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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Decisions, Decisions... Decisions Made!

Dear readers,

In my last post I talked about having a couple of blogs that focussed specifically on different things so that I can focus more on what I want to post as I love to write and want to post so much.  

This blog started as an experiment - could I be a blogger?  

I tried Wordpress and a few other blogging sites before Blogger and as a total beginner, I found Blogger easier and I quit the others and could never get the hang of blogging, but blogger, really helped me get to grips with HTML and codes as it's so easy to use.  I enjoy using it.  

The problem I have is that I eventually want to self-host and a lot of social media ask for you to have knowledge and skills using Wordpress and you can self-host relatively cheap from this as well as sign up for courses with Wordpress.  

All of this helped me make the decision that my new blogging sites would be with Wordpress.  

I am not usually a one to self-promote, however, as I do have some regular avid readers I thought it only fair to direct you to my other sites as I won't just be posting to one blog regularly, I will be sharing my time.  

My blogger website is quite a personal one, and I like it because you get to know me, and I talk about everything.  My other blogs are more focussed.

First of all, as I run my own tutoring and assessing business, I want to expand, so I have started my own business site/blog.  I offer a range of services but I also have a blog here to post about anything that relates to my business categories: English, Creative Writing, Business and Teaching.  

If you are interested in this, you can find this by clicking J Cooper Tuition & Training Services

Secondly, you know that my husband has been ill and that I care for him, and that my kids help too.  Family is everything to me so I decided to start a Family Lifestyle and Health blog as the bulk of my posts relate to either our family lifestyle as a family or carers, or health.  

You can review this blog by clicking Because We Care Too

Finally, you all know that I love English (Linguistics, Language, and Creative Writing), and in particular the Gothic and Fantasy genres.  You also know that I am passionate about my studies and how I would one day love to complete a PhD and become a Doctor of Philosophy.  With this in mind, I decided to start a creative and academic blog for all the gothic and fantastic things in my life.  I am extremely excited about this blog, and you should certainly watch this space!  

You can review this blog by clicking The Faerie and The Fantastic

I was new to blogging this year and it was my New Year's resolution of 2015 to begin.  I knew nothing, and I felt confused.  It took me a while to get going but this site is inevitively my baby.  I got the hang of the linky, the RSS feeds, as well as many other things and I have learned so much. 

It certainly isn't the end for Rambles, Rants, and Writings (well at least not yet).  I will still be posting here, just not everyday like I used to.

For now, I am taking each day as it comes and experimenting - exactly how I did for this blog.

In theory I already managed a business site (without a blog), a website, and then this blog.  I have dropped the old business site and my website now, so I only have one extra site to maintain.  

My business blog won't take much upkeep as the bulk of the information is already posted on pages, so I am sure I can manage my family lifestyle and health blog, as well as my creative and academic blog - the only difference is they wont all be in one place - because now everything has it's place. 

I ask you now, my fellow readers and bloggers - what blogging site works best for you?  What is easier to use? Or do you find one has more opportunities to progress your blog?  

Let me know your thoughts! 

Laters, Janet :) 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

November Summary and Future Plans

Dear Readers,

Today I plan on asking your advice, as well as giving a brief summary of what I have been up to.  Apologies in advance for the repitition of the word 'blog' throughout this post - I have this word on my mind a lot at the moment :)

October wasn't the best month for me.  I didn't get to post very much and I have felt a bit out-of-sorts.  I went back to Uni, had to deal with my husband's illness, and I also had a busy period at work with new learners.

I have just had a weekend break away with the family, away from technology, and I have thought a lot about blogging and what's next for me.  A few month's ago I did some soul-searching as I was worried that my blog wasn't very specific and that my niche wasn't specific enough.

I find I want to use my blog for anything and everything - I have so many ideas.  I want a family and lifestyle orientated blog but I also want to post on health and being a carer.  Other than this I would also like a business site as I want to expand my business offering English Tuition, Creative Writing Coaching, and Marketing.  I would also like to post on writing and blogging itself.  As I would like to eventually complete a PhD, I would also like to have an academic gothic literature blog.

Rather than dwelling on all of these factors I think it might be best to have a couple of blogs that focus on specific areas.

This is were I need your help and advice, my readers and fellow bloggers, I wondered if any of you have more than one blog, and for what purpose?  What do you use the different blogs for? Do you think blogs are better if they focus specifically on something rather than being a mish-mash of everything?

I was thinking that I could have a personal blog that incorporated the family lifestyle, and help.  I then thought that I could have a business page which could incorporate the posts on writing and blogging.  Finally, I could then begin a Gothic style blog that incorporates my own creative work, academia and research, and then maybe Gothic style too - fashion, furniture, art, TV and lit reviews, etc...

Do you think three would be too much?  I don't think the business page would be once it was set up as I could just post short posts, maybe once per week.

I would appreciate your advice, guys!

So... What's been going on with me personally? 

I know I also went through a stage when I posted my weight loss too and I started off at 15stone 8lbs, and now I am currently 14stone 12lb, which means I have lost around 10lbs in total.  I am happy with this - I have been losing a 1lb per week but I haven't been giving as much time to exercise as I was initially.  Hopefully I can build my focus as I get my life back in order.

As you know (if you follow my blog), I was also completing some online courses with Futurelearn.  I'm afraid I took on far too much here as I currently have four courses, and I am three weeks behind.

I completed the Introduction to Journalism, and this was a really useful course.

This week I plan to catch up and complete:

  1. Corpus Linguistics 
  2. Digital Marketing
  3. Developing a Research Project
This means I will then only have a few weeks of the Hans Christian Andersen course to complete.  At that point  I think I will give myself a break as I need to commit more time to Uni work and getting my blog in order.  

I have also became an admin and blogger for a Uni student blog, which is taking some getting used to.

What have you been up to for the last week?  Have you completed any courses, or maybe you have guest posted for another blog?  Paste a comment with your link and I will check it out!

Laters, Janet :)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Why do we like to be scared?

Dear readers

Tonight I just have a thoughtful post.  I was considering the other day why we like to be scared.  

I tend to watch a lot of scary things even though I spend most of my time behind a cushion, terrified. 

So why do I like to be scared?

Well, for a start it is a type of escapism, however, it would be really wrong to just say that and not consider anything else.  

For a start, I think the scare factor sometimes makes our adrenaline pump, and maybe it even makes us feel happy about our own lives because that is not happening to us - maybe it makes us feel lucky and thankful.  

Usually, we can describe whatever type of killer we meet as a monster.  As discussed in my list yesterday, Hannibal Lecter is a serial killer and cannibal, yet he is capable of appearing as an upstanding citizen.  This could be an expression of the unknown - do we really know our neighbour or our friend? It's possible to open the newspaper and find that your neighbour or family or friend has committed a crime - maybe an unthinkable crime, and we feel like we don't really know the person because we didn't imagine they are capable of the crime.  There is a lot on the news at the moment about people being caught with indecent images of children - which is despicable in my eyes and I would be distraught to find out I was their friend or neighbour.  Maybe this type of monster shows our social anxieties of the unknown.  

I link to Hannibal Lecter in particular as I have just sat and watched Hannibal Rising on BBC3.  It covers Hannibal's childhood and what had happened to him that made him turn into the person he is during Silence of the Lambs.  The film was terrifying and brutal, yet how his experience during the war must have affected him, and finding out he had been fed his own little sister in a stew was unthinkable - I found myself thinking 'wow, no wonder he was driven mad and wanted revenge.'  Yes, it was only a story, thankfully.  

So, being scared can signify society and what we are afraid of, maybe it's even a way of accepting that sometimes bad things happen in society too! 

Do you like scary films?  Why do you think people like to be scared?  Do you think it represents society?

Let me know what you think!

Laters, Janet 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

My Top Ten All Time Monsters!

Dear Readers  

In a weeks time it will be Halloween, and I don't know about you but my children have been having several discussions around what character they would like to be this year.  As usual I have obscure requests from my daughter, whereas the boys are always happy to be something simple. 

This got me thinking...

Who are my favourite monsters?  

As you all are probably aware (especially if you follow my blog) I love The Gothic - so halloween and monsters in general are on my wavelength.  

I decided to do a list of my top ten monsters and I will briefly explain why.  

  1. Carmilla - a female vampire written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.  She is powerful, and is able to fool families into believing she is helpless when she is in fact, preying on their good nature and usually devouring a neighbour or family member.  
  2. Dracula - Bram Stoker's original first vampire Vlad, that comes over to Britain to be accepted and attempts to corrupt women.  All he wants is to fit into society! 
  3. Whitefell from the Werewolf by Clemence Houseman.  A charismatic and beautiful lady by day and yet a free (and still charismatic and beautiful) wolf by night.  
  4. Dorian Gray's portrait - Oscar Wilde's character who will do anything to ensure self-preservation of youth. 
  5. Hyde - a product of science and a part of his creator, Henry Jekyll. A true representation of Jekyll's repressed side - science pushed too far and gone wrong. 
  6. Frankenstein's Monster - Mary Shelley's abandoned monster is probably the most misunderstood monstre of all time.  If science hadn't been pushed to his limits, if society had not been cruel and judgemental, then things might have been different for this monster.  He craves acceptance but the treatment he is subjected to is what actually turns him into the monster. 
  7. Ayesha - from Ryder Haggard's She (she who must be obeyed).  A powerful leader that the men in the tribe will do actually anything for.  Her control and stature, is captivating and probably makes me a little envious, lol.  
  8. Hannibal Lecter - Thomas Harris's serial killer is intelligent, yet disturbing.  Probably the most dangerous type of man around - accepted by society with a career or high standing.  Yet scary!
  9. Evil Witch Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The loss of a loved one can turn anyone a little crazy, but when little mouse-like Willow turns into a scary, black-haired, black-eyed, floating figure - she goes from one extreme to the other and almost destroys the whole world.  
  10. A Zombie (like in Dawn of the Dead, or World War Z) - these quick, biting, creatures that seem to come in their thousands and never stop or back down unless their head is removed are relentless - and scary.  I certainly wouldn't like a zombie to be knocking on my door on Halloween! 

So here we have vampires, zombies, serial killers, werewolves, demons, witches, supernatural beings, and scientific creation which can all be equally terrifying figures.  Of course there are also ghosts, banshees, spectres and likes of too!  

Who are your favourite all time monsters - TV, Films, or books are fine?  I really wanted to include Voldermort here too but  I did limit myself to ten, lol.   Who frightens you the most? 

Thanks for reading, stop by soon!

Laters, Janet :) 

Friday, 23 October 2015

5 tips on Surviving Football Training by a Newby Football-Mum

I can proclaim that over the last five weeks, I have became a football Mum.  For years I've enjoyed watching my sister freeze her butt off watching her son, and I never once imagined myself stood on the sidelines.  

I'm not a fan of football and neither is my OH.  We've always loved rugby, we don't even mind watching wrestling, or Olympic games, but football is something we just don't watch!  I do know the rules, as I used to go out with a boy who played when I was in my late teens - but I felt it was cool then and enjoyed going to the pub after with his dad who had good banter.  I understood the concepts and rules but I just didn't enjoy it.  

My enjoyment of the sport has now changed... Don't get my wrong I don't suddenly love football, but I love my boys, and I love watching THEM play football.  You see, the enjoyment they get, the way they are growing and developing their skills - if I simply didn't watch them and dropped them off then I would be the one missing out because I wouldn't see this happening.  It's something - that learning, improving, and developing each week is something I could never get back.  

My little one doesn't play in matches as he is only 4, but my 8 year old does, and you know what?  It's exciting!  The team is a new team and has a lot of work to do but the improvement is noticeable every week - and myself, along with a group of other parents support them each week.  My husband and I originally planned to take turns but when he was ill, I found myself at 4 hours worth of training and a match each week.  On Sunday, my hubby was feeling better so we all went to the game and supported the team.  The Sunday before we played an away game, and as we don't have our own car and I couldn't use the one I usually do from my Mum, a kind parent offered us a lift so my son could get there.  This meant we all couldn't go but it still meant I could go with my son.  

Joining a sports club has meant friendship for both of my children and me, because some of the other parents also go and watch each training session and match.  Sure it can be cold, and yes - I now freeze MY but off like my sister, but it's supporting my boys in something they clearly love that keeps them fit and that's enough for me - that is what makes it enjoyable!  

So... here are my five top tips on surviving the training. 
  1. Wear layers so you are warm.
  2. Ensure YOU pack the bag of boots/equipment etc... because your child is likely to forget something and it's embarrassing.
  3. Take drinks!  
  4. It's a good idea to take snacks if you have children at training at different times - for instance my little one does training for an hour, then my eldests training follows that - so I do two hours which means snacks are required!
  5. Make friends with other parents and endeavour to form a caring community - help out other parents were possible and they will help you out when you need it too .
If you have a car then don't feel bad about taking chairs, covers, and flasks of coffee for yourself too!  

Do you watch your child play sports, or even your OH?  How do you survive?  

Laters, Janet 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Return of the Motivation

Hi readers

Good news!  I think I have finally got my motivation back...

With several personal issues happening over the past few weeks it's certainly been on a long vacation, and I am pleased it's returned.

After still losing 1lb in weight on Monday, I have managed a session at both the gym and swimming this week.  I am surprised that I have continued to lose in all honesty.

I have had a thoughtful few weeks really and I have really been thinking about where I want to go and what I want to do in life.  Last week I returned to Uni and I've missed it so much, and this helped me decide that want to go further with my education once my MA is complete.  I dream of doing a PhD and have been really thinking about what would be a useful thesis but I have an MA dissertation due in September so maybe I should concentrate on that first - let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I mention dreams here because my dreams for the future really drive my motivation...

I dream to be thin - I lost a 1lb - I feel motivated.
I dream of doing a PhD - I feel I learnt at my MA session - I am one step closer to doing a PhD (something I never imagined I might be capable of) and this makes me feel motivated.

So what do you dream of? What keeps you motivated? How do you feel when you take that 1 step closer to fulfilling your dreams?  

If this is important then so are the reasons that make me feel demotivated.  Why did I become demotivated in the first place?

I suppose that's simple - in our family we are all links in a bracelet.  Me and my hubby are the fasteners.  Once the fasteners are undone, the bracelet isn't as strong - we are stronger together.  Basically, my husband being ill for such a period of time meant that there was just one link to support the others, which became very stressed, tired, and worried.  This is demotivating!  Once the he was well, balance was restored as there were once more, two links, holding and supporting the others.

I think my point here is that balance is needed in order to feel motivated.  You might want to do things and feel motivated but as soon as you start taking on too much - making you stressed and taking away the balance, you become demotivated.

Having a balance is key for me and so is making sure I have enough ME time - I don't ask for much: a Thursday coffee with the girls, the occasional night out, a bit of shopping with the mother once or twice per month, and a Sunday bath and pamper for an hour.

Uni is also for me - I love it and in the long run it's for my family but I go because I adore it.  The good thing about my degree is that a lot of the modules have been Gothic based and this is my choice area of study.

What is a key factor of keeping you motivated?  If you attend Uni or College, what motivated you to attend?  Please, share comments of how you are motivated.

Let's hope for more motivation and success in the future for all of us!

Laters, Janet :)

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

** An update from me **

Hi everyone

I haven't posted in almost 2 weeks as they have been absolutely mental and the family seems to be having a medically challenging time.  

I know most, if not all, will understand how circumstances can affect how often you post.  Due to my husband being ill (he had a UTI that spread to the bladder and caused urinary retention - he couldn't wee) - he ended up in hospital and my Mum ended up for him paying to have tests done privately to find out what the issue was.  He is on the mend now but is extremely tired and he only started to make improvements yesterday evening.  You can only imagine how much pressure this put on me as I had to do all of the dancing clubs, swimming, football, karate with the children, as well as running my husband back and forth from a hospital out of town - about 12 miles away.  

On top of this my son became ill with a sickness bug, and then with a cough and a cold, and I also felt ill with a migraine - I get them when stressed which means I haven't been able to open my computer for a few days.

I also took on some extra work too - we all need money live and Christmas is on the horizon so... 

as you can see ....

things are mental!  

I'm back at Uni tomorrow and will have to work tirelessly on Friday, I'm afraid.  

I will be back next week (and by this point I will have had two weeks away from posting) so watch out for my post - hopefully I'll be fresh as a daisy and full of plans for the rest of the month's post!  

Oh, and good news - I still managed to lose 1lb each week even though I did not partake in my usual gym or swimming which was amazing!  I was so pleased I didn't gain, although surprised, lol.  

Thanks for being patient and continuing to read!

Laters, Janet