Why as a family would you decide to cycle 500km in the 24 days running up to Christmas? It’s busy enough, isn’t it? The answer is simple. My daughter put it on her Christmas list; GIVE MONEY TO THE HOMELESS. Initially she wanted me to withdraw money from the small amount of savings that she has so that she could take to the streets and hand out fifty pounds. As parents I don’t think we’ve ever felt prouder and we could have let her do that, we could have let her walk up to five random strangers and give them ten pounds each or send a cheque off to a charity. We could have done that but we decided to do more. This all came about after a visit to the Fireworks in Bath. We noticed a young homeless woman sitting against the wall. There was something about her that caught our attention. We stopped for a moment and talked to her, she asked if we’d been to the fireworks, yes we had. She said she’d walked down and watched them from the bridge. My husband asked why she sat on the floor against the wall ‘because it’s warm’ she said. Warm! It was freezing. Our car park ticket was about to run out, we walked on. Yet something about her stayed with us. We don’t know her story, we didn’t ask. We don’t need to know her story to know that she needs a safe, warm place to sleep. I couldn’t answer my daughter’s questions of ‘Why?’ or her indignant cries of ‘But it’s not fair.’ As a family however, including the kids, we can try and do something to help raise money for one of the charities that work towards making it fair, we chose Julian House. We are not super fit, we are as parents middle aged and overweight, I hate the cold, my kids hate the cold, we are busy and we will be fitting this around work and school and all the normal Christmas activities; but we are doing this challenge. 500 kilometres between us before Christmas. We will be cold, wet, and muddy because most of the cycling will take place off road. It is going to be difficult but we think it’s worth it and we would really appreciate your support. https://www.justgiving.com/Hayley-Mitchell9

Julian house

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December 1, 2017 · 11:43 am

Thank you x

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I’ve been in hiding. I didn’t mean to but I think i just became a little overwhelmed. I wasn’t overwhelmed in a negative way just at times so far out of my comfort zone I didn’t know how to react.

I’m about to achieve my dream. Number one on my bucket list, other items on my bucket list have fallen by the wayside due to age, lack of funds and a big chunk of realism; climbing Everest is really not for me I get cold just scurrying out to fetch logs for the fire!

Because I Was Lonely, will be published in less than a month and I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. The comfort zone thing… well I’ve said sod it because I am embracing every moment of this and loving it.

What this post is really about is saying THANK YOU. I have so many people to thank. Clare I really hope that Red Door goes from strength to strength what you have started is just brilliant. Heather, my initial contact with Red Door you believed in my book from the beginning, thank you for doing all those complicated bits that have put my words into a beautiful book and Anna thank you for your support, your pep talks, all your hard work with the publicity and for answering all my daft questions 🙂

Julia Crouch, Sam Carrington and Isabelle Broom, WOW ! for your words . Your endorsements are fantastic 🙂

Linda McQueen for your splendid editing and typesetting, Jane Donovan for your thorough and efficient proofreading, Anna Morrison for the cover design and what a cover it is ! To Bell and Bain for the great job you have done printing my book and thank you for saying you love it.

Book bloggers I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my words I hope that you have enjoyed what you have read and look forward to reading your reviews good or bad.

I also want to thank all the people who have read and reviewed for me already. You have all been so generous with your time, support and comments.

And finally my friends and family you all know how much I appreciate you x

Sometimes in life you need to jump straight in and trust your instincts with the people you have chosen to help you. I have chosen well. THANK YOU to all of you. xx

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Thank you x

img_5181

I’ve been in hiding.  I didn’t mean to but I think i just became a little overwhelmed.  I wasn’t overwhelmed in a negative way just at times so far out of my comfort zone I didn’t know how to react.

I’m about to achieve my dream.  Number one on my bucket list I suppose, other items on my bucket list have fallen by the wayside due to age, lack of funds and a big chunk of realism, climbing Everest is really not for me I get cold just scurrying out to fetch logs for the fire!

Because I Was Lonely, will be published in less than a month and I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. The comfort zone thing… well I’ve said sod it because I am embracing every moment of this and loving it.

What this post is really about is saying THANK YOU.  I have so many people to thank.  Clare I really hope that Red Door goes from strength to strength what you have started is just brilliant.  Heather, my initial contact with Red Door you believed in my book from the beginning, thank you for doing all those complicated bits that have put my words into a beautiful book and Anna thank you for your support, your pep talks, all your hard work with the publicity and for answering all my daft questions 🙂

Julia Crouch,  Sam Carrington and Isabelle Broom, WOW ! for your words . Your endorsements are fantastic 🙂

Linda McQueen for your splendid editing and typesetting, Jane Donovan for your thorough and efficient proofreading, Anna Morrison for the cover design and what a cover it is ! To Bell and Bain for the great job you have done printing my book and thank you for saying you love it.

Book bloggers I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my words I hope that you have enjoyed what you have read and look forward to reading your reviews good or bad.

I also want to thank all the people who have read and reviewed for me already.  You have all been so generous with your time, support and comments.

And finally my friends and family you all know how much I appreciate you x

Sometimes in life you need to jump straight in and trust your instincts with the people you have chosen to help you.  I have chosen well. THANK YOU to all of you. xx

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Today I feel a bit glum….

Today I feel a bit glum. The problem with being a writer is that you can become just a bit isolated.Which is good a bit of peace and quiet and no distraction is handy when the story is going well.  I work as well, I have a small business but this also means that apart from two mornings a week, I am on my own.

Most of my communication is done by virtual means, be it email, text or messenger. I rarely talk to anyone during the day. I think the delivery man worries that I order just a little too much on Amazon, but I love a very quick catch up on how the kids, his wife and his poorly Mum are, I think he may be a bit scared of me so he tells me stuff. Let me explain; I am a bit of a gregarious loner.  Which may seem like a contradiction but what I mean is on the whole I am comfortable on my own but then when I see people I’m a bit overenthusiastic and possibly a bit annoying. I’m working on this.  A friend told me I need to do a mindfulness course I tried but I didn’t really get it. I think you have to focus and I am totally random.

This ramble does have a point I think, or it may just be a ramble because I feel a bit fed up.  Ok, so the point I was thinking about making was communication.  In Because I Was Lonely  (shameless plug, due to be released in February, please buy a copy 🙂 ) I explore, no surprises here, aspects of loneliness and a failure to communicate.  It’s what we all need, someone to talk to. Most of the communication in my book is however, virtual and that gets a bit messy.

So today if, like me, you feel a bit glum don’t let pride, stubbornness or worrying that the person you want to speak to might be too busy, just try them.  Send them a text or a message and see if they respond, it doesn’t matter that it’s their turn and you are feeling a bit miffed that they didn’t respond, let it go, life is busy and short. Give your Mum or any other member of your family a call if you are lucky enough to have them. If you are truly alone then try and strike up a conversation with a stranger you may be surprised what comes from it.  The idea for my book came from a conversation I had on a journey  by talking to a complete stranger (note here, I do that a lot, my husband calls me a nutter magnet, I point out he was a stranger once). If you feel down today reach out to someone  it may just be enough to make your day and theirs a better day.

So… I’m off now to find someone to annoy and even if no one is free to annoy in person I shall talk to someone somehow because I don’t want to feel like the characters in my book and I could do with a hug even if it’s a virtual one.

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I never wanted children…

I never wanted children and yet I sit here today bereft.  My clinging little urchins have been wrenched away from me and taken back into the misery of the education system.  Ok, that’s not strictly true, they moaned a bit and then saw their friends and apart from the hug and kiss goodbye they were fine.  I’m not.  I’m gut wrenchingly miserable.

That ominous feeling clouded the last of the halcyon days of summer and wow what a summer it has been.  Happy we have been. Yesterday was supposed to be that perfect last day full of treats and fun but we all had the grumps and the visit to the park, the real Italian pizza, the ice cream and the mammoth cuddling session on the sofa were all marred by the impending sense of loss, I was by far the grumpiest!

I should ‘Mum up’ but for a little while I just can’t.  I’m going to miss the magical moments of holidays. I’m going to miss the lazy days, well lazy for the kids I was trying to work at the day job, the late mornings, the not having to rush. I want to go back the fantastic little music festival we went to and watch them jumping around, dancing like mad things.  I will forever remember the moment my five year old son nearly fell off his Dad’s shoulders because the man on the stage said arse and their joint delight at their  balloon pirate costumes.

If I hadn’t had the children my life would be very different, I would have lived in a house that was big enough for four but only housed two instead of the other way round.  My holidays would have been to distant places and my financial worries would have been few and yet today I feel lucky. My kids stress me out, clear the cupboards of food with locust precision, interrupt me continually when I try to work and occasionally drive me to a very large glass of wine but I am glad I changed my mind, my children made my life everything it should be. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Please note however, I might not be in quite  such a loved up Mum state at three o’clock when they come home tired and uber cranky, dropping biscuits and spilling juice.

Our summer wasn’t grand, we didn’t do anything amazing and yet every moment was just that, amazing.  My Little ones are growing up and being educated so that they can look at me as if I am an idiot when I can’t do their maths homework, I am preparing myself for my redundancy but for now I am off to drown myself in caffeine whilst I wallow in a morning of self pity.  Today I need my Mum and today I miss her just a bit more than usual.

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But other people do it….

IMG_4058‘But other people do it…’  If you want to see my hackles rise and my face flush this is the statement  to use.  When it was first used and I have to say used repeatedly to me, it caused a great deal of anguish.  That statement alone encompassed every feeling of failure within me.  I felt that I was failing at everything.  That statement also caused me to act irrationally and make a personal mistake. There is a but here though and from mistakes we learn.

What I have learned is about me.  I am just who I am with my own weaknesses and foibles.  I have my own unique set of fears and my own qualities.  What others can do I cannot but this does not make me a failure, it makes me me.

So next time someone judges you by their own standards just know that you have your own unique set of circumstances and do what is right for you and for those you love.  Let ‘other people do it…’ whatever that may be but you haven’t failed just because you don’t choose someone else’s path to follow.

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The Shortbread Baby……

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I just came back from this amazing holiday in Scotland where scenery like this abounds.  The only problem is that I came back with an unwelcome addition; the shortbread baby.

I noticed it’s arrival about half way through the first week but still I couldn’t help myself, in fact there was no stopping me. Let me explain, now I have always had a bit of an issue with my weight, it’s been up and down, down and up and after kids mostly up.  Over the last few years I have managed to gain a little control with a healthy diet and a lot of exercise.  Exercise has never been a hardship for me, I enjoy it, I like the sweaty, I relish the endorphin kick so with a certain amount of self control and discipline I found a happy place with my body. Nobody was ever going to accuse me of being thin but I looked ok with my clothes on, in a badly lit room.  With the clothes off is a different story and we must never and I mean never talk of the day I tried to face the full length mirror naked.

Then came stress, and some of the discipline ended up in the biscuit tin. The holiday was a good time to get things back under control.  I know what you are thinking, most people gain weight on holiday, they relax, eat nice food and drink too much.  Well, not me, I never normally gain weight on holiday, I do eat and  drink more than usual, but my idea of a holiday is walking, preferably uphill, and mountain biking for miles and then some more miles.  Strava comparison with my husband is a holiday activity and we do all this before the kids even get out of bed.  Yes we are a bit tragic, but we love it.  The kids are too young to be left so we get up early and take turns crashing our bikes round mountain paths then comparing routes and speed later.  I’m not extreme, I do find it amusing that Dirtlife follow me on Twitter, but I am partial to the odd side slide when accompanied by some emergency braking if faced with a precarious situation.

With all this extra activity in mind I wasn’t that bothered about the weight gain.  It would go, wouldn’t it?  Only no it hasn’t!! I have cycled miles, I have sweated so much I felt like I wet myself, I have gained thigh muscles that a professional weight lifter would be proud of and despite it’s ample proportions I think I could crack walnuts with my ass.

So what went wrong?  Delicious, moreish, butter, flour and sugar is what went wrong.  From day one of travelling I developed a new found addiction to that Scottish favourite….SHORTBREAD!    If I pushed it hard on the bike and came back trembling did I refuel with a sensible glass of juice or a banana, a healthy no added sugar compressed fruit bar? No I didn’t.  When I felt a bit peckish did I reach for an apple or stave off my appetite with a glass of water or a quick caffeine fix? No I didn’t.  After an early dinner or after a trip to the pub did I snack on yoghurt like I normally would? No I didn’t.  No I didn’t!  It was all the lovely, mouth meltingly, white floury, creamy buttered, crumbly, sugary shortbread.

When I really noticed the shortbread baby, as it has now been affectionately named, was on the long journey home where it was cut in half by my seatbelt.  I had nearly 700 miles of trying to suck it in but the moment I relaxed there it was.  I already have a tummy but I don’t mind that so much, the post C Section wobble with it’s roadmap of silvery ‘B’roads was after all made from love so that I can deal with but this new above the belly button lump has to go! After all I am a writer, I don’t have any money I can’t afford another mouth to feed. So After a 20k off road bike ride and a ten minute abs session, fuelled by nothing more than a protein shake I am now also a starving artist.

Off to plank… 🙂

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And so it begins…

120_2037So much neglected blog …here I am at last!!

I have been a tad busy.  There has been so much to do.

This is a bit of a catch up .  My debut novel Because I was Lonely is due for release in February 2017.  It’s so exciting !!  I have these wonderful people, Clare, Heather and Anna who ask me things like what I’d like my book cover to look like and would I like to write the synopsis for the reps or should they do it ….

At the moment it all feels a little unreal.  Writing a book, a novel whatever you want to call it has been number one on the bucket list for as long as I can remember and now it’s on its way.   Pause here for quick pinch, yes that hurts.  Is it real though?

At the moment I’m just going with the flow, enjoying the moment not worrying about sales or getting that bad review.  So it has begun and I will see where this journey takes me 🙂

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So I have a blog!

It seems a little presumptuous of me really.  I have a blog.  Why?  Well I have this desire to write.

So this is the first entry on my blog.  What to say?  I could tell you all about me, but like any writer will tell you, you don’t want to give away the plot at the start. So I set up this blog to talk obviously about my writing.  The why, the how, the OMG it’s going wrong.

I’m not even sure what this blog will be about, part diary, part rant and maybe when I’m brave enough or I think anyone might be reading this I may even post some of my work…..really! No surely I won’t.  Leave my writing, the stuff where I bare my soul ,on public display for people to comment on…now that would insane!!

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