Sailing the seas aboard the ‘Queen Victoria’

My husband and I are regular cruisers, having sailed on a number of large ships around the Mediterranean, Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. Not forgetting our inland waterway adventures on our slightly smaller vessel. ‘Speckled Hen’.

We have now returned from our recent trip aboard the Queen Victoria, our first voyage with Cunard. This was a short cruise over to Amsterdam where we enjoyed an extended stay, due to poor weather conditions which kept us in dock. Actually, I was quite relieved not to be sailing in the rough sea, for despite the many times I have sailed, my sea legs are prone to get a little wobbly at times and my stomach somewhat delicate.

Queen Victoria cruise ship

While aboard, we met many interesting people, from a variety of backgrounds which enriched our stay aboard ‘Queen Victoria.’ As a gesture of good will, I left a signed copy of my Debut novel ‘Alice’ dedicated to the staff and crew. This is now in the Library and hopefully will be travelling around the world.

Queen Victoria library

When we docked at Southampton, we travelled over to Dover to spend a few days with our very good friends John and Sandy, whom we met on a holiday a few years previous. Knowing that we were confined to dock in Amsterdam instead of travelling to the designated port of Zeebrugge and our intended trip to Bruges. They booked a ferry the following day and off we went again, this time over the channel on ‘The Pride of Kent’ car ferry.  Off we travelled to the amazing city of Bruges with its picturesque medieval architecture, pretty streets and canals. You’ve guessed it. Yes! Once again we were on the water, this time on a tourist canal boats enjoying the city from a different perspective. 

It occurs to me that my husband and I were both born under the right sign of the Zodiac. We are Pisces and Cancer both water signs. How great is that.

I do hope that you are all enjoying the end of spring. Official summer begins on June 21st, I wish for you all to have an amazing summer. Don’t forget the sun protection.

Mercia Marina Maker’s Market – May 2017

I would like to say a huge thank you to Mercia Marina in Willington, Derbyshire for hosting the Makers Market on Sunday May 28th and giving me the opportunity to promote my debut novel Alice. Despite a cloudy start to the day I was surrounded by a sea of sunny faces as all of the stall holders pulled together to make the event a success.

The open mic session which was set close to my pitch was an absolute pleasure to listen to, and as the sun broke through the clouds in the afternoon and the crowd of visitors increased. I enjoyed meeting lots of interesting people, including other authors and would be writers.

The event takes place on the last Sunday of the month from May until September, so watch this space. I hope to return again at the end of August.

Hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, whatever you were doing.

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 3

 

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 1

 

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 2

 

Mercia Marina - KL Loveley - photo 4

Caro Emerald is a shining jewel

Having purchased the tickets ten months previous (so has to be sure of getting a seat). My husband and I were excited to finally arrive at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall to see Caro Emerald, otherwise known as Caroline Esmerelda Van der Leeuw. Her outstanding performance was faultless throughout. She wowed the audience with an electrifying mix of old and new songs, all delivered to perfection in her off- beat, and relaxed style.

The supporting band were extremely talented, creating a mix of light jazz and pop music with a distinctive style.  The concert hall was packed and as the shyness of the audience ebbed away, many were on their feet, dancing and clapping. When Caro announced that it was her birthday, the crowd roared their greetings as everyone sang the birthday song.

Caro Emerald

This was my first Caro Emerald concert, after encouragement from my husband who attended her performance last year at the same venue. I will certainly be keeping a check on the website for her return to Nottingham.

Do you like Caro Emerald ? Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !

What does the word spring mean to you?

What does the word spring mean to you?

This thought crossed my mind as I was driving through my village late one afternoon, admiring the beauty of the blossom trees on the route home. They are truly amazing at this time of year, quite astounding in fact. They are dotted around my village and in the many gardens that I pass on my way. Along the High Street are three identical trees in blossom and look quite stunning as I turn left onto the road.

spring - cherry blossom

This made me think about the great English poet ‘William Wordsworth’, what a fortunate surname he had being a poet, as words are worth a great deal to all mankind. I diversify. The English Romantic Movement in poetry began with the Lyrical Ballads (1798) by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth wrote about the mystical celebrations of nature. His most famous ‘The Daffodils’ is one of my favourites, however he wrote, ‘Lines Written In Early Spring’ another poem dedicated to the beauty of nature.

The birds around me hopped and played,

Their thoughts I cannot measure-

But the least motion which they made,

It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

William Wordsworth

Spring this year began on 20th March. The transition from winter to spring is marked by the days getting longer, the temperature rising and the plants blossoming, as I have witnessed today. We can enjoy our spring season officially until 21st June, when the season changes once again as we transcend into summer.

I wish you all a very enjoyable spring season.

What do you enjoy the most about this amazing season, of new birth and new growth?

Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !

 

Is it possible to have a good work / life balance?

I hope that you have all enjoyed a nice Easter break and are feeling refreshed and full of renewed energy. Have you all managed to successfully get the right work / life balance lately?

Alice by K.L LoveleyI have spent a few days on our delightful narrow boat, a time not only of rest and rehabilitation for my husband and I, but also a time of reflection. It was during my time of reflection, that I began to think of the character Alice, the main protagonist in my debut novel of the same name. I guess like a lot of women, she struggled to get the right work / life balance. It seems to me that she was attending to everyone else’s needs and neglecting her own.

Was she a martyr or displaying evidence of selflessness? The first adjective describes someone who suffers persecution and death for their religious or other beliefs, and yet in the modern world we use this to describe someone who tries to get sympathy from others and is often used quite loosely.

On the other hand, selflessness describes someone who has little concern for themselves, especially with regard to fame, position or fortune. I guess that Alice could be described as being unselfish at times, but is this so bad. The Dalai Lama XIV, once quoted,

Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”   The Dalai Lama XIV

Wise words indeed!

Perhaps Alice like many women felt this way, maybe fundamentally she felt that her prime purpose was to help her own and her extended family, without a care for herself, however, there was a price to pay, the hurt was not to others but to herself.

One would think that a loving husband would know his spouse like no one else, which suggests that he would be quick to recognise a change in his wife when she started deliberately sacrificing her own wants and needs to make sure that the needs of others are met. Robin, the husband of Alice appeared to understand that his wife was struggling, but seemed unable to make any positive changes that would help to alleviate her struggles.

A healthy relationship helps to increase confidence and with the confidence comes the ability to share emotions, both positive and negative feelings can be explored together. Therefore, both Robin and Alice lacked this skill of being able to truly communicate their feelings.
It could be argued that they both lacked the courage to address the fear of where they were heading, in terms of their relationship. However, one of the main misconceptions about courage is that it is linked to fearlessness. Fear itself can be central to change, so realising that it is okay to be afraid can be the first step towards making a decision towards a positive outcome.

work / life balance ~ fear ~ K.L Loveley

So to all of you who have read or are planning to read my novel ‘ Alice’, observe how her life spiralled out of control. Think about your own work / life balance, remember that positive connective relationships help to increase confidence. Sleep well, eat healthy, remain active, but above all else, let go of self-doubt, guilt and negativity.

Above all else, love and be happy. x

self-care for women by K.L Loveley

 

Which books should I take on holiday?

Decisions, decisions. I recently suffered from a familiar problem, one which I feel sure many avid readers like myself, suffer from. You may well ask? What do most readers have in common?

Cyprus - reading booksLet me put you out of your misery my friends, it was the nagging thought tumbling through my over imaginative mind as to which of my many paperback books I should pack for my holiday on the amazing Island of Cyprus. Are you thinking, has this woman never heard of E-books?

Well, yes I have and while I’m sat cramped up on the aeroplane, with my knees practically touching my chest  and my husband’s elbows sticking me in my ribs every time he attempts to move his manly frame. I am so glad that I have my kindle with me, which only needs a gentle touch of the finger to change pages.

I have two new reads on my kindle, one for the outward bound journey and the other for my inbound journey. These are as follows: ‘Accidental Damage ‘written by Alice May and The Dennis Bisskit Adventures written by Stephen Ainley. Both of these are debut novels. Since the publication of my own debut novel ‘Alice’ I have taken a keen interest in other aspiring authors and I can confidently report that I have not been disappointed.

Did I mention that my husband can on occasion be a knight in shining armour, well on this occasion he really stepped up to the mark when with well-chosen words he said. “Isn’t it fortunate that the hotel has a good library of books for the guests, I expect there will be plenty to keep you happy my beloved?” With a shrug of his shoulders and a satirical smile on his face he solved my dilemma in an instant.

Oh, just in case you are wondering. Yes we had a fantastic holiday in Paphos or Pafos as it appears on the road signs. We stayed at the ‘Louis Ledra Beach hotel,’ (our third stay) the food was amazing the hotel immaculate and the staff friendly. It was a well-earned rest for both of us and I was not disappointed with the selection of books in the hotel library. In actual fact, it gave me the opportunity to read some new authors and different genres, so all in all a very successful outcome.

Cyprus

How do other book worms like me, decide which paperbacks to take on holiday.

Answers on a postcard please or maybe contact me via the website.

Happy Holidays!

5¬†Mothering Sunday (Mother’s Day)¬†Facts

Happy Mothering Sunday (Mother’s Day) to each and every mother, no matter how young or old.

5 Mothering Sunday (Mother’s Day) Facts

(1) Mothering Sunday is a Christian celebration to celebrate ‘Mother Mary’. However, some historians believe it may go even further back to Roman times, when they celebrated the Mother Goddess, Cybele.

(2) In the UK, Mothering Sunday is always on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday.

(3) Mothering Sunday in the UK is not the same as the USA’s Mother’s Day, which always falls on the second Sunday of May and is a secular celebration founded by the American Social Activist Anna Jarvis.

mothering sunday constance smith(4) Mothering Sunday was revived in the 20th century by Constance Adelaide Smith who worked at a hospital in Nottingham. She read an article about Anna Jarvis’s American Mother’s Day, and in conjunction with her friend Ellen, she set up a headquarters at 15 Regent Street, Nottingham and made greeting cards for children to give to their mum’s. She wrote articles, plays and a book to campaign for Great Britain to recognise Mothering Sunday. It is thanks to her tenacity that Mothering Sunday is celebrated today.

(5) In the UK, staff from the ‘Big Houses’ were historically given the day off to visit their mother’s church. Fortunately, most people were not so geographically mobile before the twentieth century. Imagine how the roads and the transport system would cope today, with a mass exodus of women, heading towards their mothers’ church.

Being a mother…

Speaking from my own experience I can say that being a mother is extremely hard work, especially in the early years, however, each age brings new challenges.

No matter how hard the work is, when raising a family I guess that most mothers would agree with me, when I say that for every ounce of pain the joy is trebled and what can be more special than a child, no matter how old they are saying “I love you”.

So to all of you amazing women, from one mother to another I wish you a very happy Mothering Sunday (Mother’s Day) 2017.

Mothering Sunday - kl loveley
What will you be doing this Mothering Sunday ? Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !

 

Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs Marian KeyesI recently listened to the author Marian Keyes on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. It was a fascinating and heart felt interview, and the songs that she chose were very moving.

It got me thinking about my own Desert Island Discs, and whilst travelling on the train yesterday I made a list of five songs that move me.

My Desert Island Discs

1) Magic moments by Perry Como

This takes me back to my childhood when my father sang this to me and my younger sister. We played this at his funeral and it still brings tears to my eyes.

2) Band of Gold by Freda Paine

 This was the first single, a boyfriend had ever given to me.

3) Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel

 This was the first ever album that I purchased.

4) Living Doll by Cliff Richards and the Young Ones

 My daughter asked us to buy this for Comic Relief in 1986, and it still brings back memories of her dancing around to it in the living room.

5) Maggie May by Rod Stewart

 This takes me back to my teenage years.

What would your Desert Island Discs be? Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !

Happy International Woman’s Day – 2017

#BeBoldForChange

Today is International Women’s Day and we celebrate all women. This is a global day to commemorate the struggle for women’s rights and the social, economic, cultural and political achievements already made.

International women's day - KL Loveley

Together we have achieved a great deal, yet we still have a long way to go, especially so for women of some nations.

This year the spotlight on women, is the changing world of work which covers a diverse range of inequalities that still exist.

Let us celebrate all of the strong women of strength and substance. Women from history like ‘Joan of Arc’ and women from the twenty first century like ‘Malala Yousafzai’.

International woman's day - malala yousafzai

How will you be bold?

How will you show a willingness to take risks, be confident and courageous?

Let me know via Twitter or Facebook !

Keeping a journal: A life time of diary writing

It was Christmas 1960, and I was an excited seven-year old girl full of anticipation over what ‘Father Christmas’ would be bringing me..

Little did my family know, that the gift I received that year would bring me a lifetime of joy, and lead me to achieving a life long dream – of becoming a published author. For, on that fateful Christmas morning, I received my very first ‘lock up diary’.

I was full of joy, happiness and excitement at being able to write down the events of my daily life, including the following excerpts:

1st January 1960  

Stayed at my grandmas all day. Had dinner and tea there. Played all day with Marion.

 

2nd January 1960

We went a walk. Then we went to aunty graces. She gave us sixpence. Went to Grandmas.  Uncle matt gave us sixpence.

Diana-for-Girls-Magazine-No-104-13-FebruaryAnd so it goes. Apparently I entered my first poem competition February 1965. It was a snappy poem competition in my favourite comic, ‘Diana’. How about that!

Whilst, these entries may not appear exciting to you – they became juicer during my teenager years, and as an adult they have allowed me to get a glimpse of my former self, written in my own voice with all of the insecurities and the peaks and troughs of the teenage years.

When I look back at the entries in my diary written in my own words it allows me to reflect on my life. There are many important events charted in the diary. For example, the exact date I learned to swim, the first day I went to the Girl Guides, the day I joined the Saint John’s nursing cadets. I have even recorded the grades I received for my school exams.

I progressed to journal writing when my son was born, starting with a short family history and a rudimentary family tree. Originally my intention was to chart the day to day family life and the growth and development of my son. My daughter was born three years later and I continued to document both of my children’s growth and development including their educational attainments and sporting achievements. Alongside this I wrote about our day to day events as a family, the places we visited and a little social history. Apparently I was in the kitchen baking, when the news broke about the assassination of John Lennon, which I have clearly documented outlining my distress.

As well as my own immediate family I have also documented important events from my extended family. In addition, I encouraged both of my parents to write an account of their young lives, which they both kindly agreed to. Therefore amongst the many pages of writing, there is a section written in my mother and fathers voice.

My mother added the following details to my journal:

I remember going from house to house for salvage. My part towards the war effort. We did very little schooling so I wasn’t the brains of Britain. I left school at the age of fourteen, I started work in a factory called Barringers Wallace and Manors, it was a metal factory making tins for the troops and gas mask tins for civilians

My father added the following details to my journal:

I was born in Dewsbury. As far as I can recall there was no electric in those days, just a small gas jet and mantle on the wall. And a small gas ring to cook on plus an oven at the side of the old fireplace if you had anything to burn. The houses were all cold and damp and the toilets 20 – 30 yards down a yard outside in a block of six. No flush toilet, just a cut out round hole in wood. These had to be emptied once a week at night by men called “night soil men” These bad conditions were the reason for fever hospitals to be always full of children. Both me and my sister Barbara were in hospital at the same time with Scarlet fever.

I still find it an interesting read, that gives me an insight into past times. The written word can be a powerful tool. I hope that one day, my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and all future generations will read through my journals and capture that moment in time, from the voice of their own ancestors.

I find that writing in my journal is therapeutic and helps to clear my mind of any clutter that is building inside of me.

Writing a journal is therapetic - k.l loveley

My advice to anyone who is contemplating writing a journal, is to have no set rules about content or no set times to write. Just go to the journal and treat it like a friend that you are having a conversation with. Write down your thoughts, worries and aspirations alongside the day to day events and the important milestones of your family life.

Most of all enjoy the writing.

Do you write in a journal, let me know via Twitter or Facebook !