Mother’s Day

Ah that time of year again where mothers all over the world hold up their wine glasses and rejoice in being a fabulous mum. Cheers! A title that is never just given to us because we have pushed a small human out of our foof. But a title that is earned and respected. A title that makes us smile, laugh and turn into a right demon if crossed before our morning cuppa.

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I was never sure if motherhood was for me. I know that I have always wanted children but to actually be a mother was a little hazy. I didn’t see myself as the mothering kind. I’m just, well *peers down at self* me. Purple frizzy hair, harlequin nails and Doc Marten’s. That’s me. I watch horror and giggle at how bad the CGI is (studying film studies at university does that to you) play games, listen to music, write, read, drink tea, eat too much cake, should I go on? You see, I thought being a mum was all about knitting little booties, always having the cupboards full and kissing bruised knees. But it’s so much more than that isn’t it. It’s a job and it isn’t a job. You don’t get paid, your food gets stolen whenever you sit down to eat and holidays are a rare mythical construct from another life or non-parent’s stories.

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I remember the moment I found out I was going to be a mother, about 3 years and 8 months ago. As the nurse handed me the stick of pee (should be a holy grail HA) and told me “Your pregnant” I froze. A strange happy freeze that I was with child. A shock but a happy shock. The second time I found out I was pregnant I cried. A happy joyful cry. I hope as I grow old those memories will never fade from me for they were the moments I realised how precious and fragile life is. When I first held both my boys I couldn’t believe we had made such beautiful little babies. No words really. No words.

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Hmmmm, now I think about it, is title the right word to use here? Crown? Cape? How about whatever you feel comfortable with. Whatever it is, wear it with pride and be the mum you were meant to be. Don’t let textbooks, the internet or people tell you otherwise. What matters is that your children are loved, looked after and cared for.

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I would like to wish my own mother a happy mother’s day! I hope you have a relaxing day and thank-you for putting up with me as your daughter over the years. I can be stubborn and bad tempted at the worst of times. Something my eldest has inherited from me. So thank you for never giving up on me and letting me follow my dreams! *raises glass*

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Right, better get a wiggle on. We are off to the beach for sand castle building, shell collecting and best of all CHIPS! Chippy chips! NOMNOMNOM!

Hop hop wiggle wiggle

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FIGHT!!! My Dream Loot Crate!

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned beat-em-up. A tonne of button bashing, that rush of adrenaline when you’re on a winning streak and your little victory dance at the end when you a crowned WINNER! If you’re a avid gamer like me, it’s a big deal, I’ve earned my blistered claw hands for the hours of gameplay I have partaken in. It’s an honour to have them bestowed upon me. That’s the real prize, that feeling of satisfaction that you have mastered every move for every character. A healthy and therapeutic way to let off steam if you can’t afford a gym membership or take a karate class. Did I mention fun too? Now, who shall I choose for the next round? I think I’ll go with my favourite, Panda!

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I found out that awesome people at Loot Crate put together a project for fans to create their very own dream Loot Crate How awesome is that? If you love all things pop culture then you NEED to check these guys out. Pause whatever you are doing and take a look, you’re gonna want to see this. I will wait here for you and sip my chai tea while you have a little look. Go go go!

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….And your back! So what did you think? Amazing right? That they put together monthly subscriptions crates bursting with the best and most exclusive licensed figures, t-shirts, home goods, and more! Basically, all things geek! A label I wear loudly with pride and confidence every day. I have no shame in the things that make me happy bringing extra joy to my life and nor should you. What’s even more great about Loot Crate there’s also no pressure as you can cancel your subscription at any time or even skip a month and start again later. Who doesn’t love receiving monthly boxes filled with goodies direct to your door. You deserve to have a treat now and then, so why not a crate jam-packed with awesomeness! They do crates from anime to gaming and beyond, even crates for your pets so your beloved K9 friend can look fashionably geek with you on your daily walkies. Their franchise range varies from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Firefly (sheds a tear for such a great show being cancelled way too soon! And then that travesty of a movie!!!! YOU DON’T KILL WASH) Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Is your inner fangirl/boy squealing yet? They are always adding new content and love to help answer any questions readers might have. They also have had Wash do a few videos for the Firefly crate. *Starts playing with toy dinosaurs* “Yes. Yes. This is a fertile land and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land! And we will call it… this land!”

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If I am lucky enough for my dream crate to be chosen, it could become a real crate for a month’s subscription. Radical! Let the battle commence. My theme is of course the classic Beat-Em-Ups (FIGHT!) Featuring the franchises of Tekken, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Let me introduce you to my tag team for my dream Loot Crate. Continue? Insert coin here! …9…8…7

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1.) Street Fighter T-shirt 

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Loot Crate (From €11)

Introducing player one, this FIGHT Street Fighter tee from Loot Crate. It’s the perfect item of clothing for your world-wide tournaments with your friends. The striking red complements this design and is definitely a winner on my team. Especially as some of the characters are cleverly included in the silhouette of FIGHT. Wear it proudly and fight for what you believe in. It may only be a t-shirt to some but to us it’s a symbol of strength, courage and determination that only our community truly appreciate. Get ready for the next battle!

2.) Jin Pop Vinyl Figure 

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www.popinabox.co.uk  (From £9.99)

*Squeals* Just look at how adorable Jin is in pop vinyl figure form. Awww! He’s trying to act all tough but he is just the cutest. *clears throat* Apologies, I don’t know what came over me there dear reader. But…look at him, he is just so CUTE! Who wouldn’t want a mini Jin to protect their home. He would literally melt intruders with his big chibi eyes. JUST.SO.CUTE! I need one bad!

3.) Mortal Kombat Scorpion Spear Bottle Opener

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www.gamerabilia.co.uk (From £22)

Why settle for a boring mundane bottle opener when you can have this! Your very own Scorpion spear. It’s the perfect addition for your kitchen. I also imagine that this is how Scorpion opens bottles. I mean, he can make spears appear out of his hands. Might as well use them when he needs to open a bottle or two. The next time you hear someone asking for a bottle opener you can yell “GET OVER HERE!

4.) Akuma Kanji Travel Mug 

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www.redbubble.com (From £15)

Keep hydrated on the go with this Akuma Kanji Travel Mug. A simple, sleek yet effective design that is a must for any hardcore fan. Only you and your fellow gamers will know what the symbol means. (MUHAHAHAHA! That was my best impression of an evil laugh. Failed yes I know, will now hang my head in shame.) Everyone else is oblivious which is the beauty of it. Thirsty? Ready for round five?

5.) Tekken Hat

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www.bandainamcoent-store.com (From £16)

With Tekken 7 a matter of months away it only seems fitting to welcome it in style with this trendy hat trick. Heihachi! Crying! What more do you need! The guy is someone you really don’t want to mess with yet here he is shedding a tear. Just like the Jin figure it’s making me go Awwww! It’s also getting me excited for the upcoming release of Tekken 7, it has been years! Curious as to why he is crying and how it ties in with the game. *jumps up and down* I want to play it now! But need to wait! Ahh!

6.) Mortal Kombat Comic

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forbiddenplanet.com (From £10) 

Books are my life! If I could live inside a library or book shop, I would. I am definitely one of those girls that fell in love with the library over the beast. I am loving my graphic novels and comics lately (especially my Harley Quinn ones) and so had to have a Mortal Kombat one on this list as it’s one of my favourite beat-em-ups. What hooks me in is the attention to detail. The artwork fascinates me, I want to frame every page on my bedroom wall. I also enjoy finding out more about the characters that the games don’t always have time for. Back stories have always interested me. Really need to read this now! Who wants to come comic shopping with me?

FINISH HIM!

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Oops sorry, got a little carried away.

So there you have it, my line up of my dream Loot Crate. Can’t wait to see what others come up with. I just love this form of creativity! I have fully enjoyed this project and am now itching to get on the Playstation and do some serious butt kicking against my husband. Panda never fails me! I hope you have enjoyed this and would love to hear your thoughts on my crate idea. What would you have in yours? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out Loot Crate and mention it to your fellow team-mates. Two words. Geek heaven!

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You can also find them on Twitter, instagram, Facebook and Youtube! 

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Posted in Ad, Anime, arts, be who you are, Beat-em-ups, being a writer, blog, blogger, creative writing, discovery, everyday life, follow me, fun, Games, Gaming, Geek, happy, how I live, just being myself, learning, life, Lifestyle, Loot Crate, Mortal Kombat, my life, my world, opinion, play, Pop Culture, shareing, social media, Street Fighter, Tekken, twitter, Uncategorized, wordpress, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmer Falgu Boolino Books Review

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Are your children noisy? Loud? Just love to make a racket all day long? Well, technically that’s all children isn’t it. But BOY do I have the books for you dear reader. Grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable as I share with you a pair of exciting children’s books. (Recently named in the TES top 50 books on diversity to use in a school classroom!) That were made for your little noise makers.

Aimed at 3+ let me introduce, Farmer Falgu Goes On a Trip and Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market written by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Kanika Nair. Sent to me by the lovely people at Boolino and published by Red Robin Books, these books make the start of a series in introducing a flavour of rural India to children. How awesome is that? Children always need more exposure to different Countries and cultures to help them realise how gorgeously diverse the world is. So they can see that the world is a big place just waiting for them to go off on an adventure and explore it’s breathtaking and exotic lands.

Farmer Falgu Goes On A Trip

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Every mother can relate to wanting just five minute’s peace and a hot cup of tea. It becomes gold dust once you have children, there is no peace, no quiet, just loud clanging noises all day everyday. It.Never.Stops.Never! So it was a joy to find a friend in Farmer Falgu who felt the same with his farm.

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Farmer Falgu longs for the peaceful sound of silence and sets off from his farm to find it. Along the way he meets some lively musical characters and his quest for silence seems lost.Will he ever find it?

I love how the story flows while incorporating sounds and rhythm. My son is such a happy but LOUD toddler and so he really enjoyed making noises with each new character we met. He especially loved doing the Dum-Dum bit every time the old man played the drum. I can still hear him now in the other room playing his toy drum going “DUM-DUM! DUM-DUM!DSCN5199.JPG

The repetition used is perfect for children as it helps them remember what is happening in the story. If your child is anything like mine, they tend to get distracted and lose focus easily. But this use of repetition helps bring them back to what is happening and get them involved again in the story.

Nair’s illustrations are like nothing my son and I have seen before in a children’s picture book. You often get bright garish colours that make your eyes pop and give you a bit of a migraine. But Nair’s natural and warm tones bring rural India right to your doorstep. It’s pleasing to the eye and draws in inquisitive young readers to that part of the world. I’m not surprised that it was shortlisted for the 2016 Hindu Young World-Goodbooks award.

I asked my son what he made of the story and he yelled “Again! Again!” He loves the cows and asked why they had red dots on their forehead. When I told him what they were he was fascinated and wanted to learn more about a different culture. photo 6His curiosity and willingness to learn about the world will always enthrall me and make me beam with pride. It’s books like this that are a keeper and show our children that there’s so much to learn and discover in the world.

In addition to being just plain fun, it may leave readers curious to learn more about the rural Indian setting.”
Publishers Weekly

photo 9Farmer Falgu Goes On A Trip made me realise that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses. Farmer Falgu finally finds the peace and quiet he needs but the moment he does, he starts thinking about his farm. How it’s noisy because it’s happy and that makes him happy. It made me see that maybe the loud booming sounds my children make aren’t such a bad thing. Because when I think about it, I hate it when everything goes silent. The soundtrack to my life is my children’s laughter, their chatter and their extremely high-pitched animal noises. It’s bliss and reminds me that life is noisy, so enjoy it and dance to it’s rhythm with your little monsters.

 

Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market

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The second in the series does not disappoint. We have all had bad days where everything goes wrong the second we wake up. Late to work, miss the bus, forget your lunch, things spiral and go from bad to a complete nightmare in a matter of mere seconds. However Farmer Falgu has a nifty little trick that I wish I had thought of sooner to help in such a situation.

Farmer Falgu is on his way to market when suddenly disaster strikes at every turn. Will his stock survive and arrive at market intact? Will Farmer Falgu be able to save anything?

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Farmer Falgu makes a positive out of a negative situation which is a great lesson for children to learn. If something doesn’t go to plan, then flip it and make it happen. Don’t give up and keep trying. Teaching and encouraging our children to keep going and achieve their dreams is so important. It helps them assert themselves and to never accept anything less. We know as their parents they are worth so much more and we want THEM to see it. To know it without arrogance, just assertive confidence.

Similar to the first book, the story flows together and has a little rhythm to it with the repetition. I like this style in children’s books as it’s consistent and really helps with children’s learning. You feel yourself getting into a little groove as you read along together and feel involved in the action that is taking place on the page.

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Towards the end I found myself dribbling like a bulldog wanting a taste of omelette. My senses were heightened with the description of the smells and flavours happening on the page. So me and my son decided to make one for lunch and repeat the story as we went. Slicing the onions, dicing the tomatoes and cracking the eggs. Saying each action as we did them like the story. It’s a simple but effective way for children to get involved and remind them that learning can be fun and exciting, not to mention tasty. Oh-so-tasty…..

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Again, no wonder this second in the series has been named in the TES top 50 books on diversity to have in the school classroom. It shows young readers a taste of what life is like in rural India. A real sense of community and helping each other out was very much present in both books, which is always a good message (in my book, bad pun I know!) to tell children.

This story is a triumph of an accident. It’s catastrophic, clever and really quite heart-warming.
Good Books

Soundar and Nair dance perfectly together without a single step out of time. They compliment and enhance each other’s contributions to these books. Soundars words bring Nair’s work to life and vice-versa. They are truly a perfect match and I look forward to seeing/reading more of their work in the future.

Both stories are ideal for an afternoon read. It allows your little one to make noise and burn off some energy while you get to put your feet up (for a few seconds) and finally enjoy that hot cuppa you have much deserved.

I give both Farmer Falgu books a five out of five paw rating.

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They are educational, fun and packed with rhythms that will get you and little ones fully involved. I look forward to reading more in the series! Check them out on the links below!

Grab a copy here for only £5.99! and introduce your little ones to a whole new exciting world. http://www.boolino.co.uk/kids-childrens-books/farmer-falgu-goes-trip/

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And of course don’t forget,

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for also only £5.99! http://www.boolino.co.uk/kids-childrens-books/farmer-falgu-goes-market/

Big thank you to Boolino who gave me this opportunity. Always much appreciated. If you want to discover something new and wonderful to add to your bookshelf, then check these guys out here. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

http://www.boolino.co.uk

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And of course a huge thank-you to the wonderful people at Red Robin Books. Check them out on the link below. You and child’s next adventure is awaiting you!

http://www.redrobinbooks.com

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For more information about Chitra Soundar:  http://www.chitrasoundar.com

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And also check out Kanika Nair here : http://nairkanika.blogspot.co.uk

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Hop hop wiggle wiggle.

 

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What I Take For Granted

The Burrow this week has been a constant mad-house, complete with maniacal laughter and hall of mirrors. “Why?” You may ask. I shall tell you, dear reader. Pop the kettle on, grab a bag of nibbles, pull up a pew and listen to a tale of woe and misery involving aching of the heart.

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Ok, so that all sounds more dramatic than it actually is but hey, it’s the writer and thespian in me. Basically, it all went to sh*t on Wednesday morning. Pardon my language but it did. We were on our way to an important bank meeting and with two boys and a Bunny (me of course) with no sense of time-keeping, we were running a little late. Not to mention some unwanted hassle from a very selfish person that we shall not speak of as they are beyond help. Urgh! Anyway. It was a stressful morning, so unfortunately my husband was not in a great state of mind and he slipped down the slope near our back gate and popped his knee out. He has a history of his knee popping out from an old rugby injury. In the 6 years we have been together, it has never popped out. Never. So this was all new territory to me. I was still inside the house when this happened, making a bottle up for Mogwai. Cabbit comes running in saying, “Daddy! Oh no! Daddy! Daddy fell, oh no!” Which naturally raised alarm bells.I dashed outside and find husband on the floor holding his knee and writhing in agony. Poor Mogwai is by his feet but safely in his car seat. I later found out that he had fallen on his side of his seat (thankfully completely contained and fine) and just smiled at his father because everything was hunky dory for him. He is such a happy baby! seriously, he is always happy! He is ok and very much healthy. No knocks and no bruises. I stood frozen for a few seconds as I had no idea what to do. Do I help husband first or tend to the boys? I was lost and completely dazed by what I was witnessing. Instinct took me by the hand and lead me to my husband. He told me to get the boys back in the house and make sure they were safe before tending to him. I agreed as I knew it was the right thing to do. Once Mogwai and Cabbit were safe I helped my husband inside and rang our local GP. I did insist on an ambulance, but husband refused saying it wouldn’t be serious enough to bother the emergency services. (I of course huffed at this.)About 30 minutes later a pair of paramedics turned up and tended to the wounded. Unfortunately the only thing to be done was to rest up, take strong pain killers and apply ice.

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And breathe. *Takes sip of slightly cold tea* Since this unfortunate accident I have been running around like a crazy person. Making sure husband takes his tablets, has enough to drink and eat, looking after the boys, the animals, cooking, cleaning, the list is endless. I barely get five minutes sometimes to even pee in peace without someone calling for my help. I have been thoroughly run ragged. (I have only manged to blog this because it is the early hours of the morning before anyone is awake. I feel I am going slightly mad from lack of sleep!!!) However in the precious few minutes that I have had to myself it made me realise how much I take for granted. I rely on my husband for lots of little things that I didn’t realise until now. Things like taking the bin out, off-loading the weekly shopping and strapping Mogwai in the car in his car seat. Things that I don’t really do because my husband just does them to help. Tiny little things that I take for granted. Strangely in ways it’s good that my husband has to rest up and be helpless because it gives me a chance to gain some independence back. I believe that once we are in a relationship we rely on one another in so many ways. We take on responsibilities and share the load so it’s equal and fair. Yet sometimes we never truly appreciate the other one’s jobs. We take it for granted that they do help out, we just tend not to see it as we are busy doing our ones.

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When you’re in a relationship you work as a team and help each other out. If one person is doing all the work than something is not right. I completely and utterly love my husband and things like this make me realise how lucky I am to get one of the good ones. He wants to help out and does the dirty work the same as me. We work well as a team and always support each other. Both times I was recovering my c-section wound he has devoted all his time and attention on me, going so far as to take official time away from his studies while he was at uni. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without him. Getting teary now, stop it!

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This week has shown me that I am still that strong and independent Bunny I have always been, but also that I really shouldn’t take the little things my husband does for granted because it all adds up to the bigger, beautiful picture. I will make more effort to thank him and take over his jobs and vice-versa. Hopefully it will show our two boys that when you’re in a relationship you should love and support each other through the worst and best of times. To be strong and still have your independence, but to also allow your partner/wife/husband to help you when you need it and to be there to help them in turn. To be there for the ones you love. Oh love, you strange gorgeous thing you.

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I hope you have all had a lovely weekend! Let’s tackle those Monday blues together with a cheeky drop of cider and this awesome tune! Let me hear you now, SPACE PANTS! Yep, it’s happened. I have gone mad…

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Posted in advice, arts, be who you are, be yourself, being a mother, Being A Mother Full-Time, being a writer, blog, blogger, chat, creative writing, discovery, everyday life, Family, Family blogger, Family Life, Family Life Blogger, fatherhood, fear, Health, Honest Blog Post, how I live, husband, just being myself, life, Life As A Mother, Life With Two Boy's, Lifestyle, Love, madness, married life, Motherhood, mummy blogger, my life, my world, opinion, parenting, people, relationship, The Real Face Of Motherhood, The Truth Of Being A Mother, This Is Me, Uncategorized, wordpress, writer, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strange Medicine By Mike Russell Review

*Honest review given in exchange for book.*

There’s a medicine for almost everything these days. Colds, headaches, that ugly heavy feeling of guilt after polishing off an entire bag of doughnuts to yourself. I believe it’s known as a diet or detox? (Wouldn’t honestly know that feeling as I have never had it, I could eat doughnuts forever.) But if you are in need of some meds I strongly prescribe 8 spoonfuls of Mike Russell’s Strange Medicine. A required taste that you won’t find it in your local pharmacy. For this you need to open up your mind and question everything you thought you once knew.

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Have you ever wanted to go beyond the universe, travel though matter and become reality? Yes? Then Strange Medicine is definitely worth investigating. 8 short stories that take up residence beneath your skin, (lets call them Shish) and set up a home within your mind. By the end of their tenancy you will be sad to say goodbye and be begging them to keep the deposit.

Once again Russell has literally captured my breath. He has stored it in a little jar for safe keeping that sits neatly with others on a shelf to coexist together in that single moment. The moment that the reader finally sees the bizarre beauty of Russell’s creations. The moment that we realise that our existence is but a single raindrop in the storm that is yet to descend upon us.

My appetite for such creativity these days has been starved. But since I have discovered the strange and wonderful world of Russell I have had to invest in a new pair of scales. Each story is creatively woven together, a true artist with words. Extremely good needlework that I haven’t seen in a while. The characters and their stories make you realise that there is so much more to life, the world, the universe in fact than we dare to imagine. We are so scared of questioning further and exploring the unknown that we limit ourselves as humans and what we are fully capable of. The strange is not so strange when you realise it’s the normal. The normal is the strange and something that people tend to be blinded by thinking it’s the norm, when in reality: Nothing is normal. It’s all precursors to what we believe should be normal. Let’s put it this way, everything is strange when you don’t understand or are afraid of it. Now imagine if everything was flipped to an alternate reality. The norm is the strange and the strange is the normal. Doesn’t seem so strange does it? Well, to the people in the alternate reality it’s completely normal. And to them, we are strange. Have I mind bloopered you yet? Good! It’s healthy to keep an active mind!

To truly appreciate Strange Medicine you have to be willing to expect the unexpected and take a path you would have feared before. Once you get past your expectations of what a story should tell, then you will see and feel differently. In a cliché sense, you will be looking at the world with new eyes, new feelings and thoughts. Your mind will go into overdrive at discovering sensations you never thought possible. It’s definitely a mind trip but one I happily volunteer to take. You with me? Then let’s go!

I give Strange Medicine a four out of five paw rating.

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My reasons why are simple. I want more! Greedy I know but once I have tasted good food, I yearn for more until I can no longer move. What can I say, I love my food!

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I can’t thank the wonderful people at StrangeBooks enough for giving me another opportunity to review Mike Russell’s work. Thank you! Links below! Check them out, you won’t regret it.  Grab a copy for only £5.99!

https://strangebooks.com

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Posted in arts, be who you are, be yourself, being a writer, blog, blogger, book, Book Blog, Book Blogger, Book Review, Book Reviewer, Booklover, Books are my thing, Bookworm, Brighton, crazy, creative writing, discovery, fear, Fiction, Honest Blog Post, Honest Book Review, how I live, just being myself, Let's Talk About Books!, life, Mike Russell, opinion, public, short story, strange, StrangeBooks, Uncategorized, wordpress, writer, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let Go And Release Your Inner Child!

That sounds wrong and extremely irresponsible, like you should just let your child go wild. I wouldn’t suggest that, it could all end in tears and a bottle of wine. Always drink responsibly kids. *cheesy grin & thumbs up*

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I don’t remember the exact moment I levelled up to adulthood. Was it getting my first job? Moving away from home and going to university? Paying my own way? It has slowly creeped up on me over the last few years. This strange sense that I am growing older and losing my childlike innocence. However, I have to say honestly I am still very much a big kid. My best friend is a plushie called Maggie the sea cow. (Technically my husband is my best friend but he’s just not girly enough for girl talk. Something I’m thankful for 😉 ) A vast array of colourful key-rings dangle from my handbag such as Princess Unikitty and I am drawn to anything shiny! Try as I might to appear like an adult, I will never pass as one of those women you see on the train that has their sh*t together. For example, eating a homemade salad in Tupperware without spilling a single bit down their designer suit. Yep, that will never be me. I will be over here in the corner with my purple unbrushed mane, green Doc Marten’s and patchwork bag nibbling some magic stars while trying to catch a Psyduck. Yep, sophisticated, me.

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Growing up doesn’t come with a manual yet we all follow the same rules as we age. We become more sensible and fall into the routine of job, pay bills, sleep and repeat. One minute we are making daisy chains in scruffy pigtails with muddy knees. Then in a single blink we are chained to a desk answering call after call of customer complaints while the office lech is doing his daily mating call at you from across the room. Just fabulous. You find yourself staring at the clock wondering when did life start playing in slow motion and you wanted to fast forward to the end. You ask yourself “When did this become my life?

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Since having children I have found myself sometimes, just sometimes, to be a bit of a fun sucker. No, get your head out of the gutter you filthy minded people. What I mean is I find myself telling my son to, well, basically stop having fun. Bad mother awarded goes to me right here! It’s horrible and I ask myself “When did you stop being fun? Lighten up!” My inner child wants to shake my sorry self and force feed me double chocolate fudge ice cream after playing ‘Jump Around” loudly while I use my bed as a temporary bouncy castle. Ah fun times.

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I used to actually be a very, very relaxed and a fun mum but the scare my son put me through by trying to run out into the road sent me full pelt into bubblewrap mode. My son was ok, in fact he found the whole thing highly amusing. I grabbed him just in time but after that we attached him to a set of reins as it was a horrible close call that scared the living sh*t out of me. And if you know our son, he has a nasty habit of just darting ahead or off in his complete own direction without thinking whenever he gets the chance. Ha ha so much fun…

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Once I had a spare minute to really think about this, which believe me when you have two lively boys it’s a rare precious gift (that sometimes turns me into Gollum, Precious!) I had an epiphany. I released that I had become less fun because I had become a mother. And when you become a mother you worry. You worry a lot. Are they sleeping enough, are they sleeping too much, what they eat, what they don’t eat, the list is endless. You are entrusted with this beautiful, tiny human that you created and gave birth to and are left to your own devices. Theres no off switch and definitely no restart. Everything changes and you suddenly feel a tonne of pressure to get everything right for your child. Need I mention health visitors and how much of a pain in the butt they can be? No? Thank-you because that will send me off on a rather large tangent and we will be here all day.

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So I have decided to stop worrying about the little things in life that don’t really matter. Things like my eldest drawing on the wall (we will call it art and part of the decoration; adds character) or my youngest peeing on the carpet (that’s what febreeze was invented for) and how a small pice of chocolate is not going to make their teeth fall out. Life is to be enjoyed so I am going to start enjoying it more with my little family. Making memories and not being a nag because they want ice cream for breakfast and not fruit. Not everyday granted, there will be some rules, but just for me to relax more. I want to spend more time having fun with my boys and showing them how wonderful life can be. Going for our woodland walks and skipping stones down by the water. Dressing up as our favourite superheroes and fighting crime right in our back garden. Watching their fascinated little faces as they discover more about nature and science. I want to live and be in the moment and to stop stressing about things that are insignificant. I don’t of course delude myself and I know there will be times where I have to say no. Don’t want to be appearing on supernanny anytime soon by letting them run riot. But to just relax a little and let my hair down. I feel that mothers, fathers, parents in general are too strict on themselves and should just take a breather. It’s ok to worry and to stress but take a step back to have fun with your children. They will get dirty yes but then you can give them a bubble bath and pretend to have a bubbly bread. If they are happy, healthy and very much-loved, stop prioritising the washing up (it really can wait) and go play with them. We will regret it if we don’t now. Children grow up far too quickly and we will be left wondering why didn’t we take the chance and just be a child with them. Let me refer to this quote from the awesome film Hook,

Moira Banning: Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? Soon Jack might not even want you to come to his games. We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast Peter. Just a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.

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So, who’s with me? Have you got your welly boots ready? Good! Because I know a great place for puddle jumping. And after we can have cake with Maggie and sail the seven seas while we look for buried treasure. Arghhhh! That was my pirate impression. Yep, terrible I know. *sticks tongue out*

Hop hop wiggle wiggle.

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Strungballs By Mike Russell Review

*Honest review given in exchange for book.*

*Minor spoilers*

The strange and unknown has always fascinated me. What exactly defines something being strange? Is it a matter of opinion? Of following society’s rules because we believe that is the correct way? Have we all been brainwashed into a certain way of thinking because it is the ‘good’ and ‘right’ thing to do? I found myself asking all of these questions when I dived into the thrilling novella Strungballs by Mike Russell. I would like to thank the wonderful people at Strange Books especially Jay the Strange Books secretary for this opportunity. Also thank you to Mike Russell for creating such an intriguing story and bringing my imagination to life.

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Strungballs follows Sydney, a ten-year old boy who has just had a cube of his flesh removed in order for him to receive his first Strungball. Not long after he begins to question what Strungballs are and who are the others? There is just one rule that must never be broken. Never remove your Strungball.

Everything in Strungballs is very precise, the measurements, the layouts of rooms and even the stillness of the characters emotions. It is all very sterile and robotic. Actions have to be carried out in a certain fashion and to the correct protocol. To go against it would not be good which is what adds to the suspense. The reader wants to desperately know what happens if you fall out of line or dare I say remove their Strungball. You are compelled to read on to discover the secrets that are hidden outside the human flesh walls of the city.

The city appears very much like a cult, to serve the sphere of flesh and to always do what is ‘good.’ To always obey a higher power. I loved the idea of humans living in a city made out of human flesh. It’s disturbing and cleverly used as at least they are recycling with re-useable resources. They sacrifice themselves in order to be protected which is ironic as the more cubes of flesh they lose, the less of a person they become. When Sydney meets Albert a ninety year old man who no longer feels like a person anymore because he is mostly holes, he begins to question everything. Albert wishes he knew what it is he needs but struggles to find it. This reminded me of how as we grow older we sometimes lose sight of what is important to us. Friends become strangers and family become distant. We get so caught up in life following a routine that we become robots following orders. Living to work and forgetting that we should be living our lives to the full as life is forever fleeting. It won’t last forever. Before we know it, we will all become dust and bones in the sand. We should live and enjoy life, every second. The good and the bad.

What I like about Strungballs is that you have a ten-year old boy questioning why. Why are Strungballs so important? Why must they have them? Why are others monsters? The adults have accepted that this is their way of life yet a young boy doesn’t understand why this is so. He starts to rebel against society’s way of thinking and takes it upon himself to break free, becoming one with himself and cutting his ties to that world. He wants more and doesn’t want to settle for what is expected of him. It’s pleasant to see as taking control of your life is something we should all do. We should never let anything or anyone control us. It’s a powerful important message that Strungballs echoes; something extremely relatable in today’s world.

The strong theme of finite and what is infinite really brings the story full circle. Finite has an end where as infinite is forever. The sphere of flesh would have been infinite, standing strong. As soon as a cube starts to whither it is replaced with a fresh one. Humans are finite and have an end which is the scary part. We will all die one day and we all know it. It’s the unknown that we are truly scared of which I think this novella deals with perfectly. It asks the reader to question what are we scared of? Ourselves? Do we all want to just be loved and be accepted for who we are? Do we have to follow society’s rules or should we make our own rules? Strungballs if anything definitely raises a lot of questions and gets you thinking. Which to me personally is a good thing.

I found the ending truly beautiful, the imagery of the two giants bringing life into the world, how the living and the dead were all together and the sheer bliss of being free.

I can visualise this story being made into a film. The amount of detail given such as the sphere of flesh, the inside-out giants and the empty void would be perfect on the big screen. *hint hint*

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I give this novella a four out of five paw rating.

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It’s so refreshing to read something so different and creatively unique that really dances with your imagination. Strange is always good in my book.

I look forward to reading more of Mike Russell and highly recommend you check this novella and more of his work out! Links below.

Strangbooks.com

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Buy a copy of Strungballs here for only £3.99

 

Until next time,

Hop hop wiggle wiggle

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