Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A small yet pointless rant....

These are going to become a regular feature in my blog for no other reason than in the name of catharsis!  The things that feature here are likely to be small, irrelevant things, but goodness they make my blood pressure rise.

So the first of my SPR (small pointless rants) is against the media.  Yes all of it. 

No in all seriousness, NOT all of it.  This is directed at certain tabloids, people who get their information from certain tabloids, a certain type of magazine and celebrity gossip websites.  Why, in the name of all that is sacred, why must you insist on persistently shortening the names of famous people to make, what I can only imagine you think to be "cool" monikers. 

Let us start with the recent Royal Wedding.  Arguably one of the main protagonists was a young lady with a beautiful, feminine name.  So why on earth is it virtually impossible for one to read about Phillipa Middleton or even Pippa.  Why must one read of the antics of the dreadfully monikered "P Middy". And then onto the wife of the Prime Minister, a position that brings with it a certain gravitas is apparently best described by the name "SamCam". Is it really so, so difficult to add an extra nine letters and call her Samantha Cameron?

It is all so "J-Lo" isn't it which in turn is all rather 1990s.  It may have worked for a pop star as part of their image and brand but it really, really doesn't work for every celebrity there is so if there's a chance we could call people by their proper names that would be smashing!

Thanks awfully.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Thirty Day Book Challenge - Part One - Days 1 - 10

There have been various of these challenges flying about on Twitter and Facebook (see my responses to the 30 Day Song Challenge here ) but as a self-confessed bibliophile I simply couldn't resist this one and I'm showing remarkable restraint to do it over 30 days and not cheat and jump ahead! Yes Stupidgirl, I'm looking at you with your shiny completed book challenge which can be read as Part One and Part 2 on her fab blog.   You can also read StripyZebra's thoughts on the challenge on her blog

So here goes my first 10 books for this challenge

Day 1: Favourite book - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I have adored this book since I first read it aged 9.  It was the first book I chose to borrow from my new prep-school's little library (this library was so small it fit into an alcove that housed a fire!) and it captured my imagination.  There is nothing not to like about this book, beautiful writing, great characters and a really strong storyline.  Everyone should read this book at least once in their lives!

Day 2: Least favourite book - The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Words cannot express how much I hate this book.  Honestly.  I actually resent the 3 hours of my life I spent reading it.  I thought the writing was dull and lifeless, the characters eminently unlikeable and the plot full of holes.  Obviously I am also avoiding the film at all costs although I suppose the film may have cut out huge chunks of the book which can only be a good thing!

Day 3: A book that makes you laugh out loud - Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I love all of Bill Bryson's books but this one is absolutely hilarious.  Plus I think it makes for much more entertaining reading given its about "home".  I love the scale of what he set out to do and love the way he records it.  Not a book to read on public transport if you want to retain a modicum of dignity as I guarantee you will be guffawing before the end.

Day 4: A book that makes you cry - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I must admit that I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to books.  I can quite easily cry at an awful lot of books.  I find choosing a sad story and crying at it very, very cathartic. But if I had to choose one book that I can absolutely guarantee will make me cry it is Anne of Green Gables.  There are two passages that set the waterworks going for me; the first is when quiet, unassuming Matthew takes it upon himself to buy Anne a dress with puff sleeves that she has been coveting.  He is so obviously out of his comfort zone yet he buys this dress for his little orphan girl and when she opens it - sob, sob, howl! The other part is where Matthew dies and the descriptions of the different griefs felt by Anne and Marilla - too traumatic for words!

Day 5: A book you wish you could live in - Harry Potter by JK Rowling

I'm going to cheat a bit here and not choose one book per se but rather a series.  I want to live at Hogwarts, it is true! I want the feasts, I want to learn Transfiguration, I want to visit Hogsmeade and I quite fancy trying my hand at Quidditch.  I think I'd be a Slytherin - rather cunning you see (not to mention perfect access to certain Death Eaters....)

Day 6: Favourite young adult book - The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis

I love this book - although starts with a fairly dark situation in terms of two unwanted orphans, it soon develops into a fabulous tale of supernatural beings and the endless fight for good against evil.  Lots of fun.

Day 7: A book you can quote/recite - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I don't care that I'm duplicating.  And although I cannot foresee an occasion where I would be required to recite Jane Eyre, I can quote large quantities of the book simply because I've read it so many times.  "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day....."

Day 8: A book that scares you – The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

This book is frightening simply by deign of that fact that it puts your imagination into overdrive.  Nothing in the book is particularly scary in itself but the combination of seeing strange women, hearing a ghostly horse and carriage and an infants screams all adds to the feeling of impending doom.  This is novella length actually but I simply could not put it down and the author grasps in such a short space what many novelists have failed to do in much longer novels - quite simply how to scare.  Brilliant.

Day 9: A book that makes you sick – Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I very much have a love/hate relationship with this book.  It is such an excellent book and really gripping but the bullying and torture culminating in the death of two boys really upsets me.  I guess this is why this book makes me sick - that in such a short space of time children can become so feral as to deliberately inflict pain and suffering on their peers.  Very, very disturbing.

Day 10: A book that changed your life – St Thomas’ Eve by Jean Plaidy

This book actually belonged to my mother when she was young and my grandmother found it in her loft and gave it to me to read when I was about 10.  I instantly fell in love with the story and the author and since then have been on a mission to collect all Jean Plaidy's
So there we are - days 1 to 10 of the 30 Day Book challenge.  Parts two and three to follow when completed.

What do you think - do you agree/disagree, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

An open letter to my daughter

I should have done this a long time ago, done a letter each year of your life to open when you’re 18 because I will not be able to express to you when you’re older just how much you mean to me as a little girl.

All mothers love their children, of course they do, but the bond we have makes me amazed that such a feeling of love can exist.

You’re at school now, and I just know that you will be able to do anything you want. You’re clever and you’re popular and you’re kind and generous – in fact everything that I had ever hoped for in a child I have in you.

It fills me with delight that you want to learn, that you love the same things I do – writing, reading, history and Harry Potter! Your imagination is second to none.  Today you have gone to school pretending to be Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.  Last term you wanted to be Professor Lupin – and your teachers called you Professor Lupin for an entire day! 

You love playing football with your Daddy and it makes me so happy watching through the window whilst you and Daddy play in the garden.  

I know you desperately want to be a big sister but it looks like that isn’t going to happen.  But to make up for it we will give you the world.  Every minute of my time will be yours, little girl.  Far from it being a negative I am so looking forward to special “girls” days as you get older – trips to the cinema, bowling, visiting museums.  We WILL have a blast.  You don’t know it yet but we have booked to take you to Euro Disney in June – I cannot wait to see your face when you realise where you are.  The weekend will be yours – to choose what we do.

I will be there to hold your hand when you run, pick you up when you fall, cuddle you when you are sad.  I will be there to encourage you to do things you’re worried about, to stand behind you when you’re nervous.  You still need me to help you go to sleep and do you know what? That is ok – as long as you need me, whatever you need me for I will be there.  In the future when you’re taking your first steps as an adult I will be there as I was when you took your first steps as a toddler – letting you go, giving you your independence but always there to right the wobbles and the times you need a bit of help.

Nothing could have prepared me for the changes to my life becoming a mother made.  But in amongst the warnings of sleepless nights and loss of spontaneity and lack of time to be me not one person told me it was amazing, it was wonderful.  I gave up my career without a second thought to spend time with you and not once have I regretted it – for the first three years of your life we spent every day together and that is so precious, how could I regret?

You are everything to me and I love you more than I could say.  

Be happy always darling girl

Love your mummy