Inspiration

Thoughtful Thursday – World Earth Day

Hi Everyone,

As some of you may be aware, today is Earth Day. In recognition of this, this week, I’ve been dedicating a post each day with information I have found inspirational or helpful. I’m a big believer in small changes can make a big difference.

Today we are showing our support for @EarthDay, designed to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide. 

Earth Day encourages us all to play our part in looking after our environment. As individuals and businesses, this can sometimes feel like a huge challenge. We recognise that there is a long way to go, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.  

If we all play our part, together we can move towards a more sustainable future.   Find out more about Earth Day here 👉🏼 https://www.earthday.org/our-work/

This year’s annual Earth Day Doodle highlights how everyone can plant the seed to a brighter future—one sapling at a time. Happy Earth Day 2021!

Earth Day 2021 Doodle by Google

Fancy a bit of fun, try the how environmentally friendly are you quiz.

Posts in this series:

Much Love
KL ❤

Inspiration, Un-block Challenges

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – World Earth Day Mash-up

As some of you may be aware, Thursday is Earth Day. In recognition of this, this week, I’ve decided to dedicate a post each day with information I have found inspirational or helpful. I’m a big believer in small changes can make a big difference.

This week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge topic is Nutrition or Nourishment. It seemed too good an opportunity not to combine them both. One of the best quotes.

Lorax – Earth Day Image – Dr Seuss

Over the last few years, I have made small steps to change my habits for the better. Here are some simple things I have done:

  • Rechargeable batteries: Almost every battery in my house is now replaced with rechargeable batteries. Simple, easy and will probably save you money in the long term. Actually, even the pound shop rechargeable ones are pretty good for stuff like tv remotes.
  • Fold-up shopping bags: Obviously, we all know to take our own shopping bags with us, which I think most people do these days for a big shop. But what about when you just pop in somewhere for a quick shop (bread, milk or the emergency bottle of wine)? Fold-up shopping bags. You can buy these from Wilko. The fold-up ones are great to shove 1 or 2 in the glove box of your car for in case of emergency. They fold to about 6cm x 6cm so take up no room at all. Stops those emergency or excessive bag purchases.
  • Meal Plan: This is probably one of my favourite things (fit’s my OCD habits nicely). I like to meal plan as much as possible. The UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index revealed that 17% of the food available to consumers – in shops, households and restaurants – goes directly into the bin. Some 60% of that waste is in the home. The 923 million tonnes of food being wasted each year would fill 23 million 40-tonne trucks. Bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth seven times. If it were a country, food waste would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.
    • My problem with meal plans is I like to do a big shop, then little top-up shops. Most meal plans are weekly, but I don’t have the time to generate one each week. So, I have created a monthly meal plan (attached). It’s fairly straightforward but basically, I write out my cupboard, fridge and freezer stocks. I write a list of favourite meal ideas. Combine the two. Write out the plan. Fill in the shopping list. Hey presto. Then each week I am only getting top-up shops; like bread, milk and fresh produce.
Printable Monthly Foodplan by KL Caley
  • Meat Free Monday: This is regarded as the easiest way to help save the world. I try to incorporate one meat-free meal a week into my food plan. Check out this website for your impact calculator. For those wondering how to get started, I highly recommend slow-cooked sweet potato and lentil curry, one of our favourites.
  • Switch to the Slow Cooker: I try to use the slow-cooker at least once or twice a week (often the meals portions make it more than once meal also). Popular wisdom says that a slow cooker uses only as much energy as a light bulb. The numbers back the theory: seven hours of crockpot cooking uses 0.7 kilowatt-hours of energy, whereas baking the same meal in an electric oven for one hour uses 2.0 kWh. In terms of CO2, if a meal requires one hour to cook on an electric oven it uses 2.7 pounds of C02, whereas a crockpot uses 0.9 pounds of C02 for seven hours. The numbers vary depending on the source but all are in agreement Slow Cookers, save you time, money and energy. Check out this website for some more info.
  • LED Bulbs: This one is obvious, and I think most people will now have changed all their normal lightbulbs for lamps etc. But every now and then we notice some additional bulbs we haven’t switched, such as the cooker extractor fan and kickboard lighting.
  • Grow your own: Super simple and interesting to do with the kids. It’s amazing how much you can grow with very little effort. We started off a few years ago with crops in pots on our patio, we now have an allotment. Growing your own is so rewarding, relaxing and interesting. A water butt is a cheap way to collect rainwater too, for those (rare as they may be in the North East of England), dry spells.
  • Switch Soaps: There are a lot of businesses now doing soap and shampoo bars. These tend to last a lot longer than plastic bottles and are often used with local and sustainable products. A friend of mine runs Soap out of the Garden (although there are probably companies more local to yourself). Her products are lovely, she uses all-natural products and avoids palm oils too. They also make lovely gifts.
  • Tassimo Coffee Pods: I wrote to both Tassimo, my MP and my local council last year over concerns about the lack of recycling in the North East of England – yes I am that person now! Anyway, I was delighted to be informed recently that Tassimo has introduced a free return service meaning they are now recyclable… called PODBACK. Tassimo is already quite a clever little machine, it reads each cartridge individually, knows exactly how much water is needed, how long it takes to brew your drink and the optimal temperature. This way, it only uses the minimum amount of water and energy, no waste. Now the pods are easy to return to be recycled.

I’m sure there are many, many more but those are the ones springing to the top of my mind now. Is there any you can think of?

Much Love
KL ❤


Originally written in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge (WQWWC – Nourishment). A wonderful prompt hosted by Marsha Ingrao at Always Right.

Inspiration

Technology Tuesday – World Earth Day

Hi Everyone,

As some of you may be aware, Thursday is Earth Day. In recognition of this, this week, I’ve decided to dedicate a post each day with information I have found inspirational or helpful. I’m a big believer in small changes can make a big difference.

REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE – RESTORE

Last year, during the pandemic, whilst working from home I realised my use of my Tassimo coffee machine had increased (as I am sure many others have too). I love a nice cuppa, it’s what is often needed to see me through some of the longer meetings or more mundane tasks that just need to be done. Anyway, I looked into recycling the cartridges (which are claimed to be fully recyclable) and was frustrated to find nothing in my area. If I really, really wanted to recycle them I could purchase a recycling box which cost nearly £200, which I am sure most people would agree is not an affordable sum. So, I wrote to Tassimo, recieving a rather half-hearted email promoting the above mentioned expensive recycling scheme and looking into other options.

KL tells tales on TASSIMO.

Undeterred I wrote to my local MP and to my local council. My MP actually chased the company and got in touch with the director. A couple of weeks ago I was pleased to see that the company has now launched a new scheme called PODBACK, where Tassimo and many other cartridges can be sent to be recycled. These bags are free with any order or £3 to purchase separately, which I am sure you can all agree is a far more affordable sum. It’s still not the curbside collection I would like to see in place, or even the supermarket collection (many have bottle banks, battery drop-offs etc, and I still believe if you sell the product you should help the consumer easily recycle it), but it’s a fairly good step in the right direction.

Now I know the die-hard eco campaigners would say, just don’t use the machine, but I am not ready to give it up (yet). Tassimo is already quite a clever little machine, it reads each cartridge individually, knows exactly how much water is needed, how long it takes to brew your drink and the optimal temperature. This way, it only uses minimum amount of water and energy, so far more efficient than most other brewing methods.

So, I have talked alot about Tassimo (other brands available), but I wanted to make my point, if you don’t ask you don’t get, and little things really do make a big difference.

We have a lot of great technology that can help us, help ourselves. We need to learn to use them to their full capacity and hold the companies accountable that produce waste products.

On the discussion around recycling

I was very excited recently to read about Mura Technology and their new Teesside facility. The British technology company’s plant, which is expected to be operational by 2022, is predicted to process 80,000 tonnes of ‘plastic waste’ every year, including plastic waste currently classed as unrecyclable.

It is part of the company’s commitment to developing one million tonnes of capacity worldwide by 2025 – this is said to be equivalent to nearly half of the plastic waste generated in the UK every year.

Find out more info at this fantastic article: https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/19183619.construction-starts-revolutionary-plastic-recycling-plant-teesside/

Have you found any small steps you would recommend to others? Or spotted a bit of tech that would help us be kinder to our planet? I’d love to know.

Much love

KL ❤

Inspiration

Monday Muse – World Earth Day.

Hi Everyone,

As some of you may be aware, Thursday is Earth Day. In recognition of this, this week, I’ve decided to dedicate a post each day with information I have found inspirational or helpful. I’m a big believer in small changes can make a big difference. Last year, we saw a glimmer of hope when all over the world we saw how the air cleaned up and we saw animals return to their natural habitats or roam freely, all in such a short period of time. So, for me, I want to take stock and see what differences I can make, they may be small but it doesn’t make them any less important.

I watched an interview with David Attenborough on BBC Breakfast last year, and he kept the message very simple. Something that we can all do anywhere in the world. He was asked; “If there is one choice to make today, what choice would you like people to make?”

His Answer:

Don’t waste.

Don’t waste anything.

Don’t waste electricity.

Don’t waste food.

Don’t waste power.

Just treat the natural world as though it’s precious, which it is. And don’t squander those bits of it we have control of.

I think this is a really humbling message. Something that each of us can get behind. Whilst there are many things in the modern world we can’t change or won’t give up. Avoiding waste is certainly something we can all easily get behind.

David Attenborough message on Waste.

The full interview can be found here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08sq5w2

I’d love to know your thoughts. Have you any tips or tricks you have to avoid waste?

Much Love,

KL ❤

Inspiration

Dodgems of Love

Grandma is one of my favourite people on earth! She is really short, and probably as round as she is tall, but she’s an amazing tower of strength. She is a proper matriarch of the family, that always wants to know how all the family are doing all the time (with 8 children, 19 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren it’s not an easy task!), but she just wants to know everyone is doing well, healthy and happy.

I adore her and granddad’s story. A chance meeting on the dodgems may not be a fairy-tale romantic setting for most, but for them, it was to be the start of a relationship lasting 60 years and counting. Grandma met the love of her life, Peter, at Bridlington’s arcade in 1953 and they married after a year of courting.

When Grandma tells the story she says, her and a friend walked through the amusement arcade and granddad was on the dodgems having the time of his life.

“We looked at one another and he came over and we have never been separated since. He was the one.”

The secret to that special connection that creates a long and happy marriage?

Is to never let an argument rumble on. Grandma’s advice. “We care for one another and never let the sun go down on an argument.”

We think this translates to Granddad accepting that Grandma is the boss! But whatever it is it clearly works. Things may have changed in this day and age but I think their story still shows you just never know when and where you might find your happily ever after.

Inspiration

How to Write Historical Fiction: 7 Tips on Accuracy and Authenticity

Balancing Authenticity with Accuracy.

1. Have fun with the research, but do your homework. This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Borrow some good reference books. Become comfortable with the time period. Try to understand both the larger scope of the period, while examining aspects of daily life. This will help create an authentic backdrop for your novel.

2. Let the characters engage with the historical details. This goes along with that “show don’t tell” truism writers are told all the time. Rather than just dumping a bunch of facts on the poor reader, let your characters interact with these details with all these senses. Let them smell the offal dumped onto the cobblestone streets. Let them squint in the fading light of the tallow candles. Let them feel the tingling sensation as the physician places a leech on their bare skin.

3. Allow your characters to question and explore their place in society. This will help reveal the larger political, social, cultural context of the time. What were the expectations for women? For sailors? For criminals? How did people from different parts of society interact with one another?

4. Use the internet wisely, to inspire and inform. The internet can be a researcher’s best friend, especially for arm-chair time travelers. Need to know how long it would take to walk from the Louvre to the Eiffel tower? Use the walking feature on mapquest. Need to see the inside of the Hagia Sophia? Check the dozens of tourist videos on YouTube. Sometimes I’m amazed by what the internet can’t answer. Certainly, the internet is a treasure trove of interactive maps, images, videos, and historical documents, which can be both informative and inspiring.

5. The internet can be bad, bad, bad for historical research. Unfortunately, the internet is also full of flawed information, lies, plagiarized material and half truths. (I’m looking at you, Wikipedia! Which I do use, but cautiously). Check all “facts” against at least two sources when possible. If a story or definition is repeated nearly verbatim in more than one source, there’s a good chance someone simply copied the information without verifying the accuracy. This is how a lot of bad information gets passed along and taken as “true.”

6. Don’t fret the details; let the story be told. Strive for accuracy, but when necessary, make your best informed guess and move on. And if you have to fudge something, well, that’s what the ‘historical note’ at the end of your novel is for!

7. Love the process, because readers will still find errors. And they’ll let you know about them. It doesn’t matter if those errors happened in editing process (as several of mine did. I collapsed some scenes together, and voila! A perfect recipe for timeline and geography mistakes). You can triple-check facts, hire copy editors and proofreaders, scrutinize every word for inconsistencies and mistakes, and I guarantee something will still slip by. At that point, you just have to laugh, thank your reader and move on.

But what do you think? How do you balance historical authenticity and historical accuracy as you tell your story?

I Came Across this useful article today on writers digest, by author Susanna Calkins (author of A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate). I did click the share button but apparently it doesn’t translate to wordpress very well so I have extracted the tips to here. But please visit the full article using the link below.

How to Write Historical Fiction: 7 Tips on Accuracy and Authenticity.

Inspiration

Astronomy Myths and Legends- The Tale Of the Lucky Red Moon

It’s an odd world at the minute – did you know?..

 On April 4th 2015 there will be a blood moon?

A blood moon is a total lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in the shadow of Earth so the light from the sun is blocked by our planet. The light refracts differently in the atmosphere and, as it hits the moon, it appears red.

Total lunar eclipses are rare – only about one in three lunar eclipses are total. About four to five total eclipses can be seen at any place on Earth in a decade.

Lunar eclipses usually do not occur in any specific order. However, every once in a while, four total lunar eclipses happen in a row. This is called a lunar tetrad. The total lunar eclipses happen 6 months apart. There are at least six full Moons between two total lunar eclipses in a tetrad. This will be the 3rd blood moon, with the fourth set to occur on September 28th, 2015.

I think in this modern world, I still like the old world ways, myths about knights, witches and dragons, when people actually listened to nature (and each other). So for those wanting some of that:

Myths & Legends..

There are many myths and legends surrounding the blood moon, many surrounding werewolves, it’s said they can’t resist the feeling of a blood moon calling them to the hunt. It has greater “pull” than a normal moon and thus, makes it near impossible to resist. Whenever it happens, if a werewolf is awake, or asleep, he will know, and he will answer the “call”.

For more visit:-

Astronomy Myths and Legends- The Tale Of the Lucky Red Moon.

If you want to know when your town will see it visit –

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2015-april-4

Inspiration

Another Writing News Flash –

I am thoroughly enjoying the homages made to great writers which are appearing on the news and in the media at the moment. Last week I published a post on how  Google marked the 200th birthday of Irish gothic tales writer Sheridan Le Fanu has rekindled my passion for good “classic” horror stories.

conan doyle prophecy

Then on Friday an article on Arthur Conan Doyle’s eerie vision of the future of war was published on BBC news. The article focusses on a short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the threat of starvation in Britain – caused by enemy submarines – and the need for a Channel Tunnel. During the War this story almost became true when Germany began attacking merchant ships headed for Britain. The need for a tunnel was then realised.

In fact, a few weeks after the story’s publication, the House of Commons was set to debate the idea of a tunnel. But the day before it was due to take place Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. The debate never took place.  It wasn’t until 1994 – 80 years after Conan Doyle’s story – that today’s Channel Tunnel finally opened.

But it really brings to life the Byron quote (found in his 1823 poem Don Juan) is “Truth is always strange, Stranger than Fiction.”

This brought to mind the great Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. Over the course of several decades, people had embraced new media, sports, and a quickening pace of life. Books were ruthlessly abridged or degraded to accommodate a short attention span while minority groups protested over the controversial, outdated content perceived to be found in books.

Could Ray’s eerie vision of the future be closer than we think? I suspect not as although paperback reading itself may not be as popular as it once was, the quest for knowledge continually grows. With the introduction of the kindle and similar devices sales of books have increased. This article from 2012 quotes the following sales figures – overall growth of 89.1 per cent in digital sales went from £77m to £145m, while physical book sales fell from £985m to £982m – and 3.8 per cent by volume from £260m to £251m.
book & kindle

I wonder how many other books that have seemed far-fetched have come closer to the truth than we first realised…

Inspiration

Opportunities

Hello Everyone,

There are quite a few new opportunities out there at the moment, if anyone is looking for a new challenge…

BBC Script Room
Send your stage play for assessment by readers at the BBC when The Script Room window opens from 15-29 September. They say: ‘We read all scripts as a calling card of a writer’s talent. This is not a free script-reading service, but a means by which the BBC seeks out the best new writing talent, offering writers without a track record, representation, or contacts the opportunity to have their work considered by the BBC.’ Shortlisted writers will go forward to access a range of development opportunities with BBC writersroom. Script Room 8 is specifically for comedy/drama stage plays. There are strict submission guidelines, which you are advised to follow. Deadline: 29 September For more information, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/script-room-2013.
Join the revolution
The Manchester-based magazine for creative writing, Black & BLUE, is currently seeking submissions on the theme ‘Revolution’. They are looking for revolutionary writing in any form, from poetry to dramatic sketches, not to mention diary entries, fabricated transcripts, memos and love letters. Send your submissions to revolution@blackbluewriting.com. Deadline: 14 September. See http://www.blackbluewriting.com for details.
Story Tyne
North Tyneside Libraries is encouraging people of all ages to enter its free annual short story competition, Story Tyne. This year entries are being invited on the theme of ‘The Great War’. There are four age categories in the competition: adults, young people aged 13-16 years, children aged 9-12 years, and children aged up to 8 years. Entries in the adult category should be no more than 1,500 words, and entries in the children’s categories no more than 750 words. Waterstones vouchers will be awarded to winners and runners-up. Closing date: 27 September. Entry forms are available from North Tyneside libraries or can be downloaded here.
The Writer’s Prize
Seeking the best ideas across the Radio 3 and 4 networks, BBC Radio has joined forces with BBC Writersroom to hold The Writer’s Prize. The award is the opportunity for a Radio 3 or Radio 4 commission and the prize is open to a range of ideas and approaches from any writer, anywhere in the UK. It could be a 45-75 minute drama for Radio 3 or 4, although the majority of opportunities will be for the Radio 4 afternoon drama slot, which lasts 45 minutes. They say: ‘We are looking for original, surprising multi-character narrative scripts for radio. We are not looking for monologues or adaptations.’ The award will be judged by Jeremy Howe (commissioning editor, BBC Radio 4 Drama), Kate Rowland (BBC creative director, new writing) and award-winning writer Katie Hims. Opens 15 September, closes 29 September. Apply online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/Writers-Prize.

Time to get scribbling 🙂 …

Inspiration

Today Google marks the 200th birthday of Irish gothic tales writer Sheridan Le Fanu

google

Extract From Wikipedia

..Le Fanu worked in many genres but remains best known for his mystery and horror fiction. He specialised in tone and effect rather than “shock horror”, and liked to leave important details unexplained and mysterious. He avoided overt supernatural effects: in most of his major works, the supernatural is strongly implied but a “natural” explanation is also possible. The demonic monkey in “Green Tea” could be a delusion of the story’s protagonist, who is the only person to see it; in “The Familiar”, Captain Barton’s death seems to be supernatural, but is not actually witnessed, and the ghostly owl may be a real bird. This technique influenced later horror artists, both in print and on film (see, for example, the film producer Val Lewton’s principle of “indirect horror”). Though other writers have since chosen less subtle techniques, Le Fanu’s best tales, such as the vampire novella “Carmilla”, remain some of the most powerful in the genre. He had enormous influence on one of the 20th century’s most important ghost story writers, M. R. James, and although his work fell out of favour in the early part of the 20th century, towards the end of the century interest in his work increased and remains comparatively strong.

Inspiration

This image has inspired me. I have always had an interest in horror novels (and movies), particularly those that expose the readers imagination to cause the horror effect. I remember reading the shining by Stephen King when I was around 11/12 years old and then going on holiday with my dad were the hotel had hedge creatures! I spent a large amount of the holiday keeping an eye on the hedge animals for suspected movements, the slightest breeze putting me on high alert and holding onto my dads hand (something that was very uncool at that age).

For me, James Herbert was the modern master of this type of writing. I raced through his novels soaking up every word and loved the feeling of falling asleep with the lamp on in case something made a noise in the middle of the night. Both “the magic cottage” and “the secrets of crickley hall” being particular favorites’ and I love re-reading these every few years.

I love that this type of creepy horror and it is coming back into fashion with writers such as Susan Hill and Jonathan Ayecliffe recovering this genre from neglect. I’m sure most readers of horror will agree imagination beats gore every time.

Time for some more horror reading…and maybe a little bit of writing too.