The things kids say…

I was complaining this afternoon about stomach cramps. It’s that time of the month, and as usual I have mild cramping on my first day.

I told my daughter (aged 3) she should help me because my stomach was hurting and I needed some help. She looked at me and said

“Are you getting old mum?”

Me: “Yeah, something like that.”

She runs to the bathroom and reaches into the cupboard.

“I’ll get you something to help with that.”

She pulls out the moisturiser and hands it to me.

“This will help keep you alive when you’re in the graveyard.”




My partner and I have been planning our candle making business for a little while now. We’ve bought some equipment, lots of beeswax, and have been experimenting. I think I’ve mentioned before the many benefits of beeswax candles, but probably my favourite is the gorgeous honey fragrance that fills the house as the wax melts.

Today I have been experimenting with photos. While I was working a little beetle came up and climbed onto the Crystal Pillar Candle.

My favourite of our candles is the Fern Pillar Candle:

We also have a fern ball candle and a range of dinner candles – in a range of colours. The photos are for our new facebook page ( if you’re interested), although I took so many I’m going to have a hard time figuring out which ones to put up. ūüôā

Tassie – Four Seasons in One Day

Well – two seasons at least….

As mentioned in my previous post, I woke up Saturday morning to see snow on the nearby mountains. I knew it was there – the cloud cover the previous day, alongside the bitterly cold temperature told me it was snowing, but to see it – so early in the year – was still a surprise.

We had planned to go camping, and so we did, and 3 hours drive away we came to this:

And the next day, we went swimming. Well… maybe deep wading is a more accurate description. I got in above my waist – but the water was a bit cool, so I decided that was far enough. My daughter however happily went for a swim. Amazing how kids don’t feel the cold!

(I should add… after the swim I did a bit of sunbaking… not something I usually do, but the sun was warm and I knew we’re not going to get too much of that now winter is on it’s way (and early if you go by the top photo). And I got sunburnt – not much, but enough to sting under the shower…)

Autumn Snows


This is the view I woke up to this morning! Snow – and it’s only autumn!!!

Naming things!

I struggle with names when I’m writing. ALL names – character names, place names, even coming up with the title is difficult for me. My latest short story (it’s supposed to be short, but it keeps growing – stay short dammit!) is about faeries. Not little ones with big wings that sleep under mushrooms, but human sized ones that live in the world of the mist, that you might get sucked into if you step into a faery mushroom circle, and stuck in if you eat their food. Ok, so maybe that also applies to the stories of the little fairy’s too, but anyway…

I wanted some good faery names. So I turned to google. I have a character who has one name, but dreams of these people who call her by another, and I wanted something that would really suit. I love different sort of names, but especially those !

What surprised me the most was the name Alfred. It was at the top of a list of faery names – WT?! Alfred was my pop’s name, it’s hardly a faery name! Well – guess again. The original, fair dinkum, meaning of Alfred is Elf Counsel. My pop loved a laugh, and always had a mischievous twinkle in his eye¬†– I could certainly imagine him being one of the¬†mischievous¬†folk ¬†lol. ¬†He passed away 10 years ago this year – thinking of you Pop! Love and miss you heaps!

Home Grown Vegies!

Gardening is another one of my… well not passions, but certainly an interest. I love the idea of growing food for my family, but sadly I lack the motivation to keep up with the weeds and the watering so the results are never as good as they could be. Still I managed to get a few meals out the peas and beans (and most of the peas were devoured fresh by my children before they ever made it inside), and my garlic harvest (so far, I haven’t yet dug up the whole garlic bed yet) has had a 50% success rate. There were enough raspberries and currants for the kids to snack on, and we got 1 strawberry from the plant my son was given at school. There was plenty of silver beet (several meals worth still in the freezer). And we got to eat one or two lettuces before they went to seed. We have a small pumpkin (well technically 3 small pumpkins but the other two are miniscule and as the first frosts are coming soon they won’t get big enough to eat (I’m assuming…)) which should be enough for at least one meal – I’m hoping two. My four tomato plants that I planted, along with the half a dozen others that self seeded, have resulted in 3 tomatoes ūüė¶ And the brocolli… well… I did get one feed of brocolli, but I’m thinking what I planted was something else – broccolini perhaps – because while it looked similar to broccoli it was definately not.

What has surprised me though, are my carrots! I’ve pulled out a few now – I’ve had the odd failure, things that are more the shape and size of a radish, but mostly they have been good, straight carrots, if a bit small. Yesterday I pulled a few more, another stumpy one, and some good ones. But then there was the big one – it looked a decent size from the top – but I just wasn’t sure. I thought I might get another stumpy one, so was preparing myself for the disappointment.


My photo doesn’t really do it justice, but it was a big one! I was so pleased. I added it to the bolognaise yesterday, which I managed to double with a portion of a massive zucchini given me by a friend. So, plan for today is to dig out some more carrots, and use up some of the silver beet and zucchini and make up a vegetarian lasagne. Hoping to make two so that I can freeze one for later. Yum! ūüôā

The three rules of writing

I was surfing the web the other day and I found this:

The three rules of writing. And what a brilliant list! Generally I subscribe to the view that when it comes to writing, there are no rules – but I have to agree with Dennis Palumbo, the author of the above article. He lists the three rules as

– You Are Enough –¬†Basically he is saying that we all have within us the ability to write. We all have doubts and fears, but those doubts and fears are not real. We should ignore them and push on.

– Work with What You’re Given –¬†His second rule is akin to ‘write what you know’. Look at your life – use the experiences of your life to write – not just the events or things that you know – but emotions that everyone experiences whether they live in a large city on earth in 2012, or an imaginary village in a world ruled by dragons.

– Writing Begets Writing –¬†¬†And the last – just write. Never mind what you’re writing just get the words onto the screen, onto paper. Even if you write ‘I can’t think of anything to write and I am bored and maybe I shouldn’t do this anyway because it is all just silly’ etc etc etc. Get writing. Use writing to get all the nonsense out of your head, so the stories can find their way through.

This last is the one rule that I have followed for several years now. I sit down and I write. When I want to write a story I start by emptying my head of the nonsense that fills it so that I can make space for the inspiration to flow.

Nice Surprises :)

I have a notebook full or writing quotes… somewhere. I moved just over a year ago, and while I’m sure I’ve seen it since the move – for the life of me I can’t remember where I put it, or where it might be.

Nevermind – I have a record of most of them somewhere else – in the first story I wrote for Nanowrimo. So I dug out the story, and had a flick through.

On the 1 November 2008, I was enjoying a weekend away with friends. I had a 2 year old, and a 6 month old, and so it had been a while since I caught up properly with them all. When they invited us along I couldn’t say no – we would have our own dorm room, making it easier to have the kids, and it was going to be a blast. I was going. Even though I had signed up for the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, starting the 1 November.

So mid afternoon on that 1st November, found me huddled away in our room. It was the kids nap time, and they had gone down easily enough. I knew that this was the only chance I would have to get any writing done. So I pulled out my notepad and started to write.

I had no plans for that Nano. I always thought I was a ‘pantser’, a term used in Nanospeak for one who does not plan but just sits down and writes (though Nano has since taught me that I write better if I plan). So I picked up my pen and paper, and I began a story, about a girl who was doing Nanowrimo, and had no idea of hte story she was going to write. I wasn’t completely unimaginative – in my story you had to prove you were worthy to enter Nano, and it was a competition with prize money for the successful entrant. It was also held at a bush retreat (a large bush retreat), where the competitors all went and lived at for the month. They had no other responsibilities, but to write. They had at their service a massive library, writing assistants (mostly to ensure they were coping well – not to help with writing). The challenge was doubled. In my story they had to write 100,000 words in the month, something I thought would be challenging enough, even though they did have all day to write. All their meals were cooked for them, their washing was done. Their only responsibility was to turn up at meal times, and at the regular nightly social things- ¬†pep talks where the authors came to speak, and sold signed copies of their books to the participants at greatly reduced prices.

Talk about a dream. But anyway, I digress. That first day of Nano I hand wrote my 1667 words, and I did the same thing the next day. The following day I was home, and I continued writing my story, only typing up my hand written work when I had completed that days word goal.

As my main character struggled to find her story, all the while ignoring the one begging to be written, she wanders the halls of the Nano Building, finding quotes and other sources of inspiration hidden in the pictures the decorate the walls.

When my main character found her story, I found mine. Her dreams linked her to the past; her ancestors story begged to be told and finally she allowed the story to flow through her.

I won Nanowrimo that first year with a story that was 50,766 words. After some editing it reduced to 44,787 words. Until I picked it up just recently I had not looked at it since that first edit. I had dismissed it as no good. But when I re read it the other day, I found that it was alright after all. That there was potential there – something that could be salvaged, if ever I got around to it.

It’s nice, to read over something written years ago and find it’s actually not so bad.


From Wikipedia (what would we do without Google and Wikipedia!!??)

– The act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.

– There are three criteria for a behavior to be classified as procrastination: it must be counterproductive, needless, and delaying

– To voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.

РChronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological disorder. Such procrastinators may have difficulty seeking support due to social stigma, and the belief that task-aversion is caused by laziness, low willpower or low ambition.

This made me laugh:

My latest form of procrastination: googling the term ‘procrastination’ instead of editing my story.

I have a whole 4 pages to go until I have completed this round of editing of my novel. A couple of thousand words I suppose, at most – Ha not even that! A quick word count shows there is 1,262 words and I will be at the end, ready to put it aside to rest a while, so I can work on something else. So why am I not getting in and finishing it? Because I don’t like what’s happening at the moment – it’s not right – I have to change something. I think the ending has come too soon – the novel works towards a battle, and it’s over in a few pages. Surely there needs to be more, otherwise isn’t it a bit of an anti climax?? Perhaps I should leave it up to my beta-readers to tell me what they think? Probably…

So I probably should get back to it and stop all this procrastinating!

W. Somerset Maugham

I was thinking about the quote from Somerset Maugham that I posted the other day, and I realised that while I recognise the name, I don’t actually know anything about the man!

So here’s some interesting info – mostly sourced from Wikipedia:

He was one of the most popular writers of his time, and it is claimed the most highly paid author of the 1930’s.

His full name was William Somerset Maugham. He was born in January in 1874 in the British Embassy in France. His parents were British but French law declared any child born on French soil could be conscripted, so his parents arranged to for him to be born at the Embassy which is technically British Soil.

He died in December 1965, also in France.

His mother Edith suffered from Tuberculosis, the doctor’s remedy? Childbirth!! I am trying to imagine how childbirth (and I guess pregnancy in general) would help a condition such as TB and I just can’t see how it could.(Actually a¬†quick search on TB and it’s affects on pregnancy shows that women with ¬†TB are twice as likely to give birth to premature, or low-birth-weight babies, and four times more likely to die during childbirth! ( Either this knowledge was not available at the time, or perhaps the doctor was hoping to shorten the poor woman’s pain!? Who knows, either way, she ¬†died when Maugham was just 8, only a short time after giving birth to another son who also didn’t make it. Maugham’s father passing away a mere two years later.

He studied literature, philosophy and German at Heidelberg University in Germany for a year.

He began writing when he was 15 and wanted to become an author, but did not share this with his Uncle, (who became his guardian after the death of Maugham’s parents) who had him study medicine instead. He qualified as a doctor but as his second book, Liza of Lambeth, sold out in a matter of weeks in 1897 he dropped the profession and turned to writing full time. His writing over the next decade allowed him to travel, but it was not until 1907 when he experienced success again with a play, Lady Frederick. In this year he also published a supernatural thriller (entitled The Magician) in which he based the main character on Aleister Crowley, an occultist known for his eccentricities. Crowley took offense and accused Maugham of plagiarism, an accusation that does not seem to have affected Maugham too much.

Maugham valued his experience as a medical student and doctor in London, saying: “I saw how men died, I saw how they bore pain. I saw what hope looked like, fear and relief…” That would have been great fodder for writing!