Life · Uncategorized · writing

Camp NaNoWriMo – Week Two

Well, who would have thought that we are half way through Camp already! I wasn’t sure I would still be here after week one, let alone still going strong in week two. And I couldn’t be happier!

Well, I started Camp with nothing more than a blank page, and a, “What is all this about? Looks fun!” and “I wonder…” And now, I am addicted.

My story originally started life as an idea I had years ago when my youngest son was born. I wanted to write him some pagan stories as there weren’t many at all for children. Sure, you could buy the books on ‘how to’, but nothing really aimed at children stories. So I came up with a basic outline then, and that’s all it ever was really. A couple of years later my daughter was born and the story resurfaced and this time it was rewritten to include her, but again went no further. It was just a simple text document that stayed on my hard drive collecting dust.

As I was starting Camp very, very green, it was the perfect thing to pull out, dust off and relook at. It certainly helped to have that tucked away for a rainy day! I can’t say that I have followed the original story and it has now completely morphed into something different.

The Plan – a set of eight short stories on the eight sabbats of the Pagan Wheel of the Year. The two children would take us through a year with their family and their goings on. So part fiction, part non-fiction. The story is still the two children, and they are in a pagan family, but they are moving into their new neighbourhood in this story instead.

Basically, I’m a grade A waffler and I had read that at Camp (as well as during the main event in November) the goal is to write. Just write. So I did! I waffled on so much though and added in things I hadn’t thought about, that the whole story changed. I’m not sad about it, I love it. I love that my characters have a whole life of their own. They have characters that have grown, thoughts, emotions and it is like their lives are playing out on my screen and it has nothing to do with me. I wanted them to have a Halloween party, but no, they wanted to build a tree house and find the perfect spot for a Fairy Village. Very rude if you ask me, they didn’t even ask first!

So how is my word counts going? I have surprised myself every day that I have written. I haven’t written every day I do admit. But considering I didn’t start until day 4, my word count sits at 6098 – not bad considering I started off with a goal of 1000 words! Then I upped it to 2000. Next, I tried 5000, then 6000 and currently my goal is 7500. I think I shall hit that this weekend quite easily and not sure I will up it again. So I think my plan will be for this next week, is to finish writing this story and then look at starting to edit maybe.

I even joined in my first Write-In this week. I really enjoyed that and can’t wait for next weeks. I did connect to watch last weeks event, but I just lurked…I wasn’t ready to poke my head out from behind my monitor just yet. But no one poked me in the nose for joining in this week, so all is well!

I hope everyone who is joining in with Camp NaNoWriMo this month is having as much fun as I am. I do wonder if it is as much fun when November rolls around and I am trying to hit 50,000 words!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Life · writing

Camp NaNoWriMo – One week in!

Well, it is one week in on Camp NaNoWriMo this July and I’m still going! Well, I had to say though, that I have only just started two days ago, so I am running a little behind. I also went into this blind. I had NO clue what to expect or what I was doing, or going to do. Maybe not quite the approach that I might have hoped for, but it’s what I have and so I am going with it. Well, not much choice now, is there, LOL!

I had heard of NaNoWriMo before, but not the Camps until a few days ago. Because the Camps you can set your own goals and not restricted to the 50,000 words that you try to hit in the Novembers challenge, I figured that I would give it a go. So I set to with paper and pen and jotted a few notes down. I now have post-it notes all over, various notebooks and pens. I now have Grammarly installed on my PC and Scrivener too. I love these programs already!

Grammarly is a program that you download and then choose your level of subscription. I’m only using the free version. It installed as an extension on my Chromes browser and also as a program. So now, when I go to write an email or make a comment on Facebook, or where ever I might type some text on my PC, I have this little green circle with an arrow shooting around it. It reads everything that I type and will let me know if I make a mistake in spelling or grammar. It then advises me where my error is and what I can do to fix the problem. It has come in very handy already, I can tell you! Check it out here, or just go Google and have a look.

Scrivener is much more complex, but oh wow. I am in love with this program and just cannot stop playing with it. It is everything that you could want or need (I say this with my very new and limited writing knowledge!) to plan out and write…something. Not only do you write in there, but you also get to play your characters, map out your writing, add research, notes, sort out your chapters, even compile it all when done to various formats. There is so much to this program. But it has me all excited. OK, so it doesn’t take much! Currently, I am using the free trial version that is released for this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo. It will disable itself on August the 7th. If I get to be a winner at Camp, then you get given a 50% discount on buying the program – which I will be doing. If I’m not a winner, then I still get 20%. Either way, come the first payday of August, this program is mine! Wahahaha! If you haven’t got it or want to check out the free version (go to the bottom of the page for that) then check it out here.

As for me? Well, my adventures at Camp are just getting going really. As I said, I’m two days in, and already smashing my daily target. I am so happy! Doesn’t it sound like I am churning out chapters?! I am on chapter two though.

So, my goals…to be fair, I’m still not sure on that. It keeps changing. As I said I went into this without a clue what I was doing. All I knew, was that I had to find an idea of a story and pop in how many words and set to. But if you have never written stories before, how do you know? I tried Googling and even sat on the living room floor with my kid’s books counting words. Seriously, I did! It didn’t help. So I decided to just go. Just write. So I did.

 Well, I knew that it would be a children’s story, so it was never going to have thousands upon thousands of words, so I guessed that I would start with one goal for a number of words and I could push that out if needed…oh I needed.

I started with 1000 words. It was literally a number plucked, nothing more. My original idea was to shoot for a series of eight short stories with my same main characters and within the theme chosen. All good so far. So my family moved into their new house that afternoon, removals were gone by evening and they ‘camped’ in their rooms that night. By lunch time next morning, I’m at 2000 words, lol! Hmmm, gonna rethink my word counts a tad. So goal right now is 5000 words, and my little tiny short stories, well, might be a wee bit longer than I anticipated. Who knew I could waffle on so much (tries to look shocked at the fact)!

Hmmm, and mentioning my ability to waffle on, seems a good place to shut up and end this here, and get back to Camp!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Life · Uncategorized

I’m going to do what?!

Well, it’s been a while. I would love to think that I could be one of those people who write a blog every single day and make a difference to people, but I am just not that sort of person. I’ll write in fits and starts, and to be perfectly honest, for myself. There, I said it, I’m selfish. But I was reading my blogs that I follow and watching the vlogs that I subscribe to, and I had an urge to write again. So I am. Just because I want to and because I can!

Normally, I am one of those people who keeps everything to herself. Even my poor husband doesn’t get to know what is going on in my head half the time and to be fair, he is safer that way, hehe! But seriously though, I have always been that way. I give out snippets if I want to, and secretly squirrel away on some new thought or project and then I will tell. Yeah, I am a very closed person. I know that. And those who are close to me and actually know me, know that too. And that is OK.

The other month I blogged about the ideas of these Bucket Lists and it has been playing on my mind since. I know I’ll not get everything done on the list that I created and that is OK too. But there are a few points on there, that I would really like to accomplish.

  • Get a degree at University
  • Write a book
  • Loose some weight
  • Learn Sign Language

These are four just off the top of my head that I could think of this minute. Well, I have begun!

Last week, I joined up with Weight Watchers. I’m doing it on my own online. So we shall see how that goes. So far, Week 1…I put on one pound, hahaha! To be fair, I started this AFTER I had done all the weekly shopping, so had to make do with what I already had. Plus, it was that time of the month. So really, I have just started Week One.

Learn Sign Language, well, that one will come.

But, I have joined up with Open University and signed onto BA (Honours) English Literature and Creative Writing! Holy crap! OK, now I need to confess…I did, in fact, join them last year. But, I got so overwhelmed. I had done research, read blogs and watched vlogs about what it would be like but nothing compared me for what I was taking on!

I checked out what hours were involved and wrote up a timetable for myself. I would study Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Catch up on evenings if I needed to. I got started and was really enjoying myself and was so proud of myself for doing this. But when things got a little tough I soon discovered that I had no support. The responses from people that I was doing this degree was unreal. Why would I waste my time on something that I didn’t need? I’m a stay-at-home mother and housewife! What a waste of time. And it went on. That really did affect me and upset me more than I let on. People who I expected support and a pat on the back…nothing. It got too much and so I caved, and I decided to quit. Thankfully though, my tutor at the time was so great. She got me to change my mind and instead of quitting, to defer and bank my assignments that I had completed just in case. I’m so grateful that I listened to her!

So, yesterday, I signed on to start again. This October, I start again on my degree. This time I am more aware of what I am walking in to and what to expect. I have me, my tutors and my class and I will do this! Well, here is to the next six years of study!

OK, so that is point number one. Degree at University on the way…

Number two then! I’m going to write a book. Yes! Have you ever heard of the event held each year called NaNoWriMo. It’s National Novel Writers Month. Each year in November, thousands upon thousands of people sign up for this challenge to write a novel in one month. Crazy, I know! But the goal is to get to 50,000 words. It’s a huge deal and must be one heck of an achievement. Well, through the year they also run a couple of Camps. These are in April and again in July. One month to write to a specific goal, be it a word count, a number of lines, or time writing. Basically, it is a warm up to the main event I think.

Well, I just joined up to NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. Now, I’m not saying that I am going to go all in and go for the Novembers huge challenge, but I am going to start off with a Camp. Even though this Camp started five days ago, I’m still going to have a go and see what happens. I already have an idea in mind and is something that I have wanted to do for a good number of years.

When my son was born, I wanted him to have some books and stories for kids that were pagan based. There were not that many at all around! 11 years on, there are a few now and more coming on the market all the time. But I have the basic outline of what I wanted to do and where I wanted the stories/book to go, so I am going to see if I can bring that all into being.

So, I’m off to go put the kettle on, swap over the laundry and then set to and start writing a book! How flippin’ exciting! And where normally I wouldn’t have told a soul…I just told all of you! Eeeeek!

I shall let you know how I get on!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Celebrations · Life · Pagan · Sabbats · Uncategorized

Beltane is coming!

As I have shared before, I am pagan as is my family. And as such, we celebrate the sabbats, or the festivals of the pagan calendar, quite often called ‘The Wheel of the Year’. The next sabbat to come up is Beltane. This pops up on May 1st and is a joyous occasion and one to really let your hair down and celebrate. It is from this festival that we get the Mayday festivals and the May Poles, etc.

The year is pretty much split into two segments if you will. There is the Light Half and the Dark Half. It has nothing to do with what magic is practiced before anyone comes up with that one (heard it before *rolls eyes*), but the amount of light that is available as the sun wanders about our beautiful planet. In October at Samhain, we enter the Dark Half of the year, where we prepare for the hardships of winter, making sure the last of the crops are in and get ready to hunker down through the cold of winter. As we hit May and Beltane, we celebrate the Light Half of the year returning at the opposite end of the Wheel. It is a time when the God and Goddess marry and all the joys that come with such a union. This is why Handfastings are traditionally done at this time – although my own Handfasting was in August! It is a time of fertility (not just in the bedroom!) but in fields and pastures, hopes and dreams.

But how do we celebrate this as a family thing?

Well, first thing, as with any sabbat that comes along in our house, we get our Pooka Pages magazine! I’m not sure who gets more excited, me or the children! OK, OK, so it is probably me. Pooka Pages is a free online magazine that is made available just before each sabbat. You can get your own magazine at Pooka Pages here. It is basically about a little black cat called Pooka and his witch, Elsie. There is usually a story or three in there with a lovely message for the children. There will be colouring pages and activities and some recipes and crafts for them to try. We have been reading our Pooka Pages for several years now. It’s free, no sign up and you just go to their website and click the link and you can download the pdf and then print it out at your leisure or just read it online – I downloaded mine just this morning, printed it out and it is all stapled and sat waiting fro the kids and I to read it!

So next I shall go through the magazine, see what ingredients we need and any craft supplies, etc. Then look at decorations. This sabbat is lovely and colourful and I’ll look for flowers – bought, planted and made. There will be ribbons hung in differing colours and anything else that the children feel that they want up. It’s their sabbat too!

I’ll plan food for the day. I do try and have something traditional in some shape or form, although it usually changes as the children decide they don’t like something or want something different! Quite often a BBQ is involved – can’t argue with that! But whatever food we do have, it will be fun. Drinks too! Can’t have fun food without fun drinks.

Foods for this time of year will be colourful ones – strawberries and cherries, red, rose wines and fruit punches, oats, honey, anything food that is pinks or red…think lurve!

I’ll post some of the recipes that I am making in a few days time (probably over the weekend) as I bake and make ready for Monday.

Sometimes we hold full ritual. The children, especially the eldest, loves this part and just this morning was asking me what I was preparing for rituals and can he do something too. They started to take more of an interest last year at Litha and did their first rituals then. Being the proud mummy, I snivelled a touch, I’ll admit it, lol.

I shall hold my own more formal rituals later on when the children are in bed. I haven’t actually written this years yet. But I have my Book of Shadows that has my rituals in, so I will use my basic ritual and then alter it for the occasion.

Something else that happens over Beltane is something quite a few people have heard of, the Beltane Fires will be lit. Years back when, our homes were heated through the main fire of the house, where the cooking would be done too. The hearth and heart of the home. It was important that these fires didn’t go out if you could help it, or you have no heat and no food! But at Beltane, the fires would be put out and made ready when the Druids would light the Beltane fires and flames would be passed from house to house re-lighting our hearth fires with the new flames. As the cattle and herds were being sent out into the fields and pastures, they would be driven between two such fires to drive out and ward off any ill or negativity, and to give the cattle the protection as they were ushered off out into their summer pastures.

In life today we don’t really see this happening anymore, but what we can do, is to go through our homes and clean out anything that is not needed – give it to charity, throw it out, pass it on and make way and room for the new. Have a good clean too. Light a fire (candle) and pass it around your home. Have a couple of fires (candles very well spaced apart for safety!) and go through these for the same thing – ward off anything and to offer protection.

It will be a day of fun, and a day of the family spending time together as we celebrate the sabbat and festival that is Beltane.

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Celebrations · Life · Uncategorized

Why we don’t celebrate Easter

To all those who do celebrate today, Happy Easter!! Hope you have a lovely day today and that the Easter Bunny was feeling generous ;o). In our house today, it is Sunday, plain and simple. The only difference here, is that my husband is home from work today, which is nice. But the kids don’t see today as anything other than a Sunday. There are no choccy eggs or bunnies around here, and no mass Sunday roast in the offering. Today actually, the kids chose Meatballs and Spaghetti followed by ice cream with strawberry sauce for dinner.

We celebrated our ‘Choccy Egg Day’ last month at the Spring Equinox, at Ostara. This year, Ostara fell on Monday the 20th March. Spring arrived! Don’t you just love spring? All that newness around as flowers, trees and bushes wake up from their wintery sleep. Animals are birthing and coming out of hibernation and whatever else you can think of. The grey skies of winter make way for blue skies. Windows get to open and children get back out to play. Such a lovely time of the year. Even our clothes change, from the darker deeper colours of winter to the lighter shades and pastels. We lose our coats and pull out the lighter weight jackets.

This, and so much more is what we celebrate at Ostara – OK, so maybe not so much our clothes, but you get my drift here.

Ostara is one of the pagan festivals of the year. It is one of the eight sabbats that we celebrate throughout the year. It is the second of the Spring festivals, and is a date that we celebrate when night and day are of equal length, with the promise of what is to come as the sun shines ever brighter and our days increase.

So for us, we have already celebrated this seasons holiday. Easter is a Christian festival. We are not Christians, so see no need to celebrate the day. I know that I should know the story of Easter, but I have to admit, I don’t. I know the story goes that Jesus dies on the cross ‘for the sins of man’, his body gets put in a cave, and then he gets resurrected. But, what happens on what day, how and why, I’m really not too sure. Something I think I need to put right! I’m going to add that to my ‘to do’ list…

So there are no chocolate eggs or bunnies in this house today. I might grab a couple after this weekend when they go on sale for the kids, but for no other reason than they are fun and cheap and mostly taste yummy!

So whatever you are doing today, and however you celebrate, have fun. Enjoy your family, your church services, and your gatherings. I hope the sun shines for you, as it is here right now and the children have a blast hunting eggs – the highlight for my kids at Ostara!

Talk soon!

Hugs!

xXx

History · Life · Uncategorized

Titanic Remembrance Day

Titanic

Can you believe that the Titanic sank to her watery grave, 105 years ago? 105 years! And still, it is a name that everyone knows. We all know the story of her demise. This grand ship, the unsinkable ship, that sets sail on her maiden voyage, but never reaching her destination. All those lives lost. Heart breaking. And then of course, since then, all the conspiracy stories surrounding her. No matter what you think happened, this is one story that I don’t think will ever be forgotten.

I have been fascinated about this ship and her tale forever. Even before I was really aware of the story and the tragedy, I knew her name. I used to have the PC game, ‘Titanic: Adventure Out of Time’ and loved spending hours playing that, or just strolling about the ship. Gosh, that was some time ago! I wonder if I can still get this now? Might have to take a look at that…

Titanic Game.png

I remember when James Cameron’s film came out. I was working at a petrol station at the time and my shift couldn’t end fast enough! We dived home (I was with my first husband then and he picked me up from work) and straight into the video…yes, VHS then! I bawled like a baby!! Oh my Gods I cried! I still do. I went through two VHS tapes. I know that film all but word-for-word. I can’t quite remember, but I ‘think’ it was my then brother-in-law, bought me the book to accompany the film. I still have that book. It’s slightly worse for ware now as the front cover got ripped off during a move. But I love my book.

My Titanic Book.png

As it happens, my husband is also fascinated by the ship too. So I get to buy him fab books and DVD sets…all for him, of course! He has quite a few now! Right now though, he is waiting on a new PC game to be finished and released. He has been watching the game being developed online for the last year or so and to be fair, it does look amazing. The detail on this thing is unreal. It’s called, Titanic: Honor and Glory and you can check them out over at YouTube. Pop to their About page on YouTube to get their links to various sites to stay up to date. But if you can, you have to see this.

I’m not going to list off facts and figures here as there are so many websites available to go read those. We all know that the disaster was one of the biggest in modern history and far too many died. 1,500 people died that morning. It’s hard I think, to grasp that. One and a half thousand people died. I just wanted to acknowledge those that did die in that tragedy. To let them all know, that many people still living, do remember them all. We may not know their names, but we still think of them, and hope that they rest in peace.

RMS Titanic Wreath

Talk soon!

Hugs!

xXx

 

 

Life · Uncategorized

Bucket Lists!

Do you have a bucket list? I didn’t. I’d heard of the term of course, and seen blogs and vlogs about people’s lists, but never actually considered making one for myself. No real reason as to why, just something that I never felt drawn to write. I have a few ideas what I could put down on one, as watching and reading others, I’ve made the comments that yes, I’d love to try that too, or that I would love to learn that, or whatever they wrote. But that was as far as it went.

Last week, on Facebook, there was a video doing the rounds of a woman who was fed up being scared of things in life and not having control (if I remember that rightly…if I can find that video, I’ll link to it). But her video was 100 things that she was scared of, from eating bugs (definitely NOT one to go on my list thank you very much!), to dancing in public, sunbathing at a railway station I think it was – why? Seriously, why would you even want to do that?! But, I took my hat (if I had been wearing one, I would have at least) off to her. She was one brave cookie. She did 100 things and documented her journey.

Since I watched that video, I have been thinking about these lists, and possibly creating my own. So I did some looking about online and hit my favourite sites…I live on Google and Pinterest! I got lost on these for HOURS…do you? But after reading only a handful, and the reasons why people create these lists, I thought, ‘Why not?!’

First, I searched out an actual definition on what a Bucket List is. Here is what I found.

“bucket list

noun

informal
noun: bucket list; plural noun: bucket lists
  1. a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”

OK, so that sounds easy enough, so let’s have a go. Let me know if you have a Bucket List too. I’d be very interested in reading it if you have one online, so a couple of the things on there that you don’t mind sharing.

These don’t have to be in any order, do that? Well, mine certainly won’t be!

Zoe’s Bucket List

  1. Visit every State in America
  2. Learn a new language – British Sign Language, American Sign Language, French, Welsh (not all, but at least one!)
  3. Lose weight and achieve an ideal weight – currently I am WAY over that!!
  4. Tone up and get fit
  5. Take part in the London Marathon (I’ll accept walking quite happily!!!)
  6. Ride a horse along the beach at sunset
  7. Learn a profession
  8. Learn chess
  9. Become an author – children’s and fiction
  10. Learn to sing – and not just when I am on my own so no one hears just out of tune I am!
  11. Do some volunteering with some charity – autism, asthma or Parkinsons
  12. Dance barefoot in the rain…not a gentle show, but a beautiful downpour!
  13. See the Northern Lights
  14. Get a make-over and do a photo shoot
  15. Earn a degree at University
  16. Learn to play the guitar
  17. Win the Lottery!!!! <————
  18. Go storm chasing
  19. Go to Disney World
  20. Go on a big family picnic!
  21. Go on a cruise
  22. Learn to swim with a mermaid tail!!
  23. Touch an elephant
  24. Visit somewhere to see wolves
  25. Swim in the ocean at night and watch the stars
  26. Visit the Eiffel Tower
  27. Visit Bath (the city, not the room!)
  28. Visit Scotland
  29. Swim with dolphins
  30. Sleep in a tree house
  31. Get a tattoo
  32. Donate blood
  33. Learn to scuba dive
  34. Visit Egypt – see the pyramids and watch the belly dancers
  35. Join a belly dance troupe
  36. Get the Handfasting of my dreams!
  37. Run a 5k
  38. Go whale watching
  39. Own a very nice camera
  40. Learn how to use the very nice camera!
  41. Visit Stone Henge and touch the stones
  42. Visit Avebury Stones
  43. Live near the beach
  44. Send a ‘Message in a Bottle’
  45. Leave a note to someone in a library book to make them smile
  46. Watch a ballet
  47. Watch a live musical show
  48. Go see a Burlesque show
  49. Go to a Drive-In
  50. Stay in the Ice Hotel
  51. Learn Yoga or Tia Chi
  52. Go to a Masquerade Ball
  53. Take a photo every day for a year
  54. Visit Ireland
  55. Visit the Witchcraft Museum in Cornwall
  56. Learn to accept myself for who I am
  57. See a music concert
  58. Make a snow angel
  59. Visit one new place every year
  60. Go to Disney Land
  61. Be able to do make-up…well
  62. Do a Fire-Walk
  63. Do a crayon-melt
  64. Visit a Ranch
  65. Swim somewhere with a waterfall
  66. Create Baby Scrapbook for each of my children
  67. Visit the Statue of Liberty
  68. Ice skate in a city in winter
  69. Shop in New York
  70. Visit Las Vegas
  71. Be an audience member of a live show
  72. Spend the day at a Spa
  73. De-clutter my home and make it more organised

OK, that might seem and odd number to stop at, but I was getting to the point of really having to think. I bet I think of loads as soon as I post this now! But, I was born in 1973, so 73 is a good number ;o)

I wonder how many of these I might get ticked off. It’s time to start dinner for family now, but later on, I’m going to look and see if there is somewhere to register your Bucket List so that you can actually tick things off your list, or maybe an app for my phone.

Take care!

Hugs!

xXx