5 reasons writing a book is like reading one

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So I have started writing a book. I’m not sure if it’s going to be good, bad or indifferent, however I have a story to tell and I need to get it out.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it a book, because a book is really a story that’s actually been published. For me that is just a dream at the moment. It is good to dream though so I’ll humour myself and stick with the term “book” for now.

Anyway, it has become apparent to me over the last few weeks that writing a book is much like reading one.

1. Living in the land of the story.
You know when you get caught up in a really good story?  You think about it over coffee, dream about it and maybe even wonder what’s happening when you’re not there. When I’m not in writing mode, I still have snippets of dialogue or flashes of scenes running through my mind. I never really step away from my story.

2. Falling in love with the characters
For me to like a book, I need to connect with the main players. My story is still in it’s infancy, yet I’m completely hooked on my protagonist and their supporting cast. Even though I’ve created these fictional people, I can’t wait to get to know them better, find out their full role in the story and see how their fortunes unfold.

3. Not really know what’s going to happen next
Yes, I know this sounds weird as it was my idea that seeded the story in the first place. Obviously, I know the general gist of the plot and how I would like it to turn out in the end. However, the getting there is just as much of a mystery to me as it would be to a cold reader.  The twists and turns of the story evolve as I write. It’s an amazing and exciting process.

4. It’s an escape

Reading used to be my guilty pleasure. How glorious to be tucked up with a good book and be swept away into someone else’s fantasy land. Now I love nothing more than to steal away to the world of my own creation and continue to weave my tale. It’s like a choose your own adventure but better!

5. Never wanting it to end

You know the feeling, that bitter sweet final chapter of a wonderful story. Of course, I’d love to be able to put my book “to bed” but for now I am more than content to languish in the creative process and see where my story takes me.

The irony of these insights is that, despite being an avid book-worm, I never thought I’d be able to write a whole book. Turns out I am loving writing a story for all the same reasons I love reading one.

Do you love writing as much as you love reading?

 

 

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So your kid wants a NERF gun…

I am one of those weird peace loving mamas who has always been against toy guns. Yes, yes, I know they will pick up a stick and pretend to use it as a gun anyway, but so be it. That doesn’t mean we should supply them with a plastic arsenal to use when battling their imaginary foes. A less realistic stick and some imagination can go just as far and be a lot less psychologically powerful!

However, I’ll hop off my soapbox now. As I was saying, me – anti-guns yadayada. That is until my son’s recent 8th birthday when a friend gave him a Nerf gun. 

Is it just me or is a weapon a weird thing to buy as a gift for a kid you don’t even know? Maybe I’m just being to precious. 

The Wilful One was over the moon, of course as the forbidden fruit was delivered into his hands by his new BFF. He looked at me expectantly, sure for a reaction but I just smiled tightly. You just gave my son a weapon that actually shoots projectiles. Excellent.

Being a goodie two-shoes like his mum, the Wilful One didn’t dare fire the thing until he had dutifully heard all the rules. 

Do NOT fire at people
Do NOT fire at the cat/dog/brother/sister/other breathing life form
Do NOT fire in the house/over the fence/at the cars 

In the end my very clever son asked for a target to shoot at. Perfect! I quickly whipped one up.

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Well obviously the target isn’t perfect, but it does the job.

Purely for to test for accuracy and safety, I insisted that I took the first shot. As any caring, self-sacrificing mother would do. And you know what? 

I FREAKING LOVE NERF GUNS!!!

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In fact, I’m thinking of asking Santa for one. Who would of thought that firing 30cm of cold hard plastic could feel so good! It is the most therapeutic feeling. The kids actually started to complain that I was hogging. Meanwhile, how cool is this giant crossbow that comes in pink?!

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I can just imagine shooting that sucker upstairs with a note at attached “Dinners ready!”

So, the moral of the story is, if your kid wants a NERF gun for Christmas and you are in two minds, they really aren’t all that bad. Worse case scenario, you can confiscate it and use it for cheap therapy yourself ;)

How do you feel about kids and pretend weapons? What would you use a pink crossbow for in your house?

 

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Keeping kids safe with TRENDe-Tatts {Review}

I love innovative products that have been designed by parents to meet a particular need. If someone has come across a solution to a problem I have, I want to know about it! 

That’s exactly how TRENDe-Tatts came about.

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Designed by mum Raelene Jackson, TRENDe-Tatts are a temporary tattoo that can be used to convey necessary info about your child at a glance. Because, as much as we would like to, we can’t always be around when our kids need us. Allergies, asthmatic, medical condition or just plain lost, the tattoos can be customized to suit your child’s specific needs. Plus TRENDe-Tatts are harder to take off than wristbands and much trendier than writing your phone number on your kid’s forehead in lipstick.

When I was approached by B-Brand to review this product my mind immediately jumped to scenarios where these clever little tatts would provide me with some additional peace of mind.

1) Bam Bam is asthmatic and although his asthma is relative well managed, sometimes you can tell a flare up is imminent. I could put a tattoo on him these days before he goes to school or on an excursion so if he has an attack and a teacher unfamiliar attends to him, the little asthma puffer symbol on his tatt will ensure he gets appropriate treatment straight away. 

2) Kids and crowds Freak. Me. Out. Bam Bam is a trouble magnet and he’s also the least likely to remember my phone number! He does have the smarts to find help however, so applying a tatt before we head off to a big event like a festival or to a theme park would give me peace of mind that we can be contacted quickly if we get separated. 

3) Pebbles is quickly following in her brother’s footsteps and is showing early signs of being a runner, and I’m not meaning of the olympic variety. As soon as her little tootsies hit the ground she is off. I’m used to this and am quick to hot foot after her, but if she was out with other members of our family, its easy to see how she could get lost. 

I love the fact that TRENDe-tatts are able to be customised for these different scenarios as well as personalised for each child. They can be preprinted with your phone number, customised with your own safety message or with a blank space where you can fill in the best contact details for that particular time. There come in a great range of colours and motifs so whether your child loves sharks, aliens or fairy princesses, you can design one to suit. 

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The tattoos are water-proof and play-proof. I had a good scratch at the one I applied to my inner arm (above) and it handled it very well. It’s recommended they be removed with a light rub using baby oil. I used coconut oil which did a great job too. As with any temporary tattoo, they do feel a bit tight on the skin when first applied. Kids with sensory issues may take a while to get used to them but they are non-toxic and suitable for sensitive skin. Also consider the sizing of your tattoo in relation to the body part you will be applying it on. There are a number of sizes and shapes to choose from. 

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TRENDe-Tatts also have a pre-printed range of kids motifs and flags which make for great party favours or team supporter wear. The Wilful One even gave a pirate-loving friend a sheet for their birthday recently!

Just in time for the Silly Season, Raelene has generously offered all Née Say readers 15% off when they spend $10 or more at the TRENDe-Tatts shop. Simply put the discount code bbd15 in at the checkout. Don’t forget to like TRENDe-Tatts on Facebook and Twitter.

Now tell me, have you ever lost a child? And if you ever need help, what should I bring? 

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A note on befriending school mums

I have to admit, when my eldest son started school 3 years ago I avoided other parents like the plague. I stood back at drop off and pick up time, only nodded and smiled at attempts to engage me in conversation and was basically as anti-social as one can be without being down right rude.

You see, I’d been scared off the school mum set by the sceptre of playground politics. I didn’t want to relive my own school yard traumas of clicky groups and bitchy besties. Besides, I already had a great bunch of fun, loyal, supportive friends and to be honest, between family, work, home and my existing social circle, my dance coffee card was full.

Then my kid started making friends. The thing about kids is that you get drawn into their world. Heck, their world IS your world. So when kids make friends, you are forced to interact with those friends, and in due course their parents.

It was awkward at first, but let’s face it, kids give you lots of conversation fodder. You start off empathising over forgotten hats and lost drink bottles, then graduate to discussing last week’s homework assignment or the upcoming excursion. Before you know it you are comparing sleep deprivation war stories and favourite lunchbox recipes.

The next step, in my experience, is sending a Facebook friend request which is the modern day equivalent of swapping phone numbers but mercifully less confronting.

Then something kind of magic happens. Without you even realizing, this amazing web is being woven around you. A web made up of supportive, like-minded mums who know exactly what you are going through.

Sure, there will be the clicks and bitches that cross your path but just choose to avoid the politics and focus on the good.

School mum friends have got me through a pretty crazy year. Without them life would have been a lot harder for me and my kids. They’ve looked out for my boys when helping in class, picked them up, dropped them off, guided them and treated them as their own. In many respects they have done the same with me.

So if you have been holding back from making friends with mums at school or are anxious about starting out in the school yard next year, don’t be. Take a punt and put yourself out there. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I know I was.

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5 learnings from a home organisation challenge

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I signed up to do The Organised Housewife‘s 20 days to organise and clean your home challenge. Those 20 days are up and I confess that my home is only marginally cleaner and more organised, however I thought I would still share a few of my learnings with you.

1. If a system isn’t working – ditch it.  

I’m not sure who I can credit this pearl of wisdom to, Kat or some other organising guru I have stubbled across in my quest for motivation but this sure is a goody.  Pinterest, internet forums and organising blogs like Kat’s are great for getting ideas on organisation and storage but just because it works for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you invest in a system, if it isn’t working it has to go. (Just quietly I think a few government agencies could take note of this one).

2. Harness the resources at your disposal.

Technically, as the stay-at-home parent, the housekeeping is my gig. However that doesn’t mean that I have to do all the things.

The husband has a HUGE hang up about watermarks and smudges on the cupboards and fridge. When I am in the kitchen, it’s usually to feed the hungry hordes so if he has the time and inclination to give them a quick once over, that’s awesome.

The children have always done jobs (The Wilful One is particularly good at doing his share, Bam Bam not so much), so I have formalised their chore’s list and have added a few little things to help keep me on track too, like striping beds to make sure sheets get washed etc.

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The boys’ bathroom in particular is a nightmare to keep clean and the Wilful One actually relishes his responsibility to make it all shiny each morning! One less thing for me to feel guilty about not getting to and one more thing my future daughter-in-law can thank me for!

I have also implemented a new laundry sorting system for the boys which is working a treat.

3. Sometimes you need to look past the surface.

Kat’s checklists for a clean and organised home go into every nook and cranny. Which is great for every now and then, but honestly I don’t notice these things on a day to day basis. I am, however, more conscious of these things now (apparently you need to dust skirting boards occasionally – who knew?!) and will endeavour to do them periodically. Which leads to the next point…

4. I will never live in a show home.

Cleaning is just not my bag. I don’t like filth and I don’t think I’m a dirty person, but I’m also not the sort of person to dedicate a day a week month dusting ornaments and colour coding the linen cupboard. I’ve made my peace with that and those that love me ought to as well. Life is too short to live in a museum.

5. I *may* have a slight problem with authority.

Hmm… so it turns out I’m not great at following prescriptive task lists. Here I was thinking I was thinking this challenge would be good to keep me on track but life gets in the way and I kind of resented being told it was the day to clean the laundry when I didn’t *feel* like it. I know, childish right? Having said that, Kat’s challenge is great in that you get life membership to the forum and you can adapt the task lists to your timeframes so I’m going to cut myself some slack and promise to get around to these things one day soon (ish).

So, if you come to my house one day soon, please overlook my disorganised desk and dusty skirting boards. I make a mean cup of coffee and always have chocolate biscuits in the pantry. I’m also pretty good company, even if I don’t live in a museum.

Are you a cleaner by nature? Are you good at following prescriptive task lists? 

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