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Research!!

Continuing with my writing of the latest book – Fairy Hanny and the Sons of Turenn.

Looking back at the things I referred to yesterday as I worked on the latest chapter…

Other words for Turd…

Lyrics to Nature Boy…

Spelling of Diarrhoea… Lots of possible variations!

Google translate…

Shades of Red…

Varieties of Persian Carpets… Different cities have their own patterns.

Buy the Books!

Hannys first tale

Hannys second tale

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Latest!

I am working on my third story featuring the beautiful Fairy Hanny. As I worked through the latest chapter I found I was researching a lot of things, including @The Whore of Babylon’ and a ‘Lakeland Rill’.

I also had to check my spelling a lot as my mind moves a lot faster than my fingers.

And I came across a delightful riddle that I can use in my Physics classes…

“What moves faster hot or cold?”

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Staying relaxed

Looking for the good in all aspects of life.

I have spent a lot of time over the last year destressing. I had a bad case of Covid-19 just over a year ago. There is a week of my life for which I have very little memory. My temperature was spiking at 41C (about 106 F) and I was hallucinating and being a horrible patient. Since then I quit my teaching job in Azerbaijan and came back home to Merseyside, to be with friends and family.

I keep finding great quotes to help put life into perspective, and I enjoy sharing them here. If any of you keep a blog and you’re looking for some articles to use check out this link.

Enjoy this quote.

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Breathe, stay calm and avoid unnecessary drama. We cannot control other people.

But we can set healthy boundaries to focus on our own needs and protect our peace. It’s up to you to decide how much you’re going to let other people’s behaviour affect you.

Worrying about other people’s behaviours only steals your joy. Direct your energy towards developing your emotional intelligence and living a happier life.

Whenever you find yourself getting frustrated over little things, practice taking a pause to shift your perspective and avoid making the issue bigger than it needs to be.

Write down your thoughts to objectively reflect on the annoyances you face in your everyday life.

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Guilt

We have had a few public holidays here in UK. I celebrated by drinking lots of wine. And I feel guilty. I suppose I have little choice as I was brought up Catholic. By the time I was seven years old I had been convinced that it was my fault that Jesus had been nailed to the cross. That’s the kind of indoctrination Nuns and Priests can instil.

I broke the indoctrination and I still have the guilt. So I was delighted to find this quote on Daily Motivation.

Many of us struggle to overcome the feelings of guilt for past mistakes.

We tend to assume that if we let go of these feelings of guilt and shame, we will end up making the same mistakes again and revert to our old selves.

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That’s not true. Our daily habits make us who we are.

If you appreciate yourself for recognizing where you mess up and put in the effort to reinforce a helpful belief, you will strengthen your ability to overcome guilt.

You now have the chance to do the right thing. Acknowledging your feeling and focusing on growth can help you move on.

Be kind to yourself. The emotional pain of the past will ease with time. “

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Writing and thinking

I love writing!

I am working on the third Fairy Hanny story and my first detective novel featuring Inspector Flaange. I also have some Maths and English books that I am editing, and an outline of a book on Motivation.

I get an email every day with a Daily Motivation. So I will share this one;

You are blessed in so many ways. Live your life with gratitude. Notice the little wins every day. There are so many good things you have already received.

So many things go right in a day.

Savour the good. 

Don’t let the good moments pass without celebration.

Spend some time cherishing them and hold on to positive emotions a little longer. Appreciate the hard work you have put into the things you have achieved until now.

Savour the sensation of being grateful. Learning to notice and enjoy what’s around you makes it easier to snap yourself out of negative thoughts. 

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Be strong!

Whenever the fear of uncertainty creeps in, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that the future is not yet real.

By staying focused on worst-case scenarios, you fail to keep an open mind about the situation at hand. We can only control ourselves in the present moment.

Think of your past experiences. Life has always been full of uncertainty. And you were always able to cope.

You’re now wiser and have more insights on how to deal with things. You are perfectly capable of handling uncertainty.

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Do you need to make some changes in your life?

Signs to look for…

You feel lost or stuck in life

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Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut, and you have lost your purpose? This is a sure sign that a change is needed. Everyone has a purpose, but it is not always easy to identify it. Also, your purpose can change as you get older and go through life’s experiences. So, if you feel like your life is not your own anymore, it is time to make a change.

Your mood is consistently flat

Another sign change is needed is if you find your mood is constantly flat. That is, you do not really enjoy anything anymore. You do not have to feel depressed to make a change, simply feeling constantly flat is another indicator your life is not satisfying.

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Think about the things that used to make you feel good. It could be that you once enjoyed your career. If you now do not like your job, it is a sign you need to make a change to get back to feeling that initial excitement.

You suffer with poor self esteem

Low self-esteem can develop for a lot of distinct reasons. However, it tends to be more prevalent in those who do not take care of themselves. If you lack self-care, you may criticize yourself more or feel like you are not worth much.

Over time, poor self-esteem can lead you to feel like you do not deserve good things in life. This in turn can cause you to give up trying to be happy. If you suffer with poor self-esteem, it is a good sign you need a change.

You have very little energy

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Having little energy throughout the day could be a sign of poor sleep. However, it can also relate to a deeper issue if you are constantly tired. It may mean that you have lost your passion and interest in life. When you spend a lot of time doing things that do not inspire you, it can zap your energy quickly.

So, if you wake up feeling tired and drained consistently, take it as a sign you need more self-care in your life. When you are taking care of yourself, you will feel energized and ready to take on anything.

As you can see, there are a lot of signs that could point to the fact you need a change.

Self-care can really help to improve self-esteem, give you a sense of purpose and help to make you feel happier and more energized. So, if you want to make a change, recognize where your current issues lie and use self-care to eliminate them.

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The First Step to Change is to Recognize it is Needed

I recently went out for the evening in Liverpool, to celebrate an old friends birthday. Before I left home I cooked some Chicken legs, using a homemade marinade. I put them into the oven as I rushed around, tidying my apartment and preparing for the evening. I took the chicken out of the oven and left it to cool on my hob. Then I left home and forgot about it.

I had a great afternoon and evening catching up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen for almost a decade. I suppose that is because I have spent most of the last 15 years travelling and teaching in countries such as China, the UAE, Kazakhstan and Spain. However, we are all still alive and it was great to catch-up. There was a black sense of humour abundantly displayed that evening, with several people commenting that maybe our next gathering will be at someone’s wake..

When I got home I decided to eat a couple of the chicken legs. I could tell there was something not quite right about the two I ate. However, an evening of drinking beer does tend to cloud judgement…

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The first kick back came at 5 am. I woke very early, feeling nauseous. I just about managed to reach the bathroom before being violently ill! I can’t remember the last time I vomited, though I think it was at least 30 years ago. I went back to bed after brushing my teeth and drinking a pint of water.

The joy was repeated at 6 am. This time the retching was also very painful. More toothpaste and more water and back to bed.

At 7.30 am the big one came! I didn’t quite make it into the bathroom this time. And the retching! The dizziness! The light headed feeling! It seemed to go on and on and on…

I finally got out of bed at 11 am. I spent the day drinking water and watching terrible movies on Netflix. I reflected a lot on the sickness that day and over the following week.

I decided I needed to change a few things.

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The First Step to Change is to Recognize it is Needed

If you are struggling to make healthier changes in your life, it could be that you are not convinced a change is needed. Many of us are also great at avoiding change. It tends to be something we dread, rather than look forward to. However, if you want to live your best life, it is imperative you recognize when a change is needed. So, how exactly can you recognize that change is needed in your life?

In my next post I will suggest some of the signs to look for when you need to change.

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Another adventure for Fairy Hanny

I can’t let a week go by without a little bit of self publicity! I corrected the misprint on the back cover, so you missed you chance to get a unique copy!

Hanny is still the heroine, despite the shenanigans of Ken Tucky and Wayne Downe, the two Elfs of some renown. They speak Elvisthank you very much!

The First Adventure of Fairy Hanny is still available on Amazon. However that will soon be updated too, as I now use a new email address to access KDP. It will also mean a new cover too.

I am now learning how to link the books as a series on Amazon, though I am not 100% sure I will do it properly. I will keep you updated.

Meanwhile checkout Strange Things From Uranus. It is a very funny story. When I originally wrote it I didn’t see the link between my title and that wonderful American expression STFU!

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Stay focused

I’ve been reading a lot recently about motivation, inspiration and focus. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my past, missed opportunities and some of the crazy things I’ve said and done.

Now I am forgiving myself so I can move forward with my writing, teaching and online business. That might explain why this meme appealed to me;

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Just do it!

Today I was talking with an old friend about creativity. She had just had an argument with her mother along the lines of ‘why don’t you get a real job’.

Anna is an artist I met in Almaty. We have been friends for almost 8 years now. She is planning 6 new exhibitions this year, now that covid restrictions are lifting in Kazakhstan. I am working on three new books! We talked about the way many of the people in my past ridiculed my desire to write, telling me to just be happy as a teacher.

The funny thing is, I am happy as a teacher. And I also love creative writing! I have two books on Amazon, and there will be more by the end of this year. I have my heroine, Fairy Hanny, who lives in a strange world of Elf’s, Pixy’s, trolls and time travellers. I also have the black humour of my crime series, Inspector Hunter Flaange and his partner Jason Beaver. Then I have my travel diaries from Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Azerbaijan. Plus the semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in the 70’s, 80′, and now, called Going to California.

I found this quote from DailyMotivation. I wish I had it 30 years ago.

“You have to believe that you can do it. Out of all the obstacles you will face in your life, a lack of belief in yourself is the biggest one.

Unless you believe in your abilities, you will limit yourself no matter how great the opportunities are around you.

Being confident gives you a feeling of certainty that you’ll figure it out somehow and make the situation work for you. Choose to be confident.

You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. Take the moment and make the best of it.”

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A friend of mine from Kazakhstan has just had to give up her job. She was working in a big restaurant in Dubai, and has now returned to Almaty to look after her mother. Over the last few years Mom’s eyesight has been deteriorating. Now she is completely blind. Manshuk has taken Mom to various hospitals and even went to see a German Ophthalmologist who was working at a clinic in Astana.

Nothing is working, and there is no cure.

I found this quote as a way to help Manshuk through these tough times.

“Things can change for the better very quickly. Don’t get discouraged because of what you’re going through right now. You do have the strength to keep on living.

Life will give you a chance to smile again. Trust that life has more in store for you than just sadness and misery.

Shift your focus from the paralyzing negative thoughts to helpful thoughts that calm you down. Let go of things you cannot control.

Remaining hopeful is a practice. Open up to the possibility of positive change. 

There is a whole world waiting for you on the other side of pain. 

Good things are coming.”

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Am I getting stressed?

Ok I am back in the UK, and I have a temporary job as a College Lecturer, teaching basic Mathematics. Now I am looking ahead to the next academic year. What should I do? Should I hope for an extension of this contract or secure another International Post?

Thailand looks good…

Anyway, I thought I would share another idea from the daily Motivation team. This is a problem I have with strangers. I either clam up and say nothing, or I give them my life story in 2 minutes!

Let me know what you think.

“Feelings of anxiety, poor boundaries, or attempting to be more relatable can lead to oversharing. Talking impulsively can have some unpleasant consequences.

You might say the wrong thing, or make other people feel awkward by sharing intimate details of your life.

Moreover, excessive self-disclosure to the wrong person can lead them to take advantage of you. Be mindful and embrace whatever each moment brings with a calm attitude.

Active listening will allow you to pay attention to social cues and be more aware of how people are reacting.”

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Cut down on what you worry about each day.

 Very few things actually matter in life. Simply focus on those things and let everything else go.

Worrying about things you have no control over disrupts your overall wellbeing and erodes your life satisfaction. Decide what matters to you right now.

Protect your peace by controlling your attitude and the things you tell yourself.

Each day, take time to be still and reflect on different aspects of your life so you never lose sight of what truly matters to you.

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Trans Uranic Elements

Don’t forget, this is still available on Amazon. Get it before I do the update on the jacket blurb. There is a spelling mistake, so if you get it now you will get the rare copy!

The Dark Side of Uranus https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09SL7VMXB?psc=1&smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&ref_=chk_typ_imgToDp
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Thought for today

I’ve been working a lot on my latest book in the Fairy Hanny series, so I took my eye away from my blogs. Suddenly a few weeks have gone and nothing has been submitted.

Then I started to get some emails in saying ‘daily motivation’ and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of them. Here we go…

“Life never stops moving. Every stage of your life will push you to adapt and grow. You can’t really go back to your old self.

You may retain some aspects of your old self, but you have to acknowledge that you’re not the same person anymore.

The experiences you have gone through have shifted you from who you used to be. Focus on growing from the lessons learned and embracing who you are now.

Develop a sense of gratitude for how things are in the present.

Honour your journey.”

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TransUranic Elements:The Dark Side of Uranus

When I was very young I heard this song being played on an LP by Steeleye Span. (For the youngsters -LP means Long Playing vinyl record.) It stuck in my head and many years later came out as part of my inspiration for this second book featuring Fairy Hanny. It is an old English folk song. Bedlam was the name given to Bethlem Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in London. It was deemed a hospital for the insane in the fifteenth century, though these days we would say it deals with people who have extreme mental health issues.

At one time wealthy people would pay to visit the hospital to watch the lunatics, a sad case of modern day car crash addictions. Google Bedlam to find out more.

Bedlam boys

For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam, 10,000 years I’d travel
Mad Magdalene goes on dirty toes, to save her shoes from gravel.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

Her staff has murdered giants; her bag a long knife carries
For to cut mince pies from children’s thighs, with which to feed the Fairies.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

I went down to Steven’s kitchen, for to beg me food one morning
There I got Soles piping hot, all on the spit a turning.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

No gypsy slut nor doxy shall win my Mad Tom from me
I’ll weep all night, the stars I’ll fight, the fray will well become me.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

There I picked up a cauldron, where boiled 10,000 harlots
Though full of flame I drank the same, to the health of all such varlets.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

Spirits white as lightning, shall on my travels guide me
The moon would quake and the stars would shake, when’ ere they espied me.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

It’s when next I have murdered, the Witch King into powder
His staff I’ll break, his dog I’ll bake, there’ll howl no demon louder.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no Drink nor money
.

So, Drink to Tom of Bedlam, he’ll fill the seas in barrels
I’ll Drink it all, all brewed with gall, with Mad Magdalene I will travel.

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Another extract for your entertainment

One of the joys of writing a book is that you have in effect created a whole series of blogposts! Here is another extract from my latest book.

The original, which introduced the delightful Fairy Hanny, is also available on Amazon.

Enjoy!

“So, as we sip our cold beers, brewed to perfection in silly Suffolk, our eyes are cast upon this beautiful woodland glade.  

(Don´t worry about the cast in your eye, you´ll grow out of it. Well, that’s what the doctor said to me.)

At this very moment, in what we choose to call Time, we find ourselves watching a scene unfolding, not too far from the Magical City of Setebos, the seat of the Fairy Kings, where King Innocent the Foetid is the centre of all wisdom, on a planet largely devoid of common sense. It is also devoid of incense, ten cents and senescence.

Setebos!

Setebos!

City of expiring dreams and chocolate covered ice creams! Where poets die and crooner’s cry! Though it’s not unusual and you don’t have to be rich! A place for doves to cry and spies to spy! Where watching birds can catch your eye! A city for tourists and two men with four wrists! Where boozers booze and cruisers cruise! Where the Fairies are light and airy, and nothing is dreary! And if you want to go home just find a Gnome! If things get too tricksy just find a Pixy! Where Bigfoot sits Leery whilst eating a canary!

Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!

Was it a yellowy canary or just a parrot looking scary?

Cities all over the Multiverse and Yorkshire have their concentrations of rogues and villains and scum and scavengers and Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, and Thugs and Yobs and Yahoos and Bullingdon Bores and Lying Bigots dressed in Blue; wherever you go you can be sure they’re there! And if you don´t know where you are going then you will definitely end up on Uranus.

Setebos -Your streets are paved with a Golden Vision and there are golden showers everywhere; your bars are decorated with lasciviousness; there are pretty Fairies all over the place; but sometimes the sky is grey, and we wonder how tomorrow could ever follow today. City of perspiration and inspiration, of expiration and exploitation, of generation and a railway station! Oh Setebos, Mother of Invention and Zapper of negativity, even when it doesn’t pull you through. When the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness comes running through, that is when we see what is owed to Autumn, when the trees do a shimmy of golden-brown leaves falling all around.

Then we know it’s Time to be on our way.

Anyway, on this most auspicious of days, the Sun shines her long-lost rays into this comfortable clearing, dancing from leaf to leaf, roots to branches, catching diaphanous wings of Mayfly’s, who hunt the wilderness for their one day of fame, seeking insectile eroticism before death takes them prematurely to the great Entomologists Display Case in the sky.

A leaf falls silently from the highest branch of a Rowan tree, oscillating left and right as the drag competes with gravity to slow its descent. It caresses the ground like a kiss from a rose, delighting a woodlouse in its humdrum day of decay. A beautiful white rabbit pops into the scene, slowly rubbing shampoo from his eyes; he wasn’t going to worry about being late as this is not the tale of his tail. Soon those stinging eyes perceive a flickering ghostly image, which becomes a shimmer and a glimmer as the light gets dimmer. The rabbit scurries away to a hole in the ground, from which there will eventually emerge a Magnificent Mathematical Yarn – but that’s another story. As the rabbit disappears with his ears, from the twinkling manifestation, appears the delicately roguish Mad Tom of Bedlam; wild silver hair and deep blue eyes trying their best to regain focus.”

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More from Fairy Hanny

I am very happy to say I just published my second book on Amazon. So for the next week or so I will be promoting my work – just like I said I would on this blog!!

The story is the second in the series featuring my heroine, Fairy Hanny. She is a tough go-getter, and also stunningly beautiful. A sort of Amazonian with wings! The first book is also available on Amazon, and I am working on the third in this series.

I thought some extracts might amuse people. So here we go.

“Things are not as they should be on Uranus (I´m sure you know the feeling); someone is fiddling with Time; jiggling about with the quantization of wormholes (how many would you like Madam?); disturbing the elasticated fabric of the raggedy arsed eternal soldier as he wends his way through the Political Battles of Carpathian Princes pretending to be Vlad reincarnated. Maybe it was God playing dice with the Universe, though Albert said there was no chance of that happening. Maybe God was spinning a roulette wheel with a few Russians and they were betting on red all the Time. Yet still Wolfgang said no chance my good man.

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!

Turn and turn and turn and turn…

Another turn around the wheel!”

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Extract – The sons of Turenn

Well it is out there. The next instalment of the Tales of Fairy Hanny.

TransUranic Elements: The Dark Side of Uranus.

And now I am working on the third book, so I am putting a section here, for your entertainment. Enjoy.

First one is still there too..

The Death of Kian.

“What was it that led you to kill the mullet headed Kian?”

A great question.

So great Hanny had to ask several times.

Before her sat the sons of Turenn, now united in sporting Curly perms. Though it could be said that Dennis had developed his look to be something like a curly mullet. And Wayne had grown his hare back. They sat there, dressed in orange and green, though sometimes they dressed in black and tan, especially when being total bastards.

“Alright!”

“Alright!”

“Alright!”

Came three answers of sorts. Hanny thought they were about to shout, ‘Baby Jump’.

Hanny looked upon her new companions with awe. Bodies sculptured to impress the ladies; faces sculptured to win any gurning contest. Why was nature so cruel?

Gorgeous women with pea sized brains.

Physicists lacking social skills.

Politicians lying for a living while claiming to help.

Celibate priests buggering about.

And Princes raping young girls at twelve million quid a time.

There are strange things and strange worlds and strange rules and strange things from Uranus.

The sons of Turenn sat at the great table. They had been eating for hours and now the chicken legs, racks of ribs, Olives and jelly’s had all but disappeared. It was time to dismiss the rest of the revellers and reveal their revelations. Time to confess their misdeeds, without admitting the truth to All and Sundry, especially on Sunday. After all, All was one of the biggest gossips in the Turenn Household, and Sundry was a right twat.

Hanny would be thrilled to hear the truth, if it ever came out. Though coming out as the ‘truth’ was not quite the same as living in a closet.

So it came to pass, alack and alas, that Kian wanted to pass through the Lands of Turenn, on a secret mission to the west, at someone’s bequest though we don’t know the rest. He knew his ridiculous mullet would make him recognisable to anyone in the Turenn tribe. So, he conjured up a little bit of that old black magic, the type keeps you in its spell, that old black magic that you know so well. Then with a whiz and a biz and a fizz Kian turned himself into a pig. In more recent years it has become common place for Politicians to familiarise themselves with pigs, though at the time of Kian it was a novel approach; he wrote a book about it.

Kian, disguised as a pig, believed he could tootle his trotters across the Land of Turenn and continue with his mysterious quest.

“Stupid fecker,” said Brian. “As if we wouldn’t notice a pig with a mullet!”

Thus, it was that Brian, Dennis and Wayne chased the pig with the mullet and speared it. Then they ate fresh pork chops that night, having first buried the entrails in the local dung hill to keep the dogs away.

As he lay dying the pig/Kian cursed the sons of Turenn.

“At first I thought he had ‘spare’ wounds,” explained Wayne. “I am dyslexic, even though such a diagnosis does not exist in the Legendary Land of Faery. What could be so bad about a ‘spare’ wound? Hey how many wounds have you got? Any spare ones so I don’t have to go over the top?”

Hanny looked perplexed.

“When I realised they meant ‘spear’ wounds, I knew things could be falat!” continued Wayne.

“Falat?” asked Hanny.

“He means fatal,” said Dennis. “The dumb fuck can’t even say his lines dead proper.”

“Falat – that’s what I said!” said Wayne.

“That pork was rather tasty,” smiled Brian.

“You can’t beat fresh Prok,” agreed Wayne.

“Anyway, once we had scoffed the lot and stored some Kian sausages in the freezer, we got an angry call from Lugh,” explained Brian.

“Where is my mullet headed son?” cried Lugh.

“We turned him into pork scratchings,” laughed Dennis.

Lugh was as angry as Rottweiler on speed.

“Nobody kills my kin or my grunters!” shouted Lugh, for he was sad at the death of his dad.

And so it was that the sons of Turenn were beckoned to the High King Daffte at Tara to say goodbye to their freedom.

They admitted to their guilt at eating the porcine father of Lugh, but hey, a bit of crackling never did any harm. And what of the battle of the hairdo’s? To pay or not to pay, was that the question?

“Oh, wonderful King Daffte, what is so wrong about spearing a pig, even though it is sporting a mullet?” asked Brian.

Brian suggested that maybe an avant-garde pig keeper was very fond of mullets on his pigs. How were they to know? If a pig specialist had decided on interesting hair styles for his charges, how were the sons of Turenn to distinguish between black magic Kian and an audacious swineherd? The sons of Turenn felt they had won a logistical victory.

King Daffte turned to Lugh.

“What do you reckon? Reasonable mistake? Especially as they ate the pork!” said Daffte

Lugh lifted a pint of fine dark ale and cried copiously into his beer.

“Oh, marvellous King. Lord of Lords and owner of swords! Dou you have any boards? Or rope we can call cords? Or sections of circles, also chords, though spelt dead different?” screamed Lugh. “These twats murdered and barbecued my Old Man! They should die! Die! Di diddly eye tie die die!”

Daffte was not so daft.

“It could have been a genuine mistake. Some of the swineherds have taken to sending their pigs to hairdressers to smarten them up. A pig with a mullet is not that unusual these days,” said Daffte. “I tell you what; you suggest a punishment for these lads. It can’t be outright death, though it could be a fatal task!” said Daffte.

Lugh sat alone on his seat of stone and munched and mumbled on a bare old bone.

“Are you excited?” asked Daffte.

Daft question.

Lugh was planning his revenge.

“I have a list of eight tasks to complete,” declared Lugh. “If they get the lot done then I can forgive them, Plus I will be better off too and I can mourn my old fella.”

“Did your cock drop off?” asked Daffte.

The sons of Turenn, Brian, Dennis and Wayne, huddled together for a few minutes. They stood and looked directly to King Daffte.

“Whatever,” said Brian. “Whatever this knob end asks, we will do it.”

“Wow!” declared Daffte.

“We are Rick hard! Hard as Nials!” declared Wayne.

“Do you mean as hard as Nials the Merciless?” asked the King.

“No, I mean as hard as nials you knock into wood with a hamour!” said Wayne.

“Seems a little fishy,” said the King.

Hanny decided it was time for a parse into the narrative. Was it ok to make fun of dyslexics? She decided it was ko and let the story continue; it would still be a knockout.

“Ok what is the list of the tasks?” asked Hanny.

Brian, the oldest son of Turenn, stood with his hands behind his back, as though he was about to recite a poem about Father William.

He looked toward the ceiling, which was a wonderful counterpart to the walls.

“We have to collect three apples, the skin of a pig, a magical spear, a chariot with two horses, seven swine, a hound, a cooking spit, and then give three shouts on a hill,” he explained.

“It sounds straightforward enough,” said Hanny.

“Really?”

“Yes!”

“Well, every single one is magic and none are in Faery!” said Dennis.

“Feckity feck! More travel!” shouted Hanny.

“Lots more travail,” said Wayne.

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Fairy Hanny and the Sons of Turenn

This is the third book featuring Fairy Hanny. For this one I am reaching into a story from my Celtic heritage to place Hanny into an old myth. I will put some extracts from work in progress here.

Across the Universe.

” I take it you’re bored Hanny,” suggested Mad Tom with a face like an Alsatian licking piss from a nettle.

“Too firkin right Tommy boy! I have hunted Witches, Trolls and Ogres, and aided a Pixy in his quest to defeat the Ceramics! I watched the beheading of a beautiful Witch and the trepidations of a winking wan King! And now I am attempting to help a dilettante Monarch come to terms with his overeating and personal hygiene issues! Give me a sword and a quest and I will be a hero!” said the rousing Fairy.

“Maybe you need a Heroine Quest,” asked Magdalene.

“Is that the same as a Hero Quest?” asked Hanny.

“Similar but it comes in a different box,” explained Tom, proving once and for all that he is totally Mad.

Hanny continued to sit up in her chair at the table near the bar.

“Do you crave another adventure?” enquired Tom.

Adventure!

Curing Piles!

Closing down a RING!

Watching Gremlins paint the town red!

Aiding a Pixy overdosing on magic underpants!

Now that was an adventure!!

“Is there some other crazy Witch or Warlock or Wizard or Warden wanting to disturb the flow of Time across the Universe?” asked Hanny.

“There always is some eejit plotting such a ruse, but that’s not what we need you for this Time,” said Tom. “This Time we need you to transfer to another Time and another place and another land. To a Time out of Time to lend a hand to a band of brothers,” continued Tom. “We need you to go to the Land of Faery, to the days before days, to fight evil ways and prevent the malaise that lays over the sons of Turenn. To a place where magic fills the air and it’s hard to find a chair when you go to the pub on Friday.”

“What?”

“To days of old where Knights are bold and beds are cold and slaves are sold and put in a hold!”

“What?”

“We need you in days gone by, where eyes will cry and the Autumn moon will light your way!”

“What?”

Mad Magdalene began her shimmering dance, her translucent skirts flowing and blowing and growing.

“Still I sing; Bonny boys, Bedlam boys are bonny!” she sang.

Hanny had survived fire and ice and things not nice. She had danced topless to stir some life into a dead Kings todger. She wanted chapter and verse if she was to cross the universe. What is it they wanted her to actually do?

Tom asked Magdalene to pause her dancing as it was a fabulous narrative effect, a potential Dickensian cliff-hanger.

Sadly, it didn’t work.

And so the two danced very closely together, without music. On observation Hanny could tell they danced the tango as they slapped each other’s faces. Magdalene rose with a smile across her rosy red cheeks.

“Hanny! Hanny! Hanny!” she said.

“There is only one of me!” said Hanny.

“Of course, you’re unique,” agreed Magdalene. “But Hanny; we friends on the Isle of Faery that need your help. They are the Sons of Turenn. Lugh has set them a series of tasks to complete and they could do with someone with a bit of intelligence to join them to achieve success and not get killed. Please say you will help us again Hanny.”

“The sons of who? Is that one of the big Fairy families in Setebos?”

“No, it is in Eiran and the Isles of Faery.”

“Here, put this on,” said Tom as he handed her a Donkey Jacket, which matched perfectly with her boots.

“Why have you given me this?” asked Hanny.

“It’s what they wear where we’re going,” said Tom.

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Establish Your Nightly Routine & Stick To It

Human beings thrive on routine. If you are a parent, you know how true this is. And while most of us will do a good job setting and sticking to a routine for our kids, we don’t do as well for ourselves. It’s time to change that. Let’s talk about what you can do to establish a nightly routine and how you can stick to it until it becomes a habit.

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It all starts with the decision to get a better night’s sleep. And you do it with a daily routine that includes getting into bed at the same time each day – including weekends. It also helps to get up roughly at the same time each morning. Sleeping in a little when you get the chance is fine, but don’t make it more than an hour or two so you can still fall asleep at the appropriate time. That might sound hard at first, but the more you stick to your routine, the easier it will become. After a few weeks it will become a habit. You’ll know you’re close when you start to wake up a few minutes before your alarm.

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Going to bed and waking up at the same time are the cornerstones of your routine, but you don’t want to stop there. What you do in the hour or so before bed can make a big difference in how easy it is to fall asleep and how soundly you’ll sleep through the night. There is a lot you can do to set yourself up for a good night’s rest. A warm bath, reading a book, leaving your phone in the living room …

Take a moment to sketch out your ideal night time routine. Keep it simple and start small. What are two or three things you can do consistently before you go to bed at night? This could be brushing your teeth and washing your face. It could also be lighting a candle and reading or journaling for a few minutes right before bed. Or how about sipping a cup of herbal tea?

Write down our first take at a bedtime routine and try it out. How did it feel? What works for you, what does not? It’s okay to make changes over time and tweak it as needed. The only rules are to stick to your bedtime and to eventually land on a routine you can stick with until it becomes an automatic habit.

Once you’ve found your routine you should stick to it for a few months. After that you can make the occasional exception. You’ll be surprised how much easier it will be to fall asleep with a good bedtime routine in place.

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Relax Your Body With A Warm Bath Or Gentle Stretches

More ideas to help you sleep. Then when you wake up you are ready to concentrate on the day ahead.

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The key to a good night sleep is being able to relax in the hour or two before you climb into bed. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your body is relaxed, your mind will follow. There’s a lot you can do to relax at night. Read a good book, meditate. But two that are particularly helpful both physically and mentally are a warm bath and stretching. Let’s look at those and how you can include them into your bedtime routine.

How Stretching Helps You Sleep At Night

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Doing some gentle stretches or a little relaxing yoga can be a great addition to your nighttime routine. The key here is gentle. This isn’t a workout. It’s part of relaxing and getting your body ready for sleep. Roll those shoulders, work out the kinks in your neck, and stretch those limbs.

You can find plenty of stretching and yoga videos online. While it’s usually a bad idea to use screens at night, you can use them for a few evenings until you get the routine down. Or, if you are familiar with the concepts and can do so safely, feel free to come up with something individual that works for you. After all, we don’t always carry tension in the same parts of our bodies each day.

Pay attention to how you feel when you get into bed after spending a few minutes stretching first. Does your body feel warmer? More relaxed? That’s what will make falling asleep much easier and you end up with better rest.

The Benefits Of A Warm Nighttime Bath (or Shower)

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Another great habit to get into is taking a warm bath or shower at night. Not only does it feel good to be clean when you slip between the sheets, it also helps relax your muscles, your body, and even your mind. You can even combine it with gentle stretches.

There’s an additional benefit that has to do with some of the processes inside our body as we transition from being awake to asleep. When you sleep, your body temperature lowers. This is closely connected with feeling sleepy. In your brain falling asleep and a drop in body temperature go together. Taking a warm bath taps into that connection and hacks it to your benefits. Take a warm bath or shower an hour before you’re going to bed. Make sure it’s long enough to warm you up. A minimum of ten minutes is good. Then, as you lay in bed, that temperature slowly starts to drop, making you feel a little drowsy and ready to fall asleep. Give it a try. You’ll be sold.

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A bit more from Teds and Beatniks

Just then there was a noise.

“Sorry about that; flatulence is a family trait,” said Ken.

“Noses run in my family,” said Wayne slapping his thigh with glee.

Just then there was a noise.

“Bloody Time travellers. Can’t you keep things straight?” shouted Hanny.

“Did we just skip that bit?” asked Ken.

Just then there was a noise.

“Oh, for firkin feckity fecks sake will you stop with your stupid games Tom!” demanded Magdalene.

“It isn’t me!” protested Tom.

Just then there was a noise.

And in that instant there emerged four grotesque Teddy Bears, seemingly from Nothing.

“Feck!” said Tom. “How did they get here?”

Tom was taken aback and Hanny was taken a’front, while the Elves were taken a’sideways. Magdalene stared with keen interest at the four emerging Ursines.

Dressed in drape coats, tight jeans, white shirts, Bootlace ties adorned with silver and gold, crepe shoes and hair slicked up into a ducks arse, these were Teddy Boy Teddy Bears. Menacing claws and insanely sharp teeth made them different to the ordinary Teds that will appear sometime in another History. By the looks in their fierce red eyes it was clear they had a particular dislike for Tom and Magdalene.

Why?

The Teds are Time travellers too, but they only travel one way. Which is interesting really because if you’re going forward or backward you are still only going one way at a Time. It was infuriating to these guys that Tom and Magdalene could travel in whatever direction they wanted and yet the Teds could only go one way.

Now if you were to ask a layman (not necessarily a man who lays) his opinion on how Time travels he would give one of the following answers.

  1. To the left, to the right and up.
  2. On a bus, on a train, on a plane.

To Tom and Magdalene both answers are true. Tom once carried a watch from Ipswich on the National Express, all the way to London Liverpool Street, across to Heathrow and then on a flight to Doha just to show that answer number two makes great sense.

We digress. (Actually it is just the author who digresses and tries to put in stupid Physics jokes, explained Mad Tom of Bedlam)

Did Tom just come back from the future to rewrite this bit?

We knew he would.

“Well, well, well!” said the first of the four bears.

Tom looked him the eye.

“There are five of us,” he stated.

“Well, well, well, well, well!” the bear corrected himself. “If it isn’t Insane Tom of Bedlam with his Motley Crew. Though I must say those two Elves look more like a couple of hors d’oeuvres to me! A fortuitous plop in the stitch of Time dropped me and my boys right on top of you!”

“You’re actually several metres away,” corrected Tom. “And yet it is always lovely to see you Rutherford. Where have you been up to?”

The Gang of Four bears grinned like foxes licking piss from a nettle.

This could be trouble, thought Tom. Should I stay or should I go. If I go it could be double. He considered the chances of his crew surviving a smackdown with these guys. The Elves would be out in seconds, ripped apart by the ferocious claws of these roughie toughie bears. Hanny could handle herself.

Tom recognised all four of the Teds.

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Beside the apparent leader who called himself Rutherford, a rather positive bear by all accounts, there was the gimpy one called Planck, the neutral one called Chadwick , and the philatelist Thomson who could be quite negative at times. Alone each would be easy to tear down, but their combined mass could change the future of the Universe – well this one anyway.

Magdalene could make a plank out of Planck and shove Chadwick in a wave tank. That would leave Thomson and Rutherford for Tom and Hanny. Things looked good.

“I see you’re working on the possibilities,” said Planck.

“Have you been reading ahead?” asked Tom.

“There is always that chance,” said Planck.

“Then that is unfair,” said Tom.

“You should see what we do in the woods! Now that’s not fair or funny!”

All the bears laughed at this one, clearly an in joke amongst the Ursines.

Insane Tom looked to all four bears. It was hard to tell how they would react. He knew them well through many millennia of pointless conflicts. Rutherford could be positive, Thomson was always negative and Chadwick was neither here nor there. And as for Planck – he was constant.

The Teds moved forward.

Tom and Hanny stepped back; Hanny drew her sword.

“This is not time for an art class,” said Tom.

Magdalene slipped almost unnoticed to the side.

Thomson stared at Wayne with eyes that could scare a monster.

“I just want to be your Teddy Bear,” laughed Thomson.

Ken shat himself.

Magdalene tossed some travel gravel to Tom.

Hanny, who by now felt angry enough to take on all four Teds, saw the flying stones as an act of betrayal. No way was she going to be left here to be ripped to shreds by these Bastard Bears as Tom and his bird sailed back in Time to start the adventure all over again. How many times have they led me to my death, she wondered?

“Feck this,” said Hanny and readied herself to charge.

Just then there was a noise.

“Not this bollocks again!”

And in a flash Tom and Magdalene were back but looking different. They stood in black jeans, black leather jackets, black berets, black T-shirts, black pumps and black sunglasses. It was like a scene from Schiphol Airport. Black everywhere.

“Hey, look at you Rutherford, you’re a shape in a drape!” said Magdalene.

“Claws sharp too,” said Tom.

“I don’t like the look of Planck; has he got bright disease?” asked Magdalene.

“And that Thomson looks like a Gin Mill Cowboy, I hope he isn’t Dixie Fried,” drolled Tom.

“I see you cats are interviewing your brains, so maybe I will leave you alone,” crooned Magdalene.

“I hope you know your groceries so you can noodle it out before you get a zonk on the head. You’re slated for crashville, and you will be toast!” declared Extremely Irate Tom.

“Focus your audio Rutherford!” said Magdalene.

“I think he’s got X-ray eyes,” said Tom.

The Teds, staggered back slowly, heads flipping side to side, looking for assurances from each other.  Tom and Magdalene slouched toward the Teds, hands sliding up and down their black leather jeans, heads tilted, sunglasses glinting in the sun.

“Hey baby this is a groove! What are you doing Daddy-O? Black leather, black leather, crash, crash, crash!” they sang in unison. “Black leather, black leather, bash, bash, bash!”

Rutherford stood up so tall he looked like a new clear model; Thomson ate a plum pudding; Chadwick waved goodbye; Planck decided he would be the only constant in this Fearsome Foursome.

Then shazam!! They were gone!

“Wow! What the flying feck just happened?” asked Hanny.

Tom and Magdalene broke into hysterical laughter, doing high fives, low fives and five bob should pay for it all.

“We’re Beatniks baby girl-O. We moved with the man with a plan and bam! We threw those babies out of the balcony. They are used-to-Be’s! Gone, Gone, Gone! Hit me with a groove sweet thing!  Teds are gone. Those guys just don’t like Beatniks.”

“That was Magic!” said Wayne.

“Has anyone got any toilet paper?” said Ken.

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Dealing With Stray Thoughts & Worries At Nighttime

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Do you ever have one of those nights when you can’t turn your mind off and end up tossing and turning? We all have days and nights when our busy minds and worries keep us up. Thankfully there are some simple strategies you can employ to deal with them, leaving you to enjoy the remainder of your night in restful slumber. Let’s look at a few you can try whenever you need them.

Distract Yourself

If you had a rough day or are going through stressful times, it can help to distract yourself before bed. Read a good book. Watch a movie. Catch up on your favorite show, or play a video game in the hours before bed. For the last hour or two before you lay down, it’s best to avoid screens. Reading or listening to a podcast or some engaging music are great ways to distract yourself. Or how about a good conversation with a loved one, or some private time with your spouse? Get your mind off what’s worrying you and do what you can to leave it until the next morning.

Journal Before Bed

If I can’t sleep I get up and write down the things that are bothering me

If you can’t quite distract yourself, it’s not a bad idea to face and acknowledge what’s worrying you. Take out a notebook and journal for a page or two. It will help you process whatever is going on in your life. And by writing it down and getting it all out before bed, it can help clear your mind.

Journaling isn’t a quick pill fix. It can take some time to see the long-term benefits. Give it a few weeks and see if it’s something that works for you. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and one night of journaling is enough to calm that busy, anxious mind. After all you only have a page, some ink and a few minutes of your time to lose on this simple exercise.

Nighttime Meditation

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If journaling isn’t your thing, or it isn’t quite enough to help on its own, try meditating. Meditation any time of the day is a great way to bring calm to your day and reduce stress. It’s particularly helpful right before bed.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re anxious and worried when it’s time to go to sleep, mediating can help you shift into a calmer, more centered and present state. Short, guided meditations are especially helpful for beginners. Find one online, plug in your earbuds and give it a try.

Keep A Notepad On Your  Night Table

Last but not least, here’s something anyone can do. Go find a little notebook, a notepad, or a piece of scrap paper. Put it along with a pen or pencil on your nightstand. When your mind gets busy about all the things you need to do the next day, or something pops up that you don’t want to forget, write it down. It gives great peace of mind and may be just what you need to fall asleep.

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A bit more from ‘Trans-Uranic elements.

This book should be on Amazon by the end of January 2022. Here is a little bit for your entertainment.

Of Teds and Beatniks.

Meanwhile back in the fart filled foetid swamps of Witchland.

The influence of the Thinking winking wan King of the Witches can be smelt emanating from the rotten Dahlias of Doom, like the putrid cabbage smell derived from certain family members who really ought to see a doctor and get it sorted. Our Five Fearful Fellows forge forward through this phantasmagorical fantasy fuelled fable.

Mad Magdalene goes on dirty toes to save her shoes from gravel.  Irate Tom of Bedlam is looking remarkably spry for a man of his indeterminate age. Ken and Wayne, never the smartest of shroom cultivators, are somewhat bedraggled, and are finding the oppressive nature of the swampy woods rather takes away their joy of shouting ‘Wurlitzer!’

Oh! how they didn’t laugh.

These two pesky varmints were known for the japes and capes and jokes and pokes; they normally frolicked like new-born lambs in a cataclysm of clichés. Now it was more likely they would just say ‘frolics to it all’.

And what of Fairy Hanny?

Well, it will be of no great surprise to realise that this stoic Handmaiden of the Fat King Innocent, Carried on Regardless. She would have preferred to Carry on Cruising with her cousin Mutch; however, she’d accept she would have to Carry on Camping with this bunch of buffoons. The swamp wood was depressing, and she understood that soon they would have to Carry on up the Jungle in order to locate the Castle of Grumbleflick. Her only real concern just now related to the creepy looks she sometimes got from Ken Tucky; looks that said he’d like to Carry on up the Khyber.

What a Carry On!

And then there were the Carrion. Vultures without Cultures, Eagles eating Beagles, Magpies with Stag pies, and Ravens with cravings for tomato chutney; waiting (waiting), waiting for you!

Then one day, one special day they passed that way, and spoke of many things, of fools and Kings, and Cabbages and things. The air grew less tiresome as the land rose slowly from the swampy stuff and the land beneath their feet began to dry out. There was a slight rise in ground level allowing for precipitation to run off to lower points, which is a sort of gravity thing, water tending to fall downhill except when it can flow up hill. Which is never. Except when you get the kiss of Poseidon. The dead Dahlias had disappeared to be replaced by more charming flowers such as the periwinkle, foxglove and red-hot poker.

“We must be in the Land O’Bloom,” said a Slightly miffed Tom of Bedlam.

“How do you know that?” asked Wayne.

“Two things; I’ve been here before; and there is a sign up ahead that says, ‘Welcome to the Land O’Bloom’.”

“So does that mean we’ve all been here before?” asked Ken.

“We have all been here before!” stated the existential Magdalene.

“If I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do!” said Hanny.

“Excuse me?”

“If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel I would probably know how to deal with all of you!”

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“She always says that” declared Tom. “Gives me a distinct sense of Deja vu.”

Hanny paused – she sensed she’d been through this conversation before.

The practical side took control.

“So, I take it that means we’re now not too far from the Castle of Grumbleflick the Witch king and therefore the Witch Iz.  We can get in there, destroy her Time pulsing RING, save Uranus and get back to Fairy Mutch?”

Tom sniffed. The damp of the swamp had given him a slight chill, so he was trying to prevent having a silvery line of snot laying across his philtrum. Hanny thought he was being derisive.

“Are you being derisive Tom? If so don’t blame me if your meat and two veg part company!” threatened Hanny.

“Just a snotty nose,” replied the sinus infected traveller.

Poor choice of words in his reply. Hanny was well known for her sense of superiority (and her big tits).

“Are you implying that I am a conceited arrogant Fairy?” she asked.

“Tut tut!” said Magdalene, “this happened next week as well. No dear he has a slight head cold due to the inclement conditions; he is trying to prevent the nasal mucus from besmirching his upper lip. Hence the sniff.”

Hanny glared a glaring glare. She slowly allowed her anger to ebb away, assuming the adverse conditions and the impending threat of death were starting to get to her temper.

“Conceited arrogant bitch,” muttered Magdalene.

The Land O’Bloom was developing as something of a macabre tourist destination. Way off to the east in the land of the Fairies, Pixy’s, Elves, Dwarfs and Orcs were far more settled. The Orcs had mostly given up the practice of eating others, preferring instead to spread fear as Financial Advisors and Tax Inspectors. Yes, there were occasional bouts of silliness when the Gremlins got out of hand, or if a Twisty Headed Fire Dragon went on the rampage; but generally, things were super safe. Even the attempted coup by the Trolls and the raising of the Trolletariat had faded to nothing eventually; just slightly better conditions for those that live under bridges.

Here in Witchland there were genuine scary things to see and be frightened by. Vampyres, Zombies and Witches patrolled the streets, whilst having their photographs taken with and by the tourists, occasionally marking out some unfortunate soul who would not be going home that night. It’s the risk. Not that it makes any sense to me; like trawling through graveyards to find the last resting place of rock stars.

‘Here lies the remains of Lazarus Git, lead guitarist with the Rooty Toots, gigging in the great club in the sky. Rock In Peace.’

The change in altitude and humidity had done wonders to perk up the spirits of Ken and Wayne.

“Frabjous Day! Wurlitzer! Thankyou very much!” they chorused. “Time to lay off my blue suede shoes!”

“What does that mean?” asked Hanny.

“What?”

“Lay off my blue suede shoes!”

“Oh, it’s something we get the chickens to do back in the Ghetto (In the Ghetto). If the chicken stands on your shoe and lays an egg it is a sign of good luck, especially if you’re wearing blue suede shoes. So ‘lay off my blue suede shoes’ means ‘wish me luck’.”

Hanny had a face pursed up like a cat’s arse as she stared in disbelief at the dancing duo.

“Do you remember next time we were here,” asked Tom. “What happened next?”

“Your memory is getting frazzled Tom! It was a few times after this that we were here next. Don’t you remember, you misdirected the tachyon neutrino cross flux discombobulator, detached the alligator sprockets, pushed the banjo junction in the wrong union and almost ran out of Travel Gravel? So, we went forward a bit, back a bit, left a bit and tried for a Golden Shot with the Monkey Man. Then you reversed the neutron polarity and the electron spin and went back to the beginning of the book. I think you need a session with some of the Warriors on the Edge of Time!” recalled Mad Magdalene.

Hanny, Ken and Wayne did not have a clue what that last conversation was about (and neither do I). Some sort of pseudo-Physics quantum telemetry gluon theory. Possibly the tenfold way and maybe that’s the way God planned it.”

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Getting Comfy – Temperature, Touch, Sound & Scent

Ok so we had a break for Christmas and New Year. Now we are back into a routine and we need to get up and go to work/school. And after a long break it is difficult to establish that routine and insomnia hits some of us. So let’s get back to thinking about good bedtime routines.

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It’s time for bed and you’re ready to get comfy and drift off to sleep. The more conductive you can make your bed and your bedroom to sleeping, the easier it will be to rest and actually fall asleep. Let’s talk about a few simple things you can do to create a better sleep environment.

One of the easiest things to change and improve for most of us is the temperature. It’s easier to sleep at cooler temperatures. Turn down your central heat or air down a degree or two when you head to bed. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Light pajamas when it’s warm and a blanket that will keep you warm enough, but not sweating in the middle of the night. If it’s cool outside, consider opening the windows for a bit before you go to bed to let some fresh air into the room, or consider sleeping with the window cracked open. There’s something about it that makes for a restful night. Of course you should ignore this advice if you have allergies and fresh air causes you to sneeze or gives you a stuffy nose.

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Next, let’s think about touch. What makes you comfortable? Is it the sleek cool feel of satin sheets? The comfort of flannel and a heavy quilt on top of you? How about soft cotton that you can wrap up in? Find your perfect sheets and bedding. Don’t forget about what you are wearing to bed. The clothes should be comfortable, because when you are, it’s easier to fall asleep and you’ll sleep deeper.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep because the slightest noise from outside alerts you or you can’t shut off your mind, give white or brown noise a try. Turn on a fan, play some soft sounds, or try a bedtime meditation. There are plenty of options out there. The sound can be soothing and it will cover up anything going on outside that keeps you from drifting off to sleep.

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Last but not least, there are calming scents that will help slow down your body and mind when it’s time to go to sleep. Light a scented candle for a little while or diffuse some oils. Lavender has long been a favorite at bedtime. You can even create a fun linen spray by combining distilled water with a few drops of lavender oil. Spritz it on your sheets and your pillow before bed. The aroma will carry you off to dreamland in no time.

Don’t be afraid to play around with any of these suggestions. Come up with what works for you and create your very own bedtime routine.

If you are also looking to improve concentration check out this offer.

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Why You Should Ban Screens From Your Bedroom

Do you like to watch TV in bed? Do you check your phone before going to sleep? Are you sleeping well?

Don’t take them into the bedroom!

You know it’s better to avoid using your phone or tablet in the hours before you go to bed. I hope you’re making strides towards putting your phone away at night, but I would like to suggest taking it a step further and banning all screens from your bedroom. Instead, make it a sanctuary designed for sleep and maybe another bedroom activity.

There are some very good reasons why you should keep screens out of your bedroom. First, let’s talk about what type of screens. The obvious one is a TV or computer. Unless there is no other way, keep them out of your bedroom. If you need to have a computer in there because the bedroom is also your home office, power everything off and unplug it before bedtime. There will be no blinking lights or fans coming on that could disrupt your much deserved rest. You also won’t be tempted to sneak one last check of email or to turn on the TV to catch up on your favourite TV show when you should be sleeping.

Of course keeping your smartphone on your bedside table can cause much of the same problem. Even if you silence your phone, there’s a good chance it will blink or the screen will light up in the night. And if nothing else, you’ll be tempted to check what time it is or if you’ve gotten any messages if and when you wake up in the middle of the night. Having your phone within arm’s reach makes it too tempting to turn it on. This in turn will not only flood your eyes with intense light that mimics sunlight. It also gets your brain going when you see a few email subject lines or alerts on the screen. Both will make it much harder to fall back asleep.

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What if you need your phone because you use it as an alarm clock? Simple. Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone in the kitchen or living room. It can charge there without you, trust me. One of the best things you can do for a better night’s sleep is to stop looking at your phone an hour or two before bed. And don’t even think about replacing it with a tablet or e-reader.

One of the big problems with any type of screen is something I alluded to earlier. Screens put off a type of blue light that when it hits the back of your eyes, tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime instead of night time. Filters and blue-light blocking glasses can help some, but it’s best to avoid using them late at night and definitely if you wake up in the middle of the night. Try it and see for yourself how much of a difference it makes.

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Publishing Poetry

Hey I write tons of the stuff. Usually as a result of something weird happening in my life, or when something makes me laugh or when Bacchus gets me. I just found a great article and I feel I have to share it.

Go there and enjoy it – and maybe make some cash!!!

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Just a clip from my new book

This is a section from ‘Trans-Uranic Elements: The Dark Side of Uranus’. It is the second in my trilogy of the Tales of Fairy Hanny and should be on Amazon by the end of January 2022.

Enjoy – the laughter may help you sleep!

“OK! OK! Let’s start again. Tell me about Grumbleflick!”

“He’s dead!”

“What do you mean?”

“You don’t know what dead means?”

“Yes I do – but how can he be dead?”

“He’s a Witch!”

“And?”

“Lots of them are dead. They seem to like it that way – it’s a great tax saving tip!”

“So, King Grumbleflick is a stiff?”

“Not all of him, some bits are quite floppy.”

“How does he look?”

“He uses his eyes, like most folks; but apparently he has a deathly stare. And an awful twitch in his left eye…”

“So, he is a winking Witch King!”

“Yes the Witch with a twitch.”

“And what of his countenance?”

“His what?”

“His mien?”

“Yes, he’s mean alright! Wouldn’t give you the time of day – not that that would bother you!”

“I mean what does his gob look like!!!!”

“Ugly fecker by all accounts. Face like a bucket of smashed crabs. And pale!”

“A pail of smashed crabs?”

“Not pail! Pale!”

“Pale?”

“Did you ever go to school? I mean his face is very white!”

“So, he is wan?”

“Yes, just him; the only one.”

“Wan!”

“I’m a little lost here,” said Magdalene. “I can’t quite work out one and wan!”

“It’s two,” explained Wayne.

“What?”

“Yes, one and one is two!”

“I know that, but what about ‘one’ and ‘wan’?”

“So, you’re not sure about the ‘one’ one and the ‘wan’ one?”

“That is what I said!” screamed Magdalene.

“She’s a bit of a one,” said Wayne to Ken.

Irritated Tom decided to take over.

“When he mentioned the paleness of the wan one he meant the King of the Witches.”

“So Grumbleflick is wan?”

“That’s the one!”

“Yes – deathly white!”

“I see! He is a wan King!”

“Probably.”

Tom looked to Magdalene – who looked to all purposes like a totally muddled Basset Hound on the streets of Benidorm when the coffin dodgers are in full swing.

“So; we are looking for Grumbleflick, the winking wan King of the Witches! Where can I find him?”

“I haven’t got the foggiest!” declared Ken. “I’m happy for the Witches to be a legend of some renown but you can kiss my sweet patooty if you think I’d want to know where they live!”

“What about you?” asked Magdalene, homing in suddenly on Wayne like a Labrador on a high-pitched fart.

“He lives in Witchland!” spurted Wayne.

Ken Tucky went red with anger, rage and constipation.

“I told you to forget that!” screamed Ken at his trembling chum.

“I forgot to remember to forget!” bleated Wayne.

“Which land is Witchland?” asked Tom.

“Yes,” said Ken. “Though they do say this land is my land, this land is your land, and his land is Witchland!”

“What land?”

“Consult a bloody Geography teacher if you really want to know! I am a humble supervisor of a small-scale Magic Mushroom Farm, not a cartographer! And I don’t have elbow patches on my corduroy jacket!” declared Ken with more than a hint of annoyance and a deliciously over the top pucker of his brow.

“And where would I find such a person?” asked Magdalene trying to relieve the tension; she certainly had the looks to inspire executive relief.

“Probably in one of the bars in Setebos, or having a recce round ravaged rubber trees,” said Wayne. “I think it would do us all the world of good if we were travel up the River Thyme and settle for a few glasses of delicious beer at the Phat Cat Hotel!”

All four nodded a sagacious agreement.

“The drinks are on you!” shouted Ken.

“Only if you spill them!” chortled Wayne. “Hey Ho, let’s go!” accepted Fatalistic Tom.

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Simple Ways To Introduce Calm Into Your Evenings

Continuing with some ideas on sleeping and night time routines. I hope some of you can benefit from these ideas.

Many of us struggle to fall asleep at night. We toss and turn, or pop supplements and pills before we can drift off. If you are having trouble falling asleep, or simply want to work on a better bedtime routine, here are some simple ways to introduce calm into your evenings. If your mind and body aren’t overstimulated, it’s easier and quicker to fall asleep at night.

Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on Pexels.com

Stop the Caffeine Early

Caffeine has a surprisingly long halftime, which means it stays in our system longer than we think. You may have built up a tolerance and tell yourself that you can drink coffee or caffeinated tea late in the day, but it will not help you fall asleep. Most experts recommend you stop drinking caffeinated beverages between noon and two pm. Stick to that for a while and see if it helps you stay calm in the evenings and get sleepy around bedtime.

Turn Off The Screens

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that screens like computers, televisions, and especially tablets and phones make it harder for you to fall asleep. The reason why is because the light they emanate mimics the sun and tricks our bodies into thinking it’s earlier in the day than it is. That in turn throws off our circadian rhythms. Phones and tablets are particularly bad because we hold them so close to our faces. I encourage you to turn off all screens for at least two hours before you go to bed. It will make a bigger difference than you think.

Photo by Expect Best on Pexels.com

What about blue light blockers or filters? They will help and are better than nothing, but they will not help you establish a good bedtime routine. It’s okay to not check your email until the morning. Now is also a good time to be honest with you. Are you doing productive things on your phone, or are you scrolling social media, playing games, and letting yourself be entertained? Give putting your phone to the side at night a try and see if you don’t start to sleep better.

Lower The Sounds And Lights

At the same time, it’s a good idea to start lowering the lights and anything you may be listening to. It even helps to lower your voice and invite your loved ones to do the same. Use softer light bulbs, and turn off any overhead lights. They mimic the sun and can trick your body into thinking it’s still early in the day.

Photo by Skylar Kang on Pexels.com

Now that we talked about everything you shouldn’t during the hours before bedtime, let’s discuss a few things you can do that promote calm. Reading a book is a good idea, as is sitting together in quiet conversation. Listen to some music or play a relaxing board game with your family. Or take this time for yourself and indulge in some self-care.

Taking a warm bath or shower has been shown to promote sleep. Light a candle, turn on some soothing music and mediate or write in a journal. If I have a lot of ideas bouncing around inside my head I get out of bed and write them down; it really helps me to sleep. Spend some time unwinding and letting go of your busy day. After that, driving off to sleep will be easy and natural.

Phoenix Education
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When Should You Go To Bed?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Well Christmas has been and gone. We all ate too much and drank too much. Stayed up late, slept in and got out of routines. Or was that just me? I quit my teaching job six months ago and I have struggled to get any of routine in my life. I sometimes watch movies until 4 a.m. then sleep most of the day.

It’s a stupid way to live!!!!

So I did some research on sleeping and decided to share with everyone. As usual, feedback is always appreciated.

The first step toward establishing a good bedtime routine is deciding when you should go to bed. There are a couple of things to consider here. Your weekly routine is part of it, as is how much sleep you need per night. Let’s look at these things and discuss how you can use them to guide you toward a good bedtime for yourself.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Look at your weekly schedule. Is there a certain time you have to get up? Most of us have to go to work or get the kids to school. Start with when you know you have to leave the house. From there, think about how long it takes you to get ready. Are there any morning routines that will take additional time? Do you have to get other people ready, fix breakfast for everyone, or start a load of laundry before you leave the house? Add all that time up and come up with an estimate of when you need to wake up to get it all done.

I’m calling this an estimate, because if you don’t currently have a good routine and are winging it, your first guess might be off by a little. That’s okay. As long as you’re in the ballpark, it won’t be hard to make a few adjustments.

The next question is what do you do if your schedule changes from day to day, or what do you do about the weekends when you don’t have to be anywhere at a given time. It’s a good question and the answer is simple. You want to get into the habit of waking up at the same time each day. That means you want that time to be the earliest you have to get up during the week. If that means getting out of bed at six every morning, then that’s the time you want to pick. It may not sound like a lot of fun, especially if you’re struggling to get up that early right now, but there’s a reason for it. It will become routine and after a few weeks of getting up at six every day without fail, it will be easy. Trust the process and give it a try.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Next, decide how many hours of sleep you need per night. Most people need between seven and nine hours. If you’re not sure the optimal number of hours of sleep you personally need try starting with 8 hours and go from there. Let’s stick with the six am wakeup example. To get eight hours of sleep, you need to fall asleep by ten pm at night. Since none of us can put our head on the pillow and fall asleep, a good bedtime would be nine thirty.

Now it’s your turn. What’s the earliest you need to get up? Subtract eight and a half hours from that time and make it your regular bedtime for a week or two. How does that feel? If you consistently wake up well before your alarm, you may only need seven hours of sleep. If you still feel tired after establishing your bedtime routine, you may want to try giving yourself an extra half an hour of sleep and see if you do better with that. Above all, stick to going to bed and getting up at the same time each day – even on the weekend and when you’re on vacation. Your body and mind will thank you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
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Update and Reflections

Looking back, it was 23rd June since I last posted on my blog. I was starting to think that I have just been very lazy and indifferent. The more I have reflected, the more I realise I have just been too busy!!!

Baku

Back in June I was just finishing my contract as a Physics teacher in Baku, Azerbaijan. I managed to break my laptop and so was using my school issue for everything. As we came to the end of term the school took away my laptop and I decided to buy a new one when I returned to Blighty – hence no posts.

And there we have it; back ‘home’ for the first time in years. Since 2007 I have taken teaching contracts in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, China, Kazakhstan, Gran Canaria, Morocco and finally Azerbaijan. During that time, I have also visited much of Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong, and America. Moving home meant starting again as I lost so much when I was divorced. So, car, new apartment, register with the authorities, catch up with old friends and family and get to watch Everton. Of course, coming back wasn’t easy. I needed PCR test before leaving Baku. Then 10 days isolation on return, which doesn’t really make sense to me. I had a negative test in Baku and a negative test when I got home, despite passing through airports in Baku, Kyiv, Amsterdam and Manchester (and lost my luggage). However, that is the way it is, so I went with it.

Those first 10 days I spent at my sister’s house, and I treated myself to a new laptop, Dungeons and Dragons, Necromunda and started building models from scratch. I watched lots of online videos including Erics Hobby Workshop and Wylochs Armory. I still refer to those sites for ideas.

Most of the plants have gone!

I was also able to work in my sister’s garden. She bought a house which had been empty for a year and so the garden was a jungle! I loved it! There is something special about cutting back plants and getting your hands deep into the soil. Back to nature I suppose. Once out of isolation I was also asked to help an old friend in her garden too; so, I became a gardener!

Meanwhile I was searching for somewhere to live, and I found a great apartment on the Promenade in Southport, Merseyside. The view is fantastic across the Marine Lake and out to the Irish Sea. I am now looking to buy a place nearby as Southport is such a lovely place to live.

Southport Marine Lake from my window

I decided not to return to full time teaching and so now only work part time as a Maths and Physics tutor. This has allowed me to catch up a lot on reading and writing. So, I am back to motivating myself with ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and ‘Think and Grow Rich’. These books make you think about life and help to define ‘rich’ – it doesn’t always mean having lots of money! I have also started a course on Property Investment, and I am building my Thinkific site – any hints happily accepted.

As to writing! I published my first comedy novel 10 years ago and wrote the follow up a year later – I just never got round to finishing it! My plan is to publish ‘Trans-Uranic Elements: The Dark side of Uranus’ before Christmas – someone please hold me to account on this! Then in the New Year I will be working on the third in the series, plus a reflection on my time in Baku, where everything went wrong! I am sure someone cursed me! It was War and Pestilence, Crazy women, theft and hacking of my bank accounts!

Lala

Being home means I have time to chase up on previous investments that have not performed properly – I will write about that in a separate post.

Then there was an unexpected twist in life. A friend from Morocco came to UK to visit her sisters and so contacted me too. We met up and things have moved on! Let us say I expect to spend a lot of my future in Morocco.

I have written a lot in the past about Affiliate Marketing and so I am now building on some of those ideas. As a Maths teacher I was always frustrated at not being able to teach Financial Literacy and so I am now an affiliate for Kidpreneurs – check out the link. As my sites grow there will be more of this and again, any feedback is welcome.

So, I thought I was being lazy in not keeping up with my blog. It turns out I was just being busy!

Sunset in Southport
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Get Happy with Mindfulness

You may have heard of mindfulness and thought it was only about being calm or helping you deal with stress. But did you know that mindfulness can help you lift your mood and become a happier person more of the time?

It’s easy to get stuck in a negative mindset and stay focused on the things that aren’t working in your life. Your self-talk can become all about your weaknesses or failures. Negativity becomes your habitual way of thinking. Mindfulness can help you turn that around and get into a more positive thought pattern. As a bonus, mindfulness also has positive health benefits by reducing stress and enhancing your resilience and mental capacity.

Here are three ways mindfulness can help you out of the negativity spiral and into a happier state of mind.

  • Stay in the now

Practicing mindfulness can help you refocus your attention on the here and now instead of anxious fast-forwarding to future problems or brooding over past mistakes. Mindfulness slows you down and reconnects you with what is happening at the moment. You can notice and appreciate the good things that are in your life right now. Being mindful can also help you stop being reactive and instead be more thoughtful in how you respond to people and situations.

  • Be more connected

Mindfulness brings you into a deeper connection with yourself and with others. It gives you time and mental space to work out what matters to you, and what are your values and beliefs. You learn that happiness lies in knowing yourself and being comfortable with who you are.

And when you are your authentic self, you can connect honestly, openly and straightforwardly with other people. Relationships can become more profound and more heartfelt. 

  • Enhance contentment and gratitude

One of the beautiful effects of mindfulness is the release from the treadmill of consumerism. You stop investing in externals for your happiness. Money, external approval, worldly success, and possessions no longer hold sway over your self-worth.

Mindfulness focuses your attention on what you can control. Living an authentic life, attuned and aligned with your values encourages and supports your inner wellbeing. Your happiness becomes self-sufficient.

Cultivating mindfulness can open your mind to feeling gratitude for where you are and what you have right now. ‘You are enough’ is not just a slogan, it is an affirmation that you can be your best you, and live the life you want.

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Visualizations for a Calmer, Happier You

Calm down. Seriously.

Continuing the themes of Peace, Calm and Affirmations, here are three ways that can help to relax your mind and body. Try the crazy ones.

We all have things that leave us on edge. Sometimes it’s an event or a person (like a visit from that relative you just don’t get along with). Sometimes we’re more anxious due to more significant issues, leaving us unsure of our safety and well-being, like when a severe illness is going around. Whatever the case, anxiety is adept at derailing our lives and keeping us from accomplishing what we want and need to.

How do you handle this kind of nervous worrying? If you’re lucky, you eventually learn how to take it in stride. For some people, their coping skills aren’t healthy. For others, they flounder, trying to find their way. If you’re in these latter groups, consider this: Visualization is a proven skill shown to reduce anxiety and create a calmer and happier you. Let’s explore how.

Go Somewhere Else

Feeling especially fearful? It’s time for a trip to feel someplace safe. For some, this might be the beach. Or perhaps you’d feel more at home by a mountain lake or city café sipping coffee. Wherever you feel the safest and most at home, you want to go there now in your mind. Start by sitting back and making yourself comfortable. Close your eyes and picture yourself in your favorite place. Add in every detail you can to make this experience as real as possible. Include all your senses in the background. Breathing deeply, holding yourself in this place until you feel calm and somewhat refreshed.

Unwind with some String

Feeling all tense and coiled up inside? This usually comes when you’re holding back too many emotions. Picture yourself carrying around all these knotted emotions tangled up with words you’ve wanted to say all day but couldn’t. Make all these feelings into an imaginary ball of yarn. Now sit back and take several calming breathes as you withdraw this ball of yarn and hold it in your hand. Do you feel the weight? Good. Now drop it on the floor, holding onto the end of the string so that the ball rolls away from you, unraveling as it goes. Watch all the strands of yarn unwind, disappearing as they do. Stay in the vision until the entire ball is unwound and gone, and you’re feeling lighter and more relaxed.

Shut it Out

Our thoughts can be noisy things. We hear so many voices in our heads, reminding of us deadlines, things to do, and people to see. Add to this the negative self-talk which creeps in occasionally and the half-heard phrases we’ve carried with us, which sound suspiciously like our parents, and you’ve got a lot of chatter and no peace. For this kind of problem, visualize yourself in a room with a big open window. Set all these voices outside the window. Now, take a deep breath and shut the window firmly. This is a nice thick double-paned glass. You can no longer hear the voices when the window is closed.

With visualizations like these, you tell your mind to calm. You take back control where you need it most and set your feet back on a better path. Remember, you’re in charge of what goes on in your head. Don’t let anxiety set the tone for you.

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Ways to Become a Calmer Person

We hear a lot about how to be calm and why calmness is essential. But why?! What does “calm” really do for someone? If you’re feeling like being calm gets in the way of your motivation and achievement-focused mentality, you’re not alone. I am currently feeling a little stressed at the thought of returning to England and going through the Covid self-isolation rigmarole, being tested on day 2 and day 8 of a 10 day period. And then if someone on my flight tests positive I will have to quarantine for 14 days. Add to that I have no address and no job to go to…

So some advice on being calm!

A lot of people associate calmness with nonchalance, but in reality, it’s what helps you have a clear mind so that you can achieve all of your dreams and goals. You’ve got to start somewhere, so here are five ways to become a calmer person: 

1. Go All In 

Just like when you learn a new language, in order to become calmer, you need to immerse yourself in the headspace fully. That means the mind, body, and soul. Whether you decide to download a meditation app or start going to yoga classes, the important thing is that you commit to it. 

2. Surround Yourself with Calm

Tapping into the immersion piece, another way to become calmer is to surround yourself with calming imagery. Maybe you’ll paint your walls a color that makes you happy and serene. Or perhaps you’ll add a fountain in your room for soothing background noise. 

3. Take a Break When You Need One

The hustle is great, but sometimes you need a break. Breaks are good for the mind, especially when you’re usually working hard! Let your mind go through its unconscious thoughts so that its conscious self can get back to work when you wake up. 

4. Let Conflict be Conflict 

Sometimes, we get into conflict, and we take all the blame. Or we hand the blame over to someone else. Either way, engaging in conflict and letting it consume you is not the way to attain calmness for your mind. The next time you find yourself getting wrapped up in conflict, take a step back, and ask yourself what good it is doing for you. If it’s not doing any good — and most of the time, it’s not—step away and let the conflict be conflict. 

5. Observe from Far Away

It’s one thing to choose not to engage in something, whether it be a conflict or a toxic relationship. It’s another thing to decide to observe from far away, detach and then let go. For some people, it takes years to nail down the art of observing and detaching. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you — go at your own pace, and you’ll see progress. 

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5 Things You Can Do Today to Start Using Affirmations in Your Life

Affirmations are a powerful way to help you reach your goals. They can build optimism and turn around a negative mindset. And they work most effectively if you repeat them until they become part of your self-talk. I am currently working through a couple of motivational classic books which both stress the power of affirmations: Think and Grow Rich and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.

But saying your affirmations to yourself in front of the mirror can get old fast. You need to find more creative ways of building your affirmation practice into your routine. Supercharge your motivation by injecting a little affirmation sauce into every aspect of your day.

  • Write Your Affirmations

Writing your affirmations makes them more tangible. Studies have shown that the physical act of writing enables your brain to remember better. In many Universities students are being told to stop taking notes on laptops and to start writing things down. Choose your favorite way of recording your own affirmations. Keep a journal; write post-it notes and leave them where they’re easy to see, on your fridge, bathroom mirror, and computer. Set reminders on your smartphone or tablet with the text of each affirmation at different times of the day.

  • Make Affirmation Themed Art

This might sound a little off the wall, but try making art themed around your affirmations. Use paint, collage, clay, or colored pencils, and let your Inner Child play with colors and shapes to interpret how your affirmations make you feel.

  • Turn Your Affirmations into Music

Take a familiar or favorite tune and sing your affirmations instead of the regular lyrics. If you’re musical, maybe you can write a song that uses your affirmations. Make a rap song about your affirmations and create a dance routine to go with it. Mind you when you have as many decades behind you as I have, dancing gets a bit stiff!

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on Pexels.com
  • Vision Board Your Affirmations

Vision boards are powerful tools for setting out your goals. Affirmations can sometimes feel a little abstract. Using a vision board can help you come up with concrete images of what you want in your life. Look for photos that inspire you and make you feel good. You can make a physical vision board or use an internet platform like Pinterest.

  • Get inspired

Look around for motivational speakers and writers whose approach to life appeals to you. You can find plenty of motivational talks on the internet, on platforms like TED Talks and YouTube. Search for motivation from people you admire or those who have made their dreams come true while overcoming adversity. Two of my favourites are Make Your Bed and Denzel Washington.

It’s essential to find someone whose values and approach feel right for you. Don’t watch an influencer just because they’re popular. Check back with your affirmations to see if their themes ring true to you.

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5 Things You Can Be Hopeful About Even When It Looks as if All is Lost

In April of this year I had a bad case of Covid 19. It wasn’t bad enough to put me in hospital though it got close; I had a nurse come to my apartment for 5 evenings to administer an intravenous drip and my temperature spiked at 42 Celsius, making me hallucinate. I am currently living in Baku, Azerbaijan and discovered my ‘world class medical insurance’ did not cover Covid treatment. There went a month’s salary…

I decided it was time to quit this itinerant life and head back to the UK. I’ve had a great time of the past 15 years living and working in Florida, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, China, Kazakhstan, Gran Canaria, Casablanca and Azerbaijan, plus the opportunities to travel in those areas. I now find I am heading home without a place to live or a job to go to; a scary time indeed. I dug out some of my PLR to help guide me and others over the next few months as I transition back to the UK.

Everyone has times in their life when things look grim. They might even seem to be hopeless. The world can feel like a scary place, and you feel alone in the middle of it. History has shown that even in the worst of times, people have chosen to be hopeful. If you’re finding it hard to believe that better times will come, here are five things you can hang on to.

  • Your Health

No matter what type of life crisis you’re going through, if you have your health, you’re wealthy. You might take it for granted, but being strong and healthy is probably your biggest asset.

Look after your body, eat well, stay fit, and be game-ready for the next opportunity.

  • The Sun will Rise Tomorrow

Even the worst day comes to an end, and you get a chance to do better tomorrow. Brooding over past failures is as pointless as worrying about the future. You can only deal with what is right in front of you.

Take your motto from Scarlett O’Hara and remember that tomorrow is another day.

  • You Are Full of Potential

Do you believe you can live your best life? Do you think you can be successful, famous, and happy? Or does it feel to you that success is only for the lucky few?  

All humans are born full of potential. The only thing stopping you from meeting your potential is you. Change your mindset from self-doubt to self-confidence, and you can do whatever you set your mind to.

  • Learn to Look on the Bright Side

It’s highly unlikely that everything in your life will go wrong at once. Sometimes they do and that tests you through and through. As an example, I got divorced December 2014, then was forced to sell my house June 2015, then my mother died January 2016; three of the biggest life stresses in just over a year! Yet I am still here, planning the next steps and feeling positive about the future. So learn to hang onto the good things in your life and be grateful. No matter what situation you find yourself in, it could pretty much always be worse.

If you look for abundance, you will find it. Practice looking for things to be thankful for, starting with being alive right now. And remember, hard times come and hard times go. Better times are just around the corner.

  • Challenges Make You Stronger

If you’re down in the trough of a life crisis, remember that when you come out of the other end, you’ll be stronger and smarter than before. You will have learned things about yourself and what you’re capable of that would never have occurred to you before. And in spite of feeling crushed, you have triumphed, you made it!

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Private Label Rights

I have a lot of PLR stored on my drive!

Some of it has been there for years and should probably be deleted. However I still find a lot of it to be very useful as a source for my blogs. I take the original and edit, customise, delete and add sections. Sometimes there are links to sites or software that has changed or disappeared. I find it is important to check out all of these links before publishing.

I also have access to a lot of free content – and I am giving away SureFireWealth.com Free One Year Silver Membership.

Due to private label being distributed to multiple customers, and without being exclusive or unique content, some marketers are hesitant on incorporating private label content into their marketing campaigns.

Private Label Content is best used as a “resource” rather than a ‘source”.

This means that you should start revising and improving existing private label content before distributing it under your own brand.

Photo by Janiere Fernandez on Pexels.com

Private Label Right’s content comes in many different formats, including PLR reports, eBooks, articles, graphics, templates, email newsletters and even videos. For my blogs I get reports or eBooks or graphics – often for free. If you want some free content then follow this link.

All PLR will come with a License of some sort.

While licenses differ with each author and seller, the basic premise is that the license permits buyers to re-brand the content under their own name and brand (excluding copyright). In general practice this means that the product can be modified, sold, resold or repurposed in many different formats. In some cases authorship on the original product is allowed and with unrestricted private label, buyers are often able to resell the same rights they’ve acquired although not all private label releases offer or permit license distribution or transfer.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here is an example of the sort of thing you will see in a License;

[YES] Can edit, take apart, add to, or sell as is 

[YES] Can be offered as a bonus

[YES] Can be used for opt-in bonuses (newsletter signups, etc.)

[YES] Can be added to paid membership sites

[YES] Can claim full authorship

[YES] Can publish as free web content like blog posts, articles, and social media posts

[NO] Can Distribute PSDs in any way.

[NO] Can Sell resell rights

[NO] Can sell master resell rights

[NO] Can sell private label rights 

[YES] Add to free membership sites

Private Label Content comes with different rights depending on the developer so it’s important to thoroughly check each license prior to use, to become familiar with any restrictions that may be in place.

Some possible Advantages to using PLR:

  • Saving time.
  • Saving money, compared to hiring a writer or buying exclusive rights
  • Can be used to generate ideas for blogging or content marketing
  • Can be re-purposed into different types of digital products

Special offer. Today I am giving away one year Free access to Surefire Wealth Silver licence which normally sells for $147/year. Just follow this link.

Let me know what you think.

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Writing tips – sort your life out!

Here are some ideas for organising you ‘writing life’. It isn’t easy to achieve each of these as real life often gets in the way. Trust me – getting the family to give you space is difficult as they can be very demanding on your time. Just remember, getting one page completed is much better than nothing!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
  1. Set your boundaries early for work and family. Let them know when you will be contactable and when you won’t. This will allow the initial space to build a strong structural base to work from. 

2. Pick a space where you feel you’ll do your best work. If you can tweak it so that natural light is on you throughout the day and source a proper chair that protects your posture along with any other environmental tweaks that make things easy and comfortable (ergonomics, indoor plants) then space will remain an attractive space to operate in for years to come. 

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3. Make sure you allocate time in your day to support your physical and mental wellbeing. Include breaks for fun, meditation, exercise and any other activity that leaves you feeling refreshed. In simple terms, balancing working hard with playing hard. 

4. Plan your meals and snacks with the most nutrient-dense food like fresh fruits or vegetables often. This will help support immunity, manage weight and support your brainpower. Don’t rely on willpower. You won’t have enough to go around. Plan it, prep it and cook it. 

5. Get your most important task done early when your willpower will be at its highest. Use the Pomodoro technique for single focus to zero in on tasks and control as many distractions as possible in advance of your workload.

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The Benefit of Accepting Those You Don’t Like and How to Get Started

Let’s face it, you’re not going to like everyone.

Sometimes the feeling is mutual. We meet someone who just rubs us up the wrong way. You’re instant rivals, right down to the barely suppressed sneer and curled lip.

Other times it’s not quite so dramatic. You might be making every effort to build a relationship, but they’re just not having it. Or there’s some previous history standing in the way of a relationship with someone.

Whatever the case, there comes a time to let dislike go. Holding onto animosity, even something so subtle as not wanting to be around a certain individual at work only winds up hurting you in the end. In fact, you might be missing out on some hidden benefits by accepting someone you don’t like.

Intrigued? Read on to discover the why of it, and better yet, the how.

The benefits of accepting those you dislike are many:

  • Reduces stress caused by the tension within the relationship
    • Cuts down anxiety regarding what the other person will say or do
      • Frees you from destructive thought patterns regarding this individual
        • Allows you to enjoy your relationships fully without worrying about how someone will or won’t react

In order to get started, you only need to follow these three steps.

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Address Any Fears

Frequently, when we dislike someone, it’s because they’re triggering us somehow. By looking deeper into the emotions being raised, and addressing them, you’ll be able to let go of a lot of the negativity you’re feeling toward them. This is especially true of fears, which have a way of looking like a lot of other things, such as dislike.

Let Go of the Anger

Much like fears, anger has a way of keeping up a pretense of hearty dislike. This is what happens when you let things fester, especially over something you’ve been holding onto for a while.

Pro tip? Try forgiveness.

Lay the past to rest between you and try accepting this individual now, in the moment.

Look for the Good in the Relationship

If you’re caught up in dislike, you might not have noticed there has been a positive impact on your relationship. Look for the things you’ve learned from the individual. Even harsh lessons have a way of guiding us onto new paths, benefitting us in the long run.

Sometimes we do ourselves a great disservice by hanging onto an immediate feeling of dislike for someone. As humans who grow and change, if we allow for it, relationships with those we don’t like can improve. Even if the connection never becomes stronger, accepting that the person is just the way they are will bring more peace into your life.

Rise like the Phoenix
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How Using Meditation Can Relieve and Decrease Loneliness

“Loneliness is just a word, So I’ve been told.

Loneliness becomes a world, that’s very cold.”

Chicago

Loneliness is an increasing symptom of modern life. As people have become more connected by technology, there’s less time to stay connected with friends and loved ones in real-time. That can lead to emotional exhaustion and burnout.

If you’re finding the 24/7 nature of life is making you feel isolated and lonely, consider adding meditation to your self-care. Meditation is beneficial in reducing feelings of loneliness, even if you only have short periods of time for practice.

How Meditation Can Help

Meditation is grounded in keeping you in the present and detaching from troubling thoughts and feelings. Instead of being overwhelmed by your feelings, you can learn to observe and acknowledge them.

By taking a moment to sit quietly, you can accept the thoughts and emotions you’re currently experiencing. Meditation helps you notice what’s in your mind instead of either blocking it out or getting stuck in it.

Instead of panicking when you start to feel lonely, you acknowledge what is in your world right now. Notice, acknowledge, and move on, so the cycle of negative thinking is broken, and you stay calm and in control.

How to Meditate

Meditation is easy to incorporate into your regular schedule. You don’t need to go to a temple or sit on a cushion for hours in silence, just find a few minutes in your day to focus on your breath.

Meditation can be practiced almost anywhere. A quiet place is good, but you can also meditate in a park or garden, even during your commute.

Here’s a straightforward practice to help you deal with loneliness.

Get as comfortable as possible. Sit or lie down and make sure you’re warm enough.

Take a deep breath in and out to center yourself.

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Think of someone you love. This could be a family member, partner, friend, or pet.

Imagine they are sitting beside you.

Send them love, like a light shining out from your heart and enveloping them in a virtual hug.

Repeat silently or out loud May you feel love, joy, and peace, three times.

Now think of someone (again, a person or animal) who has shown you love and kindness.

Imagine they are beside you beaming out love straight at you.

Repeat three times (again silently or out loud) May I feel love, joy, and peace.

Feel the love surrounding you, both giving and receiving.

Repeat three times May we all feel love, joy, and peace

When you’re ready, come back to the present.

Practice this exercise as often as you wish, to tap into a feeling of love and kindness, and banish loneliness.

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5 Tips for Getting Out of a Rut and Starting Fresh

If you feel like life has become predictable, unfulfilling, and boring, maybe it’s time for a fresh start. Deciding to make a change doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down, but it is an opportunity to stand back and revise your current way of life.

Whether it’s a lifestyle, location, or career change, there are some simple things you can do right now to get out of that rut and get some positive energy back into your life.

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  • Work out What Makes You Happy

Have you ever sat down and ruminated about what makes you happy? What lifts your spirits and puts a spring in your step? What makes your heart sing and your energy levels skyrocket? Some people feel happiest out in nature, while others prefer sports or reading. Maybe you love the arts or helping people. Make a list of what makes you happy and take action so you can focus on bringing more joy into your life.

  • Practice Saying Yes

Most people are so busy with the everyday life that they don’t make time to get out of their comfort zone and do something different. When was the last time you tried something new or challenging? Be open to new experiences, start saying yes to yourself, and choose to do things that feel good.

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  • Make a Stop Doing List

Once you start saying yes to the things that feel good, you need to practice saying no. You need a stop doing list! You’re probably well aware of the bad habits you’ve fallen into and the things you do that don’t bring you joy. While there are some things you have no control over, see what energy-draining tasks you can eliminate from your life. Write a list to remind yourself of the things you can choose not to do, and free up time for the things that make your heart soar.

  • Declutter
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Most people have way too much stuff in their lives. Look around you right now and see what’s holding you back. Clutter includes spending hours scrolling through social media, limiting beliefs, and bad lifestyle habits as well as all that junk in the kitchen drawer. When I get to Liverpool in July I need to go to my storage department and see if I still need my collections of Action Man, Model cars, Trains, Vinyl, Books, CD’s and Stamps!

  • Say No to Fear

Perhaps the single most empowering thing you can do to get out of a rut is to walk away from fear. Fear will stop you from taking risks, big or small. It makes you too afraid to try anything new and holds you back from reaching your potential. I recently began seeing someone who has two children from a previous marriage. My friends say I’m crazy; I say it is a risk – a risk to be with a beautiful woman.

Make a commitment to yourself to take back control of your life and leap into a fresh start.

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4 Steps to Controlling Your Anger Triggers

Do you ever get angry and then hate yourself for it?

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Everyone has their own little quirks. Things that make them irritated, frustrating, or downright angry. You could probably list your own triggers right now—little stuff like clutter or having to wait around. Maybe you can’t stand a particular word or phrase, or you find it impossible to work if there’s noise. The thing about triggers is that they’re often small things that tip you over the edge, and before you know it, you’ve lost your temper over something that in the scheme of things, doesn’t really matter.

Here are four steps you can take to manage your anger triggers better.

  • Take control

The first thing is to realize that you are totally in control of how you react. Work out what your triggers are, and you can take your power back. You can anticipate and plan for situations where you know you’re likely to blow your top.

  • Learn to read your body

Be conscious of how your anger manifests in your body. Likely your heart rate will go up, or your hands and jaw will clench. You might feel breathless or even get a stomachache. Tune into what your body is telling you, and you’ll learn to be able to stop the process of reacting. And remember the feelings themselves aren’t ‘bad’ but how you choose to respond to those feelings can be harmful, even destructive.

Instead of sweeping the papers off your desk onto the floor, or yelling, take a deep breath or go for a walk. Feeling triggered is often a result of low blood sugar, fatigue, or dehydration. Taking care of your physical needs can help you manage your emotional needs as well and make you more resilient to stresses and triggers.

  • Identify what triggered you

Once you can interrupt the trigger response, you can start to work out what it was that set it off in the first place. Did you feel disrespected? Unheard? Were you mistreated or misunderstood? If someone pushed in front of you in the coffee line, what did that signal to you? That your needs aren’t important?

What about if someone talks over you or interrupts in a meeting? As well as being rude, you could feel sidelined, humiliated even.

  • Choose your plan of action

Whatever your triggers might be, it’s totally up to you how you react. You can anticipate how you might feel and what you might do or say in response. Take a deep breath, detach from the situation, and focus on how you want to feel. You can choose to stay calm in triggering situations – it’s up to you.