24 hour gaming session

So my darling hubby has decided to take one of his passions to the extreme, and in doing so, he’s helping a fantastic charity.

Macmillan know how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything. So they’re there to support you and help you take back some control in your life. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, they’re there.

No one should face cancer alone. So when you need someone to turn to, Macmillan are there. Right from the moment you’re diagnosed, through your treatment and beyond, we’re a constant source of support, giving you the energy and inspiration to help you take back control of your life, and feel more like yourself again.

My hubby has decided to take part in a 24 hour online gaming marathon, and will be “live streaming” the session via the xbox one app, “Beam”.  The session will start at midnight on 2nd going in to the 3rd of June, and will end at 23:59 on 3rd June.

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Snipped taken from the donation page – Just Giving

So this is a post asking for donations.  Not for me – not for my hubby – but straight to this wonderful charity, so they can continue with their excellent work.

Even if you can only donate a pound, as the saying goes – “every penny helps”.

Please click here to make a donation.

Thank you.

20 Satisfying Pictures

The work day can be pretty monotonous and deflate your spirits at times. Just when your day gets super boring, the internet, particularly Reddit, has a way of snapping you back to reality and giving you exactly what you need. I dug through the catacombs of Reddit to find you the most satisfying/pleasing/inspiring pictures, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Here are 20 pictures to lift your spirits today.

1. The way this peak comes through the clouds.

2. This man posted a before and after shot of his physical progress after ditching alcohol.

“One year of no alcohol has changed my life. I lost 53 pounds and I’m 1000 times happier. I tried to recreate my bloated pic,” said Klamsykrawl.

3. This kitty coming up for a quick boop.

4. The lengths these two brothers went to recreate this old photo from their childhood.

5. These beautiful cherry blossoms over the Meguro River in Tokyo.

6. “Every time I mow the lawn….” wrote joey_r00 on Reddit. 

7. This one-day-old kitten.

8. This wood has been dyed and totally looks like a brick of lava.

9. Are you as happy as this pug running through a garden of tulips?

10. This sandcastle that is so perfect it needs to be preserved forever.

11. This cute leaf that looks exactly like a dolphin.

12. This amazing shot.

13. How could this not lift your spirits?

“My son’s knee looks like a worried teenage mutant ninja turtle,” wrote danowar5000.

14. This amazing shot using some trickery.

15. “Home Depot’s cutest employee,” wrote pregglt on this adorable picture. 

16. This water is so clear in Sweden that Reddit user Suborb had to check for evidence that there was even water.   If you look closely, you can see the water around his wrist…

17. This awesome Easter photo from Jim Carrey.

18. This incredible piece of art found under a Denver overpass.

19. This person finally figured out what this compartment in his car is used for.

Wish I had one of those compartments…

20. This shot from a drone capturing a calf and mother humpback whale.

A Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins

Phil Collins, born 31 January, 1951 in London, England.  He started as a drummer for Genesis, and when Peter Gabriel left the band, he took lead vocals.

Let’s face it.  He can’t sing.  Well, he can, but he’s certainly not got the best voice.  However, ever since before I came in to this world, I was addicted to the sounds and voice of Genesis, and later, Phil Collins.

Their music was constantly playing whilst I was in my mothers’ womb, and right up until now, my dad still plays their music loudly.

If I had to pick just one song, that ever has existed, to be my favourite, it would have to be Phil Collins’ version of “Groovy Kind of Love”.  It literally gives me goosebumps, and more often than not, a tear to my eye, and I don’t even know why.

Here’s the lyrics – the video is below.

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When you’re close to me, I can feel your heart beat
I can hear you breathing near my ear
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love

Anytime you want to you can turn me onto
Anything you want to, anytime at all
When I kiss your lips, ooh I start to shiver
Can’t control the quivering inside
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love, oh

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When I’m in your arms, nothing seems to matter
My whole world could shatter, I don’t care
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love, oh
We got a groovy kind of love

The Tale of Arachne

Many, many years ago, just outside the ancient city of Athens, there lived a young girl named Arachne.

Arachne was born to a poor family.  Her father was a shepherd, and her mother stayed at home to care for Arachne’s younger brothers and sisters.

Even with their misfortunes, the family was well known throughout the lands, as rumours of the eldest daughters’ beauty had spread.  From the poorest to the richest, even the great Gods on Mount Olympus admired the unusual golden haired Arachne.

One day, the King had called for all maidens of the land to attend the palace.  His Queen was expecting their first child, and they were searching for someone who was able to stitch a fine lace sheet for the upcoming royal.

The maidens in and out of the palace over the coming weeks seemed to be endless.  Young girls, from all walks of life, lined the dusty roads surrounding the city.  There were ladies born in to riches, adorned with gold and jewel-encrusted dresses, and there were ladies who were not so lucky, wearing nothing but a grey sheeting to cover their modesty.  All ladies were turned away from the palace, only given moments to try their utmost to stitch the most beautiful lace sheet for the unborn child.

When Arachne was called to the palace, her mother pulled out a carefully wrapped parcel from under her bed.  The paper had browned, and fell apart in her gentle hands.  She handed the package to Arachne, and exclaimed that the dress within the paper was given to her by her mother.  She had saved and salvaged as much material as she could, and had created this as a wedding gift to Arachne’s mother.

It wasn’t much to look at.  Pale blue, laced with silver thread.  But her mother thought that this dress would bring out the sparkle in her eyes.

The following morning, Arachne was up before the sheep as she headed down to the river to bathe.  It was moments after she had completed dressing, that the sun displayed its’ full face.  She fastened her sandals, and made her way by foot to the palace gates.

Already ahead of her, streams  of maidens were being escorted from the palace.  She thought, “these ladies look to have skills that I can only dream of.  How would I succeed, if those cannot?”

It was just before lunch, and the King and Queen were ready to see the final few before they dined.  Arachne was among this crowd.

Arachne was called in to the throne room.  She was instructed to keep her head down, and to bow when she reached the stool.  Only when the King invited her, would she sit on the stool and demonstrate her sewing.

She obeyed the instruction, and the King asked her to sit.  She reached for the plain, cotton sheet, and began to stitch with the needle and thread that had been provided.  She hadn’t been sewing for more than a few minutes, when she realised that both the King and Queen, and a third person were standing beside her in astonishment.  The piece Arachne had created, in such a short amount of time, had already exceeded the samples that all the other maidens had sewn – both in size, and in delicacy.

“This,” the King said, “is exactly what we want for the future Prince or Princess.  This sheet is sure to make the Gods envious…”

Arachne looked up slowly.  The person who was standing beside the King and Queen was the younger brother of the Queen.  He smiled at Arachne, and feeling her cheeks blush, she quickly looked away.

“You, girl.  What is your name?” the Queen asked.

“Arachne.” she answered shyly.

“Arachne, you shall do the lacing for my child.  I bid that you should return to your homestead to gift your family with the payment that you shall be given – with an escort, of course, and then you shall return to us on the morrow, to begin.”  The Queen nodded at her younger brother, then quickly walked away.

Arachne stood, and bowed on the King and Queens’ retreat to dine, and she looked to the brother to guide her.  “Make haste.  We have a lot of travelling to do”, he said with a smile.

The journey home seemed to disappear before her eyes.  She was seated in a carriage, pulled by two black horses, with an escort of the young Prince and eight soldiers.  It was barely evening when they arrived at the wooden house.

Meanwhile, word had spread of Arachne’s achievement, and Mount Olympus seemed a little quieter than normal.  Most of the Gods were in their temples, being worshipped by their followers, but one was not herself.

Known for her beauty, love and jealousy, Aphrodite could not settle.  Her temple lay bare as she paced the marbled floor of the Acropolis, waiting for Zeus to return.

The young Prince was a rose among the thorns of men.  From his muscular frame, to his chiselled jaw, Aphrodite wanted this man for himself, but she saw the gleam in his eye when he looked at Arachne, and this, she would not allow.  But what is a Goddess to do when the other Gods admire a mortal?  She paced faster and faster, conjuring a plan.

It was dark, and all at Arachne’s house, including the guests, were heading to bed.  However, Arachne could not sleep.  She worried that she would not be able to accommodate the King and Queens’ wishes by stitching the lace.  She lay awake, and starred out of the window.  It was then that she noticed a glow from outside her door…

Arachne pulled her door ajar, and crept through the sleeping soldiers to where the light was coming from.  The glow was coming from the kitchen…  She looked around, and noticed that the Prince had not gone to bed, and was sitting in a wooden rocking chair, next to the window.

“Your Majesty…”  Arachne began.

“It’s late, Arachne.  Surely you should be trying to sleep..?”, he replied.

“Yes, your Majesty,” she continued.  “I am just getting a glass of water.  Goodnight.”

The Prince acknowledged, and smiled, turning back to the window.

When in the kitchen, the glow that had led her there had gone.  She couldn’t understand it.  She looked around, and then went to the window to glance out.  Nothing.  However, when she turned back around, the light was there – in the room with her.  It seemed to be sitting in a chair, next to the table.

Arachne couldn’t explain it, but the glow seemed to form in to a woman…  Then she realised.  This was no ordinary woman.  This beauty, sitting before her, was none other than the Goddess, Aphrodite.

Arachne dropped to her knees immediately.  She didn’t know what to do…

Aphrodite smiled, “I am glad you know who I am, Arachne.  Now we don’t have to do the formalities”.

She couldn’t understand why she was in a God’s presence.  Surely this was nothing to do with the King insulting the Gods earlier…

Aphrodite smiled again, and stood.  “Listen, Arachne.  We have a problem.  You see, not only does the King think that you can outshine my skills in lacing, but it seems that you have also caught the eye of the Prince.  Now, my dear, neither of these can be, as you are a mere mortal.”

“Your Grace…”  Arachne started, but Aphrodite interrupted.

“Let’s not try to bargain.  I have a proposal to make to you.  A small competition, if you will.  It’s simple, really.  You win, and I will bless the marriage of you and the Prince.  You will both live happily ever after, with all the riches bestowed on you.  You will have several, strong sons, and a daughter to carry your beauty.  You will never want for nothing.  I shall even bless your family with the riches to see them to the end of days.  If I win, well…  Let’s just say that it’s in your best interest to win”.

Arachne tried to renounce the proposal, to say that she wanted nothing.  Aphrodite again replied, “but my sweetest Arachne…  You seem to think that you have a choice…”

Before Arachne’s eyes, two plain cotton sheets, several thread bobbins and needles had appeared.

“We have until the sun comes up to sew the most beautiful sheet that has ever been.  That doesn’t give you very long…  Helios (the sun God) is due to draw his bow within the hour, so I suggest we begin”, Aphrodite smirked.

Within seconds, both God and mortal were sewing.  Snips of thread, and several pricked fingers, and the sun was rising.  Aphrodite smiled once again, and took both stitched sheets and hung them against the window.  “Just one moment…” she said.

A glow appeared again…  This time, the glow faded in to a man.  Arachne dropped to her knees once more.  Eros, the God of love, lust and desire was set before her.

“Eros, by the powers of all beauty, which of these two sheets would you say holds the most beauty?”, Aphrodite asked.

“Now that is simple,” replied the deity, “the one with the beauty is the one that you have created, my dear sister, but the one with the love – and this is the desire, is the sheet to the left, that Arachne has stitched.  I am sorry, sister, but Arachne has won the round.”

As quick as he appeared, Eros had gone.  Arachne sighed with relief, as she had won the competition that was set before her, by a God.  However, it wasn’t that easy.  Aphrodite turned to face the young maiden, and her eyes glowed green…

“You may have won my competition, Arachne, but you will never have the heart and love of the Prince, or the King and Queen.  Good luck in spinning your lacework…”  Smoke appeared around Aphrodite, and in a flash, she had also gone.

For a moment, Arachne thought that it was over.  That she was safe.

The kitchen door swung open, and in walked the Prince, with Arachne’s mother, chatting and laughing.

Arachne reached out for her mother, but then she realised something was wrong.  She heard a whisper, “for lacing so beautiful, there is only one thing I could bless you with; and that is to forever spin your lace.”

Aphrodite had turned Arachne in to a spider, and she would forever spin her lace.

An open letter to the mother who has to go back to work

To the mother that has to go back to work.

You may have been absent from work for a long time, but you’ve certainly had your hands full.

You, yes you, have brought a child in to the world.  Granted, there was someone else to help you at the very beginning, but it was YOU who gave birth – or, if you’re like me, you’ve had your tummy sliced right open.  Just for them.

If you put the child to feed on your breast, you’ve had the cracked and painful nipples.  Sometimes you’ve had the teeth too…

If you fed the child on the bottle, you’ve spent endless hours washing and sterilising those pain in the arse bottles.  Not to mention the scooping of the powder, and the constant temperature checking.  It may be ok for you to drink cold tea, and slurp scalding tomato soup, but the baby’s milk has to be perfect.

You’ve been pee’d on and vomited on – almost daily.

You’ve been elbows deep, sometimes literally, in baby poo.

You’ve found baby poo in your hair…  An hour after you changed the last dirty nappy.  You don’t even know how it got there.

You know exactly when your washing machine will finish the load – because it seems to be on all of the time.

You’ve watched your child grow from a pure and innocent baby, who was so delicate, to a smiling, laughing, possibly crawling, and maybe even standing, ‘not quite a toddler’ child.

But alas, you have reached that time where you can no longer put it off.  You’re venturing in to worlds anew – even if you’ve been there before.

You’ve made the hard decision to leave your child behind and go back to work.  Afterall, you need the money, right?  You need your career, right?

But don’t think of it like that.  Think of it as a new beginning.

You are going to miss your child.  You are going to constantly wonder if you made the right choice to return to work.  You are going to cry every now and again…  Afterall…  You’re leaving behind that pure and innocent baby behind…

But you will be ok.  

It is ok to cry.

It is ok to miss your child.

It is ok to wonder if you made the right decision.

Just remember that at the end of your working day, you have those beautiful smiles to go home to.  Those cuddles, that you now take for granted, are going to be cherished even more.  Bedtimes may still be a struggle – especially if you have one of those children (like mine) who doesn’t like to go to bed – but you will love the effort you have to put in.

Why?

Because that’s your child, and even though you are away from them the whole day, you know they are there, waiting for you when you get home.

From a mother who’s been there before x

Introductions are long overdue

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogging world…  This post is long overdue, so I apologise for the delay, but as I am sure that you will imagine, things have been a little hectic in my house at the moment!

Birth Announcement

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Elijah

Born – 1 June 2015 at 10:23am via elective C-Section (medical reasons)

Weight – 10lb 06oz

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There’s a very proud and loving big brother too…

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I turn away…

I’ve just been ‘stumbling’ through websites, when I came upon a very interesting blog post.

I never really understood the word ‘introvert’ to be something other than shy and quiet, but I’m so glad I found this.  I think I won’t mind so much in the future when someone calls me an introvert…

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.

This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.”

Thanks to Carl Kingdom for the above.