Midweek Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Did you think that I’d forgotten about “IBFY” this week?  I had a blog tour spot for Monday and didn’t want to overdo the musings, so thought a midweek spot might do nicely to share these posts that I had found for you.

Midweek Magic Inspiring Blogs for You!

We survived our week with hubby away…..just!……..and more importantly he survived an activity week with 64 ten year olds.  The weather was really kind to them and he returned looking more like he had been to Spain rather than to Kent, the sun tan covering any signs of exhaustion!  At this end I continued to share drugs and my CBD vape with the politics student as he nursed, and continues to, his dislocated knee; there was one faint/fall/dislocation and only one set of plans cancelled. Not too bad going!  The lovely girl even managed to get out of bed every morning to do her paper round without her dad dragging her out of bed.

photo of person holding alarm clock
Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

As hubby arrived home, the eldest and a group of friends headed off for Snowdonia, North Wales….to go camping!  Pitching a tent in the dark on one of the coldest nights this year – not my idea of fun and I think the young engineer’s better half would have preferred a B&B.  They actually had snow and built the snowmen to prove it!

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Meanwhile yours truly now has the results of my neck x ray and unsurprisingly it shows disc and degeneration problems in both the cervical and thoracic spine.  “Where shall we refer you?” pondered my GP……um, how about somewhere that can arrange new bodywork!  I think that my neurosurgeon might go off for a very long holiday when he sees my name on the Back Pain Clinic patient list again.  At the moment I have no expectations and want to avoid more surgery – be it on my shoulder or my spine……time will tell!!

 

plant branch spice alluaudia procera

 

I hope that you enjoy this mix of blog posts that I have found this week – I have finished with a short video to highlight pain in Ehlers Danlos Syndromes Awareness Month.  So sit back with a favourite cuppa and happy reading!

https://irishtwinsmomma.com/postpartum-depression/

https://sybrinapublishing.wordpress.com/2019/05/03/my-review-of-fatality-in-f-by-alexia-gordon/

https://www.musthikemusteat.com/lets-catch-up/

https://melissavsfibromyalgia.com/2019/05/02/my-gut-friendly-coffee-routine/

https://fullofgritandgrace.com/2019/05/01/mental-health-chronic-illness-why-its-critical-we-discuss-them-together/

https://michelevosberg.com/2019/04/30/what-are-you-afraid-of/

http://anordinarymom.site/who-are-you-forgetting-to-invite/

https://myideaofparadiseetc.blogspot.com/2019/05/mothers-day-around-world.html

https://channongray.com/kindness-an-elixir-for-body-and-soul-alike/

https://themighty.com/video/painting-our-pain-ehlers-danlos-syndrome/?utm_source=newsletter_eds&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_eds_2019-04-24&jwsource=cl

Please like, comment and share!

Have a great week,

Claire x

PS: Happy Birthday, Dad!

 

 

May Day Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Another week and here we are in May – so it seems perfect to have a little May Magic as Monday came and went this week!  It has been a perfect day in south London – sunny, bright and mild – what better way to start the month.

May Day Magic 1

Hubby is away this week with the year 5 classes for an “outward bound” style activity holiday – or to put in in layman’s terms…..archery, hiking, zipwires, pylon climbing and more with 60 nine and ten year olds.  Of course hubby has the boys’ dorms under his care after the activities finish for the day, and his comment to me on their first night was “I knew it was going to be challenging when we started our first task of bed making and one of them actually said ‘what’s a duvet?”!!”.  They usually arrive home with damp kit, a bit smelly and absolutely shattered…..and that is just the adults.  This year they have a bank holiday weekend to recover and I know that the adults will appreciate the extra day for R&R.

brown work boots
Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

This leaves me at home with my offspring.  The eldest has just returned from a surprise birthday weekend away in Dublin – lovely treat from his better half – and is now looking forward to the first package in his gift from us…..a subscription to Pong Cheese Club.  Watch this space for taste testings!  My main carer for the week – the politics student – is nearly as much help as a chocolate teapot as he has succumbed to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and dislocated his knee during a footie kick around.  He managed to relocate everything to the correct position – you get used to doing this with EDS – but now cannot walk, despite my best efforts with tubigrip, a brace, crutches and painkillers.  We must have made a strange looking team as we put the rubbish out today…..him on crutches, me in a collar and sling – there is definitely a joke in there somewhere about the number of dislocations in a household of zebras!!! (Why the zebra?)

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I started saying what a beautiful day it has been and this led me to a big achievement, namely my first solo trip out in my electric wheelchair.  It has been a while coming, but today I was due to visit my friend for a haircut and whilst mum waled there with me, I came home alone.  I know that it sounds crazy for a woman of a certain age to be excited to get home under her own steam, but having that little bit of independence back after so long was both exciting and terrifying in equal measures.  Fingers crossed that over the next few months my joystick control and pavement driving improves – it is very hilly here, but I have good brakes!!

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There is a great selection of spring blog posts here and one in particular is close to my heart, as I was a specially trained head and neck cancer nurse in a previous life.  The final listing is from Angela, and I think will strike a chord with all bloggers as she explains to her nearest and dearest that it is ok either way if they read her writing or not.  So sit back with your favourite tipple and enjoy!

 

https://youcanalwaysstartnow.wordpress.com/2019/04/15/soul-sunday-i-did-it/

https://fullofgritandgrace.com/2019/04/20/self-care-ideas-that-are-also-earth-friendly/

http://www.denysewhelan.com.au/denyse-blogs/new-normal-for-me-with-head-neck-cancer-43-2019/

https://crunchandcream.com/single-serving-brownie-in-a-jar/

https://retirementtransition.blog/2019/04/22/how-do-you-listen-respond/

https://www.crestingthehill.com.au/2019/04/where-to-from-here.html

https://veroniiiica.com/2019/04/29/ten-odd-things-i-do-with-double-vision/

https://tayler.silfverduk.us/the-best-way-to-heal-your-gut/

https://jboccupationaltherapy.co.uk/hypnot-session-1/

https://angelanoelauthor.com/inspiration-motivation/read-this-or-dont-either-way-i-still-love-you/

Please share some love and comment, like and share these posts.

Have a great week,

Claire x

May Day Magic

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

It is Easter Monday – hope you have had a great holiday weekend!  The weather has been just spectacular here in the south of Britain – the young engineer and friends have had a balmy weekend on Hayling Island (just off the south coast, near Chichester) where they donned shorts and enjoyed temperatures on the beach more akin to Club Med!

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! 22 April

A huge event for me this week was finally being visited and assessed by a community Occupational Therapist.  I can’t even tell you how long I have been on the waiting list, it has been that long!!  A big plus was that said OT, Johnny, has had one previous patient with EDS so he was familiar with the condition and knew a little about POTS too.  What a difference it makes when you don’t have to teach the medical professional from the word go…..although the spinal cord stimulator was something new to him.  It seems that maybe I am more in need than I thought – although the kids would tell you I am needy!! – or rather I might be deemed eligible for more help than I had anticipated.  Apparently it is possible for the assessment to recommend a need for a Japanese style loo – you know, one that washes and dries before it flushes (it may even play music….joke!!).

bathroom cabinet candles faucet
Photo by Joey on Pexels.com

So if the OT recommends it AND the local authority agree it, I might be able to get my electric wheels out of the house via the front door in the not too distant future…..the dog will appreciate a ramp, and a walk in shower to replace the bath and a stair lift might be on the cards too.  Watch this space!!

Chocolate has invaded the house this weekend.  The kids might be young adults now, but they have still been given a “healthy” supply of chocolate in the shape of eggs, bars and rabbits.  I have a complete new shelf of ornaments!

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The blog posts for you this week include a mixture of spring and Easter posts, recipes, Earth day and health topics. Grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy!

https://www.abalancedbelly.co.uk/glutenfreeeastercakes/

https://www.style-yourself-confident.com/spring-lifestyle.html

https://www.baileyleah.com/2019/04/mini-egg-cheesecake.html

http://www.kayleighrvr.co.uk/2019/04/what-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-was-younger.html

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/understanding/

https://decorcraftdesign.com/2019/04/15/love-our-earth-day-in-pillows-tote-bags-and-t-shirts/

https://www.chronillicles.com/disability-blogger-award/

https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/yoga-with-dizzy-dizzys-delightful-yoga-poses/

https://notesfromtheuk.com/2019/04/19/is-an-excess-of-money-clogging-up-your-life/

https://chronicallydrained.info/chronic-asthma-allergies-lupus-hashimotos-diabetes-and-more-all-lead-to-a-lifetime-of-medication-for-kristin/

Please remember to comment, like and share posts you enjoy – voting closes for the Annual Bloggers’ Bash Awards this week, so it would be great if you would consider voting for me in the Best Lifestyle Blog and many other super bloggers – vote here.

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

Annual Bloggers Bash Awards Nominee Best Lifestyle Blog

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Welcome to the last week of March and another Monday Magic on a beautiful spring day.  We have managed two cinema trips this week – yes, two! – to see very different films but both equally striking.

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! (7)

The first was Bohemian Rhapsody and I know that we are very late to the party.  The portrayal of Queen and particularly Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury were outstanding (if sanitised!).  It is difficult not to be swept along by the soundtrack of Queen’s greatest hits and then for those of us who remember Live Aid, the depiction of the concert in the old Wembley Stadium was a true trip down memory lane.  What I hadn’t expected was to be so overcome with emotion towards the end of the film and find myself in tears by the end.  The depiction of a hospital waiting room and a young, emaciated man sporting a a very particular lesion on his face took me straight back to the late 80s and my London teaching hospital.

It was an extraordinary time to be working in one of the few hospital’s with a dedicated HIV and AIDS unit (see my previous posts here and here).  As young nurses we were confronted by fear and ignorance of a disease that then carried a death sentence and also by a greater intolerance of same sex relationships.  I can remember being asked if I had to touch the patients, or if they had different bedsheets and what happened to their cutlery after they ate!!  There were question marks about applying for mortgages and if you sustained a needle stick injury the subsequent HIV test would definitely reduce your chance of being granted a mortgage.  Then there was the series of commercials run in the UK by the government – brutal, scare mongering and to the point.  But for me the film brought with it a sea of faces – young men – all robbed of life at such a young age.  It was the first time that most of us had been confronted by the certainty of death in patients who were in our own age group.  We were comforting parents and getting to know groups of friends who might have been our own.  Those names and faces remain with me all these years later and as Freddie Mercury declared that he wouldn’t be a poster boy for HIV on the big screen, the tears flowed as I was transported back to that ward in 1990.

Gideon-Mendel
The Middlesex Hospital from Gideon Mendel

Last night we went to a special cinema screening to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the “Great Escape” – that is the actual escape during World War II that the Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough film was based on.  Hosted by Dan Snow, historians were joined by family members of some of the actual RAF men who staged the escape in 1944, and also by actors and crew from the film made in 1963 to depict the events.

One of the stuntmen who set up the iconic Steve McQueen motorcycle stunt at the end of the film had been flown in from New Zealand – he had some stories!!  I was really struck by the comment that it was an officer’s duty to attempt to escape and to create as much turmoil for the enemy – the Germans in this case – as possible.  These men almost certainly did not expect to get home if they managed to escape, but they did plan to continue fighting and to be a thorn in Hitler’s side.  Meanwhile the RAF were amongst those also remembering the men in Poland at the site of the POW camp, where the prisoners had dug out 75 years ago.  It was a very long (nearly 5 hours) but worthwhile evening……even if I couldn’t stand up by the end!!  When I popped my ankle out, hubby said we needed the inflatable evacuation aircraft chutes to get me down the cinema stairs….cheek!

So today I have been recuperating from my night out and have found a great variety of blog posts for you.  I hope that you enjoy everything from the fire eating gutsy goddess to some fantastic tips about plastics and the planet…..sit back with a cuppa and enjoy!

 

https://laughingatthesky.blog/gutsy-goddess-tessa

https://relationshiphelpers.net/083-personal-growth-is-self-care-selfish/

https://nolightwithoutdarkness.com/2019/01/09/beat-irrational-fears/

https://ablissfulblue.com/people-pleaser/

https://wellnessmunch.com/2019/03/11/cinnamon-the-super-spice-in-your-kitchen/

https://www.crestingthehill.com.au/2019/03/expectations-to-free-yourself-from.html

https://carolcooks2.com/2019/03/25/plastic-the-latest-news/

https://fightmsdaily.com/2019/03/24/the-rant-about-healthcare-insurance/

https://lightscameracrohns.com/2019/03/25/why-my-husband-is-much-more-than-a-caregiver-dr-phil/

https://itrippedoverastone.com/2019/03/19/fake-it-until-oh-stop/

Please leave some comments, like the posts and make someone’s day!

Have a great week,

Claire x

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! (8)

 

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Welcome pain pals and apologies for the lack of interaction this last week.  Just prior to last week’s Monday Magic I managed to remove my humerus from its glenoid cavity…..or rather my shoulder had dislocated, yes I know…..again! Honestly my right shoulder is out more than in these days, but this last week has been particularly bad causing a few sleepless nights, much knocking back of morphine and generally feeling pretty low.  It really is unusual for me to want to do nothing – to not even be able to use my computer…..

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! (5)

 

Then I woke up Sunday morning with a beautiful eyeliner applied perfectly to one eyelid in a fetching shade of rose red.  You could not draw such a perfect line, although the lovely girl offered to try to match it on the opposite eye.  By the time my GP saw it this morning it had changed shade to a purple edged with yellow which now looks more like eyeshadow over the whole lid.  She says it is an infection in the lid, but I still think hubby had something to do with it after I poked him for snoring!! (Joke!)  However he has banned me from opening certain drawers as that is how the latest “joint parting of the ways” came about, and it is still falling out of socket every time I move.  Good excuse not to cook or clean though!

closeup photography of woman red lipstick
Photo by Julia K on Pexels.com

The week hasn’t been all bad for yours truly, as I had tickets to see the sixties inspired West End show “Rip It Up” with my mum.  I was worried as I was still feeling pretty rough, but with plenty of cushions for the car journey and then in my wheelchair when we got there, I survived.  I feel very fortunate to be able to secure both a wheelchair space and a free seat for my carer – in this case mum had a much more comfortable stand alone arm chair – situated in this theatre in the back row of the dress circle.  The show stars former Strictly Come Dancing stars : Harry Judd of McFly, Jay McGuiness of The Wanted, Aston Merrygold of JLS and Olympic gymnast Louis Smith MBE.  These boys sing, dance, drum and flip their way through the show.  The rest of the cast are such talented singers and dancers – Jill Marie Cooper’s voice blew me away – and there are some surprise turns on screen from sixties icons!

Rip It Up
Google images

Enough…I’m making up for my lack of typing this past week.  I have a selection of very varied posts for you from a cheeky look at middle names to several health posts to concert and book reviews to an interesting smoothie with a twist for my spoonie pals.  So grab a drink, sit back and enjoy!

http://scaleitsimple.com/2019/03/11/the-7-stages-of-a-taking-a-vacation/

https://www.radiantnubeginnings.com/menopause-the-final-stage-in-a-womans-life-does-it-frighten-you-too/

http://catherineinthecity.com/2019/03/10/drink-your-greens/

https://hotmessmemoir.com/2019/03/10/happy-middle-name-pride-day/

https://thecuriousfrugal.com/my-attempt-at-the-complaint-free-challenge-month-1-update/

https://ohmrstucker.com/perfect-oatmeal-cookies-with-dried-apricots/

https://rachaelstray.com/george-ezra/

https://dgkayewriter.com/sunday-book-review-20-learned-patients-olga-nunez-miret/

http://www.bbhwithms.com/ms-cannabis-recipe-for-my-medicated-smoothie/

https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/rainy-raspberry-relapses/

Please spread some joy and comment, like and share these posts.

Have a great week,

Claire x

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

How often do you have those weeks when life seems to have sped by and yet you’re not sure what you have done in that time?  I made a birthday cake with a robin theme – birds that is…..not Batman or Bristol City football club (me to hubby: “why on earth would I make a 7 year old little girl a Bristol City football club cake? She’s not a football fan and lives nowhere near Bristol” – he supported them as a child and still does!).  img_0349We went out for a family Chinese for hubby’s birthday as my brother and nephew were here – this birthday rolls on and on. I started another blog post – wrote the majority of it in fact, but never quite got it finished (one for later this week) – and I cancelled plans a couple of times. Oh….and I had several sleepless nights.

alarm clock analogue bed bedroom
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It never fails to amaze me just what sleep deprivation can do and when that insomnia is down to pain the resulting fatigue and drain is even worse.  Now I look back at the many sets of night shifts and then a period working continuous nights when the kids were young and wonder how I did it….much like any other shift worker.  The constant tiredness must be akin to constant jet leg, but without any promise of far off sunny climes!  I did get phone calls from school on more than one occasion back in the day when I had slept through my alarm and failed to pick my kids up from school.  It is one thing dropping off at 8.30am in your PJs and boots, but quite another thing picking up inn your dressing gown at 3.30pm!

monday magic inspiring blogs for you! (4)

 

My own blog may have failed to spring any new writing over the week, but I have managed to read some great posts that did make the light of day.  I have found some great new and very different bloggers on a couple of meet and greets (Danny’s Dream Big Dream Often and Esme’s Senior Salon) as well as some familiar faces.  So sit back, enjoy some you time and get stuck into some fabulous reads.

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-going-offline-for-10-days-healed-my-anxiety/

https://michelemorin.wordpress.com/2019/01/17/standing-on-the-edge-of-inside/

http://www.christafairbrother.com/my-word-for-the-year-courage/

https://pinkfortitude.com/random-acts-of-kindness/

https://italiangoodness.net/learning-how-to-cook-italian-food/perfect-risotto/

bowl chinese close up cook
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

https://treesmendus.com/4-unexpected-tips-for-living-longer-with-chronic-disease-i-want-trees-please/

https://amykinsblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/dust-of-snow/

https://lifeattheintersection.com/2019/01/21/what-can-white-people-do-to-support-racial-justice/

https://everydayaspie.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/a-stranger-in-my-home/

https://spiritualdragonfly.wordpress.com/2019/01/19/growth-%F0%9F%8C%B1/

Please like, comment and share!

Have a great week,

Claire x

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

It is December and many households have begun the month with the opening of Advent calendars.  Gone are the calendars of my childhood where a picture of an angel or a sleigh nestled behind a cardboard door, to be replaced with calendars filled with chocolates, beauty gifts and some even alcoholic delicacies.  For the first time in years I am the only one in the house with a calendar and mine contains pamper gifts, perfect for a chronic spoonie who is in need of a bit of “me time”.  To the embarrassment of the adult kids, I am posting pictures of the lovely little bottles of niceness on Instagram each day!

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! (2)

This week hubby and I had a double cause for excitement on a night out into London.  It was a Christmas/thank you drinks evening hosted by the young IT engineer and his business partner in the 5cc bar situated in the grade II listed Singer sewing machine building in the City, London.  As “the parents” it felt rather surreal!  Our boy turned into a man in front of our eyes as he and his partner spoke with the investors, clients and share holders for their new tech enterprise.  Whilst the young engineer lacks in confidence in his ability to speak with people yet speaks “computer” as a native tongue, his partner compliments him beautifully with a personable, confident, easy manner and effortless, articulate way at speaking with and putting others at ease.  Hopefully their combined ideas, IT acumen and youthful ambition will be a winning combination for a successful venture – just don’t ask me to explain what they are actually doing!!  We were very proud parents – who actually didn’t put a foot in it, at least not too deeply, and were actually described as “cool”.

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Flaming Singer Zombie cocktails bought for hubby and me….by our son!

 

This was our very first venture out on the train with my wheelchair!  We have tended to drive into London since my mobility had decreased and pain increased, but the thought of driving into the City at rush hour and then seeking out a disabled parking bay was not appealing.   We travelled on the Thameslink line, which is a newer line and as such has modern trains with designated accessible carriages, and I appreciate that this makes travelling easier than it might be on older lines.  But I can’t fault the assistance that we were given by rail staff – someone was waiting on the platform with ramps to see me onto the train and he phoned ahead so that another staff member was waiting on the platform for us at our destination.  Our journey was comfortable and relaxed, taking a fraction of the time that driving through rush hour London would have…..we will take the train again!

 

Sticking with our December theme, the blogs that I shall share leading up to Christmas will be as wide a variety of winter festival posts that I can find.  They won’t all be about the joys of the season, as for some it is a difficult time, but I hope to bring you some great reading!  Enjoy.

https://pinkfortitude.com/best-gifts/

https://www.chronicmom.com/2018/11/15-thoughtful-christmas-gifts-for-friends-and-family-with-chronic-illness.html/

https://trend-able.com/holiday-survival/

http://www.sewhistorically.com/old-fashioned-christmas-wreath-from-scratch/  

https://piggybankprinciples.com/cheap-easy-diy-christmas-decorations/  

https://joyfullyunexpected.com/toddler-gift-guide-15-toys-under-15/

http://preppyemptynester.blogspot.com/2018/11/a-sentimental-gift-idea.html

https://www.smallworldspreschool.com/christmas-sensory-activities-for-preschoolers/

https://grammysgrid.com/is-it-ok-for-kids-to-believe-in-santa/

https://www.ajourneythroughthefog.co.uk/2018/11/for-many-people-the-festive-season-is-not-a-time-of-celebration/

http://www.sewhistorically.com/victorian-christmas-gifts-for-the-home/

https://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au/25-day-countdown-to-happy-christmas/

https://itoldyouiwassick.info/2018/11/23/perfect-gift-chronic-illness-spoonies/

https://awandafulthing.com/2016/11/28/day-1-hershey-kiss-christmas-cookies/

Please share, like and comment on your favourite posts.

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

It is nearly Tuesday and I have almost missed Monday Magic – probably as i spent large parts of the day putting together 3 collages of old photographs for a dinner/reunion for next weekend.  We are celebrating 40 years of co-education at my old school and as one of the original 8 little girls to start the school, and as a member of the alumni committee, it seemed like a good idea.  But it took me a lot longer than I expected – what a trip down memory lane though, looking at the various photos sent to me!!

Monday Magic Venice

So without further ado or chat about the happenings in our household this week, I will launch straight into the blogs that I have been enjoying.  There are several travel posts including a fantastic visit to a bookshop in Venice, and if space travel is your thing then you must have tuned in to the new series of Doctor Who along with Hugh (Hugh’s Views0 and the PainPals house.  The first female Doctor is a hit in this house and she already has a Barbie doll in her image! There are some great writing posts and a pamper treat for your hands in preparation for the cold weather.

 

You might still be able to sit back with a glass of wine, or you might be reading this with your morning cornflakes, but whichever please sit back and enjoy!

https://soniasmusings.com/2018/10/13/exploring-the-world-through-blind-dates-over-the-years-sayyestotheworld-theblindlist/

http://chronicallyhopeful.com/twiddle-muff-for-anxiety-an-alternative-to-the-fidget-spinner/

http://www.salt-pepperlife.in/time-to-speak-up-metoo/

https://aurorajalexander.wordpress.com/2018/10/13/4th-halloween-poem-contest-1st-group-of-submitted-poems/

https://hopenlyme.com/coming-out-proud-mental-illness-stigma/

https://silentiousdreamer.com/2018/10/12/please-tell-me-how-im-not-handicapped/

https://www.style-yourself-confident.com/pamper-your-hands.html

https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2018/10/08/how-jodie-whittaker-saved-doctor-who/

https://legendsofwindemere.com/2018/10/10/finding-time-to-write-by-darlene-foster/

https://johnrieber.com/2018/10/14/venice-italys-legendary-hidden-bookstore-climb-the-books-at-libreria-acqua-alta-explore-undiscovered-venice/

Please comment, like and share the posts that you enjoy.

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

 

Blog Tour and Book Review – Chasing Petalouthes, The Gift Saga by Effie Kammenou #LoveBooksGroupTours

I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for the final book in The Gift Saga trilogy Chasing Petalouthes.

EG & WFA Facebook-Twitter 1

Chasing Petalouthes – butterflies – is the final book in this wonderful family saga following the generations of Greek families as they settle in New York.  In this chapter, the younger generation – third generation – are followed through teens, adolescence and young adulthood.

chasing-petalouthes

Evvie, daughter of Sophia,  has experienced more tragedy than a young girl should ever endure, having lost both her father and a most beloved grandmother at a young age. Her rebellious ways are her only defense to mask the ever-present pain in her heart. Closing herself off emotionally, Evvie enters college life with a determination to follow her chosen path alone.  She might be a talented young dancer, like her mother, but her love for the family vineyard is strong and she discovers just how much she wants this life on a visit to France.  Her determination to work and grow her family business is tested over these tender years as relationships develop and difficult choices must be made.  She also begins to understand her Greek routes, the legacy of the soil and vines that is within her blood, during a visit to her great grandmother, Yiayia Sophia in Athens.

During this time Evvie remains resolute that she will not allow her emotions to sway her – she will not allow her heart to open up to love.  Even when a trip to the Greek island Cephalonia, with Yiayia Sophia, seems to show her where her true happiness and future could lie, she denies herself and a certain young man who she has known since college.

Stella, Demi’s daughter, is two years Evvie’s junior and struggling at high school to “fit in”.  She has a crush on a fellow student, and whilst he is happy to take her to Prom and will stand up for her honour, he makes it clear that Stella is not the girl for him whilst they are growing up.  She is the sort of girl who needs a steady relationship – a happy ever after – he tells her, and he is not ready for this.  Whilst Stella appreciates his honesty, at 16 this is a harsh truth to hear and she experiences betrayal from a friend during this time.  Meanwhile it feels to Stella that her siblings and cousins are all talented and achieving their dreams, whilst she enters college and drifts from one course to another with no real puprose.

She is insecure, a little naive and has no idea just how attractive she is.  Stella is smitten when an older, handsome, worldly young man shows interest in her and she believes that she has found love. But as his behaviour becomes more and more controlling, Stella’s family and friends become concerned that Stella has fallen into an abusive relationship.  Will she accept the situation and the help on offer before something terrible happens? 

“Chasing Petalouthes (Chasing Butterflies) is the coming of age story of two flawed, young women who push their way out from the confines of the cocoons they’d built around themselves and discover how to soar.”

I am going to start by saying what I always do…..please read the first two books in the series and set on a journey with these characters.  You might have read my reviews for Evanthia’s Gift and Waiting for Aegina and will already know how much I have enjoyed this series.  In fact I will go so far as to say that I feel emotionally invested in the characters.

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My greatest enjoyment from the trilogy has been the continuing story of the generations of women from two families and friends that become one : Anastacia, her daughter Sophia and granddaughter Evvie;  Soula, her daughter Demi and grandaughter Stella; close friends, the Honeyhill girls, and their children.  The roles of these strong leading women has been quite inspirational and I see the driving force of the family in the strong Greek woman, who loves to feed her family in my own great friend Evi.

This chapter of the story examines the adolescent years of the younger generation and the author shares the highs and the lows with brutal honesty.  Emotions run high as a teen/early twenty something and we have all experienced the intense joy and sadness that come with the smallest of experiences.  The young ladies in this tale are no different to any others and they feel intensely.  As a palliative care nurse in my previous life, I was particularly interested in Evvie and how the author dealt with her grief.  Something I learnt early in my nurse training (whilst losing many young men in our London taching hospital to Aids in the late 80s) is that there is no “right” way for grief, no timeline, no “one fit for all”.  Yes, there is the Kubler Ross stages of grief, but everyone is so different and Ms Kammenou depicts this beautifully with Evvie.

By the time she is a teen, this young lady has experienced major loss and in order to deal with this she has built an emotional wall around herself.  To the outside world her moods and strange wardrobe choices might seem like those of a “difficult, hormonal” teen, but they are so much more than this.  I applaud the author for her handling and eventual breakdown of Evvie’s grief,  the way in which she slowly realises that she cannot protect herself from the possibility of pain and loss – and in fact in the process may be denying herself love and joy.

Difficult topics are once again tackled in this family saga – suicide, depression and mental health, domestic abuse, death, bereavement.  Perhaps this list should also include falling in love, sexuality & sexual relationships, and the complexities of family life.  Both Stella and Evvie are great role models as they experience the highs and some extreme lows of growing up (no spoilers!), and both come out the other side as mature, more confident and happy young women.  I am not going to say that they have grown up – I’m not sure that we ever finish growing up and I believe that Yiayia Sophia shows us this in her observations of her life.

I could write so much more here, but I think the important thing is to say that I loved it just as much as the first tow books, and I really didn’t want it to end…..surely there must be another chapter waiting in the wings about young Cia, Ms Kammenou?  There are delicious recipes peppered throughout the book, including some French treats when Evvie is dancing in Paris – there is even a recipe for the delicious lemon chicken and potatoes that my own dear Evi makes.  But my kids say that I could never compete!

Five stars for this engrossing, beautifully written contemporary family saga.

Available from:

Amazon

About the Author

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.cover photo 2

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

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Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

We are celebrating our final bank holiday weekend of the year and in true UK style it is raining!  The long, hot days of only a couple of weeks ago feel like a world away, whilst last night yours truly turned on the electric blanket and added a dressing gown to the bed clothes.  Now the fight will be on between husband and wife for changing to a warmer duvet (me) or sticking with the summer one (him).  I must look into these split weight duvets – have any of tried them? Anyway, the wife will win!!

Monday Magic - 27 aug

 

This week has felt a little surreal if I am honest with you.  The politics student called mid week to say that he could only sleep on his mate’s floor in Nottingham until Saturday – OK, so what do you expect me to do about it??  Well, my final exam isn’t until Tuesday……good old mum puts a shout out to a couple of Nottingham based school friends, but of course it is a BH weekend and guess what, my boy?!  A lot of people go away – and that is why my friends aren’t about but also why the B&B/hostels are all booked!!  He is fortunate that we found an Air BnB – affordable and in walking distance of uni; but arranging transport home was slightly trickier as he hadn’t told me his exam isn’t until 4.30 Tuesday afternoon.  But……with a bit of internet surfing, I was amazed to get him and his friend onto a coach on Tuesday evening, back to London for £15 for the two of them!  Bargain!!  It will probably cost as much to get back from London to home (30 mins on the train!).

Amidst the dramas of the “middle” child, came the exam results of the youngest – the lovely girl.  I did mention a little about this in yesterday’s post.  Needless to say it was mum here who didn’t sleep well the night before and had strange dreams – we knew she would have got the requirements for 6th form, bar a complete disaster, but as the exams have been new this year and she was taking a mixture of the new levels 1-9 and the old grades A*-G, anything was possible.  Thursday morning came, she got up and did her paper round, and I was awoken to squeals as she opened the email – oh my goodness!  I am not allowed to say any more, but if your follow me on twitter of facebook you will know that she didn’t need to worry about me posting her results and picture all over social media – the school did it!! (here!!)).  As I said I’m not allowed to say anything – but delight, surreal, shocked, unbelievable….you get the picture!!

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The young engineer has been a bit put out that his little sister beat him – in fact beat both her brothers – but secretly he is very proud.  In fact on Friday evening he and his partner were going to the theatre with the lovely girl and her friend (who did just as well) – and he took them out for dinner beforehand to celebrate.  Now this is a huge deal as he has always been the “tight” kid of the 3!!!

So moving on from the act of sibling love in my household to the first blog that I’m sharing with you this week – it comes from Rachna and she describes a beautiful festival that traditionally recognises and honours sibling love.  I particularly like the post on ClockWorkClouds that discussed the uses of certain words – how does using “should” rather than”would” change the feel of a situation?  I hope that you will also enjoy some culture with an artist’s exhibition, a book review, flash fiction story and do read the Trolls’ poem, it is funny!  There are also some life posts here too that would benefit everyone.

So grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy some great blog posts!

https://www.rachnaparmar.com/2018/08/raksha-bandhan-a-beautiful-festival-of-sibling-love.html

https://clockworkclouds.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/5945/

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/a-visit-to-the-orla-kiely-exhibition/poster_2500_1

http://zooloobookblog.co.uk/bookreview-her-final-hour-bookouture/

https://www.mollytotoro.com/2018/08/the-artists-way-for-midlife-vitality/

https://thedarknetizen.wordpress.com/2018/08/26/flash-fiction-the-inn/

http://allthatjazmin.com/mental-health/getting-a-late-autism-diagnosis/

https://teaandcakeforthesoul.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/beware-of-the-trolls-poems-from-simply-modern-life-by-claire-baldry-bookexcerpt/

simply-modern-life-poems-claire-baldry1

https://www.funasagran.co.uk/2018/08/5-essentials-to-improve-your-pets-life.html

https://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au/5-ways-to-start-appreciating-yourself-start-thriving/

As always , please share some love for these bloggers!

Have a great week,

Claire x