Saturday, 21 January 2012

Test post


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Romantic Education

Hey you,

I read a lot, as I am sure you all do to and when I read a romance, I really want to buy into the romance that goes on between the hero and heroine and if I'm sucked in, then you've got my vote.

The reader of romance novels (me being one of them!) wants to feel satisfied by the hero - not in any kind of pervy way - but knowing that he will fill the hole in the heroine's life, will make her whole and will be the kind of man that she's hoping for.

The reader of romance novels wants to fall ever so slightly in love with the hero - after all, these are men who have flaws but who can overcome then and be a better man.

The reader of romance novels will feel ever so slightly jealous of the heroine - not envying her problems or hang ups, but the fact, that by sheer determination, by real honest dialogue and by the deepest soul searching, she always gets the man of her dreams.

I got to thinking about what got me reading romance as a youngster.  Was it just following on from my mum's example?  She used to go down the library once every couple of weeks and choose as many Mills and Boon books as she was allowed (can't remember what the allowance was in the early 1980's) - once I got old enough, she used to send me down to pick them for her.  Whilst I'm sure she had her own preferences, when I picked for her, I went on the names of the hero and heroine (something I'm still very drawn to now!) and by the picture on the cover.

Even younger than that, my aunty gave me a book which she had been given as a child - 'Little Women' by Louisa M. Alcott.  I treasure that book - I still have it to this day, and it's 55 years old.  Even at the age of 7 or 8, the relationships between Jo and Laurie, and subsequently Amy and Laurie and also Meg and Mr Brooke left an impression on me that has followed me through into adult life.

As a teenager, I read Judy Bloom - I still have have some of her books and like to dip back in to them every now and then and 'Forever' formed part of my sex education!  I also liked the 'Caitlin' series (has anyone else read the books?) by Francine Pascale and made valiant efforts to get the three trilogies  again (gotta love the Internet) but I am still missing a couple.

Then Black Lace books came out when I was in my late teens, early twenties and that was also a bit of an eye opener - who knew?!!!!

 But all through that, I've always maintained a picture of how true romance should be - it wasn't all moonlight and roses - and it seemed to happen to other girls, but not me.  To this day (although I'd die of mortification), I am still hopeful that my other half (or some stranger who has admired me from afar) will have flowers delivered to me at work.  I will still check the post every Valentine's Day for a card (just in case that stranger who has admired me from afar has stalked me and found out where I live).  I still (on the odd occasion I go out with the girls) cast a hopeful eye around the bar to see if I catch someone's eye (by this stage, I've discovered that the stranger who has admired me from afar is actually someone who has had a few too many and thinks that adding a MILF to his list is on his 'things to do before I'm 30' list).

My romantic hero is tall (hopefully near six foot, but five feet 11 and spiked hair might do it) , has blonde hair ( or brown or black or grey, but definitely some hair), will be approximately two to five years older than me (might push it to ten), have a great sense of humour (possibly tells a lot of jokes that I've heard before but still makes me laugh), want kids (at least one), works hard (most of the time), likes to read (what's on the Sky TV Guide), likes to go for long walks (why did God invent wheels if he wanted us to walk everywhere), communicates (prefers to talk on the phone, sends one word texts (Yes, No) possibly stretches to two (Eff Off), and finally makes me laugh (especially when the puppy is lying on his chest of a night and the dog passes wind).

My romantic education started fairly young and it's taken me a fair proportion of my adult life to realise that whilst it's fabulous to be able to escape and day dream when reading a romance novel or better still to be able to bring a hero to life with your own words, I have my own hero indoors - I hope you've found yours too.

Take care,

Remy xxx

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Waiting Game

Hey you,

Did you know the word "queue" is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed?

So why waste time in bothering to write the last four letters?  Why in this country are we so complacent about queuing?

I think things are getting better with regards to waiting times in the UK these days. I don't mean NHS waiting times - those sort of things are often legislative and beyond our control.

The waiting I am referring to is the amount of time we are prepared to wait for things to happen - I deal with customer complaints as part of my job and people are much more au fait with published response times. 

People are more inclined these days to chase things, have more confidence in their ability to deal with customer service departments, are more aware of their rights as a consumer.

On the other side of the coin, manufacturers and service providers have much more efficient ways of communicating with the customer, better methods of delivery and more robust service level agreements.

All of this combined makes for a more proactive relationship between company and customer.

So in this modern world where communication is instant and money can be transferred from one continent to the other in the blink of an eye, why do we still queue?

At the doctors, at the school gates, on the motorway, in the supermarket, in the bank, in the cinema, in the canteen, in the toilets, in the car park - in fact when don't we queue or wait for something?!!!!

Have a look around you during your day and see who is waiting around for something or someone! I'm sure it will make you smile!

Take care, 

Remy xxx

Monday, 16 January 2012

What's your self worth?

Hey you,

I had a bit of a quandary today and it got me thinking about how important we think we are.

Today was my first day on jury service. I was picked for a case and then the jury were promptly dismissed and weren't needed back until midday tomorrow.  This was late morning.

Do I go back to work or do I go home or do I go home and work?

Some of my colleagues remember their jury service as a 'good skive', 'boring' and 'lots of waiting around' and with these thoughts in my head, I weighed up the pros and cons of my three options.

I wasn't expected in to work and therefore wouldn't be missed.  If I didn't go into work, who would know if I was to 'skive'?

But if I did go into work and carry on with the work I had planned to do in the jury assembly room during 'boring' and 'the lots of waiting around' bits, what were the chances of me actually getting anything done?  Pretty slim, if I'm honest, because an extra bod is always useful during the busy lunch period and I would get caught up in all the little day to day emergencies.

But in reality, am I really that important? Will the department grind to a halt if I worked from home? Does that email enquiry have to  be answered by me? Could somebody else sort out the problem in my absence? Am I really worth all that?

In the grand scheme of all things business, the answer to all of these questions has to be a resounding NO.  But that doesn't stop us as humans having a high opinion of ourselves.   It's human nature to want to be important, whether it's in our professional or personal life.

Our sense of self worth is what drive us, makes us ambitious, makes us strive to be the best we can be.  Is it wrong to take pride in what you do?  Is it wrong to be confident in your abilities?  Is it wrong to have high self-esteem? I think the answer to these questions is again no, but I feel these things need to be tempered with humility and at time, a healthy dose of reality.

So with that in mind, I did go home and I did work, but at a less frantic pace, without any interruptions.  I passed on several emails to my colleagues and I had a really productive afternoon and the world didn't stop!

So there!  ;o)

Take care,

Remy xxx

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Following the recipe

Hey you,

Growing up, baking was very important in my family - my nan always had a still warm sponge cake waiting for us on a Saturday afternoon when we visited.  At home, my mum spent Sunday morning preparing the roast and then baking up a storm for the week ahead.

As I got older, she let me take over the Sunday baking and there's nothing more enjoyable for me even to this day, than trying to get the lightest and tallest sponge cake possible.

When I bake, I know the recipe off by heart and measure by eye - sometimes the end result is perfect, other times maybe not so.  Unfortunately, my boy is a stickler for following the recipe and that's how we've spent this afternoon - Glump cup cakes.

Recipe: Mix butter and sugar until creamy    
Me: Agreed
Boy: Agreed
Recipe: Beat egg and add to butter and sugar mixture bit by bit
Me: Not sure about this, I normally add the egg with a bit of flour to stop it splitting
Boy: Mum, follow the recipe!
Recipe: Add the milk and mix slowly
Me: The mixture's split
Boy: Mum, follow the recipe!
Recipe: Fold in the flour and baking powder gently
Me: Dump all the flour in and beat the hell out of it until not split anymore
Boy: Mum, follow the recipe!

The end result was the same, just that I had a slightly different way of getting there.

Just because you don't follow the recipe, doesn't mean it won't turn out right in the end!

Take care,

Remy xxx

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Don't judge a book by its cover

Hey you,

People watching is one of my favourite hobbies, giving them a name, a history, a present and a future.  I've done it since I was a teenager, when I first started writing and it's something that's stayed with me ever since.

We went for a walk in the forest today, with the dogs, haven't been there for many years, and was amazed at how popular it was at 11am in the morning.  The temperature was only a few degrees above freezing but the children's play areas were busy with laughing kids and smiling parents.

There were people of all shapes and sizes, wearing all sorts of clothing, arriving in a wide variety of cars, along with a myriad of canine companions and it made me think about how children and animals can add to or detract from the characters and plot of a story.  What does a child or an animal tells us about our hero or heroine?

Is the agoraphobic lady who lives alone with lots of cats just a lonely old spinster or is she a former model, disfigured in an accident, unable to face the world? Is the single man who walks his dog at precisely the same time every day along the same route obsessive compulsive or is he retracing the last steps of his partner who disappeared without a trace?

Does the young woman with three children, obviously by different fathers, have loose morals or is she looking after her sister's children whilst she undergoes treatment for a life threatening illness?

We're all guilty of making snap judgements about people just from how they look, what they wear, what they drive, where there live, what they do.  Our readers do the same thing, only their impression comes from the words we choose to draw our characters with.

So whilst passing the time of day people watching, whether it's the person in the car next to you in the traffic jam, or the people sitting at the table next to you at lunchtime, or the person ahead of you at the checkout, file your judgements away, as you never know when they might come in useful.

Take care,

Remy xxx

Friday, 13 January 2012

Knocking 40

Dear You,

So this is the year I'm knocking 40 - it's only a number, I know, and it's only a state of mind, I know, but still I've set myself a few things to achieve before the big day.

I can share the first one that's already been ticked off the list - stop biting my nails. And so after nearly 30 years of nibbling, I am now the proud owner of a set of fairly decent nails. But who knew they would take so much looking after? Base coat, first coat, second coat, top coat.  And who knew they'd be so dangerous? I've poked the dog in the eye, stabbed myself on the cheek, even drawn blood on my hand.  

I haven't quite finalised the rest of my to-do list just yet, have some ideas floating around my head, but am yet to commit to them. One thing I do know is that I need to get back to writing on a regular basis and this is blog is my starting point.

So, let's hope, like my nails, I can keep this up! 

Take care,

Remy xxx