Saturday, 31 December 2016

Stronger, wiser, happier…





2016 has been strange, appalling, a political nightmare yet exciting, enthralling and a foundation year for my gorgeous family.


I've had a decade or so of coming to terms with Meniere's, handling the day to day symptoms while being undermined by people who I thought loved me as I loved them. All this on top of trying to keep going and forge a new career. I've very much felt like I have been swimming against the tide and getting caught in the rips. It's been a continual fight of who people want me to be and who I am. 


In 2016, I won the battle. Whilst we lost people dear to us, Wes and I agree, 2016 has not been a bad year for us. 

Lessons of 2016


     1. You can't put a band aid on an open wound and expect it to heal. You must deal with the problem head on. Operation Freedom!


   
2. Value myself more. I've achieved so much in the last five years. I have raised two amazing human beings; taught myself how to write scripts; received peer reviews for my work that dreams are made of; started a MSc Information Technology. No one can accuse me of sitting around waiting for a break or being lazy or #getajob. I've laid the foundations to progress my career and if the pending decisions go my way, I will have dragged myself from the brink of Meniere's induced destruction to a new self-fulfilled life and career. I hope it shows to the boys that, whatever is thrown at you, you can dust yourself down and fight back.


     3.    Do not accept what is not right.

4.    To continue to fight for equality, justice and bring hope. This year's political fallout has been huge. Jeremy Corbyn brings hope and if he is given a chance, he can provide a real opportunity to stop inequality and injustice.In 2017 Labour need to take the gloves off and promote the fact that their leader has been genuinely anti-establishment for 40 years AND been on the right side of history in most poor decisions made.  

Jeremy Corbyn has the anti-racist, sensible answers to steer us through Brexit and the crises made by the Tories in Education, NHS, Social Care, Social Security, Foreign policy... in fact every blooming Department but especially the economy.

You won't see this video on TV. It's worth watching - click here

DON'T LISTEN TO THE MEDIA...listen to him and his policies. GIVE HIM A CHANCE. 2017 will bring new challenges and fights. WHO IS WITH ME? Let's eradicate hate, war and inequality…together.
 
     5.    I've realised, me trusting people, is not the reason why people treat me badly and I will continue to, although cautiously, trust people.


     6.    I treasure my family time with the boys so much. We have grown so much closer this year.


I want to fix the world – my way! I can't believe how far I have come this year and I am, genuinely, for the first time, excited to see what's in store for my precious family in 2017.


#RIPDebbieReynolds - #RIPCarrieFisher



I am truly devastated to be writing this. I want to pay tribute to Debbie Reynolds who was very much an icon to me. I admired her so much and from my early teens (maybe younger) was mesmerized by her in Singin' in the Rain. Both her and Carrie were so much more than brilliant actors, they were thoroughly decent human beings, power houses and truly kind spirited women. The world is a lesser place without these two incredibly decent, strong women.


Advice for 2017



Love it, live it and if you hit a brick wall or fall flat on your face – GET BACK UP and love it and live it again.


2016 will always be the year I was released from the shackles. Thank you for all your support. I started this blog to promote my work and record my journey in my new career. Never, ever did I imagine anyone would read it… LOL… 42,000+ viewings on and we are still here… together.  Blowing a kiss to each one of you.


Have a simply fabulous, safe News Year's Eve. See you in 2017



Much love


Friday, 16 December 2016

Meniere’s and Masters


I do what most Mum’s do, I play down my illness because I don’t want it to define who I am. I also think it is a way of deceiving myself -  it is not getting any worse or I will wake up and be miraculously cured!

It’s difficult to explain Meniere’s to non- sufferers. There are so many associated symptoms, not just vertigo or drop attacks – I know there I go again ‘JUST’. The fullness feeling in my ears, the pressure on the back of my neck and the jaw aches drive me mad. Insanity comes though from the tinnitus and brain fog!

Tinnitus

Don’t ever take your silence for granted! I did and oh I wish I had it back now! Tinnitus therapy includes methods to block it out and some days I can but other days it is like having a swarm of annoying wasps in my head or an angry ocean stirred by a brutal storm! It’s there ALL THE BLOOMING TIME! – speaking, listening, reading, sleeping – ALL THE TIME. It’s so bad on some days, I can’t actually hear the words coming out of my mouth OR what people say to me. I literally want to scream “shut up, just shut up!” – to the noises in my head not the people… well… maybe sometimes the people!

Brain Fog

This is actually my nemesis. My Kryptonite! When it hits, I can’t function effectively. Shopping, writing, reading all become mammoth tasks. I open the laptop and stare at it, trying to remember what I opened it for. I’ve got to the shop for ONE item and not remembered what the item was. I’ll start a sentence and can’t remember the last words – the boys finish my sentences off now.  It makes us laugh but it also makes me cry. It’s frustrating, embarrassing, life limiting and makes me look totally insane!

Both Tinnitus and Brain Fog make studying a real challenge especially in class rooms and when I’m researching. People laugh when I tell them I have to study in an open, noisy place – silent rooms are not silent to me and I’d rather have people noise than wasps!

I had not realised how much the symptoms had progressed. Yes…each day has been a challenge for many years but I got by because I worked from home and the only deadlines I had were self-imposed. The Masters study has highlighted the growing difficulties I, and many other sufferers face. Last Saturday I had a meltdown. I couldn’t cope with the brain fog, the fullness in my ears and trying to concentrate on writing a Masters paper that is due in this Sunday. Looking back, I was too hard on myself but sometimes you have to just let it out! I was ready to give up until Wes reminded me of the words I gave to him when he found things tough. It worked! He is amazing.

90% of the time I accept my limitations and have learned to work around them. Sure it may take me longer than others but that does not matter, I’ve never been in competition with anyone…ever. I have proven to myself how strong I actually am. 2016 has been a tough year with very tough lessons. Would I change it? Probably not. I have:

1.       Cut people out of my life that do not appreciate, know or value me.   They convinced me I was not worth anything. They were very, very wrong.

2.       Proven my gut instincts for thirty plus years were not wrong at all.

3.       Taught myself how to develop and write screenplays.

4.       Written another full length novel and improved my writing skills ten-fold.

5.       Started work on a project about a subject I have studied for over twenty years.

6.       Started a MSc Information Technology degree.

7.       Most of all, supported and helped two fine young men to develop and blossom into decent human beings.

What’s a few sick days in between all of this. Life is a challenge for all of us… it is also exciting.

2017 will continue to be a challenge but I will NEVER give up. Meniere’s will not beat me. I am not the same person I was at the start of this year. I have grown so much and I am forever grateful and thankful of the support and love I have received from my true friends and my gorgeous boys.

Meniere’s has made me appreciate how precious time is. It’s taught me to cherish the good days and ride out the bad days but to never waste time.

Christmas

I don’t know who was more excited about the end of the school term today – Lucas or me. It’s a tough call! I love the boys being home as much as they love being here. Christmas is very much a collaborative affair. We are going to play foot golf on Christmas Eve. We always try to take Lucas out for a couple of hours and we’ve never played this before. I’m sure it will be a giggle. Apart from a movie night to see Rogue One and a football team kick about on the 29th, we do not have any other plans. Our Christmas consists of pyjamas and board games. PERFECT. When the boys are in bed, I will be studying and writing - no rest for the wicked!

Whatever you are doing this year, I hope you are truly happy and spending it with the people who truly deserve you. I know I am.

Thank you for your support this year. It really does mean a lot to me.

Shall we see what 2017 has in store for us all?

Much love

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Life goes on…


I am really struggling this week. I desperately want to leave my past behind me but I can’t do that without facing up to the s*** people put me through. I don’t want them inside my head or wasting any more of my precious time. I want to move on but anyone who has suffered psychological abuse or bullying will know it is easier said than done. I wrestle everyday with the ‘no I’m not letting them do it to me anymore’ to ‘I have to write about it to get it out of my head’ to ‘I can’t live with all of this anymore’. It affects my mood… constantly.

I used to be extra nice to them, buy them presents and treats in the hope that one day my kindness would rub off on them – that they would love me!! Stupidity comes in many forms.

It’s hard to explain to anyone who has not suffered in the hands of narcissists. I’ve decided the best way to handle it is to continue with my writing, Masters study and raising my family for now and when my Masters is over I am going to write a book about it all. In the meantime, I am going to keep a diary of things that flood back and the emotions they cause. It’s self-therapy I suppose and the fact that I know they are nothing but lying, nasty manipulators.

For now, I have to just…well…keep going and accept the wobbles, anger and tears as part of my life. On the positive side, my experiences have taught me to cherish my children, to build strong sibling bonding between them and help to mould me into the Mum I am. I was helped along the way by having great role models like Annie Williams who taught me to fight for your children against lies and bullying. A true inspiration.

I count my blessings every single day – I have the Meniere’s under control for now, my children are healthy and thriving and I have the will and determination to succeed. That’s happiness…

Master’s Study

Oh why do I put myself under so much pressure? This is tough. I have four masters’ papers to do before the end of January and one of them includes hours and hours of additional appendices. Still I keep telling myself it will be worth it!!

Writing

It’s been a busy week. Five and a half hours to fill in an Arts Council funding request and hours of editing but actually, it didn’t seem that long. I love writing and creating and feel so lucky I have the opportunity to forge a career out of it. If it doesn’t happen… well… at least I tried!

Beyond the Past

It’s hard to believe it is nearly three years since my first work was published. I was naïve back then, okay more naïve than I am now…I’m still learning the industry and my trade. I don’t mind admitting I’ve made some humungous mistakes along with way BUT I’m still standing… just.
Beyond the Past





Have you had the chance to read it yet?

Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my
website

Available from:

Pegasus Publishers

Amazon UK

Kindle

Amazon US

Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0
Whatever the future holds, I can only do my best and work hard. I am quietly confident my career is moving in the right direction and 2017 is going to be a very exciting and rewarding year.

Christmas Plans

We are planning an amazing festive season this year of…. Drum roll… absolutely nothing…other than jamas, board games, our favourite foods and time together. We don’t have a Christmas dinner; we eat what we fancy and drink what we like. There is no set timetable, no running around, no rules. Just as we like it.





Well, these Masters’ papers won’t write themselves. I’m off to smash them out… or die trying!!

Have a fabulous week… do what makes you happy.

Much love


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Aint Life Frustratingly Brilliant...


Life can be so frustrating at times. I know I’m on the cusp of breaking through in my new career BUT I’m penniless and broke at Christmas time again! Thankfully I have children who do not put pressure on me for the latest gadgets and designer clothes. In fact, Lucas told me he doesn’t want much for Christmas this year because he realises he has much more than most children will ever get. Bless him. My heart bursts of pride. He has a true socialist heart!

He came out with me last Saturday on the national NHS campaign day. He absolutely loved it. It was a real moment for me… we chatted, laughed and spent some quality time together. He read the NHS leaflet from top to bottom and shook his head disapprovingly when I explained what the Government cuts had done. I love this little man to bits!

Streetwise


You may recall I told you I had submitted the script to the market. I received feedback this week and I could not be happier. It is so hard breaking into a new career especially when you have no one close to bounce ideas or peer review your work. This is an extract of the review:



I can’t put the second part in because it gives the plot away but I can say the constructive criticism has led to the script being edited. It is much stronger with just a few pointers from experts in the industry. I thank them so much for taking the time to read my work.

Now, it is ready to go off again but this time, on the recommendation of the review, I am sticking to my original plan of this being a television script. Wish me luck!

As a result of the positive feedback, I have decided to look into Arts Council funding too. 2017 is proving to be a very exciting year



Masters

What have I gotten myself into? Seriously, the workload is WOW! Just WOW! BUT… I do love writing in different formats but wasn’t sure I could still write technical content as well as fiction. After a review this morning, I really need to stop doubting myself. Old habits die hard! That’s what you get from years of people not having faith in you. How wrong they were! I need to stop listening to the doubters who know nothing and start trusting my instincts. Story of my life!



One thing is for sure… this woman is NOT giving up. When you’re desperate for money to live, it clouds your perspective. I need to keep telling myself the pain now will be worth the future. It’s not easy but nothing worth having is easy.  A new career is not built over night – it took twenty years to build my Insurance Broking career. I started my new writing career in 2011. Look how far I have come?

Whatever life throws up, you can overcome it. I know I have 100% backing from my gorgeous boys and Lucas telling me how proud he is of me, spurs me on to fight for my success.

It’s been an amazing week… frustrating but amazing. I now have a grants application, four Masters papers, a script submission and my writing to do within the next eight weeks. You know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well…maybe some money coming in…




It’s the start of advent… we don’t have a mad Christmas. One room is decorated...the others will be done over the next few days... in between everything else that's happening.

We have a chilled, anything goes Christmas Day… we may have a barbecue in the rain or a Masterchef pasta making competition. Who knows? But whatever we do, we’ll have fun.

Much love


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Silence is NOT always golden




Who you surround yourself with, absolutely affects your own attitude, beliefs and actions in life. Choose carefully. Be brave and bold enough to stand up to those who deflate, attack and behave inappropriately towards you and make sure you tell them their behavior is NOT okay. I can assure you, it’s a boost to your self-esteem and helps others by exposing narcissists and unacceptable behaviour. You never know it may educate the perpertrators – we can live in hope!

Silence is not always the answer. Now more than ever, we need to start standing up to unacceptable behaviour and language. The recent xenophobia, stirred up by PUBLIC SERVANTS, wouldn't get much further than vile language if all those who are totally against, spoke up. Yes, they will try to shout you down, insult you, call you names but we need to stand up to them. STOP THIS NOW! The similarities between now and the 1930s is shocking and very, very scary. The hypocrisy of the ones calling for nationalism are the same ones fixated with wearing poppies. Do they understand the history? I very much doubt it! Please don't be fooled by these people. This anti- establishment elite are playing on fears of people yet indulging in the very system they are purporting to oppose! 

We need to be fighting for education in our schools to include constitutional studies, economics and social studies as compulsory subjects. We need to give our children the tools to hold public servants to account. They need to be engaged early on and I'm not talking about indoctrination, I'm talking about awareness of the system and governance. Governments love ignorance – they can't be held to account! Voter engagement is not just putting a cross on the paper at election time. Ask your MPs, Councillors questions. The only way the system will ever benefit the majority is if we fight to change the system.  We all know now not all elected people are in the position to represent the best interests of the people who put them there. So, what are you going to do about it? Leave it for someone else to tackle? Or, hold them to account? USE YOUR POWER – you are more powerful than you think.

I have no interest in being elected or working within a system I think is broken BUT I won't sit on the sidelines. I will use my education and research to help change things. Besides, can you imagine the stress effect on my Meniere's and the sensory overload! I'm sticking to the path I've chosen. Which path will you take?

Writing




Have you had the chance to read it yet? Would you like to review it for me?

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website
Available from:
Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US
Or you can order from your local bookshop. The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0 




Okay back to the day job. In between studying for my Master's degree, I am still writing. Yesterday, I woke up with a clear idea of the ending of Beyond the Lies. It's taken a few months… well, I had an ending driving home from University but, by the time I got home to write it down, I'd forgotten it! Brain Fog or old age…I can't decide which was to blame.

Anyway, Saturday… I got this brilliant idea of an ending, dived out of bed and managed to write it all down before I became distracted. It's exhausting being me!!

The Nanny

I am still working on the Nanny. I have to confess it has taken a bit of a back seat until I finish Beyond the Lies but sometimes a break from a project allows you to review and change it. The direction of this work has definitely changed... for the better.
 


Streetwise

I'm about to send out my second batch of marketing. I desperately need some money coming in. We are living on borrowed time and I don't want to have to give up writing now when I've worked so hard to reinvent my career after losing it to Meniere's. My writing style has improved so much and I have learned how to screen write and so much more. It would be a shame to have to ditch it now.

I am not the person I was twelve months ago when I was at rock bottom and lost. I've made some major changes and I am so glad I have. I am proud of myself for standing up for my beliefs and not giving in.  I am even more proud of the boys - being so patient, understanding and supporting me. At my lowest point, I could not see a way out. You never think you will get sick and lose your job but it happens. Even when I thought I could not go on, I kept going and step by step I am repairing and rebuilding my shattered life

Robbie Williams' new song "I love my life" means so much to me. Sure, my life is not perfect and we are not out of financial danger yet but if you don't ask the answer will always be 'no' AND you'll always wonder 'what if'!

I won't let the Tories, bigots, liars, narcissists or Meniere's win!

Have a great, safe, happy and hate free week.

Much love