Friday, May 30, 2008


I'm going to be a bit busy for the next couple of days. When I get back, I'll tell you all about it!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Have A Confession

Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has been 4 weeks since I've touched my novel and therefore I reckon I'm at least 10,000 words behind on my schedule. I will, I promise start writing again after this weekend, but I have a mountain to climb first - quite literally!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday Night Is Made For.....

map reading lessons from hubbie (a former boy scout!) in preparation for Sunday's trek and no, I'm none the wiser. Lesson number 2 tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Blog Full Of Firsts

I was quite happily munching away on my mid afternoon snack, today at work, listening to my friend Dave's account of his ever growing romance with HC (stands for Hot Chick), when Smithy began the 'have you done......yet' conversation. With any budding romance there is always the first times to summarise over. The first time you kiss, the first time you call each other boyfriend/girlfriend, but I don't think even I was quite prepared for Smithy's question of "has she pumped in front of you yet?" When we had all picked ourselves up off the floor from laughing so hard (Smithy has the knack of just dropping random questions into any conversation), I began to think about my blog and the whole host (well 40 actually!) of firsts that it contains. Every one of my tasks is like the start of a wonderful relationship. Some won't go further than a first date, others may last a couple of dinner dates and a trip to the movies and others may just turn into something that lasts a lot longer. I can't wait to find out which ones are which.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Africa Calling

I'm a great believer in fate and sometimes things that happen for a reason. Take my recent trip to Paris. I had taken the usual stack of reading material with me including a couple of back dated magazines that I was going to dump once I had read them. Having a final flick through one of them, I came across an article about Africa, which I began to read with relish. Africa has always subconsciously been on my mind since I was younger and I usually watch and read anything I can on the country.

It was only after coming to the end of the article that I noticed the competition it was running. A chance to go to Africa, by just writing 100 words on why you wanted to visit.

So, I'm not quite sure if it will fulfill one of my tasks (to work in Africa) and I know the chances of winning competitions are a million to one, but it was uncanny that I suddenly found the article and stranger still that it (nearly!) fits one of my task requirements. I'm going to enter, my 100 words are nearly written and I have until the end of June to submit my entry. I could be going to Africa this year after all!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Getting Ready For Ben Nevis

I had a productive day yesterday, as I managed to get the majority of stuff for my Ben Nevis Climb. I now just need to get a few more things to aid with my climb and some surgical spirits (apparently you have to bathe your feet in it for 20 mins a day and then moisturise your feet and it prevents blisters??!) I'm now at the stressing about doing it stage, which I'm sure will pass, but it doesn't help when I have a busy week ahead of me at work and only six days to go before I leave for Scotland.

Gulp - last week of training coming up, let's hope I survive in time for next Sunday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Learn A Foreign Language Part 1

I celebrated my first wedding anniversary this week and my husband in a fit of romantic notions decided to take me on a secret trip to Paris. Now there is something about Paris that has always attracted me, it definitely has nothing to with men in stripey t-shirts on bicycles, or snails and frogs legs but it might, just might have something to do with the chic people and the wonderful language they speak.

I've chosen French as the foreign language to learn on my task list, so quite fitting that I went to Paris to practice my first attempt at conversing in a foreign language.

Okay, so I have to admit my conversation skills were limited, due to mostly french people wanting to speak in English (how rude!) in fact I have to admit that I only ended up asking three things:-

1) Room 503 please

2) Can I have the bill please?

3) Do you speak English?

But I have to start somewhere and it's given me an appetite to learn more. So this bank holiday weekend, I will most probably be loading my phrase book onto my i-pod and randomly coming out with french phrases.
Au Revoir!

Friday, May 16, 2008

On My Holidays......

I will be reading this fine booklet, in an effort to become a) more creative and b) in preparation for my next task - to direct a video on YouTube.
See you when I get back!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Getting On With It

It's half ten on Thursday night and I've still got a million and one things to do before I go away tomorrow. List wise, this week has been quite a productive one. I've trained every day this week, doing at least an hours worth of exercise a day. I've booked the accommodation for my Ben Nevis trip, which I have to admit was a little skeptical that I would get in any where. Not only is there a big charity event the day before my climb, there also appears to be a motorbike event as well that weekend (apparently a big thing in that area??!) But it's done and dusted now, so that's the main thing.
I just need a few more things to take with me for the climb and see if I can rustle up a few more sponsors and then hopefully, come June 1st, that will be another task ticked off my list. I also need to book my Ferrari day, which I think I will do after the Ben Nevis climb and that's it for stuff in the pipeline. Not quite sure what direction to go next with my task list. Obviously my novel is ongoing at the moment, but I fancy taking on a whole new different challenge. Watch this space....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Multiplying Lists

The problem with making lists, is that quite suddenly they become addictive. Take the other day, I was having a nice relaxing reading the paper moment, when out popped this booklet
The Times Top 100 Films. I have watched approx 22 out of the top 100, so of course once I realised that, the gauntlet was drawn, I have to watch all 100! So I'm starting with a clean sheet, even those I've watched previously won't be counted. I've watched the sum total of 5 so far, so I have a little while to go and you never know, I may just get to watch all 100 before I'm 40!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Want To Be.........

A few years ago, I started to watch a programme that I had read about in the magazines and had heard about on the TV. Everyone was talking about this TV show that had, gasp, horror, shock, women having relationships like men and openly discussing their sex life's in intimate detail in coffee shops around New York. It also showcased a huge amount of wonderful clothes and gave us a glimpse of how the modern women ate, drank and played within the Big Apple.

My favourite character had to be Carrie Bradshaw. Here was a woman who spent most of her day either writing/researching her column or shopping for clothes/shoes. A girl after my own heart! This was a woman that typified everything that I wanted to be. She had a huge closet, full of designer clothes, an incredible shoe collection and an array of rather handsome men to date. But best of all this lady got to write her own column, write for Vogue and write her own book - what more could you ask for?

So it's this lady that I have to thank, for making one of my tasks, to get my own column in a magazine or newspaper. A fictitious lady, I am well aware, but someone who has still shaped my life, gave me a love of designer shoes and kept me spellbound in her quest for love in one of my favourite cities.

To what column I should write, has kept me wondering for a little while, but for some reason, I keep coming back to my blog and the fact that I would love for this to reach a wider audience. So in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to see what I can do about making that happen. You never know, I could be the next Carrie Bradshaw!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Love Somebody

Just recently, well yesterday as a matter of fact, I've been hanging around the website of this very fine specimen -
Rick Springfield. I hover every now and again, just to see what he's up to and just to see if by chance he may be touring in the UK. Silly really, as the last time he toured here was a one off gig in the eighties. I heart Rick Springfield and have done since my early teens, when I used to sit in my bedroom and spend hours listening to Atlantic 252, or whatever radio station played American rock at that time. Jessie's Girl is my favourite song and even now when I hear the opening bar, I still get goose pimples. I would love to see him in concert, hence the fact that's why it's included within my 40 things. Rick tours constantly, but for some reason, never seems to tour whenever I'm in the States (I missed seeing him on my honeymoon last year by a month). My plan of action would be to see him in concert in a state that I've never visited before, so I may persuade my husband (coincidentally also called Rick!) that we may need to take a trip state side next year, but of course you can bet your bottom dollar that Rick won't be touring then.....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beyond Boundaries

I was left speechless last night after watching this -
beyond boundaries. Ten young disabled people are attempting to cross Ecuador and the Andes with the help of Ken Hames. An unbelievable situation to put yourself through, even more so when some of the people taking part are reliant on wheelchairs or have lost limbs. I feel amazingly humble, especially when I think of how my able bodied self has been twittering on for the past couple of months on how I'm going to survive climbing Ben Nevis. What these people have endured whilst completing this expedition can only be described as heroic, but this bravery is only a small part of what they must go through, on a day to day basis in today's society. So, I will carry on with my training and hope that I can find at least a small part of the strength that these individuals have portrayed on this programme, in order to complete my expedition on June 1st.

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's Nearly The Weekend

Well last night's Eastenders, was the episode I accidently walked into the middle of them filming when I was in London, doing this
The Ritz. Caroline has just been to London to do this The Berkeley which I think looks alot cooler than The Ritz! Pity I made a pact not to change my list once it was published!

I also now have an American twin who just happened to drop me a line to tell me about her blog. 40x40 It seems I'm not alone in my mad race to do equally mad things before I turn 40. Looking through the list, it appears that we have a few things in common, but equally impressive is Heather's ambition to star in a Bollywood film!! Good luck Heather - I hope you accomplish everything on your list!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm Falling Behind.....

Not felt that great this week since having a dodgy veggie burger on Tuesday (yes apparently there is such a thing!), so my training schedule has fell well behind. I've also got a load of things to get organised for my task list. I still have stuff to buy for the climb, accommodation to book, my drive in a Ferrari to book and I need to seriously think about Africa and how I'm going to organise it. On a good note, my hubbie has rearranged his DB9 day, so that means he will accompany me to the Ben Nevis climb and at least take the pressure off myself having to drive all the way there and back. But, a week tomorrow I will be on holiday (no idea where - it's a surprise!), so if I get most of the above organised before I go, I will be a happy bunny.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Spanner In The Works.....

When I signed up for the Ben Nevis Mountain Challenge, I definitely didn't think it through properly. Of course, I knew that I would need a certain standard of fitness and have attempted to do that, losing a stone in weight in the process. But I didn't think of all the stuff that I would need to purchase, not being of the mountaineering sort before I volunteered for this. I also didn't think of the logistics of getting to Ben Nevis - a seven hour drive from where I live, which would mean an over night stay the night before. Then there is the day's worth of climbing, followed by a seven hour drive back home - not practical and even may not be feasible after the climb, which would mean another over night stay. I had thought as far as hubbie would come with me, to hopefully share the driving and make sure that I arrive and depart from Ben Nevis safely (sometimes I need looking after in such matters!). Unfortunately hubbie went and booked his DB9 experience day, the day before I'm due to do the climb - in fairness I had neglected to tell him the exact date I was attempting to do this - a minor error on my part you would say. But, I can't lose sight of why I'm doing this. My cousin had a very painful six months of treatment, before he eventually died of cancer, aged just 34 and it's the thought of doing this for my cousin that means I will carry on and somehow get all the stuff I need, find the way to Ben Nevis and hopefully complete the mountain challenge. Cross everything for me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Read All Of The BBC Top 100 Reads Part 3

Nearly half way through this list, but I think my notion of having this completed by the end of this year was a tad optimistic. Here goes the ones I've read in this batch:-
1984 & Animal Farm - George Orwell - loved both of them preferring 1984 of the two. Loved the fact that 1984 leaves you asking questions and Animal Farm read so much different then when I first read it as a teenager. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - an okay read, personally I don't see what the fuss is about, but it's probably one of those that I will pick up again at a later stage and understand better. The BFG - Roald Dahl - wonderful read, but just thought the daft language of the giant, spoilt it somewhat. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell - a wonderful children's story, told through the eyes of the horse. I can't quite believe I never read this as a child, but it still read as good now! Charlie & The Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - another wonderful children's book, it still breaks my heart to read of their poverty at the beginning of the story and the character of Willy Wonka is truly brilliant. The Clan Of The Cave Bear - Jean Auel - this one really surprised me, I totally loved it! The story is so well researched, you actually feel like you are living alongside the cave men. This is one of three in a series, so it may be one that I revisit at a later stage. Emma - Jane Austen - my favourite of all the Jane Austen's that I've read so far. I've watched several different versions of the film, so I felt this helped me along with the story somewhat. You can easily relate to Emma, as she is typical of any of the interfering friends that you or I may have, that mean well, but it never quite works out that way! Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - another of those wonderful surprises that you get from reading a list of unknown books. I loved the central characters in this book and the fact that Hardy makes his woman characters so strong! Holes - Louis Sachar - never realised this was a children's book until I accidentally found it in the children's section in my local library. An enjoyable read, telling the story of a bunch of kids in a correction centre that are made to dig holes every day as punishment. The Story Of Tracy Beaker - Jacqueline Wilson - I heart Tracy Beaker, I think the character is wonderful and so angst ridden for one so young! Tracy is a girl that lives in a children's home and hates every minute of it - I so wanted to adopt her! The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins - for all those people that constantly put this on the best reads list - one question - why??? It is truly one of the worst books I have ever read - I would rather stick pins in my eyes that have to read this again - truly awful! Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - Heathcliff, Cathy, a bleak back drop, a depressing story!

Oh well, 52 more books to read on my list and 7 months of the year left to read them all in!! For now, I may well take break from this, as my new Jodi Picoult is calling me......

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Heart Jodi Picoult Part 2

So, I'd been thinking about going to see Jodi all day. Worried that I wouldn't get into town in time to hear her, worried that she would have to cancel - I needn't have! I arrived in Nottingham with an hour to spare, having time for a quick snack in Costa Alot, before meeting Frenchy Phil at the Broadway. After a brief introduction, Jodi read from her latest novel, Change of Heart and then proceeded to discuss the research involved in writing a story about the death penalty in America. Jodi is an immensely articulate woman who's stories ranged from the empathetic to the amusing. What then followed was a Q&A session and of course no-one wants to ask the first question, unless of course you're me! I asked the oh so original "I'm a quarter of the way through writing my first novel, are there any tips you could give me?" Jodi then answered with most of the stuff that I'm doing at the moment, which is good!
  • Write every day, even if it's only 20 minutes in the morning and the same at night
  • It doesn't matter what you write, as long as you write something
  • Shut yourself off from the outside world, that means no Internet, no TV, no phones and no conversations with your spouse etc
  • Even if you are a quarter the way through writing a book and you feel what you've written is a load of tosh, carry on writing until you've finished the book. You can decide after you have finished it, if you then want to scrap it. The accomplishment will be in the fact that you've actually finished what you set out to achieve
  • Join a writing class or course to gain criticism on your work, as this is something you have to learn to take as a writer

After the Q&A session, I then got to meet Jodi as she signed two of my favourite books of hers, Nineteen Minutes and My Sister's Keeper. I commented I nearly brought all of my books of hers to sign, but didn't think she would appreciate signing them all. She told me next time I come, to do just that and I replied that I definitely would!

And that was it! For £3 I got an hour of the lovely Jodi Picoult and advice on writing my novel, as well as 2 x signed books to add to my collection. I wonder if I will ever do a book signing????

I Heart Jodi Picoult

Tonight I'll be going to see this lady, Jodi Picoult at the Broadway Media Centre in Nottingham. Jodi, in case you're not aware is a very famous American writer and I love, love, love her books. Not quite sure what the format is tonight, but I'm hoping that there will be a Q & A session, where I can quiz her about her writing and hopefully pick up some tips for my nearly one quarter of the way through first novel. This is one of only three appearances she will be making in England, so I feel very privileged that she chose Nottingham as one of them. Frenchy Phil will also be joining me tonight, so I'm hoping that he will be taking some pictures and I'm also going to take some of her books along to hopefully get signed. Do I really have to go to work today, can't I just sit and read her books all day???