Day 30: My Highs and Lows for the month…

highsandlowsWell, this is the last day of writing to the journal prompts I started on the 14th July while I was in the UK. When I finally got home on the 21st after being away from home for four weeks and three days I was mentally exhausted.

Sorting through a loved family members stuff and preparing to sell the home which linked our family has not and will not be easy. There are five siblings, now orphans and it’s important that we keep in touch with one another. It’s so easy for families to drift without that important centrepiece which had been Dad for these past few years. I had both high and low moments during this time. Lots of memories were evoked looking through old photo’s and mementoes which made me both smile and cry.

My biggest high, has to be coming home. I can’t explain in words how much I missed Simon and my family of animals. I’ve spent a large part of the first half of 2016 away from them and would do it all over again if I had to. So these past three weeks we’ve had a kind of holiday in bits and pieces. Working in the morning and dipping off to the pool in the afternoon, or just reading sat out in the garden. And I feel very calm and peaceful.

So, what next? Well, I shall be using the time I spent writing these journal prompts on creative writing prompts, getting some new stuff down on paper, most of which will never see the time of day but who knows what could happen?

Day 29: Four Goals for the next 30 Days…

goalsWell, as I’ve unofficially taken August off as a kind of healing/holiday time in bits and pieces, I shall consider my goals for September. Simon has been out on gardening commitments and I’ve had Mrs Mop duties most weekends but in between we’ve popped down to our local pool of an afternoon which has been delightful. A lot of people are quite shocked that we don’t have our own swimming pool – the stereotypical expat apparently does. Well there isn’t anything stereo typical about us and anyway at 5 Euro’s a day, ten minutes down the road band someone else cleaning the pool, what’s not to like?

I’m going to set myself four ‘big’ goals, one for each week, which won’t get completed within the week, but will be started so here we go.

  1. Complete the edit on All Will Be Well (and as of this morning I may have a better title – a writer is never away from her work.
  2. Full read through of The Promise (next WiP for publication) and identify plot problems
  3. Write one new Penny and George story – in desperate need of some humour
  4. Submit a short story for publication, possibly a third for the Story Shack – I love them because they have illustrations especially drawn for your piece.
  5. Yeah, I know I said four but a girl can change her mind can’t she? I’m going to start practising lettering. I’ve been hankering a desire to learn calligraphy and this is a start (this month I’ve been practising doodling…)

Oh, and make a plan so that these goals happen 😉

Ciao for now,


Day 28: Five Things That Make Me Laugh Out Loud

HappyLaughingDogNearly at the end of the 30 day journaling challenge and what a discovery it’s been and maybe not in so many other ways. It’s the discipline I was after and I think I can tick that box. Now time for a laugh.

#1 Has to be Simon. He makes me laugh out loud most days. Usually his reaction to one of my Mrs Malaprop statements but this weeks at his attempts at synchronised swimming. Poor soul. He can hardly put out a stroke never mind smile, extend his leg and curve his arms. Bless.

#2 The dogs. They are so part of our family and that means a big part of the laughter too. For instance, Nell (the springer spaniel) will hunt out any paper tissue at a distance. She regularly can be found with snout in a pair of shorts or pocket and then proceeds to tear it to bits. Not funny to those who don’t live with this every day I agree, but this is about me isn’t it?

#3 The cats. Same as #2. Simba, my lion king insists on sitting on the keyboard when he wants some attention.

#4 James Corben – whatever he does on TV he makes me laugh – love his karaoke stuff.

#5 The News Quiz on Radio 4. We listen to it religiously usually over Saturday lunch.

Day 26 and 27: An Area in my Life to Improve… and another going okay

Live-in-the-moment-300x297I’ve combined these two days as I would be repeating myself which is never a good thing. And the prompt for the 27th said one area that’s ‘kicking ass’. I kid you not. Don’t like these Americanisms, drives me nuts, like ‘awesome’ – horrid word.

I’ve thought long and hard about this one. It sort of makes the assumption that there has to be an area in my life that I have to improve. Well, I suppose there are many but are they important enough to write about. Thinking about them seems a little bit ‘cosmetic’ to be honest. I have a very good and rich life. I have never been happier. That’s the honest truth.  And what’s wrong with that? Why on earth would I want to make a change?

When I think about the so many people who have a lot less then us, then I can’t possible bemoan my lot. Too many times we are expected to be ‘happier’, to reach that bit further. What’s wrong in stopping still and just living the moment? That’s what I’m doing right now, and it feels great.

Ciao for now,


Day 25: Fire Beast: Inspired By an Image

keep-calm-but-computer-says-no-1This journal prompt asked me to think of any word, search it on Google and then write something inspired by the 11th image.

The trouble with Google when you search for images is that it searches everything that could be related to that word, so it may not be a picture at all, which I found a bit frustrating. I cheated with selecting a word. I used a random word generator and got ‘beast’ which suited me fine. And now I’m trying to search for said same image that I Googled and can I find it?? I’m searching on a different machine but it should be the same shouldn’t it?

As you can see this prompt caused me all sorts of headaches so that by the time I’m coming to write about anything I’m too stressed! Not really stressed, just a little frustrated which doesn’t help with the writing process.  Luckily for me, I made some notes (I first do these prompts at the beginning of the day along with my morning journal) and I’d noted that the image was of a fire beast. I can’t upload the image I used as it’s not ‘supported’ whatever that means, so the technical issues continue. It is big and very, very fiery. And it wasn’t a dragon or a phoenix. I wrote about this image in the male gender but wondered why I would associate it with being a male? A little stereotypical, so I’d like it to be a her, protecting and fighting for whatever is so important like any male would.

Any lessons learnt from this prompt as I can’t really get into the mode of writing about it? Well, stick to the old ways I say. Stop trying to be so clever. Keep it simple.

Ciao for now,



Day 24: A Lesson Learnt the Hard Way…

quote-Ralph-Waldo-Emerson-to-be-yourself-in-a-world-that-89837There are so many of them! But I think the key one for me is to just be myself. Accept myself for who I am. I’ve struggled with this for years. And the pressure has all been down to me. No-one else has asked me to change or be different. It’s been a demon inside me that I was never good enough as I was.

Well, two things have made a difference to my way of thinking. Firstly, Simon who has always believed and loved me for just me – I’m not saying no-one else has but he has never expected me to be anything other in any part of my life. No expectations. He loves me for who I am. And that makes me happy.

Secondly, I guess it’s an age thing, you reach fifty and think… well if I can’t be myself now, when can I be! I spent a large part of my life before then unhappy in my career and working hard to being something I could never be. I’m a born introvert and the choices I made meant the opposite, and I hated it. Who wants to spend their life hating a large part of it? Life is just too short. That and the fact that we had to make some pretty tough life decisions nine years ago… but that’s another story. 😉

Day 23: Write A Letter

images-5I’ve always been an avid letter writer. I’m not going to post an actual letter here, because for me they are very personal and directed to one person only. I don’t know where it all started. I remember, as a child feeling so excited when letters addressed to me popped through the letter box. We used to collect the stamps as well as my Uncle Doug lived in Malawi and traveled all over the place, as did my Nan Elton when she retired.

When Doug became ill with Parkinson’s and had to got into a Nursing Home I used to write  a monthly letter to him, just small snippets, chatty conversation, as it was difficult for him to chat on the phone. I didn’t receive any letters back in return but that wasn’t the point.

Before Simon and I started living together we wrote to each other every day. Yes, every day. And when I was sorting through my mum and dad’s stuff last month I came across a boxful of letters from the two years before they got married, between 1955-1957. I did start to read them, but it felt a little intrusive.

I’ve written letters to my stepsons when they have lost someone very close to them, and all so young, too young to go through that grieving process but I’m told that it helped them.

And I write regular letters to my grandson and granddaughter and have done since moving here to Italy in 2007. I include photo’s of us and the animals to share and also copies of the letters and drawings received from a girl I sponsor in Machu Pichu. I began to sponsor her when Caitlin was born and feel it’s important that my granddaughter knows that she has a gifted life, that everyone isn’t as lucky as her. I hope to take her to visit Maria when they both reach eighteen, they were born within days of one another.

Letter writing is one of those activities that have lost their place in life especially with the advent of social media. My grandchildren would much prefer to message over Facebook or send me photo’s on Instagram. It’s much more instant I know but I prefer the old fashioned pen and paper myself.

Ciao for now,



Day 22: Music on Shuffle – My First 10 Songs

hanschristianandersen192604This is very similar to an earlier prompt, and I don’t have my music on something that I can shuffle. Usually listen on Spotify and don’t know how to shuffle doh… as you can see I’m not very up with it. But these are random songs that I picked from my list.

  1. Tilted – Christine and The Queens
  2. Love Shack – The B52’s
  3. JealousyJealousy – Will Young
  4. Something Stupid – The Secret Sisters
  5. 1-2-3 – Gloria Estefan
  6. Take Me to Church – Hozier
  7. Sugar – Maroon 5
  8. Good People – Jack Johnson
  9. You’re the First, The Last, My Everything – Barry White
  10. You to Me Are Everything – The Real Thing

Day 21: Three Lessons for my Child

images-4Well, Ben is hardly a child any more at 32 but he will always be my little boy. This is a difficult one. I don’t think as parents we have all the right answers or lessons. For me it was very much trial and error being a mum. As the eldest daughter in a family of five I’d had plenty of practice looking after children but it’s never the same with your own is it? Thinking about it, Ben has taught me a few lessons since he first came into the world! But if I have to pick three.

Believe in Yourself: Always. Even if you think no-one else does, you deserve your faith.

Think Positive: I’m terrible at this to quite a ridiculous extent. I read somewhere the other day that the cup is neither half full or half empty, but refillable. Quite like that.

Live for Today: No good in regretting the past or planning the future to some extent. Today is what matters.

Ciao for Now,

Day 20: My 3 Celebrity Crushes

I’ll just let the pictures do the talking… and my first crush was when I was too young to understand the concept, the thought makes me shiver with revolt now.

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August 2020