I Let Him Rub Gold Into My Face

A few days ago I had a little day trip to London with the kids. Whilst I was perfectly happy to pose for pictures, the kids were a little more reluctant…

4 pics of Vanessa and kids

So I had to catch them unaware when they were on their devices or watching floating green men…

2 pics of Vanessas kids

None of that has anything to do with the main point of this post, but I’m just setting the scene. Now I’ll get to the point. As we walked down past some fancy shops, a very well-dressed man appeared and handed me this sample…

Sample of gold cream

I really would have liked to just walk on, but being terribly useless in these situations, I found myself engaging in conversation, AND allowing myself to get led into the shop for him to try some product on me. Why? Why can’t I just say no thank you?!

As he dabbed some stuff under my eye, he told me that the product was incredible and contained real gold. He asked what products I usually use on my face.

“Nivea.” I told him.

He also asked what I type of maintenance I usually do on my eyes.

“Er…maintenance…um, well, you know…the Nivea I put on my face also goes under my eyes.” I told him. Maintenance? What am I, a car?

When he was done he produced a mirror for me to say “wow” and pretend I could tell the difference between the eye he had done and the one he hadn’t (the kids also dutifully nodded and said appropriate things to please him). I cut to the chase and asked him how much it was. He told me there was a special offer on at the moment where I could get two products for £198 (that’s around US $310), usually that was the price just for one. What a bargain! (For people who spend hundreds on face cream).

Girl with cream on her face

Wow, I can totally see how much better I look. Wait, you want HOW MUCH for it?! (photo credit: IMG_2902.jpg via photopin (license) )

I reminded him that I generally use Nivea costing around £5, and that would be quite a leap. He reminded me that there was real gold in this product. I thanked him politely, declined, and we left. To his credit, he wasn’t overly pushy, he was gentle in his sales approach, friendly, and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable about saying no.

During the process of him dabbing stuff on me, he had a guess at my age, “35” he said. I played the game of pretending to be delighted while I told him I was actually nearly 45, and he played the game of pretending to be impressed and surprised. I knew he was just flattering me to get a sale, but afterwards I realised I totally missed a trick, I should have said “Well clearly the Nivea is working well for me then.” I want to go back there now just to be able to say that!

Maybe you’ve heard of Orogold before, I hadn’t, but I looked them up online later and found lots of stuff about them, both good and bad. I’m not making any comment about the company or the products, I don’t know enough about them, but I am wondering how many people do spend that kind of money on face cream. I guess I’m lucky that I’ve always had pretty good skin, so it’s easy for me to say “I would NEVER spend that much on face cream,” but maybe under different circumstances I would, who knows. I’m pretty sure I’d want to do more research first though and not just spend a few hundred on a product I’d never heard of before, on the strength of a five minute sales pitch from someone who approached me on the street.

For now, I’ll stick with Nivea thank you. What about you?

(By the way, I know I still owe someone a poem, I haven’t forgotten, it’ll be soon!)

It’s Time to Play Again!

Fairground ducks

We previously had such fun playing the Five Truths and One Lie game on here. Do you remember? So I thought we’d play it again. Last time, the prize I gave was to write a poem for the winner and record myself reciting it (prizes don’t get much better than that right?). Darla from She’s a Maineiac won last time:

I thought I’d do a different prize this time, but couldn’t think of anything good, so I’m doing the same prize again.

Here we are then, five truths and one lie about things from my past. Tell me in the comments which one you think is the lie. If more than one person gets it right, there will be a random drawing. If nobody gets it right, I will do a poem for the person who I think gave the best reasoning for their answer.

Only one guess per person folks. You have until this time next week. Ready? Go…

1.  When I was a child I used to think that horses made that clip clop noise with their mouths rather than with their hooves. I think it was probably because when people pretend to be horses they often make that noise with their mouths.

2.  When I was about 22/23 I went out shopping with my slippers on, and didn’t notice until I was in the shopping mall, and so quickly popped into a shoe shop to buy an emergency pair. I spent rather too long browsing, and after a while was approached by two policemen who spoke to me in kind tones, smiling and glancing at my slippers, telling me it was time to go back to the centre. I wasn’t quite sure what centre they were talking about, but I eventually managed to persuade them that I didn’t need to go back to any centre, and had simply made a footwear error!

3.  In my early 20s I had a makeover done in a magazine. This was my first experience of discovering that magazine/newspaper writers can completely make things up. They printed a supposed quote from me saying “I never thought my hair could look like this, I’ve got curls!” Seriously, who talks like that? (Try saying it out loud).

4.  I was extremely greedy as a small child, and one of the ways this manifested itself was that I used to sneak tubs of margarine out of the fridge and eat them with a spoon. My parents used to find empty tubs of margarine hidden in my room.

5.  When I was about 11/12 (1981/2) a well-known TV comedian kissed me on the mouth backstage after a live show, not in a creepy secretive way, but in a joke way. He did that thing of pointing at his cheek for a kiss and then turning his head at the last second when I went to kiss his cheek. It’s a real sign of how times have changed because there were other adults around, everyone laughed, it was no big deal, and I wasn’t bothered by it (other than feeling a bit silly that he’d tricked me). Now when I look back at it I find it a bit inappropriate, but back then it all seemed quite normal. I’m not going to name him because he’s still a well known personality and these things can get blown out of proportion, it was innocent at the time.

6. When I was five I went on a trip to Malta with my Mum, and we took a ride on a horse-drawn carriage. My head got bashed repeatedly throughout the trip by something hard sticking out of the carriage. It hurt so much I was having to fight back the tears, but I didn’t say a word about it, because I was embarrassed to in front of the man driving (is “driving” the right word?). A couple of days later, I fell down some marble stairs outside the hotel and cut the back of my head pretty bad, I still have the scar. It wasn’t a good trip for my head!

If you’re short of posting ideas, why not do a Five Truths and One Lie game on your blog? If you do, let me know so that I can come and play yours!

photo credit: Sutton Coldfield Carnival 2012 via photopin (license)

Most People Read Fiction Not So Much For Plot As For Company

Girl reading

Whether or not you agree with the above quote by Josip Novakovich, it’s certainly one that makes you think, and question what it is that makes you love a novel or not. It’s an appropriate quote too because today we’re going to talk about writing rules – please present your tickets to the girl on the door then come in and have a seat. Ready? Then I shall begin…

I recently read a post by JM McDowell entitled Damn The Writing Rules—What Do Readers Like? She had written this as a result of feedback she received from some alpha readers of her novel – of which I was one (I will mention at this point that I loved the story and the way it was written). Her post was around the issue of writing rules, and who they are really for. You might want to pop over and read JM’s post before continuing here to get the background on this post.

Personally, I haven’t done a huge amount of fiction writing, a couple of half-finished novels, a couple of barely started novels, an occasional short story, mainly my bits of published writing have been non-fiction. I haven’t really learned the rules of fiction writing – I’ve picked some up along the way, mainly from blog posts written by writers, but I haven’t actively sought to learn what they are. Therefore when I read fiction, whether just for pleasure, or in the case of JM’s novel, to critique it, I’m not consciously measuring it against a set of rules.

Man measuring weights

When I’m reading, the negative things I tend to notice are:

  • Something that doesn’t seem realistic within the context or world that has been created.
  • Story threads that don’t go anywhere.
  • Things left unexplained that I really wanted an explanation for.
  • Anything that seems contrived.
  • Descriptions that feel too lengthy and self-indulgent.
  • Grammatical errors.

These are things that non writers might notice too, things that aren’t particularly to do with fiction writing rules. The one thing I do notice which would come under “writer knowledge” is the show-don’t-tell issue. I can really see the value of that one, and I admire it greatly it when it’s done well, it totally breathes life into the story.

What I do wonder though is where the rules come from. I know there won’t be just one answer to that, but how evidence-based are the rules? How many of them are proven to be key to a successful novel, and how many of them were just said by someone influential at some point because they sounded logical, and have then been passed on and quoted by everyone else, but actually don’t make any difference to reader enjoyment? It’s hard to be conclusive, you could no doubt find a correlation between rule-compliance and successful novels, but you couldn’t be sure that the following of the rules is what made them successful. Of course following the rules is part of the game you likely have to play if you want a traditional publishing route for your book, and that’s probably the main driver for following the rules for many writers.

Something that comes to mind here are the TV talent shows, particularly the singing X-Factor type ones (which yes, I do watch, sorry ‘n all). So many times when I’ve watched the early audition rounds, I’ve seen people who are a bit raw, a bit rough around the edges maybe, their personality is there and it draws you in, they’re different, and there’s something special about them. But then when they make it through to the live shows, they’ve been polished up, scrubbed to perfection, turned into a formula-looking and sounding pop singer. They’ve had that raw edginess, that quirkiness, that made them great taken away from them. I understand that it’s been done by people in the industry who presumably know what is needed to turn those people into money-generators, but it’s a real shame. And I wonder sometimes if too much strict adherence to the writing rules can at times do a similar thing to the writer’s story.

I don’t really have a conclusion to make here. I’m certainly not saying that writing rules are pointless, I understand that many of them are based on solid reasoning and have value to them, and in general I’m a rule-follower, but it’s the idea of blindly following them, or thinking that they are the ONLY way that something should be done, which I take issue with. But I’m no expert, and I welcome any counter arguments below. It’s a subject that gets discussed often amongst writers and there are many different views.

Speaking of writing and novels (notice how seamlessly I work this one in), over on my Sugarness blog, I have this week started a new series of posts in collaboration with author J Keller-Ford, where I have created recipes for each of the characters in her new novel In the Shadow of the Dragon King, to be published in 2016. The first recipe is Eric Hamden’s Red Wine Apple Pie.

Red wine apple pie

What are your views on writing rules? Or if you don’t know much about writing rules, what things turn you on or off when reading fiction? Do you like apple pie?

photo credit (red-headed girl) : Girl and book via photopin (license)
photo credit (measuring weights) : Checking Accuracy of a Scale in a Feed Mill Establishment (FDA 117) via photopin (license)
photo credit (apple pie) : Me!

I’m a Writer at lifehack.org Now

A few weeks ago I applied, and was accepted, to be one of the writers at lifehack.org. Below are the first four articles I wrote for them. All four of these are article ideas and titles that the lifehack guys came up with, and I just wrote, but I also have a couple of my own article ideas pitched to them, waiting for approval. Plus I’ve completed a couple of other articles for them which are waiting to be edited and published.

It’s not a paid position, but it is good exposure – the first article I wrote for them, (the beach one), which was published on 29 May, has received over 60,000 shares at the time of writing this. They won’t all be like that, the supermarket one which was published three days later has only received about 150 shares. I say “only” but if one of my posts on this blog was shared 150 times, I’d be thrilled to bits! There’s a wide variance in how much the lifehack.org articles are shared, you just never know which ones will snowball. The most recent one, about fearless mindsets, which was published on Saturday seems to be starting quite strongly with several hundred shares so far in the first couple of days.

Aside from the exposure, and probably more importantly for me, it’s a good writing discipline because I’m writing to a spec and to a deadline, so it keeps me writing, and I’m finding it all very enjoyable.  I also have to search out the photos to accompany the articles, and so far this has taken me longer than the actual writing, trying to find the ideal photo each time, but hopefully I’ll get quicker on that. Anyway, here are the four so far, in the order they were published, if you fancy reading any of them…

18 Things Only People Who Live By The Beach Understand
Girl on beach

It Is Now Illegal For Supermarkets To Throw Away Food In France
French supermarket

24 Old English Terms You Should Start Using Again

10 Ways To Teach Your Kids To Have A Fearless Mindset


Photo credits: on individual linked article pages.

Body Parts Have Love and Hate Things Too

Hands and feet

A few people, like Amy and Mark have been doing this 10 things I love/10 things I hate, thing. I’ve done similar lists on here before, so I thought I’d go for a bit of a different take on it this time with things I love and hate for my feet and hands. Why feet and hands you may ask? No good reason, it just came to me. I’ve gone for 5 each of each for both giving a total of 20 things, which is the same as the general list 10 of each x 2, also giving 20 things (did you follow that? No? Never mind).

5 Things I love for my feet

1. Walking them through warm sand up to water’s edge to get that first feel of the water lapping up on them.
2. Taking shoes off after a long day and wiggling my toes.
3. Trying on a pair of fabulous shoes in a shop and looking at them in those little low mirrors.
4. Pulling warm fluffy socks on over cold feet.
5. A foot massage done on myself (is that weird?).

5 Things I hate for my feet

1. Blisters.
2. Shoes that are too tight and need to be kept on for hours because I’m already out somewhere by the time I realise they’re too tight.
3. Accidentally stepping barefoot on something sharp and painful.
4. Standing in something unpleasant like doggy doo, and then the job of cleaning it off my shoes later.
5. Getting an itch on the sole of my foot that can’t be scratched to satisfaction.

5 Things I love for my hands

1. Rubbing a really good hand cream into them so that they’re soft but not greasy.
2. Freshly painting my nails when I’ve managed to not bite my them for a while and they’ve grown lovely.
3. Holding someone else’s hand.
4. Stroking something soft, like fur (just to clarify, I mean while it’s still on a live animal!).
5. Pressing certain buttons that are particularly satisfying in feel, firm but smooth, a little click at the end.

5 Things I hate for my hands

1. When I bite my nails.
2. When I get a little cut on the end of a finger and it hurts ridiculously too much for the size of it, and continues to hurt and get in the way for too many days.
3. When I’m unprepared for a colder than expected day and my gloveless fingers get so painfully cold that they won’t work properly.
4. When I’m cleaning up something yucky and a bit of it gets on my hand – ugh!
5. When they’re being uncooperative in a fiddly task I want them to do.

Any body parts you’d like to do a love and hate listing for? (Keep it clean!)

Photo credit: Faceless Bunny and Kitty by Helga Weber

I Don’t Have a Kevin and I Don’t Know How Much Broccoli Weighs

Closed cup mushroom

From what I understand, online supermarket shopping is much more popular in the UK than in many other places, most of the big supermarkets here now deliver to most of the country. So I thought I’d give a little run down of what it’s like for those of you who might not have experienced it. Personally I’m a huge fan – from the comfort of your home, you just click a few keys on your keyboard and voila! Next thing you know, a nice man arrives on your doorstep with your week’s shopping, and all you have to do is flash him a smile and then put your groceries away. What’s not to love?

You generally get a bit of a laugh and banter with the friendly delivery drivers too, so that adds to the enjoyment of the experience. One time, two delivery guys arrived, one was in training I learned, and when I answered the door, the other one pointed at him and said “He’s the one who sounds like your Kevin!” and they both laughed raucously, so I laughed raucously too even though I didn’t have the slightest idea what they were talking about. I don’t have a Kevin. Most of the time though I do understand what it is that we’re all laughing about so that’s good.

Of course it’s not all plain sailing. Sometimes you can spend as long doing your online order as you would physically going to the supermarket, especially the first few times you do it. But navigating the website isn’t the biggest issue.

One of the issues is substitutions. Just because a product is in stock at the time you place the order doesn’t mean it will still be in stock at the time they pack your order, so in most deliveries you get at least one substitution. Usually their substitutions make sense – a different brand of the same product, or a different variety, or a different pack size. Sometimes they’re a bit strange though, once when the toothpaste I had ordered was out of stock they substituted a toothbrush instead, and another time I ordered hamster food and they substituted rabbit food. It’s ok though, you can refuse the substitutions at the door if they’re not suitable. But substitutions aren’t the biggest issue either.

The biggest issue is pack sizes and weights. It’s not until you start ordering groceries online that you realise how much you shop for food by assessing quantities visually. Suddenly you’re being called upon to say how much broccoli you want by weight – I don’t know, I just want one head of broccoli. What does that weigh? Does anyone know? Everyone who regularly orders groceries online will have funny stories of quantities being much more or much less than they had expected when they ordered. The photo of the mushroom at the top of this page was from one of my recent orders, I thought I was selecting one pack of mushrooms, but when it arrived it was just the one mushroom. I always think the packers must derive great amusement when they’re putting the orders together, knowing perfectly well that you probably didn’t want enough bacon to feed a small nation for a month, or a block of cheese the size of a dice.

For me though, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, I still pop into supermarkets in person for bits and top ups, but my big shops are mainly online now.

Do you do any supermarket shopping online? If so, please do share your funny weight/pack size stories, I know you’ll have some!

I would have way more time to do cool stuff if I didn’t spend so long…

Gogglebox Steph and Dom

I would have more time to receive baking certificates from Gogglebox’s Steph and Dom (This won’t be impressive to those of you outside of the UK I know, but trust me, Steph and Dom are cool!)

Ever wonder why you don’t have more time to do all the really cool stuff you want to do? These are some of the time-wasting things that stop me doing more of the cool stuff I’m doing in the photos…

– Looking for my keys.
– Looking for a pen.
– Looking for my phone.
– Untangling wires and wondering why the world isn’t more wireless by now.
– Trying to decide what to wear.
– Lamenting over having nothing to wear.
– Trying to decide what to eat.
– Trying to decide what to watch on Netflix.

Still from a film

I would have more time to be in films like this one (yes that’s me in the dark glasses). It’s uncanny how we look EXACTLY like the girls from Sex and the City right?

– Pairing socks (and wondering why socks from the same pairing age at different rates).
– Sitting in traffic (in the car you understand).
– Trying to entice my cats to come indoors (and believing that reasoning with them will help).
– Waiting for things to stop buffering.
– Waiting on hold on the phone (and making increasingly loud scoffing noises each time the recording tells me how important my call is to them).
– Answering unwanted marketing calls (and wishing I was brave enough to do some of those joke things people do to those callers).
– Trying to decide what to read and changing my mind too many times, thus cutting into my actual reading time.

Dog selfie

I would have more time to take selfies with dogs. I don’t have a dog, but taking selfies with other people’s dogs is cool.

– Playing with the settings on my phone, and then changing them back to the settings I had in the first place.
– Staring at envelopes that come in the mail for me for far too long trying to work out who they might be from before actually opening them.
– Rummaging through the freezer hoping there might be a tub of Ben & Jerry’s I’d forgotten about in there.
– Rummaging through the kitchen cupboards hoping there might be some chocolate I’d forgotten about in there.
– Rummaging through various jacket pockets and bags hoping there might be some cash I’d forgotten about so that I can go and buy ice-cream and chocolate…unless…let me just go check the freezer again, I didn’t actually pull the drawers right out and look behind them…

Vanessa and Neil in front of tractor

I would have more time to sit in front of tractors (yes, sitting in front of tractors IS cool. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!)

– Looking at YouTube videos of cats and dogs doing cute and hilarious things…oh no wait, that IS one of the cool things I wish I had more time to do.
– Examining clothes scattered on my kids’ bedroom floors, trying to figure out if they are for the laundry or the wardrobe.
– Looking at stationery, imagining what I could write in those gorgeous hardback notebooks, or store in those beautiful files, oh and look at that textured paper, and that cute little set of art deco patterned paper clips! (come on, who doesn’t love stationery?).
– Planning little projects at home that I know I will never get around to.
– Googling trivia that neither matters, nor will be retained by me.
– Writing grocery shopping lists that will have completely disappeared by the time I actually need them, only to resurface after the shopping is done.

Camel balls

I would have more time to scour the shops for hilarious candy like this.

What time-wasting things stop you from spending more time doing really cool stuff?

“Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” — Tom, age 5

Kids kiss on nose

This is another of those sharing-something-funny-I-found-on-the-internet-rather-than-writing-my-own-stuff posts, and also, stringing-the-words-of-a-sentence-together-with-hyphens-to-make-it-seem-like-a-thing. Sourced from here, we have thoughts on love from kids. Take note, we could learn a lot from these kids…

  • “Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work.” — Dick, age 7
  • “Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.” — Lynnette, age 8
  • “Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck!” — Ricky, age 7
  • “Don’t forget your wife’s name. That will mess up the love.” — Erin, age 8
  • “Sensitivity don’t hurt.” — Robbie, age 8
  • “Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the trash.” — Erin, age 8
  • “Don’t say you love somebody and then change your mind. Love isn’t like picking what movie you want to watch.” — Natalie, age 9
  • “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” — Glenn, age 7
  • “Love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” — John, age 9
  • “I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” — Manuel, age 8
  • “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” — Mae, age 9
  • “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.” — Greg, age 8

Kitten hugging dog

  • “Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” — Tom, age 5
  • “On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” — Mike, 10
  • “I’m in favor of love as long as it doesn’t happen when Dinosaurs is on television.” — Jill, age 6
  • “One of the people has freckles, and so he finds somebody else who has freckles too.” — Andrew, age 6
  • “My mother says to look for a man who is kind. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll find somebody who’s kinda tall and handsome.” — Carolyn, age 8
  • “It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.” — Kenny, age 7
  • “One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.” — Ava, age 8
  • “When somebody’s been dating for a while, the boy might propose to the girl. He says to her, ‘I’ll take you for a whole life, or at least until we have kids and get divorced.’” — Anita, 9
  • “I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” — Regina, age 10
  • “Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.” — Angie, age 10
  • “A man and a woman promise to go through sickness and illness and diseases together.” — Marlon, age 10
  • “[Being] single is better . . . for the simple reason that I wouldn’t want to change no diapers. Of course, if I did get married, I’d figure something out. I’d just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing.” — Kirsten, age 10
  • “Love is foolish…but I still might try it sometime.” — Floyd, age 9
  • “Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” — Dave, age 8

Can you remember what you thought about love when you were a kid?

Mike, I’ve Done That Doodle I Promised!

Doodle by Vanessa

Last week when I was lamenting over losing my blogging mojo, Mike Allegra, aka heylookawriterfellow commented that sometimes when he loses his blogging mojo, doing a doodle-centric post can help, he suggested I might try that, his words were:

“Maybe you should doodle? C’mon. Let’s see a doodle.”

So I doodled. Clearly I don’t have Mike’s artistic abilities. What he describes as doodles with his own work are so much more than what I would call a doodle. If you haven’t seen his doodles, there is a little selection of them on this recent post of his, including one he did for me a while back. Mine is what I call a doodle – random squiggles and lines.

I occasionally do a doodle like this one I’ve done here. I tend to avoid tasks that require a lot of time and patience, but doing one of these requires both of those, so it’s a good exercise in discipline for me, and it’s quite relaxing and therapeutic too. I often give them a theme, this one’s theme if you haven’t figured it out already is – hello in different languages. Apologies to the languages I didn’t include. I even included a “Hi Mike” in this one – can you find it? What else can you find in there? Why am I sounding like a kids’ TV presenter?

What I lack in artistic ability, I perhaps make up for in effort – you can at least appreciate the effort that’s gone into this right?!

Do you doodle? If you do doodle, what type of doodle do you doodle do? 

Losing Your Blogging Mojo

Vanessa looking in trees

Me looking for my blogging mojo. Yes, that’s right, it’s a recycled pic from when I was looking for other people’s mojos. See, I don’t even have the mojo to get a new pic!

Some time back I wrote a post about people losing their blogging mojo. At the time I hadn’t lost mine, I was just observing that others had. Now I kind of have lost mine, and I don’t like it! Most people who have been blogging for a while will have gone through this at some point – the ideas for posts aren’t as forthcoming, the thought of going to read and comment on lots of other blogs can feel like a chore, there are unanswered comments on previous posts you’ve written that you keep putting off answering. You suddenly have lots of excuses for why you’re simply too busy to engage with blogging, even though you know perfectly well that you were just as busy before, but still made time for it. Some disappear completely from blogging, others find their mojo again; I really hope I’m in the latter group.

The reason it matters to me is that I love the blogging community, we strike up these online friendships by reading each other’s posts and interacting in the comments, and sometimes we take it off-board too. And aside from that I always feel a little excited with anticipation when I hit “publish” on a post to see what people will say in response. And I care about my blogging friends. I’ve still been doing some light touch reading of many of your posts, so I know some of you are going through some hard times, and some of you are doing some exciting new things, and I want to make time to come by and comment, and yet I haven’t.

I don’t think I’ve ever properly got back into the swing of it since I took a half-break finishing my studies last year. Being fully engaged with blogging is full-on, you have to post regularly, and when I say regularly, I’ve only ever tended towards one post a week, there are many others who blog several times a week. You also have to visit and comment on other blogs very regularly, or you do if you want those reciprocal visits and comments. When you step back from it a little, even for just a few weeks, it can be tricky to immerse back into it fully, you suddenly feel like an outsider with your nose pressed against the window looking in. The longer you leave it, the more it feels like a big mountain to climb, as if you somehow have to catch up with everything rather than just start swimming again from where you are (no, I’m not sure what windows, mountains and swimming have to do with each other either). I’ve also got a few different things going on in my life at the moment, nothing bad or major, good things, but they’re taking my focus, or maybe again that’s just an excuse.

Anyway, I’m not the first blogger to write a lamenting post of this type, and I’m sure I won’t be the last, but just to say – I’m still here, I’m fine, I apologise for not commenting on your blogs lately, and I really hope to start “feeling it” again soon. If there’s a particular post you’ve done lately that you’d like me to see, please do leave a link to it in the comments – don’t be shy, you’ll be helping to ease me back in.