Posted by: Nici | 5 June, 2010

Vampires Diaries

So, not content with being obsessed with all things Twilight, I now have an additional addiction – Vampire Diaries.

It started when I began to watch the TV series and developed a bit of a crush on Damon Salvatore 😉 . The longer the series has gone on, the more hooked I have become. I am now reading the books, starting with Volume 1 – (Books 1 & 2) The Awakening and The Struggle. I found the first book dragged a bit in the beginning, it was a bit slow to get going and I didn’t like the way the author portrayed Elena compared to the TV series. However, the more I read, the more I started to enjoy it. The second book was far better and by the time I finished it I was eager to start on Volume 2 – (Books 3 & 4) The Fury and The Reunion. The books haven’t disappointed me. I bought Volume 2 on Wednesday and am half way through Book 4 even though I have been very busy since then :).

Even though Elena’s character is totally different to her portrayal in the TV series, Damon and Stefan are pretty spot on. You can imagine their facial expressions and mannerisms and I think the actors to play these characters have been chosen well. The two vampire brothers are total opposites –

Stefan being the kind, animal blood drinking younger brother

with Damon being the sexy, dangerous older brother…

The similarities between Twilight and The Vampire Diaries are many, with the same high school setting and similarities between some of the characters, so if you liked Twilight, you are bound to like The Vampire Diaries.

Posted by: Nici | 18 January, 2010

I’m still here!

Wow it’s been so long since I have been on my blog, I actually missed it.

Firstly a very happy new year to you all! I hope the new year brings you happiness, laughter and love. 🙂

Life has got mega busy with me and big changes have been made…In September I started an Access Course at college which lasts a year which will then give me the qualifications I need to go to University to study the Social Work BA Hons Degree for 3 years so I can become a Social Worker; a job I have always wanted to do. It is a very intense course and so far we have been set 28 assignments, it’s mind boggling just how much we have to do! The subjects are thankfully interesting studying Sociology, Psychology, English Lit and History as well as Maths, IT, Study Skills and Tutorial lessons. I am now anxiously awaiting to hear from the universities that I have applied to, to know if I have been accepted onto the course, every day I am running to the letterbox to check the post and checking the UCAS website!

Family wise, my son is now 14 and turned into a typical teenager overnight. He is a good kid but the house permanently smells of deodorant and aftershave and our conversations seem to revolve around girls! He likes to tut and sigh a lot and it’s very hard not to laugh at him! 😉

Unfortunately I have completely lost my reading mojo, not finishing a book since the Twilight series (which I still love and am hopelessly obsessed with Edward) and only seeming to read text books. I am hoping that when this course finishes at the end of June and I have a couple of months before university starts that I can enjoy the summer, sitting in the garden reading!

Any ho, that’s me and what’s been going on for the last 5 months, I promise not to stay away for so long now..Forgive me?!! I’m still over on Twitter if you feel like following. xx

Posted by: Nici | 7 August, 2009

Twilight

twilight_book_cover

I tried for a very long time to avoid the temptation of reading Twilight and becomming obsessed with Robert Pattinson like every one else seems to have, but I am here to say that I have failed.

As Bella quotes in Twilight:-

About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him — and I didn’t know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 9

This quote pretty much sums up my thoughts on this wonderful story and characters.

I read Twilight in 2 days, New Moon in the following  2 days and Eclipse in the 4 days after that. I could not put these books down.

I love everything about Twilight. The characters, the story, the way it is written. Everything.

I have lost count how many times I have watched the DVD and after reading Midnight Sun on the internet, I have now started re-reading Twilight again to compare them!

I found New Moon dragged a little bit for me in the middle as I am definitely ‘Team Edward’ but the begining (sob) and the end of the book were fab. I loved Eclipse as Edward was back in full force in this book and as soon as Breaking Dawn is released in paperback I will be reading it.

So, is it wrong that a 33 year old mum has a picture of Edward Cullen on her bedroom wall? Maybe, but you know what I don’t care!

Ever since reading these books I feel as if I have joined some secret society where I suddenly have new ‘Twilight friends’. Indeed today my hairdresser was chatting away about Twilight to me today and when I walked into the bakers with my book tucked under my arm, the lady behind the counter gave me a knowing smile.

And on that note, I will leave you with a lovely picture of the man himself!

robert-vman

Just a small note.

I know everyone is entitled to their opinion on Twilight, but I would really appreciate it that if you haven’t read Twilight and hate it because of it’s popularity and you haven’t got anything nice to say, please do not voice your opinions on my blog. I love this book and do not want any bad feelings on here. Thanks in advance. 🙂

Posted by: Nici | 14 July, 2009

Mum

2007-12-25-5

Well, unbelievably the time has come.

This time last year in a few hours I said goodbye to mum for the last time. After 3 days of being by her hospital bedside, I went home to get some sleep and see my son. Two hours later at 1.30am on the 15th July 2008 she took her last breath like a feather floating to the ground.

RIP Mum, miss you, love you, so want to give you a cuddle.

2008-03-24-3

Posted by: Nici | 5 July, 2009

Daring mouse!

Daring rodent shows puzzled leopard exactly who’s boss by stealing its lunch.

This mouse diced with death when it tucked into the lunch of a hungry leopard.

Seemingly unaware of the beast towering over it, the mischievous rodent grabbed at scraps of meat thrown into the African Leopard’s enclosure.

But instead of pouncing on the the tiny intruder the 12-year-old leopard, called Sheena, appeared to be afraid of the daring mouse and kept her distance.

At one stage she tried to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the determined little chap carried on chewing away until he was full.

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Excuse me? A perturbed Sheena the leopard looks on as a cheeky mouse nibbles her food at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire…

The extraordinary scene was captured by photography student Casey Gutteridge at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire.

The 19-year-old, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, who was photographing the leopard for a course project, was astounded by the mouse’s Behaviour.

He said: ‘I have no idea where the mouse came from – he just appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the meat for the leopard.

‘He didn’t take any notice of the leopard, just went straight over to the meat and started feeding himself.

‘But the leopard was pretty surprised – she bent down and sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared.

‘In the meantime the mouse just carried on eating like nothing had happened.

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…but even a gentle shove does not deter the little creature from getting his fill…

‘It was amazing, even the keeper who had thrown the meat into the enclosure was shocked – he said he’d never seen anything like it before.’

Project owner Jackie James added: ‘It was so funny to see – Sheena batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away from her food.

‘But the determined little thing took no notice and just carried on.’

Sheena was brought in to the Santago Rare Leopard Project from a UK zoo when she was just four months old.

She is one of 14 big cats in the private collection started by Jackie’s late husband Peter in 1989.

The African Leopard can be found in the continent’s forests, grasslands, savannas, and rainforests.

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…so the mouse continued to eat the leopard’s lunch and show the leopard who was boss

The leopard is the most elusive of all the big cats. They are solitary animals and are primarily nocturnal – preferring to hunt at night.

The species is also a strong climber and is capable of killing prey larger than itself.

The leopard’s prey ranges from fish, reptiles and birds to smaller mammals such as hares and monkeys.

A stealthy hunter, leopard’s are known to to stalk close to their prey and run a relatively short distance on the hunt.

They kill by grabbing their prey by the throat and biting down with their jaws and store their larger kills in trees – out of the reach of prowling lions and hyenas.

Posted by: Nici | 2 July, 2009

Kicked Out ~ Richard W Hardwick

Kicked Out ~ Richard W Hardwick

Sixteen-year-old Danny is kicked out by his parents and has nowhere to go but a shelter for homeless teenagers. There he finds a friend in the more experienced Goochy, who helps him find his feet. But the other residents are every bit as troubled and complex as Danny, and with drugs, alcohol, crime, sex and violence always on the cards, the house is soon simmering like a pressure cooker about to blow. In this turbulent environment, between binges and wild escapades, Danny begins to reflect and grow. But a discovery about his family places him under a pressure he cannot contain…

Kicked Out draws on the author’s experiences of working with young homeless and young offenders and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand today’s unwanted youth. Hard-hitting and unsentimental without being bleak, gripping, at times hilarious – you will never look at kids on the street in the same way again.

My thoughts:

I knew from the very first page that this book was going to be great and I was right; I finished it in four days which for me, is very quick!

The book follows the life of Danny, a 16 year old who finds himself in a Children’s Home. He quickly makes friends, and enemies. Bearing in mind that the author is writing from his own experiences of working in such an environment I found this book really rather sad that these forgotten children could end up living such a life.

The characters were all so different and each had their own individual traits. Some I found really rather amusing and I laughed at their antics. The children had all been abused in one way or another and its not surprising that they were mostly very angry and turned to drink and drugs for a release.

Apart from Danny ‘the angry new one’, my favourite characters were Goochy ‘the experienced one’, Paul ‘the smackhead’ and Lucy ‘the I’m too good to be here one’.

The storyline was brilliant and I haven’t stopped raving about this book to all those that would listen. It has given me some real insight into how homeless children are cared for and the reputation that they are often given when all they really wanted was to be loved. They are the way they are because of other people mistreating them.

I feel that I could write and write about this book but I wouldn’t want to give anything away.

A gripping book which I couldn’t put down and when I finished it, I hugged my 13 year old son a little tighter.

I really hope the author writes some more books about his experiences.

Posted by: Nici | 28 June, 2009

Beautiful Books

The lovely people over at Beautful Books have given me the opportunity to review their books.

I picked three which are as follows:

Kicked Out ~ Richard W Hardwick

Sixteen-year-old Danny is kicked out by his parents and has nowhere to go but a shelter for homeless teenagers. There he finds a friend in the more experienced Goochy, who helps him find his feet. But the other residents are every bit as troubled and complex as Danny, and with drugs, alcohol, crime, sex and violence always on the cards, the house is soon simmering like a pressure cooker about to blow. In this turbulent environment, between binges and wild escapades, Danny begins to reflect and grow. But a discovery about his family places him under a pressure he cannot contain…

Kicked Out draws on the author’s experiences of working with young homeless and young offenders and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand today’s unwanted youth. Hard-hitting and unsentimental without being bleak, gripping, at times hilarious – you will never look at kids on the street in the same way again.

Looking for Leticia ~ Alan Johns

The fiction debut from Soho Theatre-schooled writer Alan Johns. A wonderful rite of passage for protagonist Sam, from a dull English office to the dangerous sex trafficking gangs of South America. Full of shocking, hilarious sexual and criminal encounters on the way, the dialogue crackles with life. Haruki Murakami meets Patricia Highsmith in this cool and elegant work.

The Wrecking Ball ~ Christiana Spens

With echoes of F Scott Fitzgerald, The Wrecking Ball defines the culture right now: Generation Z. Can there possibly be more to life than opulence and size zero?

The Wrecking Ball intimately follows four friends as their summer reaches a crescendo of music, heat and hedonism. Rich and degenerate, Alice, Harry, Rose and Hugo traverse the clubs and crevices of London, music festivals disturbing the English countryside, parties in Manhattan and break-downs in hotel rooms.

…A dazzling world of music, models and Moët; enough to attract and entrance the newest, freshest London beauties for a while. They are in pursuit of meaning but achieve no more than momentary vengeance on a dissipated reality overflowing with Wonderland-like dreamy cocktails. These delicate socialites and libertines float to the edge of their gilded youth and wonder whether they can stop in time.

A satirical glimpse into a world of excess and distress, The Wrecking Ball is an invitation into an intoxicating swirl of parties, trips and debauchery. As the jet-set crash and madness dominates the glaring summer, the dream of decadence becomes a nightmare of consequential decay. The Wrecking Ball is the low-down on the comedown of a generation: what happens when the party ends?

I have started Kicked Out today and think that it is going to be great!

Thank you Beautiful Books! 🙂

things i want my daughters to know

Synopsis from Waterstones

‘My beautiful girls. If you’ve read this, you’ll know it contains some – not all, but some – of the things I want my daughters to know. And the greatest of these is love …’ How would you say goodbye to those you love most in the world? Barbara must say a final farewell to her four daughters. But how can she find the words? And how can she leave them when they each have so much growing up to do? There’s commitment-phobic Lisa. Brittle, unhappily married Jennifer. Free-spirited traveller Amanda. And teenage Hannah, stumbling her way towards adulthood. Barbara’s answer is to write each daughter a letter, finally expressing the hopes, fears, dreams and secrets she couldn’t always voice. These words will touch the girls in different – sometimes shocking – ways, unlocking emotions and passions to set them on their own journey of discovery through life.

My thoughts

What a lovely book. I don’t normally read much ‘chick lit’ but this book was recommended to me by the BCF and has really reflected what I have recently gone through with my mum.

Barbara, the girls mum is dying of cancer and has written each of them a letter to read when she is gone and also had kept a Journal of her fight with cancer.

The book follows the four daughters and their lives and how they deal with their mums death. At times funny, at times sad but nevertheless a lovely lovely book. I could relate to so much of this book and found myself recognising myself in many of the experiences.

There were so many similarities to my mums own way of dealing with cancer; arranging her funeral with everyone wearing bright colours, being buried at an humanist site in a biodegradable coffin and the wake being held outside on a bright summers day.

I would like to quote the following from the book about her funeral:

It was exactly how she would have wanted it to be – good friends, good food, good weather.

Even if you haven’t (thankfully) lost your mum it is still a good read and certainly I will look out for more of the authors work.  If you have sadly lost your mum,  I think this book would offer you comfort and understanding.

Posted by: Nici | 25 June, 2009

Beautiful Fairy

Anyone who knows me, knows love that I love fairies.

I came across this picture earlier on PhotoBucket and thought it was lovely.

FlowerFairy

Posted by: Nici | 25 June, 2009

Addicted to your computer?

If you are anything like me, the following article will make total sense.

*My name is Nici and I am addicted to my computer*

The personal computer can be an incredible time saving device. You can use it to bank online, order refills for your prescriptions, shop for clothes, gifts or food. You can send an e-card, email or read a newspaper. The downside to this incredibly helpful technology is that it is so easy to get swept up into the cyber world and lose track of the real world that is right in front of you.

1) The first thing you should do is sit down and give some serious thought to exactly what your computer means to you and how it functions in your life. Is it just an entertainment tool or are you using it for business?

2) You want your computer to benefit your life which will mean setting some ground rules. These will vary widely per your individual circumstances. Give yourself an appropriate time limit when online. If you have a family at home, don’t allow your computer time to take away from real face-to-face quality time with them. Nothing online is as important as being with your loved ones. If you use your computer as a social tool, as most people do in this day and age, be sure that you also get out in the real world and interact with other live, breathing humans.

3) Take a good hard, long look at email you receive. You can and should control what you allow to enter your email box. If you have friends or family members who forward you every joke or virus warning to make its way around the Internet, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them politely to stop. Remove your email address from all but the very most important newsletters.

4) If you enjoy reading online news articles but can’t seem to break yourself of the habit of following every link imbedded in the stories, you can always print out the article and read the hard copy–be discerning, please, so as not to generate tons of paper clutter). You can also carry these printed stories with you in your purse for time when you might be waiting with time to kill.

5) Just like you don’t have to read every email you receive, there’s also no rule out there that says you have to download and view every (or any for that matter) of the plethora of video clips or Powerpoint shows that people love to send to everyone that they’ve ever met. It’s okay to simply delete the email.

6) Make a plan before you get on the computer. Say for example that you have one hour to spend. Jot down a list of the things you know you need to accomplish in that time frame. If you spend 10 minutes doing online banking, 15 minutes to read and reply to email, 15 minutes to place an online order or two then that will leave you 20 minutes left to spend on an online forum or social networking site.

7) If you find yourself frequently losing track of time and spending more time than you planned, start setting a timer. Once the timer goes off, be true to your decision and put down the mouse. Avoid the trap of saying just 10 more minutes. In that 10 minutes, you could have thrown in a load of laundry or filled and started the dishwasher–or better yet, have snuggled with a child or a pet.

8) In order to avoid feeling guilty while you’re online, use your computer time as a reward for time spent on less pleasant tasks. For instance, you can promise yourself that if you spend 45 minutes and vacuum the house, then you get to spend 15 minutes online doing whatever you please. If you prefer to work in baby steps or in 15 minute blocks, than give yourself baby steps on the computer, say 5 minutes to check the latest headlines.

9) Even if you use your computer primarily for business, it’s still easy to get sucked into the black hole of time. Avoid checking your email every 10 minutes. Work email is a convenience, but it can quickly become very inefficient if overused.

10) Be sure to get up from your computer frequently, walk around a bit, stretch your legs, shake out your arms, wrists and fingers. Have a drink of water and rest your eyes.

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