From the Lancashire Evening Post: Swimming star, her chronic illness and decision to retire from the sport #EhlersDanlosSyndrome #RareDiseaseDay

It is unusual for me to publish 2 posts on one day – but it is Rare Disease Day and this is another example of an amazing Zebra #EhlersDanlosSyndrome. The Lancashire Evening Post have kindly allowed me to share their article with you.  To view the accompanying video to the post please visit Lancashire Evening Post

Big Interview: Swimming star Stephanie Slater opens up on decision to retire from the sport

Pin for later

Steph Slater pin.png

As Stephanie Slater succinctly puts it, ‘To look at me, you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong’.

Indeed with her almost permanent beaming smile together with her bubbly personality, the Longridge lass – who won a glorious gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio – does not look anything other than ‘a picture of health and happiness’.

Congratulations on being an inspiration to so many and accomplishing your Olympic Dream!! Happy Retirement @StephESlater !!

However, the swimming sensation last week made the shock announcement that her pool career was over at the tender age of just 27 due to ongoing health issues.

It is a little known fact that Slater almost did not make it to Rio after struggling with a severe neck injury the year before.

After a series of tests, she was eventually diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) – conditions which she has unknowingly struggled with for all of her life.

Passed off by a series of medical professionals as just growing pains when she was a child, it is remarkable to think that Slater reached a level where she was considered a potential competitor for the 2012 Olympics.

Stephanie Slater

Exceptional Zebra, EDS swimmer Stephanie Slater

Stephanie Slater

However, the conditions would eventually put paid to her able-bodied career in the lead up to the London Games and almost curtailed any hope she had of competing as a paralympian.

Through sheer guts and determination, Slater made it to Rio and all the pain was worth it when she returned with a gold in the medley relay and silver in the S8 100m individual butterfly.

“It was actually touch and go as to whether I was going to make it to the Paralympic trials in 2015 – I was out of the water struggling with a severe neck injury,” Slater said.

“But with rehabilitation and just basically pushing myself, I managed to get the qualifying time.

Stephanie Slater shows off her medals.

Stephanie Slater shows off her medals.

“With the amount of pain that I was in, I was eventually diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

“The condition is to do with your connective tissues throughout the whole of your body and basically mine is faulty. It means my body is not held together like it should be.

“I was also diagnosed with POTS.

“It was that condition which kept me out of the pool and preventing me from training because it causes you to collapse unexpectedly.

Stephanie Slater moments after winning her silver medal in Rio

Stephanie Slater moments after winning her silver medal in Rio

“So being around a pool made me nervous because I did not know whether I was going to collapse or not.

“Both of my conditions are invisible.

“To look at me you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with me.

“But there is and it badly affects me.

“Because it’s so rare, they had not been able to diagnose it when I younger.

“I have had all these problems growing up and it was just put down as growing pains or that I had been doing too much training.

“It was just brushed off, but actually I have been battling with it since I’ve been a baby.

“It’s kind of nice in a way to finally have a diagnosis.

“At the same time, because there is no cure, it’s one of those where it’s like, ‘It’s got a name, but it doesn’t change anything’.

“I have just got to get on with it

“It answers the question of how I got the injury to my arm when I was training for the London Olympics in Swansea.

“Back then, they didn’t know why, but now there is an answer.

“Hopefully by stopping swimming now, I will stop myself from suffering any more nerve damage or even worse paralysis.

“With my neck, it’s quite fragile, so I have to be really, really careful that I don’t cause further damage.

“People can’t believe what I have achieved with what I have been dealing with.

“I have never complained about it or spoken about my condition and how it has affected me.

“At the end of the day, I wanted to achieve my goals and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.”

There are certainly pangs of regrets for Slater that she has been forced to give up the sport she loves doing the most prematurely.

“It was really, really hard and it took quite a few months to come to the decision,” said Slater

“I spoke to a lot of medical professionals and also to my support team at British swimming.

“I had to make the hard decision to retire for my own health and well being.

“I always felt that I had a lot more left in me to give so that is what has made it really hard to stop.

“I know that it is the best decision for me and I have just got to look at what I have achieved.

“My last competition was Rio and the Paralympics, so it’s nice to think that I finished on a high – winning a gold and a silver.”

Slater’s memories of her time in Rio will never leave her and she breaks out into an even wider grin – if that’s possible – when she thinks back to her time at the Paralympics.

“It was just a party atmosphere,” she said. “The atmosphere was incredible.

“I remember doing an interview with Clare Balding in the village where all the different venues were and the amount of people who were crowding around us was incredible.

“They all wanted to speak to us and have pictures. It was amazing.

“I had been to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow two years earlier and I was expecting it to be like that.

“But the Paralympics were so much bigger.

“Just the size of the food hall was incredible – it was like the size of four Asdas.”

Slater’s achievement in winning gold in the relay was a double delight as the team also broke the world record.

“The relay was between us and the Australians,” she said.

“That was how it had been four years earlier in London, but on that occasion it was the Australians who had actually pipped GB.

“When I dived in, I had to catch the Australian girl up.

“I just thought, ‘I have got to get the gold – there’s going to be nothing stopping me’.

“I just put my head down and went – when we touched that wall and we saw that we had broken the world record as well, it was such an amazing feeling.

“It was so, so nice to stand on the top of the podium and see the GB flag rise.

“All of the GB supporters were there with their flags and I could see my mum and dad in the crowd.

“That was really, really special for me.”

It is #RareDiseaseDay – this is a great post written by Sarah on My Stripy Life

Today is Rare Disease and I have a wonderful piece for you to read about my own rare disease….I wish I had written it but another UK Zebra friend & mum, Sarah, is the author! Enjoy!

1 in 12 million

 

I’m not going to dwell on the detailed science involved with EDS and CMT, the genetics behind the conditions so to speak.  I may get into that all in a bit more detail at a later date.  I will try to explain what it means to live with them each day.  Why I might look fine one day and not the next.

CMT is genetic, it has been passed to me from my mum.  We were unaware it was in our family until I was diagnosed after complications having my first baby.  It is thought that around 23,000 people in the UK are affected.  I have a 50% chance of passing it on to my children.  I have three children now, our youngest had a positive diagnosis just before her second birthday, one of the boys has a negative result and one hasn’t been tested.

CMT affects the nerves in your peripheries, your arms and legs.  Our body’s system of nerves is similar to a network of electrical wires………continued

My EDS diagnosis came later, 10 years later.

At first we thought that CMT explained everything in our families weird and vast medical history but as time went on gaps showed.  Rubie blessed our lives with her beautiful smile and the skills of a contortionist and we started to want answers to all of our unanswered questions.  It was recommended that I see the amazing professor Rodney Grahame before my foot surgeon would consider surgery, at this point I had been reading his books to gain answers to Rubie’s gross hypermobility.  After an hour and a half’s consultation I now had a shiny new badge to wear.  The missing pieces of our puzzle now slotted into place.

EDS is the term given to a whole collection of inherited conditions that fit into a larger group known as hereditary disorders of connective tissue. Connective tissues provide support in skin, tendons, ligaments and bones, it is the glue that holds the body together.  There are several different, distinct types of EDS, but they have some features in common, loose joints, stretchy skin and tissue fragility. I have Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The exact cause of HEDS is unknown. The features suggest that there is a problem with connective tissues and possibly collagen. The condition appears to be inherited which suggests that there is a genetic cause. It is likely that there is an alteration in a gene, or several genes, containing the instructions for making connective tissue. This results in the connective tissue being less effective.

It leaves me with joint hypermobility, my joints having a wider range of movement than usual, they are loose and unstable, can dislocate and subluxate.  I sublux my joints daily, this week cutting a slice of cheese I popped out my wrist and couldn’t lay on my back in bed or one of my shoulder blades would sublux.  In my 20’s I would dislocate my knees on a daily basis with minimal trauma, walking into Regal’s on a Saturday night or turning over in bed.  I had major knee surgery to realign things and tighten ligaments so it happens less now than before but is gradually becoming more of an issue again.  As my joints are less stable they are prone to sprains and strains……” continued

Envy (1)

 

This is just a small part of Sarah’s post and I would really like you to visit her as this is my story too…well at least the EDS parts including the daily dislocations, dysautonomia, pain, gut problems and in our family neck issues with recurrent migraines.  All 3 of my kids have symptoms too, with the boys both experiencing dislocations of the knees in early teens, one has bizarre stretch marks on his back whilst the other has mild pectus excavatum (deformity of sternum), and one has severe migraines & I suspect a Chiari malformation.  The lovely girl has chronic pain (which she deems not too bad although it is daily), dislocations and difficulty holding a pen.  All three have poor proprioception (are clumsy), have snow vision on standing (dysautonomia) and anxiety…..

Find Sarah’ complete post here : One in 12 Million 

Be sure to watch her wonderful kids’ film here: https://youtu.be/rTtcT5qaiZw

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

We awoke to snow this morning and the Monday garden did look pretty magical!  But then the reality kicks in as we don’t do snow well here in the UK and by mid morning the rail companies were already announcing changes and cancellations to timetables tomorrow.  My girl and her friends are dying for the snow to continue so that they have a snow day tomorrow – it is bitterly cold, but I’m not sure if there will be enough snow for no school.

monday magic

My morning has been spent with another hospital visit: picking up results, being booked in for more investigations and all rounded off with the obligatory vampire visit for blood tests.  Apparently I’m anaemic (again) and my red blood cells are small…that is a new one on me.  It did make me smile when the young registrar asked how much red meat I eat….I could hear the student engineer’s response which sure enough he gave when I said it too him later “Never enough, MOTHER!! We NEED steak every day”.  In your dreams boy, unless you want to start paying more rent….

There has been a huge loss in our house this week leaving a massive void.  It is a death, but not of a person or a pet.  We have had to have our enormous ornamental cherry tree cut down as it was diseased and one half had already died.  But we tried to keep it for as long as possible – I don’t know how old it was, but we have been her 18 years – as it was such a major feature of the garden.  Now there is literally an empty void and a huge scar in the shape of diseased, raw stumps and an overwhelming that sadness that there won’t be the pink blossoms this year, or even the nightmare of the leaves in the autumn.  Funny how this loss can induce grief isn’t it?!  So I guess soon we will be looking for a new family member to inhabit the back garden…maybe another fruit tree, or something faster growing…..

My weekly inspiring blog posts may be coming a little to you than normal….in fact it is nearly wine o’clock here for those who enjoy a tipple, or perhaps that coffee is still on the menu.  So whatever your drink of choice, sit back and enjoy a few minutes with some inspiring blog posts and a vlog this week!  I will definitely be having a go at baking the GF choc chip cookies and eating them whilst reading some of your posts…..

 

https://amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/19/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies/

https://losingtheplotweb.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/bitch-slapping-anxiety/

https://sobhalishapanda.com/2018/02/25/come-on-we-are-the-same-species/

https://avionneslegacy.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/personality-disorders-in-a-nutshell/

https://letsfeelbetter.com/new-interview-chronic-illness/

http://www.diseasecantstopme.com/lifehacks/

http://putthekettleon.ca/2018/02/24/how-to-live-with-infertility-6-tips-for-healing/

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/fruit-for-thought/

https://meandmymomfriends.com/you-know-youre-a-parent-when/

Please like, share and comment…and have a good week!

Claire x

 

 

Just Out: The Year that Changed Everything” by Cathy Kelly – Book Review #SundayBlogShare

images

Publication Day!

The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly

Disclaimer: Thanks to The Book Club on Facebook, I was fortunate to be given an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All views are my own.

When I was told I had been chosen to receive this book I was absolutely delighted – I am a huge Cathy Kelly fan and have always loved her brand of contemporary Irish female fiction.  But this also comes with the possibility of being disappointed by one of my favourite authors and having to write a review!

Pin for later

Cathy Kelly

Ginger, Sam and Callie are three Irish women all about to reach a milestone birthday.  They have never met, lead completely different lives but share the same birthday – a day on which they will turn 30, 40 and 50.  Ginger is not celebrating her 30th how she had pictured it, in fact her personal life is far from anything she had dreamed of and she is now bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding on her own birthday. Overweight, overlooked, overdressed in a hideous bridesmaid dress and single.  Meanwhile Sam is planning a quiet day for her 40th birthday as she prepares for the imminent arrival of a much-wanted baby.  After years of failing to conceive she is finally pregnant and feeling excited, yet terrified in equal measure when her waters break. Happy birthday, Sam!  Callie is the woman with everything.  She was a model in her youth and is still has beauty and poise, has a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home and her greatest pride, her teenage daughter.  To the guests attending her lavish 50th birthday party she appears to live a charmed life.

The stories of these women are written in separate chapters, each chapter titled with one of their names. So, whilst the stories are completely separate, they weave around each other as the chapters progress over the following year of the title.  I enjoyed the way that the author wrote this, although I think I would have preferred reading it from a book rather than on the Kindle – just my preference as I tend to flip back in this style of writing.  Their birthdays all mark a huge change in circumstance for each of them with Ginger overhearing a damning conversation about herself, Sam giving birth to a beautiful daughter and the police breaking up the perfect party at Callie’s.  I am trying very hard here not to write any spoilers!

I have always the loved the passion that Cathy Kelly puts into her writing, and this book is no exception.  These women become real as their stories emerge from the page and their characters grow.  I don’t think that there will be a mother out there who can’t identify with Sam’s feelings of absolute fear as she takes her new born home – “how do I do this? How can I keep her safe? What if I can’t do this? What if I don’t bond? I don’t know what to do and I’m terrified of failing”.  Sam has another reason that is driving her fear and this is deeply connected with her family.  She has been a career woman, but not by choice, whilst her sister has a young family and seems to be the perfect mummy – their own mother is not the role model either of them would ask for, making for difficult relationships.  Ginger flourishes in front of our eyes as she throws herself, quite literally, into her work as a journalist (remember no spoilers) whilst grieving friendships and the lack of a man in her life, but that is not to say it is without some tremendous lows and heartbreak.  For Callie’s tale, all that I will say is that I grew to feel a huge respect for this woman as her world is literally pulled from beneath her feet, leaving her fighting for herself, her daughter and her self respect.

The chapters of the stories wind around each other like twines of ivy until there is one strengthened plant growing…a year on and an epilogue brings them to common ground.  Cathy Kelly has surpassed herself in the realms of female fiction here with warmth, wisdom, tears and laughter….I needn’t have worried as it completely lived up to my expectations. 5 stars

Publisher: Orion 22nd Feb 2018

Goodreads

Available from Amazon:

 

About the Author:

Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. Cathy is the bestselling author of The Honey Queen, Once in a Lifetime and Between Sisters, and is a No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Her trademark is warm and witty Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, a sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.
She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.
Find out more at www.cathykelly.com or follow her on Twitter @cathykellybooks

Being mindful in the giving of health advice….I have a new role

Last week I took up a volunteering role as a Chronic Pain Advisor for the online community of a UK disability charity (Scope).  I was approached through this blog to take part and those of you who have been with me for a while will know that this is right up my street.  To say that I am deeply honoured to have been asked is an understatement.

Pin for later

a new role

I have started to make some comments on the site, and it suddenly felt very real when an official title popped up after my name.  It has also made me consider the importance of just how we relate to each other and the advice that we give – as a health care professional, a volunteer advisor or indeed a loved one.  For each and every person is an individual and will come with very different needs – how often is this truly recognised by our health care professionals when seeing people with chronic conditions?

4

At a recent support group meeting the importance for sensitive communication skills became very apparent.  Everyone in the group either had the condition or had a relative/loved one with, in this case, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and had gathered to hear a medical professional, deemed an expert in his field, speak.  Spoonies, don’t shout me down, but I do worry sometimes that when a group gathers there can be a danger of frightening new members with horrific tales of hospitals and procedures, but also a competitive element toward who has which symptoms – I have written about this before.

It became increasingly obvious as this particular meeting went on, that a couple of comments made by the presenter were very upsetting to some group members.  I am certain that there was no ill will meant, but a point was made that this illness is not progressive, and the insinuation was that any progression in symptoms was down to the individual not exercising sufficiently.  Now there may be an element of truth in this – the need to keep moving in order to prevent deconditioning – but the way in which it was said made many in the room feel like they were not trying hard enough.  Picture yours truly sat in the front row in my wheelchair, and the message that I could have taken was that if I had done my exercises properly I could have restored my mobility and eliminated my pain.

Shoulder

My shoulder – dislocated

 

IMG_3236

My neck – vertebra popped out of alignment

Of course, I know that this is not the case for me and I also know that I do work at keeping as physically fit as I can and have always done my EDS exercises.  Years of yoga kept me nursing for nearly 20 years beyond my initial back surgery!  I also know that I can be bloody minded in my determination to do something…..but on days when fatigue hits, or pain flares, or the POTS leaves me reeling with dizziness and unable to sit upright, I assure you I will not respond well to being made to feel I am not trying! (Family..hold your tongues now and forget the other meaning of the word).

So this takes me back to my original point – we are all individuals and whilst we might share a diagnosis and certain symptoms, our actual experiences will all be different.  Only this morning someone said to me that they appreciated that their own pain was nowhere near as bad as mine, but they would like some advice….But pain is subjective and we cannot compare my pain with your pain.  I replied that one of the first things I learnt as a student nurse nearly 30 years ago was “pain is what the patient says it is” and I still believe this.  Sadly a lack of time at appointments, a lack of communication skills to unpick a patient’s symptoms, and a lack of continuity to develop a trusting relationship between patient and medic, all fail to allow for true individual care of the person.  This can be made even harder to swallow when a sweeping comment is made about symptoms by someone who has never actually experienced them.

Envy

 

It is so important for us spoonies to feel that we are listened to and being treated seriously – actually I think this is important for everyone, particularly where health is concerned and I hope to be able to justify the faith shown in me by the charity.  The exception to this though is the couple of cases of man flu in our house at the moment, and their belief that their pain is worse than anything else!!!  This is where my patience wears thin!

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

It is the beginning of the week so that must mean time for some inspiring blog posts in a little Monday magic!  The last week has encompassed Valentine’s Day, the second half of half term and a trip to Berlin in our household.

I did manage to get to the RSC Twelfth Night at our local cinema, and whilst I couldn’t stand by the end, it really is a superb production. Adrian Edmondson – yes of Young Ones fame – steals the show for me with an outstanding performance of Malvolio.

twelfth-night-production-photos_-2017_2017_photo-by-manuel-harlan-_c_-rsc_234198.tmb-img-1824

Adrian Edmondson as Malvolio (source: Google Images)

When coerced by his colleagues into ridiculous costume, Malvolio gallivanted across the stage serenading the audience, making me think of a cross between a jester and an English Morris man!  So how did the rest of the family mark Valentine’s Day? We arrived home to pizza boxes and various teenage girls wrapped up in blankets in the lounge, and the student engineer did make a trip to London for an evening for two – I don’t believe he has a romantic bone in his body though!  As for the politics student, contact has been remarkably quiet this week….but he is probably even worse than his brother, so I would be very surprised if his girlfriend was given a card, let alone flowers!!

The eldest jetted off to Berlin for a weekend away with friends…..the friends were staying Photo from Clairein a posh(ish) hotel and our engineer was staying in a hostel next door.  Never one to waste money, his thought process went something like this “I’m not spending all that on a hotel, but if I stay next door I can sneak in with my mates and still use the facilities!”  We only knew he had arrived when his sister had a photo pop up on Snapchat…..I asked him to send some pics, thinking he  or his friends might feature in them, but this is what he sent! He is currently sending us angry emoji faces as he has been sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours in a plane that has a “problem”!  I believe they are now airborne, so hubby has been summoned to Heathrow……

 

I have selected a wide assortment of posts again this week – but I believe that there is something here for everyone.  The Big Money Saver post, whilst not specifically a chronic piece, is great for my spoonie friends out there and the post on PixieDusk “We Need To Talk about Cancer” is truly inspirational and I urge you all to read it.  When I found the wonderfully named Pass The Prosecco Please blog I was determined to find something there to share, purely because I love the name!!  The Mens’ Health Summit is really important – all you blokes out there should have a look, and if the men won’t, ladies please do! The posts are all fab, so sit back with a cuppa – or a Prosecco! – and steal some time to read relax and enjoy.

Pin for later

Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You! (1)

http://www.thebigmoneysaver.com/6-fun-ways-to-save-money-when-hanging-with-friends/

https://pixiedusk.livejournal.com/468544.html

https://nothingbutpoetry.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/always-a-first-time/

https://askdrho.com/mens-wellness-summit/

http://christiehawkes.com/put-psychology-of-color-use/

http://www.balancedespitethechaos.com/blog/marvelous-massage

http://www.comfortbites.co.uk/2017/05/using-diet-and-lifestyle-to-ease.html

http://passtheproseccoplease.co.uk/im-not-good-at-resting-or-listening/

https://hypothyroidmom.com/im-fine-thanks/

http://healthy-life-box.com/no-wheat-no-sugar-no-dairy-delicious-avocado-coconut-sweet-potato-brownies/

Do you have a favourite?  Have you enjoyed these? If yes, please like, share and comment for your fellow bloggers.

Have a great week,

Claire x

Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!! via Dream Big Dream Often

 

This is from Danny at Dream Big, Dream Often….he is passionate about helping fellow bloggers.  If you would like him to share your page, then click on the link below and follow the instructions!

pexels-photo-262508.jpeg

Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

As most of my followers know I am big into helping other bloggers gain more exposure. My goal has been to grow a community of like-minded people and I am part way to my goal.  I am bringing back the open call to leave a link and I’ll share it for you!!

The basic rules are simple: leave me a link to your page.  I’m not sure it gets much simpler.  You can leave as many links as you want and I’ll cycle this post from day-to-day so more people can jump on board.  The link post I’ll create will publish on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

via Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

5 Star Book Review: Oracle’s Hunt by A. Claire Everward #SundayBlogShare @ClaireEverward

 #SundayBlogShare #SocialSaturday

I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review – thanks to The Book Club on Facebook. All opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

This is the first book in the Oracle Series.

Donovan Pierce is a United States Federal Investigative Division Agent and he has been called to a new case – the destruction of the data storage facility for the worldwide defense and security services. This will not be a mission to be taken lightly. Ever since a group of forward thinking citizens of the world had formed a peaceful alliance calling themselves the Internationals and had grown in numbers, strength and support from major powers, there were factions desperate to topple the peace and take power for themselves. This latest act of sabotage shows all the signs that it has been carefully orchestrated by one such group, as the level of professionalism has ensured that there are no traces of evidence left behind. Except one.

Pin for later:

Oracles Hunt

The terrorists couldn’t have known that the old security cameras for the facility were still operating, and that Donovan’s IT team have picked up one very important word: Oracle. But as the investigation commences, it is starting to feel to Donovan that someone is blocking his access to the information that he requires – someone with the highest level of security clearance. Then imagine his surprise the following morning when his new neighbour is sitting sipping coffee in the garden and she is none other than the elusive female who was part of a video call shutting down the investigation into this word the previous day! This is Lara Holsworth.

I really enjoyed the concept behind this book, particularly with current world politics as they are, and I immediately felt sympathetic to Donovan and also felt his frustration. He becomes more convinced that Lara is central to Oracle…..but just what is it and has the impossible been achieved with a functioning human/Artificial Intelligence interface? I must admit that I had to quiz my electronic/computer science engineer son about this – and was still none the wiser by his explanation! The relationship that unfolds between the two main characters is as interesting as the investigation, but I am not going to give away any spoilers! Lara is enigmatic, intriguing and attractive to both Donovan and the reader, and of course Donovan is described as a very fine specimen as well as being a fantastic investigator.

It was only one word, always the same word that lit up whenever it appeared, one word that was the target of those who had made such an effort to procure this information, destroying everything on the way. Just one word. Oracle.

The plot is intricate (I had to keep reminding myself of the different abbreviations for the various agencies – not so easy to flick back and forth on a Kindle)), fast paced and rang alarm bells for me as the reader for just how much fact there could be in this. With the increasing number of terrorist attacks that we see in the real world, it is hard to dismiss the criminal elements as merely fiction. But it kept me on the edge of my seat and I found it very difficult to put the book down, devouring it in a couple of days. I was delighted to see the opening for next in the series pop up on my Kindle and it is on my Christmas list.

If you love contemporary, investigative plots with great three-dimensional characters, you will enjoy this. Five stars from me!

Publisher: Author & Sister (2017)

Available from Amazon here:

Author Biography:

Anna Claire Everward

A. Claire Everward is a suspense author with a love of knowledge and a lively imagination that made writing the natural thing for her to do. Claire is also the author of The First, and is currently working on her next book in the Oracle series with the help of her two hyperactive cats and a laptop named Stanley.A1FEpiy0jnL._SY200_

Claire spent years away from home getting a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, with a risk management specialty. During that time, she lived in the university, surrounded by forested hills and too much silence, so to keep away the boredom she also took on an MBA, and now she feels ridiculously over-educated.

She tried to work in her field, she really did, and even put her education to good use in the finance field. But eventually her love for writing took over, and she decided to leave it all and move to the world of her imagination. Her characters had a lot to do with that—they had lived in her mind, waiting patiently for her to be ready, for too long, they felt, and so they finally decided enough is enough and took over. And Claire didn’t put up that much of a resistance. She has always loved to read, but writing, that’s a whole new world she soon knew she could never give up.

Link with Claire on social media:

Amazon author: www.amazon.com/author/a.claire.everward

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/AClaire_Everward

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annaclaire.everward

Twitter: https://twitter.com/claireeverward

https://twitter.com/authorandsister

Instagram: https://instagram.com/authorandsister

Website: http://www.authorandsister.net

Email: kate.a@authorandsister.net

 

 

 

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! #Valentine’sDay

Love is in the air…..well it is Valentine’s Day this week anyway, and I hope that love is in the air for you, whether it be romantic or otherwise.  February 14th has never been a huge deal in our house – I don’t think Dad has ever sent Mum a card let alone flowers.  I have had flowers and cards over the years…and the occasional meal out – but I think after a particularly memorable night, crammed between 2 other couples in a Chinese restaurant and listening to their conversations as we couldn’t hear each other, the consensus was better to stay at home. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We might have passed this on to our kids having just mentioned it to one son, who looked at me as if I was mad even mentioning doing something to mark the day.  Funny thing is we are going out this year – hubby is taking me to a live RSC streaming of Twelfth Night….might even get a McDonalds out of it if I play my cards right (are they gluten free I wonder?!).

Pin for later 

Monday Magic - Inspiring Blogs for You!Valentines (1)

So fingers crossed the current flare of POTS symptoms have passed by Wednesday otherwise he will be taking his daughter or mother in law!!  Talking of POTS – that is postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, not the cooking variety – I saw the online community working at its best over the weekend.  A member of a POTS group put up a very distressed post that signalled an intentional overdose of drugs was being taken – the members of the group went into overdrive to find out where this person lived in the world, making contact with personal friends to check on them, calling on Facebook to help via the reporting suicidal thoughts, and sending message after message of support and hope.  I am so pleased to report that a message was posted last night saying that a stranger had called an ambulance, and the POTSIE was safely in hospital being assessed and truly appreciating all the good wishes.  No trolls, no nasty comments – social media at its best!nope

Yours truly has been sitting watching the winter Olympics and gasping out loud.  The wind!! How are those snowboarders doing it?  I have found the ice dancing particularly inspiring – it took me back to being about 8 and reading the Noel Streatfield novel White Boots.  That book changed my life and I was going to be an ice skater!!  Dad took me to Streatham ice rink in south London, I put one foot on the ice expecting to glide away – and, you guessed it, my derriere met with a very cold, wet landing.  Bang went that dream.  But some of those Olympians are inspirational – the young Russian girls literally float over the ice with such ethereal beauty, and the Canadian pair are just something else.  A human body really shouldn’t be able to do that!! (My bendy  friends will recognise this sentence!).

From inspirational athletes to inspirational blog posts!  This week I have added in some posts for Valentine’s – they are alternating with the normal mix of fab posts from some old  pals and some new friends – some spoonies, others not!  So sit back and relax with some great Monday Magic blog posts!

https://shailajav.com/how-it-all-began-15-years-ago/

https://legallyblindbagged.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/night-to-shine-my-two-cents/

http://thedestinydive.com/2018/02/05/valentines-day-date-ideas-that-dont-include-a-restaurant/

https://ginlemonade.com/2018/02/05/anxiety-us/

https://thimbleandtwig.com/crafts/make-rose-petal-bath-bombs/

http://penny-pennystreasures.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/no-matter-how-long-winter-spring-is.html

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sweetheart-coconut-cookies

https://theinvisiblef.com/2018/02/12/overcomers-louise-webb-healing-body-turning-illness-something-positive/

http://suzyhomemaker.co.uk/valentines-day-decor-2017/

http://www.abalancedbelly.co.uk/need-talk-fistulas/

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/02/bloody-sexy-drunk-origin-valentines-day/

https://melissavsfibromyalgia.com/2018/02/08/move-every-day-and-some-neck-and-back-pain-yoga-links/

https://www.elitedaily.com/p/i-cant-afford-a-valentines-day-gift-so-instead-im-planning-adorable-surprise-for-my-so-8138638

http://ladyjaney.co.uk/5-blogging-goals-2018-dares-wins/

http://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/valentines-day-blood-orange-cocktail

https://bettysib1998.wixsite.com/young-sick-invisible/single-post/2018/02/05/f

http://www.lifehack.org/524580/100-quotes-about-love

https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/2018/02/06/dizzycast-ep-3-a-disclosing-dizzy/

https://laurenconrad.com/blog/2018/02/friday-favorites-275/

http://mummyitsok.com/blog/what-is-postnatal-depression/

Really share the love this week and share these posts, comment and make a blogger’s day!

Have a lovely week,

Claire x

 

 

Post Comment Love

The Mystery Blogger Award

img_0989I am delighted to have been nominated for this award last month by Kim – I have delayed sharing it to avoid boring you all, having already written about one award in January! It is always an honour to be recognised by a fellow blogger and I am so thankful to Kim at Keep It Mindful blog. I “met” Kim at the end of last year soon after she started blogging about living life as a young mum with 2 children and a chronic illness. Kim has Multiple Sclerosis and writes with frankness and honesty on all manner of things – about her illness flares to potty training! Visit Kim here on Keep It Mindful and find out more.

The Mystery Blogger Award:

“It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
  Created by Okoto Enigma.

The rules are:

Put the award logo/image on your blog.

 • List the rules.

 • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

 • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

 • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

 • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

 • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

 • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

 • Share a link to your best post(s).    

photogrid_1476365612975

Three Things about me:

1.  I am an avid reader, belong to several online book clubs and a local one where we meet monthly in the pub.

2. I started nurse training 30 years ago next month – March ’88 set.  We are having a reunion weekend in May – I haven’t seen some of the others since the early ’90s.

3. I have a fish phobia – live fish or fish with heads & eyes.  Not great when hubby had a huge tropical fish tank when we were first married!!

My Nominees:

 

My questions for you:

  1. What book has made an impact on you (at any age!)?
  2. Who from history would you like to have a drink  with?
  3. Tea or coffee? Cup or mug?
  4. What has been your greatest achievement?
  5. How would your friends describe you – in 3 words?

 

My answers to Kim’s questions:
1. What made you start blogging?

I was about to have a trial for a spinal cord stimulator to help control my chronic nerve pain and the blogging idea was to cover two bases: for friends and family to know how I was doing & save hubby on phone calls; I had received so much support from others online and I thought maybe I could give back some support & experience.  I must admit the fact my kids thought no one would want to read anything their mum wrote was a bit of a red rag to a bull!

2. Where would be your dream place in the world to see?

Thailand

3. What is your ultimate goal in life?

For me this links to number 5 – to live life to the full whilst I can.  We never know what is around the corner.  If my kids are happy, generous and thoughtful adults…and I have been able to support/help others for as long as possible (I know, I know – the nursey, touchy, feely bit!) then my job is done!

4. If you had one super power what would it be?

Recently I have watched the TV spin off from the X Men, The Gifted – the gift of one mutant was the ability to change/take away the feeling of pain.  This would be my super power!!

5. Who or what is your motivation?

One of my closest friends died aged 37 from breast cancer and I have cared for various young patients as a cancer, AIDS & hospice nurse who died.  They are definitely my motivation, particularly now I have chronic illness, to live life to the full.  There are too many to list here but a few names that stay with me are Clare (aged 21 uncontrolled type 1 diabetes), Connie (age 23 cancer), Paul (age 28 AIDS), Sunil (mid 40s Motor Neurone Disease), Samantha (age 27 breast cancer) John (mid 30s Cancer of tonsils).

 

My 2 favourite posts that I have written are: Today You Beat Me and Be Kind to Each Other

Thank you again, let’s keep the positivity and enjoy your day/night.

Claire x 

Pin for later

Mystery blogger pin

%d bloggers like this: