My Bucket List for 2016

My Bucket List for 2016

I am pushing myself this year, not in a one big New Year’s resolution that I will be abandoning when the going gets tough, (as per all my previous years! 😦 ) but in a collection of small steps (well that’s the plan anyway). I’m also lucky in that my OH and a few of my friends are trying to do some of them too so hopefully that will all help.

  1. Got 7 Chapters to finish – Then the first draft of my novel will be complete!
    I had intended to achieve this before the end of 2015 but it hasn’t happened so it is something I need to focus on in 2016. I already have ideas for another novel brewing in the back of my head. Before they take too much shape I want to finish my first one. My BIG mission is to get it through re-drafts and published before the end of 2016 but I am aware that is a big step. I’d rather start with the little step and see how I progress.
  2. Get Fitter
    I know this is very much a resolution-y type of thing and I have managed to pile on a lot of weight in 18 months, but I don’t want that to be the driving factor for this point. I want to feel fitter. I want to be able to try some of the adventurous activities my partner does such as mountain biking without the fear that I won’t keep up. I want to take my niece swimming and know that if she wonders off I can more than run after her. The thing is I could probably do these type of things now but I don’t feel confident enough in my fitness to be sure. So that is my goal (hopefully some weight loss will be an added bonus).
    run funny
  3. Eat Healthier – AKA Stop the Veg-dodging!
    This is tied to goal 2 slightly as I have mentioned my weight is an issue. That being said, I know the main reason for this is my diet (or lack thereof). I am a notoriously fussy eater and always have been, I got away with it as a child as both my parents are fussy eaters also and have only improved it slightly as an adult. Give me pizza and pasta over fresh veg and salads any day. This is a lifestyle choice that unfortunately I do succumb to, working full-time it is also usually the easier option to have such things, than to start preparing healthier alternatives but it is detrimental to my health and I know it.
    You are what you eat
  4. Simple Savings
    This is an idea I stole from Facebook and it is one of the things I am more likely to give up but it’s worth a try. The idea is you put a £1 in a jar and increase it each week, so week 1 you’d put in £1, week 2 you’d put in £2, week 3 = £3, etc. This equates to over £1000 in a year and apparently because it’s developed as an incremental habit you are likely to push yourself once it gets to the higher tougher numbers. My OH and I will do this for 48 weeks (not the 52 stated). We also discussed if it is getting difficult by the halfway point we may do two lots of 26 instead. So our goal is simply to save in a fun manner, whichever way is easiest for us to do this. 🙂
  5. Read (& Write) More
    I managed to read and review over 50-odd books last year (still working on the final numbers as I play Christmas catch-up). This is around 30 more than the year before! Which I am quite proud of. In 2015I signed up to the local library and made use of it, found some great e-books from authors right here on WordPress and visited a load of independent bookstores and Hay festival. It was also the first year I have given a serious time to writing up book reviews on those read, hopefully these are useful to other readers but what has been really awarding is having some authors of the books contact me about the reviews. I hope to continue and improve on these numbers. Of course, I also intend to blog and read others blogs a little more too. It is always a tough choice between time spent reading and writing and I’m never sure which to dedicate more time to as I love both. So I am hoping I can combine them as often as possible to get a happy medium. 🙂

What’s on your bucket list for this year?

To find the rules for Just Jot It Just Jot It January – 2016January, click here and join in today. It’s never too late! And don’t forget to ping back your January 5th post here! Do you love lists? You may want to join laduchessederat list event too.


How not to start the New Year!

New Year New Me?

Not exactly how I intended to start the New Year, my eyes flickering awake, my face sticking slightly to my pillow from the drool and snot that the flu had brought with it. Looking into the mirror I wished I hadn’t! I stare longingly at the sparkly dress I’d intended to wear last night. I’d wanted to start the year with a bang not celebrating with a cough, feeling festive with a fever or salutations with snot!

Fluffy robe on, I padded downstairs to let the dog out, at least he seemed quite impressed with the barking sounds I was making. More purple gloop needed, I decided. I pour the medicine out onto the ridiculously awkward little spoon and my stomach gives an involuntary gurgle at the purple drink it’s about to receive. I make a cuppa and hot water bottle returning to the warm bed, after a few minutes the fever rebels and I toss all blankets aside and stick my head out the window. Closing my eyes I savour the cool crisp fresh January air and start to feel slightly better.. if not now a little cold.

“Morning,” a cheery voice floats up to me and I open my eyes to see the neighbour out at his bird feeder. My brain quickly does a survey of what it thinks I look like; red nose and eyes, hair sticking out like I was born part cactus and please tell me I’ve got my dressing gown on! The results aren’t good. “Happy New Year, Charlie.” I quickly croak a reply and try to calmly close the window before quickly scurrying back to the duvet. Maybe next year…


In Response to FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #7 & Daily Post’s Stroke of Midnight.

Hogmanay Traditions

I drum and I strum and sounds I do make
But to all other ears that is a mistake
It bangs out of tune or slightly off note
So I try something else that might get a better vote

I plink and I plonk but that goes askew too
So I puff and I pant on a digeridoo
The noises I make come out in loud toots
It’s certainly not reflective of my musical roots

So I put down the instruments and try out my voice
But the family clutch their ears at the horrible noise
So I decide to try to play the recorder
They all start to laugh, that’s bang out of order!

I thought I’d have a quick go with a saxophone
But the dog began to howl as if begging for a bone
A party instrument, I thought I try the fiddle
The noise resulted in endless giggles!

So after pianos, drums, keyboards and guitars!
I’ve decided this music lark is a pain in the a*se
I’ll stick to providing a poetic ditty
To 2015’s Hogmanay Festivity


It was tradition in my house for all party attendees to play a little instrument or sing a little song on Hogmanay. Despite my mother being a pretty good singer and my father being great at the guitar, these were both skills that alluded me. So I used to get the special job of reciting some poetry. Enjoy KL 🙂

Driving against the rain

The rain was pounding against the windscreen. Danielle stared frantically ahead into the dark but the droplets were so large they skewed her vision. She had to keep going, she had to get to Emma. Each large droplet of the glistening rain seemed to represent another problem in her way, a driver going slow, a road closed sign, flooding across a road that forced Danielle to drive far slower than she wanted to. The wind had picked up, it was throwing itself against the car, but the sturdy Landover was no match for the gale. Mark had been right telling her to take his car. Although Danielle wondered as she glanced at Mark sitting in the passenger seat staring dead-pan ahead, if he regretted letting her drive. But she had to, she had to do all in her power to get to her daughter as quick as she could.

The rain kept coming and showed no sign of relief, Danielle desperately hoped Emma had found somewhere to hide, somewhere warm and dry. She couldn’t really believe Andrew would hurt Emma would he? Andrew loved her more than life itself, but Danielle knew in her heart something had snapped with Andrew. That edge of anger he had always managed to suppress and keep in check had suddenly bubbled to the surface. She felt her foot push harder on the pedal again. The windscreen wipers battled to keep the screen clear of rain, in the same way Danielle’s eyelashes struggled to stop the tears from falling. She had to get there on time.

driving rain


Note: – This is a little extract from a much larger first draft I am working on at the minute and I’d love to know people’s thoughts, can they feel the tension or does it need more? Does it keep you reading or drag on a bit? Any advice greatly appreciated. KL 🙂


Dogs do guilty very well

I got a lovely soft bed when I was little, but I quickly out grew out of it…

Dog Bed before.png 

The boss said my legs grew too quick for my body. She said I walked like bambi on ice and it’s not really my fault I ran into a lamp-post once, a story she loves to tell people. It’s not really my fault my breaks legs didn’t work. I was just trying to grow big and strong as fast as I could. My long legs even helped me rescue a cooked chicken from the worktop one day. Well she had already had some of it, so there was no point risking her going back for seconds…

So, I may have got a little bored one day… and I may have taken matters into my own hands…


Dog Bed exploded!.png
It just went poooofffff!!


… it just went pooofff!!!.. She’s lucky I’m still alive really…

 Dog Bed New

Guilty?… Well maybe just a tiny little bit, but all is well that ends well as I got a nice new BIG bed!

With Woofs

Superbia’s story – humility

Superbia entered the town’s walls muttering to himself. For the last half a mile he had been stuck behind a train of merchants mostly watching the swishing of a tale of a donkey’s ass. Why had his father sent him to this god-forsaken town? Pride had always been a slight problem for him, but being one of seven children he knew he had to be the best – how else was he to get any of his fathers attention and a fair share of his fathers wealth?

“Superbia”, he heard a voice call out in the crowd and turned to see a rotund figure heading towards him.

“Patruus”, Superbia waved back and as his uncle grew closer, he embraced him in a hug. As the train of merchants began to move again slowly through the town walls Patruus and Superbia walked side-by-side in comfortable silence.

“So, your father has told me you have lost your way Superbia. I make no bones, he told me he found you drunk crawling through town.”

“I wasn’t…” Superbia started to explain Avaritia’s evil set-up but Patruus held his hand up.

“It matters none to me, I helped raise your father into the good strong man he is today, and I can see the same in you. But you will have to put in a lot of hard work. Your father has said I am only to send you home once I am happy with your progress.” Superbia nodded in response. Although the remaining journey was spent in friendly discussion about Superbia’s brothers and sisters, Superbia could not wait to get to his uncle’s home and enjoy a nice hot meal and comfortable bed. His uncle’s wealth was beyond that of even his fathers and Superbia couldn’t wait to enjoy a little of that luxury, even if it was just to boast about it to his brothers and sisters back home. He was unaware his uncle had other plans.

After dropping of the cart and entering the cool home, Superbia was instantly happy to be out of the heat. He was in awe of the size of his uncle’s home, rooms to the left and right, cellars and stairways and a central courtyard with a garden and a fountain, it was all truly breath-taking. He turned to his Uncle, “Pat, may I see my room?”

“Of course”, Pat smiled happily, this way. Pat walked ahead of Superbia down one of the darker corridors, Superbia noticed the floor was rather plain compared to the beauty of the entrance hall, and in some places, the white walls even seemed to be crumbling a little. “Here we go”, his uncle said opening the room door wide for Superbia to see. Superbia stepped inside, there was only a hard wooden single bed and a wooden chair.

Superbia glanced up and down his body, would he even fit on that tiny bed? There was nowhere to put his things. He turned to his uncle thinking this to be a joke but his uncle was gone, putting his head out the room Superbia could see Pat was already making his way down the corridor.

“I shall leave you to get settled Superbia, see you in an hour for our evening meal together”, Pat called over his shoulder.

Superbia slumped down onto the hard bed. His father must truly want him to suffer. This was not what Superbia had had in mind at all.

After his hour Superbia was desperate to leave his tiny cell-like room and make his way to his uncle’s courtyard. As he approached he could hear many voices chattering and was excited to enter his uncle must have thrown him a party! But as Superbia entered the bright area, he could see the dressware of his uncle’s guests was poor, some even wore no shoes. Superbia tried not to stare agog but every now and then a detail caught his eye that he could not help question, lack of shoes, a rip in clothing, dirty hands or feet.

“Aaah Superbia”, his Uncle walked over and patted him cheerfully on the back, “You have finally arrived, let’s all eat.” Superbia turned away so his back was to the guests and tugged his uncle round with him. “Pat, who are all these people?”

“Oh dear boy, these are my friends and colleagues. You must recognise a few of them, some of them have been with the household since you were a child.” Pat turned back at the crowd and waved happily as everyone began to take their place at the table.

“You have invited your servants to eat with us”, Superbia could not help hide the anger in his voice.

“I do not have servants, I have employees and colleagues. They are all good and honest people, which is why they dine with me. You would do well to remember they are here because I chose for them to be, you are here because your father chose for you not to be with him. Does that make you better than them? I think not.” With that and his face once again filled full of smiles Pat returned to his table and raised a toast to his guests.

Superbia followed, his anger burning inside. How could his uncle and his father treat him this way? He picked at the fine selection of food and spent the majority of the evening stabbing at the leftovers on his plate. However the rest of the group merry with fine wine had a wonderful evening. After the meal was cleared away music started and several of the group Roman_drinking_cheersincluding his uncle left the table to dance.

After a while Superbia stood up, deciding his cell-like room was better than this but as he turned around a vision of beauty stood before him. She blushed shyly and twirled a strand of her hair nervously.

“Umm.. would you like to dance?” she finally asked boldly.

“Me,” Superbia looked around him but it was just the two of them. “Yes, I would love to”.

After several dances the pair returned to table and began to chatter.

“Why did you come talk to me, I can’t have been particularly friendly looking?” Superbia said. He knew he was the best looking guy in the room and was sure she was about to pay him a compliment.

“I felt pity for you.” The girl answered. “I do not know what made you so sad, as your uncle has invited you to live in his beautiful home and put on such a wonderful meal , I suspect it is missing your family and I know how that feels.”

Superbia was gobsmacked. This was not what he had thought and to this he did not know what to say, she was right. Yet he still felt frustrated at the situation. So he just nodded.

“It is late, I must leave, I am to work the market stall early tomorrow so I must be going.” She sighed slightly, clearly not entirely wanting to leave.

“Wait, what is your name?” he asked as she stood.

“Humilitas”, she smiled at him.

“May I see you again, Humilitas?”

“Of course”, she giggled, “You’re uncle has arranged for you to work the stalls with me.”

Superbia was once again cross with his uncle, to work in the market place. That was definitely something his father would not expect him to do. Yet at the thought of seeing humilitas again Superbia felt his heart lift. He made his way across the courtyard to his uncle’s side.

“Good night Uncle. Thank you for the great meal and fun evening.” He turned and made his way down the corridor, so did not see his uncle’s smile. It was the first time Superbia had shown any signs of humility.

Superbia, exhausted from the dancing and the wine fell into his bed, he did not even notice how hard or cramped it was. Sleep soon took him as his dreams played over what tomorrow could bring. A day with humilitas, what could be better?


————————————————————————————————- Hope you enjoyed Superbia’s Story – humility, another 7 deadly sins based story.. To find out why Superbia got banished to Patruus’s care see this earlier post –“Superbia’s Story – Pride Before a Fall”. I would love to know what people think of this themed series. Thanks for reading. KL

The Visitor

She regularly leaves us on the outside looking in! How rude – on this occasion she even sat there giggling and took a photo – cheeky mare!

Daisy and Laddie

She often does this in the kitchen too. She is allowed in but if she’s cooking I must maintain the paws behind the line (well the metal doorstrip) policy, she says I push my luck as my paws creep over but I think she forgets I have such big paws and I just want a quick feel of the nice cool kitchen tiles. If she has happened to drop something I might try to investigate it while I’m there, but honestly who wouldn’t.

In this photo our friend Daisy (the spaniel) was visiting for her holidays. Daisy does magic tricks – she can open doors. Those that feed me were not so happy about that, especially after they had thought they would create a special device to stop her entering the kitchen. Instead she opened the back door and the patio doors and let us through the living room. She was so shocked to see us in the hallway when she came back from the shop it was hilarious.

Wonder if Daisy does fridge doors too – I’d like “a look in” there…

Much Woofs Laddie

The ruff with the smooth

I have 2 dogs Laddie and Millie, earlier this year I had the bright idea to go on holiday with the woofalo’s. Laddie & MillieThe break started off well with the dogs sleeping soundly in the car the majority of the way there (apart from a quick pit stop of course). Then we arrived at the hotel, right on the waterfront of a beautiful loch. Of course the dogs immediately decided they wanted a paddle, of course we refused and tried to drag them to the hotel instead, however the very accommodating owners gave us some doggie towels that they kept for just that purpose. So after the long drive we thought they could do with the stretch and we decided to let them wade at paws depth quickly.

We then returned to our hotel and got shown to our room. Now as I have said I have never visited a pet friendly hotel before, but climbing the staircase with its pretty mahogany banisters and prestige paintings on the walls with two dogs in tow is a very odd sensation indeed! Nevertheless we got to the room, put the dog beds in, had a quick cuppa and decided to have a little wander around the pretty village. Stopping for a cuppa and a sandwich in town.

That evening we left the dogs in the hotel room while we had our meal in the restaurant. Our hearts in our stomach as we crept back up the stairs, please don’t have destroyed anything, messed the room, or anything. They wouldn’t do that at home but you can’t help but worry in a strange place. When we opened the hotel room door our pooches came toddling over happy to see us and not a thing was out of place – phew! We took them down to the bar for a quick glass of wine or two before bed (for us not the pooches) and on the bar was a lovely jar of doggy treats. Honestly a tranquil bar with a roaring fire, a window seat overlooking the loch and two spoilt pooches, curled happily at our feet enjoying a quick nibble, it was lovely, if only I had known what was to come…

Now I know every dog owner and every dog has a different routine. Ours is this, at bedtime, the dogs go out for a last minute visit to the loo, and then get put in their beds in the utility room downstairs with a bowl of biscuits each. I sleep in the bedroom upstairs at the opposite end of the house. At home this works fairly well. In a hotel room, things are slightly different. We took them out for a quick scoot to which they had absolutely no interest in the loo just in getting back in the Loch. Eventually we gave up and headed back to the room, putting the dogs into bed and their biscuits down. All well and good until several hours later, pitch black in the middle of the night I was awoken with the persistant sound of “crunch, crunch, crunch.”

“Crunch, crunch, crunch”. Few seconds silence. “Crunch, crunch, crunch” – few seconds silence. After 5 minutes of feeling like I was taking part in the water torture experiment. I got up out the bed and removed the bowl of food to two very sad big brown eyes. I apologised and explained to Laddie that he would get them back in the morning. After a rather loud huffy sound he flounced down on his bed, clearly not overly pleased with the agreement. As I got back in bed my husband chuckled and said “I knew if I just laid here it would annoy you the most first”, the devious monkey!

Just drifting quietly back off to sleep the noise started back up again “crunch, crunch, crunch”.

“Laddie” I shouted, and shot up out the bed to take the biscuits off him. Only to find out Millie had joined in the game and was laid on her bed head rolled off the side in her dog bowl like lady-muck! Making the same apologies again I removed her bowl and crawled my way back into bed.

Once again I was awoken in my sleep, this time with the lapping of water. Now although cruel enough to take away the food (temporarily), I am not cruel enough to remove water. So instead I buried myself deep in the bed, pillows wrapped tightly round my ears and prayed for Laddie to get back into bed and go to sleep. Eventually this happened.

A few hours later, I was once again awoken, Laddie was laid on a rug next to my side of the bed trumping quite loudly. My god! I rolled over and shook my husband. “The dog needs out”.


“The dog needs out, he is gassing me out!”

“Can’t you just go back to sleep, he is sleeping.”

“He might be but his backside isn’t!”

Eventually my dazed husband got up and slung his dressing gown on.

“You will need more than that.” I said pulling on my jeans, big woolly jumper and walking boots. We are talking about Scotland in the spring!

So at four o’clock in the morning in the pitch black we got ourselves composed and made the way down the hotel stairs to the front door with the two terrors. I kindly stayed inside ready to unlatch the hotel front door when he came back and sure enough I had been right, they needed a quick trip to the loo each.

So, why would I want to live this 24 hour period again?

I had my husband and my two dogs, basically my current little family altogether. We got to stay in a wonderful hotel, experience great food and enjoy the scenic views – together! The dogs were so wonderfully behaved, in the room, in the bar and on the walks. In fact we had people compliment them so often about how well behaved they were. Finally because in the morning we got up and did a long walk together. We truly felt like the only people on the earth. True peace and tranquillity together. This was our view:

View of the bench from the hilltop - scotland

Cats don’t need towels

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “An Odd Trio.”

Today, you can write about whatever you what — but your post must include, in whatever role you see fit, a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel.

“Are you ready to travel?” I looked at the kitchen floor at the cat currently making its way around the chair legs. The cat twitched its whiskers and wafted its tail towards me, I took that as a yes.

“Right good, I’ll finish my soup and then we’ll be off”

I stand up, pop the bowl in the dishwasher and pick up my back.dont panic

“Oh wait, I forgot something!” I rush up to the towel closet and pull out a large beach towel.

“It says here in this guide that a towel is just about the most massively useful thing any interstellar Hitchhiker can carry.”

The cat seemed to nod knowingly then returned to its cushion and began grooming itself. Cats don’t need towels.