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Monday, 31 August 2015

The Love/Hate Challenge! - 10 Things I Love and Hate

Back in July, I was nominated by the lovely Debbie over at to complete the love/hate challenge - click here for her post.  Basically, this meant she wanted me to list 10 things I love and 10 things I hate.  I have just got round to doing mine (sorry Debbie) but better late than never, huh!  My loves and hates are below: 

10 things I love…     

#1 My Family – Of course I love my family, they are the most important!  They are top of my list always.  I love my husband, my children, my sister, my niece and nephews, and my mother.  I also love family lost. 

#2 Writing – I love to write.  I like to write what I feel or know, through articles, and I also like to write fictional pieces too.  I am not an avid poetry writer but I too, like to write the odd poem too!  Writing is my passion and my love.

#3 Studying – I love to study and better myself.  I enjoyed completing my BA (hons) in English and Creative Writing, and I also enjoy studying for my MA in English too.  I hope one day to be able to complete a PhD and become a Doctor of Philosophy. 

#4 My Blog – I am quite proud of my blog.  I have only been a blogger for a few months.  I initially started blogging in January, but the website I used wasn’t great and I only blogged twice each month.  In May, I moved to blogger and I started to blog more frequently.  I am pleased to have over two thousand views on my blog and I am very pleased with what I have learned in relation to HTML codes, and really I have amazed myself with what I can do!  I hope to grow and develop it further!

#5 Clothes – I do love clothes but I can rarely find any I like.  I like a lot of black clothes but I also like denim jeans and jackets too, although I can’t find a jacket I like currently they all seem too short.  I like to clothes shop alone, but I find that because I need to lose a bit, what I like doesn’t always suit me.  I still like looking!

#6 Home-made Curry – I love my home-made curry.  I don’t particularly have a recipe but I use Maykways curry powder. I like mushroom curry, chicken or pork curry, and I also like to use smoked sausage and sometimes I add chilli depending on how hot I want it. 

#7 Watching Films and TV – I love to watch TV and movies.  I tend to watch fantasy, sci-fi and crime programs along with some documentaries too.  We love it when Harry Potter is on TV at the weekend, and I love to watch things like Penny Dreadful, Grimm, The 100, and Game of Thrones. 

#8 Reading – I love to read.  There is nothing better than being absorbed in a book – getting sucked into the world of fiction.  I love it!  I am currently studying some gothic texts for Uni, and I have recently read Carmilla, and The King of Elfland’s Daughter which were particularly a breath of Fresh air. 

#9 Coffee – OK so I love coffee – it’s no joke, I drink it most of the day.  I drink both decaf and the ‘hard stuff’.  I don’t mind either, I just love coffee!

#10 Walking – I love to walk because it gives me peace, a break from life.  I love having quiet time to think and that’s exactly what walking does, plus it’s great exercise! I particularly enjoyed all of the walking I did on my holiday at Center Parcs (another love of mine).

10 things I hate…

#1 Spiders – I am not keen on spiders.  I don’t scream or anything but I can’t stand the way they look and the way they move. 

#2 The seat being left up in the toilet – yes boys (as I live with four boys) please put the seat down after using my toilet lol!

#3  Mess – I actually hate mess but this is quite an ironic pet-hate because my house is always messy with toys and things that the kids leave lying around. Once they go back to school tomorrow, I might regain some household order. 

#4 Damp loose hairs – this is probably my worst hate but I hate hairs lying around in the bathroom and I can’t stand them touching my skin – damp hairs are the worst.  I have long hair myself and do what I can to keep them off me.  I tie up my hair until washing, inspect the bath and sink before use and ensure my sponge is away from anyone who could infect it with hair.  I used to scream my head off if one was on my wet body getting out the bath and wouldn’t dream of getting in the bath with one floating in the water.

#5 Washing up – OK, so like I don’t like hairs, I also don’t like floaty food bits and absolutely hate washing up.  If I have to wash up I like to wear gloves, but that’s why I have a dishwasher.

#6 Coconut – I really dislike the taste of coconut.  I can’t stand the milk or the actual coconut itself.  I can tell if it’s in a curry or in a biscuit I buy because I can sniff it out anywhere. 

#7 Discrimination – I hate discrimination on any level as I don’t believe others should be disadvantaged.  I hate it when policies or even the actions of a person put others at a disadvantage.

#8 Parents of disrespectful children who don’t seem to care! – Have you ever taken your children somewhere and they are being good but another child keeps being nasty or injuring them and their parents don’t even seem bothered?  Sure, my children are far from perfect and they have hurt other children by being to energetic (not on purpose) but I always check them for this and ensure they apologise and are respectful to others.  How can anyone expect children to be respectful when their parents aren’t?

#9 Aldi decaf coffee – sorry Aldi as a coffee lover I sometimes have to endure decaf as I drink far too much.  I have tried several decafs and Aldi must be the worst ever.  I love Aldi as a shopping place and always get great bargains but I’m so sorry, as I just can’t stomach your coffee. 

#10 Bananas - I truly dispise bananas.  The smell, the skin, the taste, the way the feel in your mouth and I know if someone has left a skin in my lounge bin! 

Thanks for the nomination Debbie, and thanks for reading to you guys.  Do you have any love/hates in common with me or do you disagree with any of mine?  What do you love? What do you hate?  

Hope you enjoyed reading, laters, Janet 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

My Amazing Summer holiday break!

On Friday, I returned from a fantastic holiday at Center Parcs in Whinfell forest.  We kept the children busy and probably over-spent but I do think I actually tried to pack too much into the holiday as we booked several activities and meals out, but we would have had a good time without as many activities.

It can be an expensive holiday but I too found Haven expensive.  As you stay in lodges the accommodation itself is costly.  I found it a good holiday because there was something for everyone to do.  There were activities ranging from around £6 and some that were a lot more, but it really depended on what you want to do.  The lodges had a build in barbecue which was great, as it was cheaper than eating out.  If you want to save money on any holiday then it's best to eat out as little as possible.  In a family of five like ours, I don't think a meal out cost us less than £45 but it was the drinks that I found the most costly.  There was also a Dining In takeaway and you could order Chinese, tapas, Indian, and pizzas to your door and although it was more expensive than a regular takeaway in my home town, it was not as expensive as dining out.  I must admit that we did not enjoy the food (and drink) at every establishment as we did eat out for lunch and dinner on most days.  We didn't try every food establishment either but we did enjoy food at Canopy Bar, Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia, Rajinda Pradesh and most of all, Hucks.

There are free activities too, and I must say that the subtropical swimming area is fantastic.  There are flumes for all ages, a wave pool, a water jet area, whirlpools and there was so much to do for everyone here, even if you didn't want to swim there are chairs at poolside and also a cafe.  There are also great adventure play areas for children as well as a beach area.  There is a free children's disco every evening in the bar that includes the bowling and many of the restaurants have free indoor play areas for children too!

If you do have some spending money and you like a pamper you should certainly check out the Aqua Sana Spa.  I had a paraffin wax foot treatment and it was around £16, but it was fantastic - really refreshing and it made my feet feel replenished after all of the walking I had done.  We also painted pottery too as a family activity and that was fun.  As well as buying time in the studio you have to also pay for your pot so it wasn't cheap, however it was nice to have something memorable to bring home.

The Activity Den is amazing for young children as they have nursery places or 3 hour activities in which you can leave your child to do an activity with qualified staff.  My son enjoyed a couple of activities here during our stay.  Other activities that my family utilised were bowling, cheer leading, football, quad biking, creative canvas, a photo shoot, and archery.

If we go again, we would like to do miniature golfing and possibly the family den building.  I know I would certainly be up for another Spa treatment too.

The summer holiday period is now drawing to a close, but to be honest I still feel like I'm in holiday mode - back to work on Tuesday too!  It's all fitness and health for me come September and it will certainly be planning our family Christmas - oh and it's my son's fourth birthday and I'm returning to University for my final year of MA studies in October.  Back to Earth with a bump for me!

How have your Summer holidays been? Have you had a holiday this year or have you had any days out?  Do you have children returning to school/starting?

I would love to hear about them all in the comments below, guys!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

10 Reasons You Should Start A Blog - Guest Post by Debbie @Myrandommusings

Dear readers, did I mention I was on holiday this week and would be having an amazing time? Maybe once or twice, huh?  

Well, never fear, because I have a treat for you today.  Guest posting for me today is Debbie, and she has done a few posts for this blog (because I like to keep her busy and out of mischief).  Today, she posts 10 reasons you should start a blog, and Debbie herself only started her AMAZING and SUCCESSFUL blog this year, and has had an amazing response from her readers.  

About Debbie
Born in 1982 in North East England, I knew from an early age I wanted to be a writer. Life got in the way, and the dream was put on the back burner, although never forgotten. I now write my own blog which you can read here:, write guest posts for other blogs and am planning on completing my first novel by the end of this year!

You can catch up with Debbie by clicking on the following links:

And now, all that's left is her post for us today.  Don't forget to show Debbie some love by commenting below!

10 Reasons You Should Start A Blog

For this post, I thought I would share with you ten reasons you should start a blog. Maybe you have been thinking of it for a while, and just need a little push to get you started. Maybe it’s not something you’ve considered seriously, but would like to have a go. Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but you just might after reading why it’s so great to have a blog. Try it! What have you got to lose?
To get your voice heard
If you are anything like me, you have an opinion on everything! Sometimes, your friends need a break from hearing them all. A blog is the perfect place to share your views with the world. From my experience, blog readers value honesty, and enjoy reading different thoughts and perspectives on things.

To become part of an amazing community
Before starting my blog, I pictured the blogging community as bitchy, back stabbing and very competitive. I was sooo wrong. The blogging community is awesome! Everyone is friendly and welcoming, and you can guarantee if you have a question about anything blog related, someone will be happy to help you out.

To build an online presence for you or your brand
If you aspire to a career in the media, or anything PR based, a good starting place is a blog. It puts your name out there, and helps you build a following. If you have good content on your blog, and are honest, people are more likely to trust you to handle online PR than if you have no proven track record.

To record your journey
A blog is a place to record anything and everything you want to share with the world. It is so good to look back on your blog and see how you have progressed, what has changed and how far you have come. You will look back and cringe at some of your earlier posts, but they will still bring back memories.

To become more organised
I am not the most organised person by a long shot. I have found blogging forces me to be organised in at least one part of my life. I have a schedule, which I stick to, and deadlines to meet – even if I do set them myself! After you build up your readership, your readers will start to know when to expect a new post – you may think now that wouldn’t matter to you. It will! You will learn to manage your time effectively so you can stick to your schedule, because you don’t want to let your readers down!

To make money
Initially, this won’t happen. Like anything, blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Given time and effort, you can make money this way though, using affiliate links, and sponsored posts. Maybe even becoming a brand ambassador. So yes, it’s hard work, but as income sources go, it’s got to be in the top ten of best jobs!

To build something you can be proud of
At the risk of sounding soppy, your blog is a little piece of you, an achievement you can be proud of. You will pour blood sweat and tears into it, and there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements, no matter how big or small. When you look back, you will remember that feeling you got when you published your first ever post and 6 people read it – 6 whole people! It’s an exciting moment, you want drum rolls and fanfares! That feeling never goes away. Hopefully, the numbers get bigger, but that feeling doesn’t change!

To boost your confidence
I almost used the words ego boost here. It feels good to know people care about what you have to say. However, that’s not quite it, it’s more than that. It’s validation, it’s knowing it’s ok to be you in a world where the media tells you you should conform to certain social standards, and it’s the realisation that your voice matters!

Free therapy!
I use that term lightly, but it does feel that way sometimes! If you are upset about something, often, pouring your heart and soul into writing about it can help. After writing your feelings down, I think you feel lighter. Perhaps something is eating at you – have a good rant about it, you will be surprised how many other people feel exactly the same.
If you aren’t ready to share your feelings with the world straight away, I still find writing is a good distraction from your problems!

To have the best hobby ever!
Blogging is fun! I know everyone will tell you it is time consuming, and harder than it looks, and they are right, but it is so rewarding, and more than worth the time and effort you will put in. It feels so good every time you can tick a goal off your blogging bucket list!

I hope these reasons to start a blog have helped you make the decision to take the plunge! Do you have any reasons to add? Share them in the comments!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Happy, Happy, Happy, Holidays!

Hello readers, today is a very happy post.

First of all, I would like to say that an interview I did for another person's blog featured today, so you should certainly check this out:

My Uncle flew over on Monday and I collected him from the airport but he went home on Friday.  I didn't see him an awful lot but it was good to catch up.  I haven't seen him in around five or six years so it was nice for the kids to see him as my eight year old didn't remember him, and my three year old has never met him.  He's a great guy, felt like he had never been away!

On Friday, I broke up from work which is obviously great news, however, I began to have flu symptoms.  Since breaking up (apart from being very snotty and looking a bit like death-warmed-up), I have been working profusely on getting ready for our holiday to Center Parcs Whinfell which is TOMORROW! There was no-way this flu was spoiling my holiday so this is the second day of taking Lemsips (which seem to be working) and I'm soldiering on.

Tomorrow is also my wedding anniversary and I have been married for 13 years! Wow, where has the time gone?  It's great to know that tomorrow evening I will be sipping champagne in celebration (seen as though we couldn't afford to be that extravagant at the wedding itself lol).

I must admit, I am really looking forward to Centre Parcs and I don't think I will be able to get internet connection to blog (so don't miss me too much).  I do have a guest post scheduled for Tuesday 25th August - 10 reasons to start blogging, from Debbie, @myrandommusings so you should definitely check that out!

Have a great week, and if you don't hear from me, don't worry, I will be having lots of fun in the Spa! Haha!

Laters, Janet :)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Is Your Relationship Good for You?

As quite a thoughtful person, I tend to over think things and I consider myself lucky relationship wise. This is because my husband is my best friend, my soul mate in fact, and not everyone experiences this in their life.  Do you think your relationship is good for you?  Is it positive? Have you grown since it began?

Sometimes I feel surrounded by people who just don't seem to have experienced a good relationship, and that doesn't mean that mine has never been without issues or problems.  I am not saying it's by all means perfect and it got me thinking what makes it that good that I feel able to judge whether another persons relationship is good for them or not.  It's strange because I am not particularly a judgemental person, and obviously, I don't have a qualification in relationships but sometimes I think unless you have a good relationship then maybe you don't know that you DON'T have one - you can't miss what you've never had.

There are some relationships that stick out in my mind in which I find the person that I know just doesn't seem to get anything back from, and I feel that it would never be enough for me.  Love and respect has to be two-sided, it's a mutual thing.  A family member of mine rushed into a marriage after they lost someone, and although neither are bad people, their relationship just doesn't seem to bring out the best in the other.  That's their choice!  A friend of mine found herself in a relationship for a long, long time that was going nowhere because of her partner, and eventually she seen the light and no matter the consequences she built the confidence to end it and to be honest, she is the happiest she has ever been.  Her partner didn't seem to take care of himself and his family would have been happy to blame her if anything had ever happened to him, but she accepted this - it wasn't her fault, he is an adult!  A lot of people seem to be in relationships because of the consequences of not being - they seem to feel obligated.  If you are married then in reality to take that vow - you have to take the rough with the smooth, but you can't be responsible for everyone in the world and make yourself entirely miserable for the rest of your life, surely!  If your relationship makes you miserable, then you really need to do something about it - even something like talking about it.

The most ridiculous relationship I know makes me want to shake the person.  A friend's daughter is with the biggest loser ever (and I don't mean off the TV).  She never believes he does wrong, when he has cheated, he never helps out with the boys, he lies and god knows what ever else, however, she met him in school.  He was her first love and although they argue all of the time, she is in complete denial of what he is really up to.  My friend wonders if she will ever wake up and is starting to lose hope, but what can you do if someone is just so blind and doesn't seem to see that they deserve better.  I want to say please get some self respect and know your worth, but I keep quiet.  Some people are more likely to fall out with you than listen!

So, why do I think my relationship is better?  For one thing, I already mentioned, I can tell my husband anything as he is my best friend.  I had anxiety issues when I was younger and he supported me through these and to the point were I completed a degree - all because I was encouraged and supported by my husband saying 'go for it' and 'you can do it', and to be honest, I was probably the last person anyone expected to achieve this.  We are equal and share housework, care for the children, we encourage one another, and we have things in common - for instance we watch similar things on the television and both like walking. I encourage and support him, and he encourages and supports me.  To me a relationship should help you grow as a person, help you to increase confidence, and you should look forward to growing old together.  As much as I don't want to be old, I am looking forward to the future including retirement - all I want is good health!

Another friend of mine spent several years experiencing bad relationship after bad relationship.  I used to think, unless you have respect yourself and stop with these silly relationships then how can you expect to build a trustful relationship with the right person.  I was so thrilled when she actually picked herself up, and found him!  She has certainly grew herself, with the person she loves and it makes me so happy to see how they support and encourage one another.  She is a different person now and I honestly think if she read this post she would know what I was talking about when comparing a good kind of relationship with a bad as she has been at both ends of the scale.

I think the main thing is that your on the same wave length.  I know if my husband needs some time alone, and he recognises if I do too and if you are in tune with one another you can manage a whole host of stressful situations.  We never shout at one another, but if we disagree we discuss this away from the children.  It's ironic really as both of us have the potential to be quite 'shouty' people lol!

Relationships are complicated, but I think most people can recognise when another person's relationship is dragging them down. I can think of many things I wouldn't have done if it wasn't for the encouragement and support from my husband.  Can you think of anyone who has supported you, and helped you develop as a person?

 Everyone has to make their own mistakes in life, but I worry that people stay in bad relationships because they think it's the best they will ever do.  If your partner makes you feel you like that, then that's not a mutual relationship and this doesn't just refer to partners, this could be any relationship in your life.  Your partner needs to make you feel like you are important and worthy, and you have to make them feel the same!

Do you know anyone or have you experienced both a bad and a good relationship?  Do you look back on it now in comparison to another and think, what was I thinking?  Do you feel encouraged and worthy in your relationship? Or are you happy with yourself, being on your own because you wouldn't accept anything in a relationship but the best?

It's a touchy subject and I can't possibly please everyone with my opinion, but I sincerely wonder how relationships work when the motto of one person in a so-called-partnership is to treat 'em mean, and the other person thinks that this is acceptable.  If you know why, leave a comment as I would love to hear from you?  Or maybe your from the otherside and see a bad relationship but feel you can't tell the other person what you really think?

Laters, Janet

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Am I a Writer?

Hello readers, hope you are well today!

I suppose this post was going to be an informational article, but I found when writing I had more questions than answers.  It's strange really as I didn't know I had so many questions of my own, due to the stigma attached of calling yourself a writer.  If you label yourself a writer, I think that people then think they have the right to judge you - on technical ability, content, and even you as a person.  

When someone chooses a profession and becomes trained or qualified in that profession then they are not afraid to say what their career is for instance I work as a tutor, but I once worked as an administrator, and before that in a shop as a sales advisor.

It's ironic really, but with the writing profession a lot of people seem to ponder on whether they can actually label themselves a writer.  From a personal point of view it's something that I tend to ponder with on a daily basis.  Even though I am qualified, I have experience, and I have published work, I still struggle to say 'oh, and by the way, I'm a writer'.  

I got thinking why that is.  Most people can write but if you label yourself a writer - does this mean you're a good writer?  I must admit I don't fully support this claim because the writing business is tought business, however sometimes writing sells that proves not to be so good.  I'm sure we have all heard or read work by a writer that isn't something that we would class as great writing.  If that's true then there must be a certain amount of pressure attached to labeling yourself a writer because is being a writer down to how successful you are?  

So, what makes a writer, a writer? 
I had to really consider this question because technically if one writes something, one could in theory label themselves a writer - but is this a viable claim?  I believe that there are certain expectations attached to the term writer, and I considered a few qualities that a writer should really have in order to be taken seriously, but obviously the list is not exhaustive:
  • Well first of all they have to be able to write, and preferably well - with good spelling and grammar knowledge.  
  • They have to have something interesting to write about, because if they don't what's the point?
  • There is also a certain amount of success involved too - for instance if you had never written a blog post, but then started your own blog and wrote one post, would you label yourself a blogger?  In retrospect you are, however if you are a blogger with three months experience and several thousand page views, then people are likely to take more notice of you.  A blogger is ironically, a type of writer too!

So now it's over to you dear readers, what is it you think a person needs to be able to coin themselves a writer?  

Think about books, stories, articles, and even blog posts that you have read, think about why that writer was your most or least favourite.  What makes a writer, a writer, other than the ability to actually write?  Do you think it's about personality, technical ability, confidence, or the content of your writing?  Can you think of anything else that makes a person a writer?  Why do you think there is such pondering over this label? What does it mean?  

Come on, share your thoughts guys?  

Laters, Janet

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Guest Blogger - Debbie @myrandommusings - The Perfect Murder (Crime Fiction story)

Dear readers, today's blog post is by a guest blogger.  Debbie @myrandommusings wrote a fictional piece for my crime fiction month in July.  However, as we all know, that didn't quite go to plan due to other commitments so she kindly agreed to let me post her story today.  Debbie has guest posted on this blog and several others before, and I am pleased to be able to feature an experienced blogger and I have been involved in guest blogging on her blog and I have also been involved in her #Linkys.

Please visit to find out more about Debbie - and give her blog a read too!

The Perfect Murder

‘Sarge, you’ve got to see this,’ exclaims the young PC, bursting rudely into my office, waving a couple of sheets of paper like an excited child who just got his response from Santa Clause.
‘Excuse me one moment,’ I say into the telephone receiver. Covering it with one hand I look up at the young PC, searching my mind for his name, but I can’t grasp it.
‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ I bark at him.
‘Just go. Leave it on my desk.’
He looks so dejected, but he does as I tell him, slinking out of my office like a dog who’s just been caught peeing on the carpet.
‘Sorry about the interruption,’ I say, resuming my call. My wife. She originally called to check I am ok. I have just returned from the funeral of a very good friend. Pete and I go back years. We did our basic training together then I came over to homicide and he went over to vice. Our paths have crossed professionally a few times over the years, but we remained good friends outside of work.
As my wife drones on in my ear, pulling me back to the present, I pick up the papers what’s-his-name left, having a quick glance over them. I am immediately on high alert as I try to take in all the document encompasses.
‘Honey, I gotta go,’ I say, cutting the wife off mid-sentence. Not waiting for her response I hang up the phone. She’ll get over it.
I re-read the document. Once. Twice. Again. I can’t believe what I am reading, but it all makes a horrible kind of sense.
I push the intercom button on my desk. ‘Martha,’ I say, ‘organise a press conference for 3pm.’
‘Yes sir,’ she responds.
That gives me two hours to fact check. Two hours I don’t need. This case has been ongoing for 8 months. We were no closer to solving it now than we were at the time. Until now. Every detail of it has been etched into my brain. Still it would be irresponsible to not even make a show of checking the facts before I announce it to the press.
*  *   *
3pm rolls around. Every detail has been checked. The arrest has been made and the family of the victim has been informed. We are good to go. The press conference will be a simple one. I will read the confession I received today. There will be no questions.
I enter the conference room and move behind the desk. The room is full and the air is filled with the excited buzz of conversation. Flash bulbs go off left right and centre, and people make a few quick last minute adjustments to their equipment.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen,’ I say, ‘thank you for attending on such short notice. As you will no doubt have heard by now, the Jenkins case was solved earlier today. We received a full confession from the perpetrator and he is now behind bars. I will read the confession. There will be no questions.’
I pick up the paper I am about to read from. The atmosphere in the room is electric, tense but excited. The journalists aim their microphones at me. They are ready for this story. It will be front page news for days. Then again, they have had front page news about it for eight months.
I begin to read and the room goes silent.
‘They say there is no such thing as the perfect murder. There will always be a witness, a skin or hair cell, a tyre print. Something.
‘I agree that is the case, so I planned this one down to the last detail.
‘You spent the first six months looking for a blonde haired woman, then you eventually discovered this hair came from a wig made from real human hair. My first red herring, a particularly clever one, even if I do say so myself. After all I couldn’t leave behind a real hair when it was covered by a wig.
‘The two witnesses you managed to find remembered seeing only a school girl in the area at the time of the murder. Who looks closely enough to establish the “school girl” is a grown man!
‘No one thinks there’s anything weird about seeing people buying school clothes. A few alterations and I was good to go. Costume sorted!
‘With the school uniform came a blazer, covering my full arms, and tights covering my full legs. No skin cells from those, and it was cold enough that the scarf drawn around my face and the gloves I was wearing would raise no suspicions. Of course the shoes left footprints but I had jammed my feet into shoes two sizes too small and school style shoe prints would hardly be likely to lead you in my direction.
‘The murder weapon was never going to be a problem. That’s the beauty of smothering someone with cling film. I rolled it into a little ball, popped it in my pocket and melted it away with a lighter once I got home.
‘I pulled it off, I know I did. After eight months with not even a hint of it being me, any trails I had left would now be colder than the victim.
‘You would never catch me on motive, after all my only motive was proving I was cleverer than you. Poor Mrs Jenkins was just an accessory, I had no particular reason to choose her.
‘So why the confession? Because it’s true what they say after all. There is no such thing as a perfect murder, because how could I resist telling you how much cleverer than you I am? How I led you on a merry dance? How I am superior to you even though you run the department?
‘Well obviously I couldn’t, so there you have it. I have committed the perfect murder and then solved it for you!’
I finish reading and instantly the room comes to life, with everyone shouting questions, and edging closer. I stand and leave the room, going straight back to my office and pouring myself a whiskey.
I take a drink and swirl the rest around the glass. Listening to the ice cubes clinking together, I re-read the last paragraph. The paragraph I held back from the press.
Maybe now Sergeant, you will remember my name.

PC David Richards

Monday, 10 August 2015

Summer Family Fun - what we've been up to so far this Summer!

Well, dear readers, today is a very light hearted post just discussing what our family have already been been up to this Summer so far, but to be honest, I am more excited about what's to come!

The children broke up on July 17th, so we are already into our fourth week of summer holidays now. During the first week we didn't do an awful lot.  We went to a Wacky Warehouse play area and there I bought a play pass, that allows them to play all summer - bargain £20 for up to four children.  We also visited a place called Funshack, as this is a larger play area, with a fantastic pirate ship that you can fire balls in the cannon, along with sheer drop slides and a long bumpy blue slide.  We also had a trip into town, and a visit to the grand parents too but other than that it was pretty quiet.  The first week is never too bad boredom wise, but the weather wasn't great.

In the second week, it was son number 1's birthday - he was 8. This week he and his sister were booked in a sports camp for a week - birthday boy did multi-sports, and my girl did cheer leading, dancing, and gymnastics.  They came home with trophy's and were thrilled!  Other than that we had visitors, and a birthday buffet style tea with cake, of course.  Me and my OH took little man again to the town, another day to the park, and another day to Wacky Warehouse with our pass.

Last week, a carnival was in town, so me and the children walked from my sister's house up to the carnival and after spending obscene amounts of money, and myself 'pooing my pants' at the rides my children wanted to ride, we came back full of sugar with candy floss and sugar dummies.  In fairness, it's the only time I allow candy floss so I can't complain too much!  The OH couldn't come to the fair as the flashing lights could set of his epilepsy so he didn't want to risk it.  Other than that my eldest two did the park for picnic and the cinema too, whilst me and my youngest made and played with home-made play doh, and then I went swimming twice during an adult swim session, and escaped for an 'afternoon tea' baby shower, which was great fun and I was so full from all the cake and coffee!  Towards the end of the week, we again did Wacky Warehouse to make full use of the pass.

This week - it's just the beginning but we do have some plans.  Today, we went to town and we also baked.  We made cupcakes - butterfly smartie cakes with butter cream, chocolate cakes with chocolate butter cream and smarties, and then I made a vanilla and chocolate cheesecake.  We have so many cakes that I might have to give some to the youth group they attend tomorrow as we are all going swimming with them!  We also made some soups - leek, bacon and potato, and broccoli and stilton.  We had some for dinner and the rest is in the fridge for tomorrow.

We are having fun but it's hard work trying to balance work, a blog, and get a head start on studies whilst entertaining three children - don't forget the daily housework too!

So it's swimming tomorrow and then my daughter is going ice skating so we might go to the park or Wacky Warehouse again with the lads.  On the night, my daughter has nominated me to braid and bead her hair too!  All in good fun!

I go on holiday to Centreparcs two weeks today, and I totally can't wait!  It's on my mind all of the time, and I have the children's cases packed because I bought them new bits and pieces which I have been putting away on a weekly basis.

What are you up to these summer holidays?  How do you entertain your children?  Is cost an issue and what do you do to try and save costs?

Next week we are planning a picnic, and I thought the day before we could have a baking day, making fresh bread, cakes, quiche, etc... I know that cakes and pastries aren't ideal and although I seem to have talked about them a lot in this blog post, we don't usually have them as much but I suppose if they are home made, they are better for you and you know what is in them.

Do you worry about your children eating the right things too?  - We have been making our own breakfast smoothies too from fruit, skimmed milk, and a little natural yoghurt.  This has encouraged the children to experiment with different fruits too and they seem to be going down a treat.  How do you encourage healthy eating?

I also worry about them not getting enough exercise, so we do walk a few places and do sporting type activities if possible.  Does this also worry you?

Let me know - sometimes I feel like I worry too much, but on the other hand they are my children and I want them to be fit, and healthy, and I do worry - it's my prerogative as a mother!

I feel like my post started fun, and then turned into a bit of a ramble at the end - but hey, what do you expect from Rambles, Rants, and Writings, huh? Lol!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

Laters, Janet

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sordid Secrets - parts 3 and 4

Hi readers,

As promised here is part 3 and 4 of my four-part story, Sordid Secret.  

I hope this OK, I haven't had a lot of time to work on these today due to a family emergency.  I would have liked to have edited them and improved them further so really parts 1-4 are all just first drafts of a story.  

I did want to share the full plot with my readership and I don't deny the story does need polishing but as a first draft I am pleased with it.  I know I will read this back and think of loads of possible amendments.  Another thing I always do is try to improve more 'showing' rather than 'telling' when I edit too, so that the story isn't too much 'I said', 'he was', 'she did' etc...


Part 3
The bubbles tickled my chin as I sank into the water.  I grabbed my wine glass and took a swig.  It wasn’t that I even enjoyed the vinegary taste, it was just that I was getting a taste for alcohol now, it was becoming a habit.  I didn’t get drunk but it was nice to help me relax.  I had survived the evening with Peter, hearing glowing reports as ever, for our daughter Jenny.  The fact he was proud of her and grinned when they praised her really boiled my blood, as if he was solely responsible – smug git! 
                It was gone midnight, Jenny stayed over at her dad’s place and I came home, alone.  As usual my work came with me and I knew I wasn’t going to sleep tonight so I might as well have a soak and mull the case over in my mind. 
                I rested my head back and relaxed.  The ache in my back and feet eased in the heated water and I could feel the tension escape from my shoulders.  My eyes closed but my fingers clutched the wine glass tightly, resting it on my stomach.  I had heard of the name Max Riches before and I knew he was bad news but I couldn’t recall what for.  A full background check would be completed on him tomorrow and I could then pay him a visit, once I had all the facts. 
Another swig of wine meant my wine glass was empty.  I put the glass down, took a deep breath, and dunked my head under water.  I shot up quickly, spraying the tiles as flicked my hair up over.  A quick scrub of my hair and body, then a rinse meant I was ready to get out, and ready for my next glass of wine.
I slipped into some comfortable pyjamas and tied my hair back.  My fluffy slippers tickled the soles of my feet as I slid my foot over the top of them and pushed my foot, down and inside.  My laptop was still open on the dining room table, but the first pit stop was my chilled wine in the fridge.  The pink colour soon glugged to the top of the glass. 
Loud banging on the front door drew my attention.  I wasn’t expecting anyone, especially not at half ten in the evening.  I looked through the spy-hole and there was Nick, standing on my step.
‘Nick, what are you doing here?’
‘She’s dead, Sally, I’ve just heard an hour ago.  How can she be dead?’ 
A pale, trembling, Nick, barged passed me and into the house.  His eyes looked red and watery. He paced up and down the front room. 
‘Look, Nick, I’m sorry about your sister, but I don’t think it’s very appropriate…’
‘I don’t care about it being appropriate, for fuck’s sake, Sally, my sister is dead and I have no-one.  I thought I had you but you push everyone away in fear of what people think.  You are your precious career, well I’m sorry, I didn’t have anywhere else to go!’
I knew the only thing inappropriate here was me, and my cold attitude towards everyone.  The comments stung, because they were true, but my hard exterior wasn’t about to display any inch of emotion.  I coolly headed to the kitchen, pressed a glass against the ice machine, took the best whiskey from the cupboard and filled the glass.  Nick was still pacing so I pushed him onto the couch and pressed the glass into his hand.  I returned a minute later with my wine glass and the bottle of whiskey, and sat in my arm chair. 
                Nick’s glass was already empty so I offered him the bottle, which he accepted. 
                ‘What happened?’ he asked
                ‘Well, she was in her room.  Looked like an over-dose at first but she has bruising round her neck.  They are all I can tell you at the moment I’m still waiting for forensics.’
                ‘Any suspects?’
                ‘Well your Nan thought you might be able to help with that.’
                ‘I don’t know erm… I hadn’t seen her much.  I paid for her bills and flat to help her but I thought she was clean now.  She seemed to be getting back on her feet.’
                ‘Can you think of anyone?’
                ‘Well, there’s Max Riches her ex, she had been friendly with a lad called Jo who lived in one of the flats near her.  She had a mate called Kerry and Ruby, but I thought she’d cut all ties with that lot and Max.  She did owe money to a mate of Max’s called Stan.  At one time, he had her working off the money by sleeping with his mates.  He was inside when she moved but I don’t know if he still is or not.  I don’t know how they would’ve found her though.’
                ‘Had she been seeing anyone?’
                ‘Not that I know of, why?’
                ‘I just wondered.  Look Nick, I know I can be cold, it’s my nature.  I’m sorry about your sister but we’ll catch the killer, it’s what we do.’
                ‘I just can’t believe she’s dead, Sal, and that I’m never gonna see my sister again.’
                He put his head down.
                ‘We were close, you know.  Maybe not as much as of late, but we lost our parents when we were young and we always looked out for one another.  She went down the wrong path, and I tried to save her but she hung around with the wrong crowd and I wasn’t there as much as I had started the force, and when she lost Jersey, that was it.  A piece of her died too that day.  She blamed herself and she blamed me too!’ 
                ‘Well it wasn’t your fault, Nick, none of this is.’
                ‘It’s because I wasn’t there, I abandoned her.  Our relationship wasn’t the same after that.  I tried to make it up to her, give her a fresh start in this flat, away from the losers, but now she’s dead.’  He sobbed.
                I had never seen Nick like this and I wasn’t good with emotional people.  I sat next to him and put my arm around him. 
                ‘You did all you could.  You tried to save her, but some people don’t want to be saved.  She obviously still hung around with the wrong people.’
                Nick’s head flopped against my chest and I could feel his warm breath against my breasts.  Nick and I had a thing when Peter first left me for Julie six months ago.  We got on well, and banged into each other in the pub one night and found we had a lot in common.  At first it was just sex and it helped me get over Peter, but Nick wanted more, he wanted a relationship – something I certainly wasn’t ready for.  After a couple of month, word started to get round the station and I knew I was in line for promotion, so six weeks ago, I ended it.  I didn’t have any regrets but now he was here, I wondered why I was bothered about the tittle-tattle in the station.  We didn’t work for the same division, and it wasn’t frowned upon, it was just the talking and snickering.  He was seven years younger than me and I think the women found that amusing, whereas the men just thought I was up for anything as I kept getting comments saying If you’re ever bored of Nick, I’m available. Considering most of the guys were married I felt insulted, as after Peter’s affair it was the last thing I would do to anyone. 
                My fingers ran through Nick’s hair and I rested my chin on his head.  He smelled good, I always liked his autograph aftershave, in fact I bought it.  I could feel his mouth nibbling on my breast through my pyjama top.  I felt aroused and I knew I wanted him.  Maybe he was right, maybe I was scared of what others thought too much, and not in tune with what I wanted.  I stroked his hair again, running my fingers down by his chin and lifted his head.  His big, brown eyes looked into mine and he lunged, to kiss me.  I pressed my body towards him and kissed him back.  I swung my leg behind him and he pulled me close, onto his lap.  His lips pressed against my neck, and he tugged my top over my head and I raised my arm to make it easier.  He threw me back over onto the couch and climbed on top kissing my mouth gently, but hungrily.  My hands fumbled at the belt on his jeans and his buttons but it was all so fast and before I knew it, he was in me. 
                ‘I love you.’ I whispered as my legs tightened around his waist.  I don’t know why I said it, it just came out and I could feel myself blushing, horrified. 

Part 4
When I woke the next day I was alone.  On the pillow next to me was a red rose from my garden, and a note saying love you.  It made me smile.  Soppy git. 
                I wrapped the sheet around me and headed for a shower.  The reflection in the mirror looked different, I looked refreshed and happy.  It was warm and I slipped on a strappy maxi dress covering my arms with a suit jacket. 
                When I drove to the station, I found myself thinking of what me and Nick saying I love you, meant.  Did it mean anything? Or was it just words?  Had he said it because I did?  I wasn’t sure but I knew one thing, I wasn’t going to worry about what anyone thought any more.  I’d solve his sister’s murder case and then we could go public, if he still wanted a relationship with me.  I was sick of living my life for others and I wanted my own happiness. 
                ‘You look erm… different, I mean erm… nice, Ma’am’ Moore stuttered when I entered the office. 
                ‘Aw thanks, Moore,’ I said in a sarcastic tone. 
                He followed me into the office.  ‘Listen, he said.  Sacha Mason.  Turns out she’s in the early stages of pregnancy.  Nate reckons he can test the foetus for DNA.’
                ‘Good one, get on that then. Already are Ma’am. Oh, and Max Riches is in reception and asking to speak to someone.’ 
                I stood up.
                ‘Does he want to confess?’
                ‘No.  But he said he has important information.  He only wants to talk to you.’
                I headed down to reception. 
                ‘Max Riches,’ I shouted.  ‘Come this way!’ 
                A tall man with spiked blond hair walked towards me.  He was broad and looked very clean and tidy: quite handsome, with a bit of stubble.  His leather jacket looked expensive, and his blue eyes looked calm and kind.  Not at all what I expected. 
                ‘Are you Sally Bernard?’ he asked.
                ‘I am.  I was going to come and find you today Mr Riches.  Just for a chat.’
                ‘I wondered how long before I would be in the limelight.’
                ‘You didn’t even give me chance to read the background check.’ I smiled.
                ‘I wanted to put my point across before I’m framed, again.’
                ‘Well we’ll listen to anything you have to say, Mr Riches.  DI Moore will be along a in a minute, he’s my partner.’
                I wondered what he meant by framed.  Maybe he knew something, Nick mentioned Max’s friend.
                I started to read the background check.  Grievous bodily harm, seven years ago.  Drug dealing six years ago with a stint inside.  Grievous bodily harm, four years ago.  Drunk and disorderly, three and a half years ago.  Drugs suspected dealing but only charged for personal use three years ago.  Cautioned for harassment, three years ago.  Drug dealing, actual bodily harm, and cautioned – suspected pimp, two and a half years ago with a stint inside.
                ‘According to your record, you have been out for the past two years and managed to keep yourself out of trouble.’
                ‘Yes.  According to my record.’
                DI Moore entered. 
                ‘OK.  Max, you know the victim Sacha Mason.  Did you have a relationship with her?’
                ‘Yes, but I’m here to give you information voluntary, so are you going to listen?’
                ‘Sure, why not!’ 
                ‘Sacha Mason is an ex-girlfriend of mine. I knew her from school and she lived near me with her Nan.’
                I nodded and raised my eyebrows for him to continue.  Moore scribbled notes.
                ‘Sacha and I started to have a relationship and Sacha became pregnant.  Jersey was born and I loved her.  I visited her every day, along with Sacha.  Her brother had a problem with me.  He didn’t like us being together and became obsessed.  He was away training for the police, but when he heard of us being together he made every excuse possible to travel home and eventually got a role here six years ago, just after the birth of Jersey.  Nick was over protective and obsessed with Sacha, and I came here to tell you to investigate him over her murder, because you’ll be surprised with what you might find out.’
                Max stood up and walked towards the door.
                ‘Where are you going Mr Riches? Is that all, all you have to say?  Please, sit down and answer our questions now to ensure you haven’t wasted out time.  You can’t just make accusations or suggestions of who WE need to investigate and leave with giving us nothing to go on.  Nicholas Mcdonald is an upstanding officer, without any blotches on his record.  What makes you think he needs investigating?’  I said sternly.

                Max turned with a grin.
                ‘I knew this would happen.  You would never believe any of your own do anything wrong.’
                Max walked back to the table and sat down. He leaned forward onto his elbows. 
                ‘You see, if you look at my record more closely, detectives, you will see.’
                He slouched back in the chair grinning. 
                Moore and I looked down at the report.  Moore started pointing to the recurring name.
                Grievous bodily harm against Nicholas Mcdonald, drug dealer informant and surveillance carried out by Nicholas Mcdonald.  Grievous bodily harm again, arrested by Nicholas Mcdonald.  Drunk and disorderly – arresting officer – Nicholas Mcdonald.  Harrassment order, Sacha Mason, investigating officer, Nicholas Mcdonald, drug dealing, actual bodily harm – arresting officer, and intelligence of being a pimp provided by Nicholas Mcdonald. 
                Moore looked at me, and then looked back at Max.
                ‘What is it you are suggesting? A policeman lived opposite you and investigated you, what’s your problem, that’s their job?’
                ‘Oh, OK.  There is no coincidence then.  So why wasn’t I in any trouble with the law before I started dating this police officer’s sister? Can you tell me that. Einstein?’
                ‘Mr Riches, you aren’t seriously suggesting…’
                ‘I’m not suggesting, I’m telling you what I know.  You’re the detectives, suggestions are down to you.’
                He sat forward again and held his hands together on the table. 
                ‘Jersey, wasn’t my child, Jersey was his!  Actual bodily harm, two and half years ago – I’m actually guilty of that one.  Thought I might as well make it worthwhile going to prison for, seen as he keeps getting away with framing me because I was having a legal relationship with his sister.  That girl was lovely, but she was messed up. He had a hold over her and she went along with whatever he said, but she blamed herself for Jersey’s death.  One night, she came to mine off her face and cried.  She told me the truth and she blamed both her and Nick because she thought the heart defect was due to the incestuous relationship.  After I was arrested he moved her away and I kept my distance.  I used to see her pop in her Nan’s from time to time but didn’t want to get in any more trouble.  She came to see me three weeks back and told me she wanted another chance, but I said no.  She said Nick had found someone else and she was tired of being controlled by him.  I told her it was too late and she wasn’t happy. She said Nick had ruined her life.’
                This couldn’t be Nick, having a relationship with his sister, being so controlling and deceitful.  The Nick I knew was kind, loving, and a model policeman. 
                ‘This is a wild accusation, Mr Riches.’
                ‘Is it?  Well she’s pregnant now and I can prove it ain’t mine love.  Sacha didn’t tell him, she wanted me to run away with her and bring the baby up as mine.  I told her she was a mess and there was no way.’
                Moore and I looked at each other.  Max was very convincing and if I hadn’t have known Nick, I would have believed him.  But there was no way this was Nick. 
                ‘Stay here!’ Moore said to Max and we headed out. 
                ‘Watch him! Don’t let him leave,’ he told the officer outside.
                We went to my office. 
                ‘What do you think?’ Moore asked.
                ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what to think, Nick, would erm… Urgh! But the detective in me tells me we should definitely investigate.’
                ‘Don’t let your personal feelings get in the way, Sally.  I’ve known you for a long time, let’s look into it at least.’
                I nodded.  Moore was right, we had to look into this, whether I wanted to believe it or not. 
                ‘I’ll telephone forensics and ask if they think the foetus could have been fathered by a relative.’  I said. 
                ‘I’ll telephone some of these other witnesses.  If Riches was thought to be a pimp, it might be worth seeing if there were any girls on the radar that he was linked to.’
                ‘Nick told me that Sacha had two friends, Kerry and Ruby.  See if you can find out who they are and what they know.  Maybe she confided in them.’
                Moore nodded and left my office, quickly.
                I phoned forensics. 
                ‘Ah, I was just about to call you with some interesting news.’ Phil said.
                ‘The foetus had a strange DNA combination and when I ran it through the system, it matched a PC Nicholas Macdonald.  He must be a close relation of the victim.’
                I hung the phone up without speaking.  I didn’t even need to ask the question.  Nick’s DNA was in the system already.  I was no longer concerned with Moore’s investigations, I marched out of the office and to the interview room. 
                ‘Come on, Moore.’ I yelled.
                Moore put down the telephone and followed me.
                ‘Mr Riches, sign there and you are free to go.  Your information was very useful and you may be called to give evidence.’ 
                I walked quickly out of the door and out of the building.
                ‘Ma’am,’ Moore said.
                ‘Ma’am… Ma’am… Sally!’ he yelled.
                I turned and looked at him.
                ‘Where are we going?’
                ‘Back to Sacha’s flat.’
                I sped off and arrived in very little time.  My head was spinning. 
                ‘Go and visit Jo, here is a picture of Nick, ask him what he knows of this man and his connection to Sacha.’
                I took two stairs at a time and burst into Sacha’s flat.  I tried to place to Nick there but there was nothing.  The place had been tore apart by investigators. 
                I needed something, some sort of evidence.  I went to the kitchen and looked in the cupboard but they were bare.  A lonely tin of beans on one shelf, and an old looking biscuit tin on the second shelf.  I shot on a glove, and stretched for the tin.  The lid came off easily and inside, was a picture of a young Nick, with the victim and a baby girl.  There was also an old looking phone.  I switched it on but it had no sim.  I started searching through the phone in the photos, I came across pictures of me.  At the station, at the supermarket, and even outside my house with my kids.  In the messages, there were saved messages, saying; I’m going to tell Sally everything; you ruined my life and got rid of the one I love, now it’s my turn; say goodbye to your career like Max did; and you’re not going to get away with abandoning me again.
                Moore had entered the kitchen behind me and I held out the phone.  I had to hold in the tears, and shivers ran up and down my spine. 
                ‘Get him in!’ I told Moore as I stormed back to the car.
                I let Moore drive after he had finished on his phone ordering for Nick to be brought in for questioning.               
                ‘So do you want to know what Jo said?’ he asked.
                ‘Sure,’ I said.  ‘What?’
                ‘He said that the man in the picture was Sacha’s boyfriend but he didn’t live here and although he used to be here every night, over the past six months he visited less and less.  He said Sacha said she was pregnant but that the father had been seeing someone else and before she left the area, she was going to ruin his relationship and career, so he knew what it was like.’
                I nodded and gulped back my dread. 
                ‘He also said that he had seen him a few days before Sacha was killed, on the Wednesday, when she died Friday according to forensics, and they were arguing about someone called Max.’

                A sickly feeling came over me.  I had been sucked in by this madman, but so had so many others.  How many lives did Nick have to ruin? 
                ‘Kerry and Ruby, also said Nick paid them to say they were prostituted out by Max, but when it started to get serious and Mac was threatened with a lengthy jail sentence they chickened out.  They were reluctant to talk until I told them Sacha was dead and it was important they told the truth about Max and Nick as we had evidence.  I told them they need to come and make a formal statement.’
                ‘Good!’ I croaked.  ‘I need to speak to him first, Moore.  Unofficially.’
                Moore nodded. 
                I needed to speak to Nick unofficially to tie loose ends up between us, but I agreed not to be involved any further with the investigation and took some holidays.  Nick pleaded with me, he told me how him and Sacha had only had one another for a long time and I felt sorry for them.  How they had never been the same after Jersey and how they felt so close and loved each other, yet they knew it was wrong and tried to break it off but couldn’t. How they became so jealous if one of them was seeing anyone else.  Sacha had found out about him and me, and told him she was going to tell all.  She became unruly and mad with rage, and very vengeful towards him.  He knew she blamed him for Jersey as well as herself, and hadn’t told him she was pregnant again with his child, and he broke down at that point as he had killed both his sister, his lover, and his child. 
                He begged for my forgiveness, but I was upset with myself, that I had been sucked in.  I told him I forgave him, but could never be involved with something so fucked up.  He became angry at that point and tried to defend his relationship.
                ‘You need help, Nick.  Even now you can’t see.  You murdered someone, your own sister, a person you loved.  I don’t even know you or what you are capable of.’

That was the last words I spoke to Nick Mcdonald.  A few months later, I gave birth to his son. 

Hope you enjoyed, laters, Janet :)