20 Nov 2014

The Letter

She stood at the window of her little ramshackle home, looking out to the grey morning sky laden with the burden of clouds waiting to burst. Her calloused hands clutched at the crumbling wood of the window-sill, more out of habit than a need to feel the rotting timber against her palm. Today would be no different. She would stand there, watching and waiting, perhaps even daring to hope, till the setting sun reminded her of the time.

She could not remember how long ago it was that she had watched him leave. It felt like only yesterday that he last walked out through that door. Her heart had lurched at the site of him fading from her sight. It had been a grey, misty morning, not unlike today. She had wanted to cry, to scream, anything to stop him leaving. All she had managed was a brave smile to hide her misty eyes.

Then the waiting had begun. Every day, for hours, she would stand at that window, waiting for something, anything, a letter perhaps, that would tell her that he was okay. A letter written in his hand to say he was coming back to her. That everything was going to be all right after all.

There was a knock on the door. She had been so lost in the waiting, she had not noticed as the car drew up outside. A man stepped out and walked the few paces to the front door, his heavy step muffled by the mounds of snow that lay undisturbed on the drive. He was waiting as her trembling hands unlocked the door. She was not used to knocks on her door. There had been no knocks on her door. Not since he had left.

"Mrs. Wilson?" There was no mistaking the tremor in his voice. She suddenly felt weary. Tired and very weary. The words were coming now, but the fog that was clouding her thoughts was drowning out the sound. But there was no escaping their harsh reality. "Sorry, Madam...Jimmy...we were in the trenches together..."

She gazed with unseeing eyes as he placed it in her ice-cold hands. It was the letter. Her son's letter, written to her in his own hand. His last letter, telling her he would be coming home soon, coming back to her. And that everything was going to be okay.

She shuddered and clutched the letter close to her heart. She had not cried then, and she would not cry now.

Inspired by and linking to The Prompt hosted by Sara (Mum Turned Mom).

18 Nov 2014

School Run Colours #2

I launched my new linky last week. To be honest, I was not expecting anyone to link up. Not because bloggers don't like linkys, but many, like me, find it difficult to keep track of the many linkys that are out there, running like clockwork, week after week. Plus, we all have our favourites.

So it goes without saying that it takes some hard graft for a new linky to make its mark. Perseverance is key. As is a good concept for a link-up, which I hope this one is.

School Run Colours is about swapping the car for a walk/jog/run/scoot/bicycle/skateboard/bus for the school run or anywhere else you can. And about appreciating colours that surround us when doing so. It is about finding inspiration in those colours.

The lovely Merlinda from Glimmer of Hope did link up last week, and I was delighted to share her stunning School Run Colours.

As for this, my second School Run Colours, I offer you a haiku inspired by the photo I took on the way back home after I had dropped J off at school.


Snaking leaves
Emeralds in green chains adorn
Bejewelled glory

If you are new to the School Run Colours linky, you can read more about it here. And to find out how I ended up being inspired to start this linky, please visit my previous post School Run Colours - My Brand New Linky.

Now the bit about the linky rules:
1) Please link up only one post, new or old, per week. 
2) Please add the School Run Colours badge displayed below to your post. 
3) Follow me, your host, on twitter @vaichin and use the hashtag #SchoolRunColours when sharing your posts on social media. I will retweet your posts if you mention me in your tweets. 
4) I will be pinning all linked up posts to my Pinterest board School Run Colours. It would be great if you could follow the board. 
5) Last, but by no means the least, please visit and comment on your host's post, and at least 2 other posts. We all know that the only way linkys work is when we share the love.
I will be here every Wednesday morning at 7o'clock with new #SchoolRunColours. The linky will stay open till the following Tuesday 6pm. I hope you will join me with your own #SchoolRunColours.

Grab the #SchoolRunColours badge:

School Run Colours

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17 Nov 2014

Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special DVD - Giveaway

The stars of the hit CBeebies animated series Q Pootle 5 will celebrate Christmas with an exclusive, never before seen episode. The 27 minute Christmas Special released on DVD on 17 November 2014, courtesy of Proper Distribution. To celebrate the release I am offering you the chance to win one copy of the brand new DVD Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special: Pootle All The Way.

It’s Christmas time on Okidoki and all is calm as Q Pootle 5 and his friends prepare for the happiest time of the year. All is bright too, with the new festive lights festooned across the shack, ready for Groobie’s pantomime. But, when a mayday call interrupts the rehearsal, the friends suddenly find themselves in an epic adventure in which the very future of Christmas is at stake!

So if you have a little CBeebies and Q Pootle 5 fan in the house, or know one who is, here is a must-have adventure for this season.

For a chance to win a copy of the Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special DVD, just enter my giveaway through the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck! And have a lovely Christmas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I am running this competition on behalf of the Q Pootle 5 Team. I have not received any compensation to do so.

14 Nov 2014

Mid-Life Bliss

The big 4-0 is looming. There are times when I wonder what I have achieved in these years past. If anything at all. Perhaps there is a need for a dramatic overhaul, maybe I need to rethink my strategy and play the game differently. And then I think of the things that have come to pass and realise that that is exactly how most 40 year olds have lived their lives. Bar a couple, maybe.

What about you, my dear reader? Have you reached the dreaded milestone yet? Or are you still languishing in the long forgotten 20s? Or are you the one who has taken it all in their stride and marched along, living by the adage that life indeed does begin at 40?

I have been pondering a lot about this phase in my life, and have come up with a little quiz to shed light on how you tackle 40.

If you answer 'yes' to most of the questions, you, my friend, have circumvented the dreaded mid-life crisis and have achieved middle-age Nirvana instead. If the majority of your answers are 'no', it is time for a serious rethink.

Good luck! See how you get on.
  1. Are you finally at peace with the way you look? This means no more frowning at the wobbly bits every time you stand inspection in front of a full-length mirror. You have never contemplated botox or plastic surgery, and are quite content with your advancing age.
  2. Are you still wearing your hair the same way you did yesterday? Or the year before? So you haven't resorted to any drastic measures to hold on to your fast disappearing youthful appearance. Like shaving off your thinning head of hair in the hope that it will all grow back shinier and fuller and thicker.
  3. Are you still driving the old family car you bought all those years ago? And you do not feel a compelling need to swap it for a swanky new set of wheels that costs more than your home.
  4. Likewise, are you still married, hopefully happily, to the 40+3 something you fell in love with all those years ago? And you do not feel a compelling need to swap it for something more pert.
  5. Have you resisted the impulsive urge for a wardrobe overhaul? Where you spend good money buying knee-high boots and a halter-neck you will never wear. 
  6. Have you finally invested in that all-inclusive gym membership? There is only so far you can go with a middle-age spread and creaking bones. And everyone needs to up their cardio, no matter what their age. So there. Nothing to do with appearances.
  7. Have you bitten the bullet and got your eyes tested? And are now happy to flaunt your presbyopic reading glasses. You can squint at the computer screen only for so long.
  8. Are you still drinking caffeinated drinks? Maybe less than you used to, but not everything can be replaced by decaf and green.
  9. Are you happy to confess to your age? There are few willing to stand up in a room full of people and declare their true age. It takes courage that not many possess.
  10. Do you smile in your selfies? Not a self-conscious pout, I am talking about a nice toothy grin showcasing your not-so-pearly whites.
There you have it. The mantra to beating the mid-life blues. It is all about acceptance. We are not talking frumpy and dowdy. We are doing attitude with grace. So here's to turning 40, graciously.

Linking up with The Prompt 

13 Nov 2014

The Christmas Boutique - A Review

When is it too early to start shopping for Christmas decorations? The answer – never! And certainly not in mid-November, when you are counting down days to the big day.

If you haven’t already heard of them, The Christmas Boutique is a gorgeous on-line shop for all your festive decorative needs. They have a huge collection of beautiful Christmas ornaments from garlands and wreaths to advent calendars to home and tree decorations. I was delighted when they sent me a boxful of some of their pretty items to review.

First up were a set of two natural linen Christmas stockings that retail for £14.99 and a set of natural linen gift bags for £9.99. They are a pleasant break away from the more traditional red that we always associate with Christmas. Made with natural fabric, they have a stag and deer print with black lettering that creates a more subtle and rather rustic Christmas feel. If you are looking for something a bit more grown-up, these are definitely worth a look.

The Christmas Boutique 

The linen pocket washing line Advent calendar is along similar lines. It is made of natural linen on a jute string and has bold black felt numbers and Christmas themed pictures sewn on for added effect. It is quite a long calendar, stretching over 8 feet, but if space is not an issue, it will certainly add an earthly charm to your Christmas. The pockets are spacious enough to house any amount of chocolate you care to put in. Always a bonus in my opinion.

The Christmas Boutique 

I was also sent a set of three aluminium hanging hearts. They came nicely packed, but I was a bit concerned to find a few scratches and scuff marks on the surface. When I contacted The Christmas Boutique about this, they were very prompt and helpful with their reply. I was informed that due to the way they are manufactured and the material used they would have some slight blemishes and marks on them. A totally perfect finish was not possible. Fair enough.

The Christmas Boutique 

The set of twelve silver finish glass baubles and the pair of frosty pine cone bundles were the daintiest of the lot. And extremely delicate too, as I realised after smashing one of the little bell-shaped baubles. They are made of glass, so I should have known better and been more careful when handling them. Nevertheless, they are beautifully finished with good attention to detail.

The Christmas Boutique 

My favourite of all the items was a set of three silver metal hanging star decorations. They are three dimensional intertwining stars that rotate on a pivot and catch the light as they do. The effect is spectacular.

The Christmas Boutique 

Overall, I am very pleased with the range of items I was sent to review by The Christmas Boutique. Everything was delivered on time, the packaging was secure and the quality of products was good.

The Christmas Boutique stock a wide range of items to suit all tastes and all pockets, so you are sure to find something to make your Christmas special. I am hoping to pick up a couple of things from them myself.

TheChristmas Boutique has kindly offered to give my readers a 10% discount on their purchases (excluding sale items). Just pop in the code ‘LOVE33’ at checkout. They also offer free standard delivery for the UK. Happy shopping!

Disclaimer: I was sent a selection of Christmas decorations for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

Family Fever

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