Book Reading Update

I love reading! Anything fiction and imaginative; something that takes me away from mundane and into a world of excitement, suspense and thrills really keeps me gripped.

I always set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads, and this year was no different. I am currently on 29/40 books read. There are times when I feel like I could read book after book, one after another…. Right now I am searching for my next book to start after finishing Adam Kays This is Going to Hurt.

What are you guys reading?


Any suggestions?

Mother Love

As a Mother I often wonder whether or not I am enough. There will be days when I question whether what I am doing is correct; Am I punishing them too much? Not enough? Do I listen to them enough? Do I praise them enough? Do I love them enough? Do they know how much I love them?

Ethan, 8 and Oliver, 4 are at the centre of everything that I do…and the centre of every decision I make. When Stew had his accident, I tried my best to protect them from the very possible chance that their Dad wouldn’t be coming home. We have always been of the belief that we wouldn’t lie to them, so I was honest without being too brutal in what I was saying. Oliver was too young at the time to even comprehend what was happening, but Ethan knew that things were different, and I saw the confusion on his face the first night I came home from the hospital. At a time when I was unsure what our futures would be like and whether or not my husband, their father, would be a part of it.

From then until now, they have known loss and confusion. They have witnessed pain and sorrow around them, and they have watched as their Dad struggled to be the man they needed him to be.

With most career choices, there comes textbooks, YouTube video tutorials, even lessons on how to do that chosen profession.

And yet, when it comes to being a mother, there is no guide book. Sure, you read blogs and websites. You swallow down as much information as possible from online forums and social media groups to allow you to be ready for when your bundle of joy comes along, but nobody…and I mean, nobody, can ever prepare you for that moment when it all becomes REAL!

I remember the birth of each of my children; the memories are sketchy in parts due to anaesthetic-brain but I remember them as though they were yesterday. Ethan’s scared little ‘alien’ face and kissable skin; or Oliver’s immense size (9lbs), paired with his gorgeous dark brown eyes, much like my own. And yes, it is true, I felt a rush of love. The old saying was right; there really isn’t any other love like it. But underneath that, feelings that I was desperately trying to keep buried, was fear and panic. In front of me were these bundles of joy; mini-people who were now reliant on me for their EVERYTHING. I watched over them sleeplessly – I counted their toes, stroked their skin and marvelled at how something so fantastic had come from me and Stew. But I also felt a cold-sweat on the back of my neck. All of a sudden, I felt incapable of looking after these tiny humans. How could I look after them and give them everything they need?
Me….the person who kills plants!
The person who burns most food she cooks….!
My memory has always been poor; how could I look after something when I forget things all of the time!?

The answer?

Well, if you came here looking for the answer to ‘Motherdom’ then you have come to the wrong place. Because I still don’t have it. Put simply, I don’t think anybody has….and if they say they do, then they are lying. Most of us Moms…and Dad’s too wing it.

Like me, they take their bundle of joys home and from the moment you are signed off by the midwife and the health visitor, then you are at a loss as to what to do. At least I was…Suddenly I was alone. I remember when Stew returned to work after Ethan was born. Two weeks old and he was left with me. My nerves were on edge, I worried about doing something wrong, I checked on him every few seconds; wanting him to sleep so I could catch a breath one minute and then staring over into his cot and willing him to wake up the next.

But I realised pretty early on that my feelings were born from my fear of not being good enough. I have always been the type of person who worries about what people think of me; my confidence has taken a beating over the years…whether it be from bullying at school, friendships that have been lost, family rifts or work stuff….I sometimes struggle to see myself of value. I know some of my friends may read this and say, ‘Don’t be soft.’ but its these feelings that I hide and bury deep. I choose to remain quiet rather than speak up if I don’t agree with something, I let people push me aside or use me rather than say something, I worry over every little conversation and every little thing…causing myself untold stress and anxiety…

And as a result, I don’t always see how people can like me very much. I know they do…this isn’t a cry for sympathy, but I fail to see why they do….I used to be so much more confident and I do wish I could speak more that is on my mind, rather than worrying about hurting peoples feelings…but my biggest fear is that one day my boys will see through my anxieties and they will dislike me too. I know it sounds silly, I know it does….as I write it I raise my eyebrows and tut but the fact remains I do worry that I wont be enough for them.

My boys are told relentlessly that I love them. I must tell them a few times a day at least; I am very tactile with them, stroking their hair and hugging them close, and I always listen and ask how their days are. As young people, they interest me. I love hearing how they see the world. I watch as they interact with one another, much like how I was with my brother. When we were younger, I fought with Adrian one minute and the next we would role play about robbers. My sons are the same, they fight like cat and dog at times, throwing insults and jabbing one another in the sides…and then the next minute they will be cuddled up together on the sofa, holding hands and watching tv.

Everyday is a learning curve with them, just as I feel like I am getting the hang of motherhood, then something else comes along that makes me feel like a fraudster. In a few years, Ethan will become a teenager and I will enter a new era, one which again I will be a stranger to. I remember how I was as a teenager and I know I was a gobby little cow, so I will step tentatively during those years, but I am going to be behind him and Oliver every step of the way. One day they may not want to hear me say I Love You. One day they will shrug off my hand as it goes round them for a hug, but I hope they always know that I will fight their corner. I hope they know how much I care for them. And I hope they will grow up thinking that their Mom is pretty ace.

Fear is still there, deep inside me, and I wonder everyday if I am doing a good job…but I reckon that the fear is good. It helps make me a better Mom, and I will continue to bumble along. I may not be the most organised Mom, I may not be great at remembering things….but I can promise them that I will be the very best that I can be and everything I do is for them.

Upwork rejection….no.2!

So I submitted an application to Upwork about 12 months ago, at a time when I rushed through my application and thought it would be given that I would be accepted.

Obviously I was wrong….

As I am wanting to make cash from my writing, I relooked at my application again. I updated it with my experiences, job history and qualifications. I put a ton of effort into the application and really thought I would be accepted this time….but again I got rejected.

Should I feel gutted about this decision?

How else do people break into writing work? Are there sites or forums I can connect with to look for work? Although I have been writing forever, I feel like I would be a beginner in terms of experience….

Does anybody have any advice for me? Are you a writer in the same boat? What did you do?

Fanfiction or Marmite…

So, I know that fanfiction is sometimes looked down upon, but I have found that it is helping to get me back into the right frame of mind with my writing.
Sure, its not to be taken seriously…

Sure, its lazy…

But I am enjoying letting my imagination run away with me, using some of my favourite characters and tv shows.
This is just one that I have been working on….for fans of Walking Dead…

What to do…

So, I have my plan all set..

12 months of GCSE Biology…..followed by a 12 month access to healthcare professions course…and then onto University (hopefully) to train and qualify to become a midwife.

But having given up work so I could be at home more with my husband has its drawbacks…I am starting to feel like I might start twiddling my thumbs. I worked in my previous job for 15 years and I enjoyed the routine of getting up and going to work. It helped that I enjoyed the actual job that I was doing. Obviously money cannot last forever and I wonder at what may be available for me to make some extra cash until I start applying for university in 2 years time. I don’t really want to jump into any job, although if it came to it then I would….

But the question is what can I do?

I could re-open my photography services, take in more clients and make some extra cash there. I have spoken about converting our conservatory into a photography studio but it is going to take money out of what we have minimal of already, to do this.

I have toyed around online and have looked into writing jobs, but it is difficult to know which ones are genuine and which ones I should avoid. I know money can be made from blogging but I am unsure how to proceed with this.

I have looked at working from home jobs. The type of work that seems to require a LOT of commitment to sell items before you get any type of money back. I know some friends that it works well for….but I am unsure how this may work for me. I have taken myself out of an already stressful, full week by giving up my job, allowing more time to care for my spouse….and I am not keen on filling all my free time again….but I know that is what will happen when I start university.

All I know is that money cannot last forever and it can only be me that makes something of this situation. Stew would happily have me be at home with him every day, but I want to feel useful….

I need to get the brain working I think, and try to find something that I can do from home…something that gives me a little bit of purpose….and something that I am proud of.


Watch this space.

Diet Coke, Twisted Strawberry

I have always been a fan of Coca Cola shaking things up with their inventive, sugar free, fizzy drink, concoctions.

Diet Coke with Vanilla, Diet Coke with orange or Diet Coke Exotic Mango have all won me over, helping to make my favourite drink even more enjoyable.

But now those lovely generous people at The Coca Cola Company have brought us a flavour that has surpassed all of the above. A cheeky, sexy, tantalising Twisted Strawberry flavour.

This drink had all the usual fizz that can be found with the fizzy pop ‘underdogs’ plus a sweet strawberry kick. It is sweet but not too sweet; with the fruity flavour not being overpowering….my tastebuds were very happy with what I was offering them, let me tell you that! I was immediately pleasantly surprised, and I have added this to the list of drinks to buy.

Being a member of a ‘fat-club’ means that I am always on the look out for new sugar free alternatives to shake up my drinking experience! And this new tasty drink ticked all the boxes! It is delicious, fizzy and thirst-quenching! A drink that is always best enjoyed chilled, straight from the fridge!

Keep a look out for this drink in all stores, especially on those hot summer days (here’s hoping the sun comes back out to play) – but to be honest, this drink can be drunk anytime! And would be perfect added to a glass with a shot of gin and sliced strawberries!!! Oooooohhh!

Check the link below for nutritional information straight from the manufacturers!

My Head Hurts…

Hi All,

Just when I thought I had it all sorted with my writing and what direction it actually was that I wanted to go, then I start doubting it again. I love writing and it would be a dream to make a career out of it. And I thought that the NCTJ Journalism course I was booked onto in September was what I wanted, but I am having a few doubts. I love creative writing, I enjoy fiction and I adore creating plots and stories. Journalism, obviously, is a lot more real…and I am not 100% convinced that it is what I want to focus on.

When I enquired about the course at Wolverhampton College, I was in a job that I disliked and I felt like I was eager to find anything to get me away from it. Now, I am looking at that course deeper and wondering at how interested I would be in it. Yes, its 12 months and its a qualification that I can get onto the CV. It would be ideal for showing how passionate I am about writing, but I am worried about studying a course where my heart isn’t into it. The thing is with me is that there is more than one thing that I could imagine doing with my life. Each career choice is circling around my head, and I am struggling to decide what I actually want to do.

Photography is still a passion of mine, and I can foresee myself picking it up again, although wedding photography is no longer a service that I want to provide (apart from the odd job that I still have booked in)

Writing is still a big passion of mine and that will never change, but do I want to go into reporting the news? Do I want to have a structure and style based on where I write for? Do I want to study a course and learn all of the differing laws and guidelines that Journalisms adhere to?

When it comes to writing I can see myself writing fiction, I can see myself writing screenplays and helping to produce dramas. I can see myself working for businesses to help write up information about what they are selling. And I can see myself working for myself from home.

I have also toyed with the idea of having a complete career switch and studying for a career that is more people orientated. I envy people who work within the NHS and I can see myself as a midwife. I have thought and thought about this over the past 18 months and it is still something that I feel like I would like to do at some point in my life. One thing that puts me off more than anything is how much time I would be away from the boys, which is something that I would like to look more into in a few years when the boys are a bit older.

Aswell as this, I also like the thought of training to be a early years teaching assistant. I love little people and I would love to work in a school, not forgetting that this career choice would guarantee all of the school holidays off with the boys.

So, I have a lot to think about. I feel like I am going through it in my mind every single second of the day….I know it seems like I’m flipping from one thing to the next and I contradict myself left, right and centre, but this is an important decision…I don’t want to waste anymore time than I have to.

One good thing that currently work is not a factor that is affecting any decisions. I can literally do whatever I want….and it is a great feeling. I just need to decide what it is that I want to do!

I am sure that by the next time I write on here, then I will have made my mind up.


We can but hope, eh? 😀

Blogtour: Dead and Talking by Des Burkinshaw (A Porter and The Gliss Investigation)

Blogtour – Sunday 14th July
Dead & Talking
Hi all,

I have been busy lately haven’t I with all of these wonderful books that I have been able to read. 😀 – I love book-blogging, as I am doing two things that I love…reading and writing. I have come across a lot of great books since I joined forces with Rachels Random Resources and this one is bloody fantastic!

The book summary had me intrigued and I really couldn’t wait to get stuck into it. I loved the character interaction and the flow in which the story was written, made the book so easy to read. It was definately one of those books that are difficult to put down.

Big thanks, as always go to our host, Rachel –
and to the author, Des Burkinshaw –
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Before I delve deeper into my review, lets have a little bit about the author.

About the Author

Des Burkinshaw

Dead and Talking - DES DARK.png

Born in the middle of the Summer of Love on a pre-fab council estate in Luton, teenage bitterness and a chance viewing of the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men, made him vow to become a journalist and bring down the government.

First he had to pay for his journalism course, so he became a civil servant. Literally the day he had enough for his fees, he packed it in.
Twelve years on from watching the film, he was a journalist at The Times and had a big hand in bringing down John Major’s government. News ambitions sated, he packed that in too.

Several years of working for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC as a senior producer saw him working across the world, but he eventually got fed up with asking bands how the new album was coming along, and packed it in.

He set up his own production company magnificent! in 2002 and simultaneously worked on the BBC Live Events team for another 10 years. But then six years of work on the Olympics came along, so he packed the BBC in. Again.

Des has jammed with many of his heroes from Paul McCartney to Brian Wilson, Queen to Nancy Sinatra. He has interviewed many A-listers, including David Bowie, Michael Caine, John Cleese and even Noam Chomsky.

He has directed/produced a fairly long list of people – Muse, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, produced BBC3’s Glastonbury coverage for a couple of years, made films about leprosy in India, comedy shorts with Miranda Hart and Lenny Henry and played guitar for Chas and Dave at the Hackney Empire.

He has made 300+ short films for the Queen, MI5, the BBC, Sky, Discovery, EMI, the British Academy and dozens of authorities, charities and private sector firms. His most recent publication was a series of interviews with leading academics like Mary Beard on the state of the humanities which was published as a standalone magazine by the British Academy.

Fed up with travelling and determined to be a half-decent dad, he now works in London as often as he can. He runs the Young Directors Film School making movies with young people and is about to head up the Digital Film and Video MA at Tileyard. An avid musician and producer, he releases his third album as Romano Chorizo (he plays drums, bass, piano, guitar and really bad sax).

He hates to be pigeon-holed, thinks creativity is a learned state of mind and wishes they would teach people memory and learning techniques at school.

Dead & Talking is his first novel, the first in a series of Porter & The Gliss investigations.

About the Book

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

Dead & Talking

If a ghost appeared from nowhere, rescued you from suicide and then ordered you to start solving crimes to help dead people, what would you do? When it happens to Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it. But now he has to atone for the family curse that has seen all the men die at their own hands for five generations. The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now and see and hear the Dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else. Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because only fools believe in the supernatural, don’t they? Full of pop culture references, banter and twists, the story takes us from present-day London and Flanders to scenes from World War 1. As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 pursues them all.

Purchase Links:
US –
UK –

My Review

How could a paranormal investigation two-man-team where one of the team is a ghost be so intriguing? Let me tell you, this book hooked me from the start! Fantastic character build ups and interactions helped to create a likeable, enjoyable, story and one that had my interest peaked.

Porter Norton is a man who is in a dark place when we meet him. A lot has happened in his life, which leads him to wanting to take his own life. This doesn’t go as planned, and he finds himself saved by The Gliss, a ghostly figure who tells him that he has to make up for all the ill-deeds that his family have done through the years. With this comes a story that is thrilling, mysterious, dark and funny. We read as together, this unusual team look into death of a British man in WW1. There was a fantastic dialogue between Porter and The Gliss, which created some humorous moments. The characters added were fantastic, each creating differing levels of like and dislike from the reader.

As the case unravelled, the characters were taken on a journey as secrets and tortured memories are disclosed. Porter struggles to deal with what he is discovering about his families traumatic history, and I read greedily as I raced eagerly towards the dramatic conclusions.

This book was amazing from start to finish and I really do hope that we read more from this fantastic crime duo!

Fantastic book! Great read! I will be looking out for future books of this author and I hope we read more about Porter and The Gliss.

Rating – 5 out of 5

If you guys would like to read more reviews, please check out the other bloggers on this tour.
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Giveaway to Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dead & Talking (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


Blog Tour: Chloe Never Forget by Dan Laughey

Blogtour – Thursday 11th July

Chloe Never ForgetHi all,

For those of you who follow my blog, you will know that my last post was a review that I wrote for the first book in this series, written by Dan Laughey, the link for which can be found here.

I told you all how much I loved this first book; it was gritty, thrilling and left me wanting more with the delectable cliff-hanger at the end. I left a 5 star review and ran head first into the 2nd book, hoping to the find answers to all the mysteries within the pages. I enjoyed being re-acquainted with  D.I Carl Sant, the leading investigator who is out to solve all of the pieces to the cases that are currently plaguing him. We dive deeper into this story and I read eagerly as drama, tension and suspense tumbled together creating a fantastic, well written story; one that had my heart beating fast and my head reeling.

As always, I must thank the wonderful people who have invited me on this tour! Big thanks go the wonderful Blog Host, Rachel of Rachels Random Resources –

And an author who is quickly becoming one of my favourites, Dan Laughey –

I want to bellow quite loud about this book, but I really don’t want to give any spoilers away. This book was as intense and intriguing as the first and I was not disappointed when I read the final pages.

Before I get more into my review, lets have a bit about the author.

About the Author

Chloe Never Forget - Dan Laughey-1 Staff Profiles- AET-1 (002).jpg
Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.

Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.

His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.

He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.

All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

Social Media Link–

About the Book

An off-duty detective gunned down. A dead woman. A student missing, feared dead. And now, a former policeman in search of his past. All these people, dead or alive, have one thing in common. D.I. Carl Sant must discover what it is.
A series of cold-case enquiries leads D.I. Sant and his colleagues to investigate a botched assassination plot dating back to the 1980s. The deeper they dig into the case, the more secrets are revealed, including shocking connections to the infamous National Front.
Meanwhile, the memory of former P.C. Tanner, survivor of the assassination horror, is beginning to recover. Sant must find Tanner, and find out who is behind it all – before his superiors lose their rag and more lives are lost.

Purchase Links:

US –
UK –

My Review

Will we ever find Chloe?

I loved every page turn in this book, just as much as the first one. I read with greed as Sant and his colleagues in the police department created a fighting force, one which was paramount in finding out the answers to some of the cases that they were covering. There is believable determination between the characters, and the dialogue and dynamics helped to create people that were believable and likeable.

The twists and turns made for amazing reading and I came away feeling satisfied as we sped closer to the ending. The pace was brilliantly handled and my attention was held by the many mysterious links, which were expertly threaded together creating a fantastic read! I was a fan of Sant’s in the first book and I loved him just as much in this next instalment.

My only disappointment was knowing that currently there aren’t any further books. I would love to see more from D I Sant, and I hope that Dan Laughey takes heed of this. Brilliant writing, Brilliant story and superb characters! One fantastic book series….I highly recommend.

Brilliant, from the first page of book 1, all the way through to the final page of book 2. I look forward to reading more from Dan Laughey.

Rating – 5 out of 5!

If you like what you have read, and would like to read more from the other bloggers on this tour, please check out their blogs below. 

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Thanks for stopping by guys!

I look forward to seeing you very soon.

S x

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