my British Bulldog (puppy at the time). Since then, all of this has happened;

Another British Bulldog pup joined the family, he is Indie's half brother and his name is Apollo :)

The Pups are now fully grown bulldogs, Indie has even had puppies, 7 of them, yes 7! They were the cutest little things!

In April 2016 I was diagnosed with an extremely bad case of gallstones and had to have my gall bladder removed, lots of complications but I'm now finally gall bladder free! (However, I didn't become pain free until the next significant event in my life but that's a story for another time!)

I've also moved home ... still private renting which is pretty annoying but I'll get over it.


After years believing that I was unable to have children, I became pregnant and 7 months ago I gave birth to my baby boy, Albie. Albie was born by emergency c-section due to me contracting sepsis during the 40 hour labour :O, it was pretty scary and we had to stay in hospital for a week before being allowed home but it was worth every minute for this precious little blue eyed boy <3

Through work and EU funding, I gained my NVQ Level 3 in Management during the run up to my maternity leave and alongside this, I also completed the Tesco Options programme which means I can now be a Manager at Tesco if I choose to do so.

The above is not bloody likely being as they've made all 1100 people in my office redundant as of February this year. Luckily, I'm still on maternity leave until the end of July this year so my contract hasn't ended yet but the end is approaching helluva quick.

Not wanting to go into another call centre or be away from Albie to much, I've made the decision to start my own business so I've trained in non-surgical lipo and will be launching my new adventure at the end of July ... super exciting!

Alongside this, I've also used the government's generous (never thought I'd used those two words together in one sentence) REACT program to fund a course in Social Media Marketing which should help me on my way to a successful future with my own business.

Well, I think that's about it ... puppy, puppy, operation, moved house, had a baby, gained a qualification and got made redundant ... and now I'm moving on to the future, and making sure its a bright one for me and my boy ... its all go right now and I'll do my best to keep you up to date! :)

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Indie's Antics - 10 weeks

Hi All!

I cannot believe that my pup 10 weeks old already, how fast does time fly?!

Like seriously, it was only a couple of weeks ago that my gorgeous pup was waiting for her first injections and loved to have a good old cwtch with her new Mummy and Daddy :)

Now, she is into everything -  chewing my table, my chairs, wires - even my feet! (serious ouchies on that note! ) This morning, I woke up to this wire having been chewed off the wall! Nice one Indie! :P

Just yesterday, I took Indie to the vets for her second vaccination and she is already weighing in at 6kg :O That is 1.4kg more than her weight at 8 weeks - I've definitely got a little chubba on my hands!

As she has now had her second lot of jabs, we'll soon be able to take her for her first walk - we only have to wait 6 more days and we'll be heading straight to Tredegar Park for a doggy day out. Excited much??!!

Owning a dog has certainly been a reality check for me, it is a huge responsibility and as I said in my first post - its not one to be taken lightly, however, looking at my little fur baby everyday is worth every second of constant cleaning and chew marks around the house.

Hopefully, being able to walk her every day instead of carrying her everywhere, will tire her out and (fingers crossed) mean that she will calm down with the chewing and the biting. (This is the only thing I am slightly concerned about nipping in the bud as soon as possible)

So all is well at the moment in the life of Indie and I, stay tuned for more updates and let me know your thoughts!

What do you think is the hardest part of puppy training? Whats the worst thing your new pet has done to cause you stress or sheer laughter? Don't be scared to share your pics of your animal friends with me!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

New Addition to the Household

People who know me, will already know that I have a huge soft spot for a certain dog breed and that its long been a dream of mine to have a British Bulldog puppy to call my own.

Introducing our new family member ... Indie!!! <3

Isn't she just the cutest?!!

Now, a puppy is a huge responsibility and we're not taking it lightly, we're determined to bring Indie up to be a kind, friendly pup but I'm under no illusions that we've got a tough road ahead of us.

Its amazing how many factors you have to take into account when taking on a puppy, the environment, the food, their bed, a set of rules to stick by, vaccinations - other dogs, other people's houses, potty training, teething etc.

We're taking it in our stride, no doubt this will be a learning experience and a case of trial and error but I'm sure we'll do the job right and that Indie will absolutely love being a part of our family.

Thanks for reading! I'll keep you updated on our journey with Indie and would welcome any advice that you may have on puppy training, maybe you could share some of your experiences with me?

Do you have a new puppy? If you have a dog, how did you find the puppy stages?

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

My Visit to Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios

Hi Guys!

Forgive me for my absence recently, I've been unwell so it has been difficult to keep up with everything but hopefully, I can use my recovery time to get back into the swing of blogging!!

I mentioned in one of my first posts that I'm a freak for anything Harry Potter related and that it was one of my adventure goals this year to visit the studios in London... well guess what?!!


My lovely Mum & Dad surprised me on my birthday with tickets for both myself and my partner, but wait for it ... these were not any normal tickets to the Warner Bros Studio Tour, they actually included a PA from Warwick Davis AKA Professor Flitwick!

I was beyond excited and I have no doubt that in the weeks leading up to the event, many of my friends and work colleagues were so close to punching me if I mentioned Harry Potter one more time!

Luckily I didn't have to wait too long and I finally visited the studios on 24/03/16, the day that quite a few of my dreams came true <3

The place is magical, from the moment the doors to the great hall opened - I was in awe, the costumes, the house badges, the tables, there was so much detail to take in and I just couldn't stop taking photos of everything I saw.

From the great hall, we moved into the sets, my favourite, by far, was actually being able to walk on the Hogwarts Express and also Dumbledore's office, where there were so many weird and wonderful things to look at and even just to stand and imagine Dumbledore pacing around his office was enchanting.

Moving on, I ticked another item off my bucket list by flying a broomstick in one of the green rooms as well seeing myself driving as the amazing Mr Weasley's car; watching the video of myself gliding over the Thames and driving in front of the Hogwarts Express was just surreal.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the rest of the tour, other than to tell you it was amazing, so amazing in fact, I wanted to go straight back in! To go into more detail, would be to ruin it for the rest of you, what I will say however, is... brace yourself for the beauty of seeing Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry towards the end of the tour .... it is simply breath taking.

Oh, and be careful in the gift shop, I could have easily bought the whole store - I came home with the Elder Wand, two chocolate frogs, postcards, a deathly hallows key ring (to match my tattoo) - next time I visit; I'm hoping to buy Bellatrix's wand!

On my last note ... here is a photo of me with Warwick Davis - Don't be jel! (well, you should be a little bit :p)

Have you ever visited the Harry Potter Studios in London? Or even in Orlando? How did you find it? Would you go again? I'd love to hear how you found the experience and whether you liked the Butter Beer??!! ;)

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

My Introduction to the Keto Diet!

Over the years I've tried various diets to lose weight; general detoxing, juice plus, 5:2, slimfast, you name it, I've probably done it or something similar. In truth, all of these diets were pretty good in the short term, I lost weight and reached my goals.

Especially on the JuicePlus, I stuck at this for a couple of months and I lost 2.5 stone! However, due to how restrictive the JuicePlus lifestyle is, i.e. gluten, wheat, dairy and chemical free, it was hard to stick to and I eventually fell off the wagon, gained the weight back within 6 months and was heavier than I'd ever been (at least that is how I felt!).

Eventually I did lose the weight again, through general healthy eating, calorie counting - the weight was gone again before I knew it but as soon as I lost the 36lbs, I seemed to hit a brick wall and nothing, no matter how strict I was, could get me to drop anymore weight.

Now I know everyone says the usual polite 'you don't need to lose weight' but for my own confidence, I have a goal to reach, not a crazy one mind, I would just like to be on size smaller than I am so I can feel comfortable with myself.

I'd just about given up on healthy eating and resigned myself to having to get on the JuicePlus bandwagon again just for a kick start when one of my lovely work colleagues mentioned a diet that he would be starting.

As a body builder, he has to go through cycles of gaining weight and shredding weight (known as 'cutting'), in order to define the muscle that he has gained through 'gains'. Anyway, to shred the excess weight, he goes through a process called 'ketosis'.

Introducing, the 'Keto Diet', this diet consists of 10% carbs, 30% protein and 60% fat, yes FAT! Crazy right??!! This basically forces your body to takes its energy from the fats in your body, for example, the fats your body has stored, rather than the new carbs you consume normally. (Ratio of fat -protein-carbs can vary depending on the guidelines you're following and how experienced you are).

At first, I was a bit dubious about the whole process, I mean, it goes against everything we've told about losing weight but I've done some research and I have to say that the amount of blogs and advice I've seen about the lifestyles and results people now have as a result of the Keto Diet, was pretty impressive, so I decided to give it a go.

Since last Thursday I've been following the guidelines my colleague set for me and so far so good, the most difficult part I would say was having to learn to eat more, I usually barely eat one meal a day so jumping up to three meals was a hard adjustment, aswell as learning to fry my food instead of grilling it!

My days so far have consisted of scrambled egg and bacon for breakfast (yes, bacon!), a lamb steak or burger with buttery cabbage and mushrooms for lunch, then salmon/chicken and salad/veg for tea, also I've just started snacking on Almonds and these are delightfully delicious!

 My staple items so far, though I hope to discover more!

I also try to drink 3 litres of water per day, my Bobble Bottle is a life saver and filters water from any source so I never have to worry about buying a new bottle of water! Drinking water on this level is hugely beneficial for your metabolism so even if you don't give the Keto Diet a try, just doing this will make a big difference.

Now lets get to the interesting bit ....

Results so far;

After just 6 days, I've finally broken that barrier and lost 6lbs, this is like 1
lb a day and I'm already feeling fab about myself.

I've also measured inch loss and it turns out I've lost 2 inches from my stomach, 2 inches from my waist and 0.5 inch from each arm!

I'm really motivated now to continue my journey, shed the pounds and start to love my body, I'll be joing the gym over the coming days so I hope this will push my progress further and help me to make sure I'm toned in the areas where I lose the weight.

Wish me luck!!! I'll keep you updated on my journey :)

I'd love to hear if you've ever given the Keto Diet a go, how did ketosis work out for you? Do you have any tips for me? Share your results with me, let's motivate eachother!!! :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Kevin Hart - SSE Wembley Arena 23/01/2016

On the 23/01/16, I had the pleasure of seeing Kevin Hart at his new 'What Now Tour' and I have to say that it was absolutely incredible!

Although it was a frustrating journey there, I must say that every second of the show made every second of being stuck in traffic in Wembley worth the trouble.

After walking in the rain from our car to the venue, dripping wet, we took our seats in the arena, around us were people from nearly every culture, background, sexuality and class, all here to have a good time and share the experience together.

The first thing that struck me at the show was the numerous warnings of mobile phone, in this day and age everyone is stuck to their phones so you can imagine how well this went down, the majority of people ignored it for a while and this caused the Stewards to have to patrol the seating areas heavily, although this was a little bit uncomfortable and distracting, you could see the reasoning behind the rule and could only respect the Stewards for doing their job.

Once everyone was seated, settled and following the no phone rule, the show finally began and Kevin's supporting act, 'The Plastic Cup Boys', consisting of  the talented Joey Wells, Na'im Lynn and Will Horton came on stage one by one.  Each of them with their own style of humour and smashing the laughs out of people.

I have to say that Joey was definitely my favourite, his stories were about normal every day occurrences, they involved everyone in the crowd, the olders, the young'uns, even the crazy and to be honest I would happily pay to see him in his own right!

When Kevin finally came on stage, its fair to say that the room exploded, he was a little late arriving on stage so the whole arena had a lot of built up excitement, I didn't think the cheers would ever stop!

The thing I like best about Kevin Hart is that he can take any normal, every day kind of happening and turn it into a fit of giggles, he draws from his own life experiences with his family and friends, for example, his son, daughter, partner and father, even including the wildlife around his home, including a certain annoying Raccoon!

The energy behind the way he delivers his performance is enough to put anyone to shame, the effort he puts into his impersonations and painting the scene for the audience is on an epic level, if anyone ever needed someone to bring a book to life by telling its story, Kevin Hart is your man.

Ever since the show, my favourite new one liner is 'Oranguatnnnnnn..... REALLLLAYYYYYY...' so I suppose Kevin has a lot to answer for with my family and friends as I realise that this will soon wear thin with them, I'm not mentioning what this line is in reference to as I'm sure Kevin will be bringing out a DVD of some sort for you to find out yourself!

In all honesty, my favourite part about the show is the fact that every single mini hysterical story that Kevin told us, linked in with the last section of his performance, it was like each segment was a separate factor but in his closing paragraphs, they all interlinked and came together to present as one big gift for us to remember forever.

In addition to all of this, its worth mentioning that due to the popularity of the guy, Kevin had to put on two sold-out shows that day but from his performance and those of his supporting act, you would never have known, the laughs just kept coming as if their stories and one liners were being told for the first time.

Lastly, you can't fault Kevin and the Plastic Cup Boys for the love they showed us for spending our well-earned money on seeing them live, although the mobile phone rule was very strict and many people were thrown out for their ignorance of it, at the end, Kevin asked everyone in the audience to take out their phones and light them up, as you looked around the room it was just a sea of spot lights and the sentiment of the invitation to film him at this point was felt by everyone in attendance.

In my eyes, having the opportunity to see Kevin perform live was worth every penny and every mile we travelled to get there... I would certainly recommend you to try to get your hands on some tickets for the next time he tours
the UK!!!