Friday, 21 July 2017

Celebrate the small things & July Birthstone


Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog


Today has been a special day as we saw our youngest daughter graduate! It rained heavily most of the day so no outside pictures but here is one of me with my two lovelies inside to mark the occasion.




Whilst I'm here today I thought I'd add my birthstone post for this month.

This month's birthstone is the gorgeous ruby.  Read on for some fun facts . . . 
  • According to lore, if you dream of rubies it signifies that you will soon experience success in love and money.
  • It is thought that rubies grow darker in colour when the wearer is in mortal danger. It is said that Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, predicted her downfall in seeing the darkening of her ruby.  
  • If a ruby is placed under a building's foundations it is thought to strengthen the structure.
  • In the Bible the ruby is the most commonly mentioned precious stone.
  • The most valuable colour of a ruby is known as 'pigeon blood.' The darker the colour the more valuable.
  • In the Orient, rubies were once believed to contain the spark of life.
  • In the Middle Ages, rubies were thought to bring good health as well as guard against wicked thoughts, amorous desires and disputes.
  • Rubies were said to cure bleeding.
The verse from the traditional Gregorian Poem reads;

The gleaming Ruby should adorn,
All those who in July are born,
For thus they'll be exempt and free,
From lover's doubts and anxiety.

If you are celebrating a birthday this month, happy birthday to you.  Or possibly a 40th Wedding Anniversary?

Friday, 30 June 2017

Celebrate the small things

Some BIG things to celebrate this week in my world. First of all our eldest daughter got engaged! And then our youngest daughter received her final university mark and she passed with a First Class Degree. Yay, go girls!

Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

With everything going on recently, I realised I hadn't posted about the June birthstone. I have just managed to squeeze it in before the end of the month!

This month's birthstone is the beautiful pearl. Their natural lustre and translucence make the pearl one of the most well known and much favoured gems. Apart from the usual milky-white hue we associate with the pearl they can also be found in silver, cream, green, lavender, blue, black and golden shades.

Formed from the tears of Aphrodite, a love potion from Cleopatra, a wedding gift from Krishna to his daughter. The legends surrounding this, one of the oldest gems, are numerous. Here are just a few more facts and interesting stories.

  • The word Pearl is from the French 'Perle' which in turn has origins in the Latin word 'Perna' meaning leg. The thought is that the shells in which pearls are formed have a shape similar to a ham or leg of mutton.
  • The characteristics of loyalty, faithfulness and friendship are associated with this gemstone
  • They are reputed to be helpful for health problems relating to the stomach and intestines, heart and spleen.
  • The Roman General,Vitelllius allegedly financed an entire military campaign with one of his mother's pearl earrings!
  • Wealthy Roman women liked to wear their pearls whilst they slept. They adorned their couches and trappings with them also to remind them (and others presumably!) of their wealth.
  • Julius Caesar was noted to be a great lover of the pearl.
  • In Tudor England the 1500's were known as 'The Pearl Age.'
  • In the 1900's the first successful commercial culturing of saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920's cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.
  • The largest pearl in the world is believed to about about 3 inches long and 2 inches across and weighs about  1/3 of a pound. Known as the' Pearl of Asia' Shah Jahan of India gave it as a gift to his wife, Mumtaz (for whom he also built the Taj Mahal).
  • Warriors from India encrusted their swords with pearls to represent tears and sorrow.
  • In South Asian mythology pearls were said to be dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea where they were caught by shellfish under the first rays of the rising sun at full moon.
  • Pearls have often been used in medicines and to prevent diseases. In China there is evidence to suggest this was as early as 2000 BC and in Europe they were widely used until the 17th century. 
  • One of the most famous pearls is said to be 'La Peregrina' (The Wanderer). It is said that around 400 years ago a black slave gave it to his master in exchange for his freedom. 
  • Pearls are a gemstone for 30 years of marriage. 
Finally , I will leave you with the verse from the Gregorian Poem for this month. Happy birthday to all born in the month of June.

By her who in June was born,
No gem save Pearls shall be worn,
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.



Rose is the birth flower for June





Friday, 16 June 2017

Celebrate the small things

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few lovely relaxing days on Dartmoor.  Hubby and I really like it there and try and go two or three times a year, to walk and take some 'time out' from the daily hustle of life that we all seem to get caught up in. It is the perfect spot for us to take a short break as it only takes us about an hour and a half to get there. No fun spending hours in the car after all!

This hill is very close to where we usually stay. We've walked round the bottom before but this visit we decided to go for it and climb it! 


Now, it may not look so huge from this picture . . . but trust me it was certainly a challenge! My fitbit registered 82 floors when I checked it! However, it was worth the effort as we were rewarded with this super view.


It was so peaceful up there, if a little windy! We just sat and enjoyed the view (and got our breath back!).
When we got back down we rewarded ourselves with some delicious local ice-cream.

On another walk we met a herd of Dartmoor ponies complete with foals.


I didn't get any writing done there, but I did get lots of fresh air and exercise even if we did have to dodge the rain a few times. 

This week I have edited a short story and sent it off to a competition. My next task is to actually get back to my WIP which I feel I have sorely neglected for a while! Maybe I'll open the document and the writing piskies will have been working on it for me . . . I do write a lot of fantasy so one can always hope!

NB - In case you are not familiar with the term piskie - it is the Cornish word for pixie. 



Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

IWSG (JUNE)

Welcome to this month's posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I'm feeling generally insecure about a number of things at the moment but I'm not going to talk about them right now. Instead I'm going to jump right in with this month's question . . . 

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Whilst I've never actually said "I quit," I've been quite close to it! Probably, most writers have at some point. I love writing, I truly believe it is what I should be doing, but it is hard. It is hard to keep motivated and enthusiastic when all there seems to be is rejection and knock backs.Then comes that little nugget of gold . . . you know the request for a full, genuinely positive feedback, a place in a writing competition . . .  and I feel the 'buzz' again and the urge to persevere kicks in.

There may be times when the words aren't flowing and I seem unproductive but I always seem to drag myself out of that feeling and keep chasing the dream. I sincerely hope I never quit!!


Friday, 26 May 2017

When the world seems full of pain and sadness it is perhaps even more important to remember the people, places and events that brighten our lives.

Last Sunday I walked 10km with a group of lovely friends. We enjoyed the fresh air, chat and exercise but we also raised some funds for Cancer Research UK, a cause that is close to all our hearts.

Our youngest daughter finished her last university exams . . . where on earth did those three years go? She came home for a couple of days to relax before heading back for some fun and celebrations with her friends.

Produce from the garden. We have enjoyed some fresh rhubarb and a few cherry tomatoes so far. They taste so much better when you have grown them yourself!

Our wedding anniversary!

Evening strolls in the sunshine. Last night we walked by the sea and ate fish and chips to celebrate our anniversary.


It is half-term week next week so a few days off for me! Yay! Have some writing planned (of course!) but also a few days away walking around Dartmoor. Will be lovely to get away for a bit. Please note that internet will be patchy there so I am unlikely to post for IWSG next week.



Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 12 May 2017

Celebrate the small things and May Birthstones

May is one of my favourite months of the year, with it's longer and (hopefully!) warmer days and lots of blossom and flowers around to cheer us all up. It is also a time for traditional festivals. My local town is famous for Flora Day. This Spring festival celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of new vitality and fertility. Houses and shops are decorated with greenery, yellow gorse and bluebells. It looks wonderful. The dancers, and many of the crowds, wear sprigs of lily of the valley. Lily of the valley is often considered to be the birth flower for May.



For a snippet of this festival click HERE to be redirected to a You Tube clip showing the Midday dance. The ladies wear long dresses and the men top hat and tails. There are several dances throughout the day starting at 7am and finishing at 5pm. Local school children dance through the streets in white. The sound of the band playing the familiar tune vibrates through your head by the end of the day but it is an amazing spectacle that brings the whole community together.

Sadly, this year it was a little wet but this didn't dampen the spirits and a good, if tiring day, was had.

All of which leads me nicely on to emeralds, the traditional birthstone for those born during the month of May.  A very fitting gem for the spring time as the colour green symbolises nature and the renewal of life. The word emerald is derived from the Greek word, smaragdus meaning green. They are associated with qualities such as loyalty, faithfulness and friendship. Thoughts that are very much echoed in the verse from the Gregorian Birthstone Poem;

"Who first beholds the light of day,
In spring's sweet, flower month of May,
And wears an Emerald all her life,
Shall be a loved and a loving wife."

Through history emeralds have been linked to clairvoyance, memory and faith and have been reputed to be effective for a wide range of health problems including disorders of the eyes and spine, headaches, dysentery,fever, bleeding and panic.

Worn by royalty in Babylon and Egypt. Tools dating back to 1300 B.C (reign of Rameses II) have been found in emerald mines in Egypt. Queen Cleopatra's emeralds were thought to have been mined in Southern Egypt close to the Red Sea.

Romans dedicated emeralds to the goddess Venus.

Early Christians saw them as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ.

In the Middle Ages they were believed to have the power to foretell the future.

Their magnificent green colour was said to relieve the eye. Emperor Nero is reputed to have worn eyeglasses made from emeralds to protect the health of his eyes whilst watching gladiator games.

Emeralds were a popular choice in Victorian jewellery.

Emeralds are also given for a 55th wedding anniversary.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about some of the folklore surrounding emeralds. Do you have any May festivals or celebrations where you live?


Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
       Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

IWSG (MAY)

Thanks to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh

co-hosts this month are Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan,Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone 

I'm trying not to let insecurities drag me down at the moment. They are definitely there, lurking and ready to pounce, but I keep pushing them away and trying not to let them get hold and knock my confidence which also feels a little fragile at the minute, so I am not going to talk about them anymore today.

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

I guess one person's weird is another's normal in the case of research! It depends what you are writing about and for who. A lot of my research centres around folklore and myth - and some of that can lead to some interesting reading. 

Thanks for stopping by, I hope the insecurities are few and far between this month.