Tuesday, 30 June 2015

July Theme Reveal - Over To You

Over To You

I am so excited to introduce July's theme which is Over To You! Ultimately, a big part of blogging is having your own little space to share whatever you want to with the world. I get that, but I thought it would be nice to do a month where I share my little space with you all in a more real sense of the word.
So Over To You was born. This month it is your chance to have a real say in what goes on here, and it's not too late to get involved.
I will be writing posts about anything you want! Let me know in the comments or email me randommusings29@gmail.com if there is a particular topic you would like to see me write about.
I will also be running an "In The Hotseat" series throughout the month, where I answer questions from my readers. Again if you want to know anything, just ask either in the comments or by email.
I'm throwing the doors wide open here - ask me anything, and/or request any topic!
I will also be running some guest posts written by you, about absolutely anything you want to cover! More details on that and how to submit your posts are here: http://myrandommusings.blogspot.co.uk/p/guest-posters.html
I'm really looking forward to a month of fully interactive blogging. Don't be shy, get involved :)

There will be a lot going so to make sure you don't miss anything, follow me by email or on Bloglovin, links to follow me are just to the right of this post!

Or follow me on:
Twitter @randommusings29 
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What do you think? Are you excited about what's to come?
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Monday, 29 June 2015

Secrets Of The Coral Reef - A Short Story By Lucy Connors

This week's story come to you from the lovely Lucy who blogs over at From Pen To Screen. If you haven't had a chance to visit her blog yet, here is a little about her.
Pen To Screen blog headerMy name is Lucy and I write the lifestyle/writing/beauty blog ‘From Pen To Screen’ (www.daisysmiler.blogspot.co.uk). I wrote this short story while I was on holiday in France a few years ago, but it has been rewritten quite a few times since then. I hope you enjoy it, be sure to let me know what you think!
 I hope you all enjoy her story!

Secrets of the Coral Reef by Lucy Connors
Standing on top of the board, I am alone. Alone in paradise.
I raise my hands above my head and lunge forward. The water rushes up to me and I am enveloped from head to foot. I pull with my hands and open my eyes; I am in a whole new world. I am amazed by the colour and radiance of the corals and seaweed that sway before me; the orange, red and pink anemones stand rigid in the sea floor. Slowly I look up and see a shoal of shimmering rainbow fish swim over my head and I stare in wonder at all the different colours of their scales, glistening in the sunlight. A million stars twinkling above me.  Sea weed wraps around my leg as I step off the reef. Trying to protect me. From what? I did not yet know.
Down. Down. Down. Into the blackness under me. I stare. Imagining all the evil wonders that lie beneath me.
Out of the corner of my eye I see the anemones shrink back into the sand, the rainbow fish scatter in all directions and I instantly know something is wrong. I turn my head as slowly as I can to minimise my movements.  My body soon follows my head as I stare in horror at what meets my eyes. Unable to draw my gaze away. A grey fin slices through the water, a grey tail flicks from side to side. We meet eyes for a fraction of a second and the shark swims towards me. Powerful muscles designed just for this, power him through the water. My instincts tell me to swim but I know the shark would have me in a second. Fight or flight. Adrenaline courses through my body, through my blood. My heart pounds through my chest sending (what I thought) were small vibrations through the water. Towards the shark. The panic starts to take over. Forcing myself to breathe through my mask I fight for control. I breathe long deep breaths. Long deep breaths that are taking too long. Long deep breaths that are wasting time. Long deep breaths that will either save, or cost, my life.
I try to think. I try to remember. I know. I draw my hand back and propel myself forward, clumsily pushing my body forward to give my arm more power. Amazingly my fingers meet their target and I jab them into the shark’s eye. The force behind it sending a wave of shock rippling through my body.  A waterfall of emotion bubbles up inside me. He gives me an evil grin, a warning and swims away, tail flicking behind him.
My breath suddenly escapes me and I realise I have been holding it. I kick up to the surface and breathe slowly. Finally allowing myself to relax.
For now, I think, Olivia Tophill is alive to live another day.
Show Lucy some love!
Follow her on Twitter: @daisysmilerblog
Did you enjoy the story? Why not leave a comment telling Lucy what you thought!

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Anything Goes Linky Week 3

Welcome to the Anything Goes linky, week 3! This linky is for any type of posts on any subject. Literally Anything Goes! It will run from 12.05am Monday to 11.55pm the following Sunday, so there is plenty time to link up. And if you link up early, feel free to pop back and check out some of the later link ups - you never know when you will find your new favourite blog!

I will be adding pinnable images to my #AnythingGoes Pinterest board, check it out here www.pinterest.com/randommusings29

If you are new to linkys, Becky at Cuddle Fairy has written a fantastic guide on how to link your posts, which you can read here: http://www.cuddlefairy.com/the-linky-guide-1/

How it works
1. Link up to 3 posts, old or new, per week
2. Please add my badge to any linked up posts - copy and paste the code below into the HTML section of your post.
3 Please read and comment on at least 2 other posts, but feel free to do as many as you want to! The more you share the love, the more love you will get back!
4. To keep up to date with what's happening when, feel free to follow me on Twitter @randommusings29
5. Share your post's URL on Twitter using #AnythingGoes and tag me @randommusings29 and I will retweet (as many times as you want to!).

I look forward to reading all your posts! Everyone welcome :)
My Random Musings

Thought Of The Day - Week 7

Welcome to this week's Thought of the Day round up!


You are stronger than you know
You are stronger than you know
Don't worry too much about finding yourself. Being lost can be part of the fun
Don't worry too much about finding yourself. Being lost can be part of the fun
Sometimes you have to forget the rules and just do what needs to be done!
Sometimes you have to forget the rules and just do what needs to be done!
Be flexible - have a plan but always be willing to adapt it if something better comes along
Be flexible - have a plan, but always be willing to adapt it if something better comes along
Not knowing how it will turn out is the worst of anything new. Try it and then you'll know!
Not knowing how it will turn out is the worst of anything new. Try it and then you'll know!
A good cry can cleanse the mind but so can a good laugh!
A good cry can cleanse the mind but so can a good laugh!
Celebrate your wins, accept your losses, and never ever give up on something you want
Celebrate your wins, accept your losses, and never ever give up on something you want
Which one is your favourite?
Follow me on Twitter @randommusings29 and feel free to comment :)
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Saturday, 27 June 2015

10 books I Should Read But Probably Never Will

Man with bookDo you ever feel like there is certain books that you should read, even if you don't want to? For me the so called classics generally fall into this category. Obviously, at school, I studied several of these classics, and I then went on to do an A-Level in English Literature, so I consequently read and studied a fair few more.
Don't get me wrong, some of them I enjoyed reading, but as the course progressed, I started to question how these particular books became classics. They are all so different from each other that there seems to be no classification, no particular elements that need to be checked off. It seems more that some literary professor says it is a classic and the Emperor's New Clothes syndrome kicks in. No one wants to be seen as the uneducated fool that argues against the virtues of these stories.
For me the classics can be hard work, and I read for pleasure. I am giving up on the notion that I should read certain books because it's the done thing. It seems a little pretentious reading something just because I "should"
Just remember, the same people who define these classics and tell you they should be read, are the same people who would class Stephen King as illiterate. Love him or hate him, it is beyond comprehension that someone who has sold over 350 million books worldwide could be called illiterate.
For years I struggled with the notion that I "should" be reading certain texts, because they are classics. I even started some of them, but didn't get very far. I'm not saying they are bad, I'm just saying that no one should tell you what you should or shouldn't be reading.
Here are 10 books I feel I "should" read, but probably never will!

1. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
2. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
6. Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
7. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I have chosen the above books, because, of the classics, these are the ones that would appeal to me if I had to choose some to read, but I know I will still probably never get around to reading them.
I think maybe studying literature has put me off them to an extent. If I hadn't heard all the reasons I should read them (not because it's a good story, but because of literary tools used by the author, or symbolism etc) maybe I would be able to read them and appreciate them just as good stories.
I do think teaching literature in schools is important, but I think the wider message should also be emphasised a little more that there are many books out there and you should read what appeals to you, not what you are told you should be seen to have read.
What do you think? Am I a little cynical or do you agree?
Follow me on Twitter @randommusings29 and feel free to comment :)
All photos courtesy of Google Books!

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Guest Post: My Love Affair With Fiction By Gemma From Coffee, Kids And Ice Cream

Man with bookToday's post is a guest post from the lovely Gemma who blog over at Coffee Kids and Ice Cream. If you haven't visited Gemma's blog yet, here is a little more about her.
Londoner for the past 14 years and entertainment & consumer publicist in a previous life, I am now most commonly known as mummy to my two fabulously brilliant children, Coco & Raffy.
Officially the least cool couple in East London, my husband Mark and I have been married pushing five years and our family own an ice cream factory in Hackney.
Following an all consuming career in PR, for the past year I have been writing for award-winning fashion blog for mum’s, the super Style Me Sunday.
Now onto Gemma's fab post!

My Love Affair with Fiction by Gemma at Coffee, Kids & Ice Cream
Gemma Capocci, Coffee, Kids and Ice Cream
Gemma and her lovely family
Novels and I, in particular fiction novels, have always been pretty close friends.  It’s a love affair that has long existed through my early teens and into adulthood. Whilst I know at this point I should probably start running through a list of my favourite high brow, Booker Prize winning authors, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and make a confession.  I BLOODY LOVE CHICK LIT.
From being a teen and reading Judy Blume’s “Forever” (a rite of passage), I have developed a taste for cheesy rom-coms in all their splendor and I just love them.  At university, as I navigated a rollercoaster ride of a relationship with more on and offs than Ross and Rachel, I found solace in reading.  Endless comparisons were made of my then bastard of a boyfriend with male characters in my books, and once that relationship ended, I related to many of the leading ladies as they searched through their piles of rotters to find their elusive Mr. Right.   
Whilst the storylines were often far fetched and did nothing to help my expectations of the men I later encountered as a single lady, like the heroines in many of the novels, my Mr. Right also eventually surfaced.
As life became busier with work and weddings, books began to be reserved for lazy holidays alone, when I would love nothing more than lounging in the sun, book in hand, captivated by the sometimes predictable storylines of boy meets girl.  That was until I had a baby.   As life became all consumed with feeding, sleeping and wiping dirty bottoms, I would crave the escapism that my favourite chick lit novels would bring.  Second time round, nighttime feeding took on a new meaning when Raffy literally required 24 hour attention.  Bored by social media, I was desperate to get stuck into a good book, and despite previously turning my nose up at anything electronic, my best ever present to date has to be my kindle.  Now with the baby balanced in one arm and my new kindle in the other, I had found a way to make it through the long lonely nights and, more importantly, distract myself from my husband’s steam-train style snoring before I lost the plot and placed a pillow over his head (jokes!).

As many a book lover will attest, there is nothing nicer than losing yourself to a good novel.  And whilst I do occasionally try and broaden my horizons by going for something a little more akin to the Sunday Times bestseller list, I have to admit I’m happiest reading when the likes of Adele Parks and Lindsay Kelk are the authors, and for this I shall never be ashamed!
Gemma x

Show Gemma some love!
Visit her blog:www.coffeekidsicecream.com 
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And of course, feel free to leave her some comments below!


Friday, 26 June 2015

Guest Post: Why I Still Love Harry Potter by Lorna Holland

Man with bookToday's post is a guest post from the lovely Lorna who blogs over at The Writing Greyhound. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, here is a little bit of background about Lorna.
Lorna Holland, writerI’m a 21 year old author, blogger, freelance writer/editor and Creative & Professional Writing graduate. I currently live in my hometown of Kettering, Northamptonshire, though you’re just as likely to find me in London or Kent. When I’m not busy writing, you’ll find me at a concert or with my nose in a book. And in case you hadn’t figured it out already, I’m a massive Harry Potter nerd!

Onto Lorna's post about Harry Potter which I love!

Why I still love Harry Potter by Lorna Holland
Like it or not, over the years Harry Potter has become a staple of today’s culture. The books have become modern classics, and the author, J.K. Rowling, is one of the world’s most recognised, most successful, and best loved authors. She’s also become a role model for aspiring writers around the globe, and the story of her path to success is an inspiration to thousands of people.
According to this list of all-time bestselling books compiled by The Guardian in 2012, all seven Harry Potter books are in the top 10. For a children’s series, that’s a phenomenal achievement. Without any doubt, the Harry Potter series has become one of the most popular and best loved in the history of children’s literature.
But it’s not just children that love Harry Potter. The bug of the so-called ‘Harry Potter phenomenon’ bites whole families, resulting in multiple generations of Harry Potter fans, and different aspects of the story seem to appeal to different people. All genders, races and ages are included in some way, giving the books universal appeal. They just have that rare truly magical spark that everyone loves.
So what is it that I love about Harry Potter?
Firstly, it’s an example of good, strong writing. The books are well-written, but I particularly like that Rowling doesn’t over-simplify or talk down to children. When I was reading the books for the first time as a child, I specifically remember liking that they used more complicated language and constructions than the majority of the other books I read at that time. Because of that, these were some of the first books I remember that inspired me to become a writer.
The Harry Potter books were a big part of my literary childhood. I, along with millions of other children, grew up with these books. So now each time I read them they help me recapture a little bit of my childhood. I also love that you could start up a conversation about Harry Potter virtually anywhere and you’re almost guaranteed to find a fellow Potterhead to talk to. We’ve got to be one of the biggest and most loyal fanbases around, which is amazing when you remember that the last book came out in July 2007. Eight years on and the Pottermania that grips the world shows no sign of slowing down!
Rowling is also a master of world-building – hardly anyone creates entire worlds better than her. Everything is planned out down to the tiniest detail so you become totally immersed in her creation. Wherever the characters are, you’re there too because her writing is so vivid you can easily picture the places you’re reading about, even before the films were released!
Speaking of the films, this is one of the rare cases where the films are as good as the books. Of course, in my opinion no film can ever be quite as good as the original book, but the Harry Potter films definitely come close (as long as you ignore the few annoying discrepancies like the colour of Harry’s eyes being wrong).
This is probably a controversial decision, but my favourite Harry Potter book is number five - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I know a lot of people don’t like it as much because it’s right in the middle of Harry’s angsty faze, but it’s always been my favourite. Why? I’m not quite sure. It’s just the one I remember loving the most the first time I read it, and it’s the one I’ve re-read the most (at least five times). Strangely, it’s also the one I feel the closest connection to as well.
So I’m not ashamed to say that I still love Harry Potter.
I love the characters, the places, everything about the books. There’s nothing I love more than completely immersing myself in Harry’s world (visiting the Harry Potter studio tour was like a dream come true for me!) and every time I pick up one of the books it feels like I’m in the company of an old friend. After writing this post, the only problem is that now I want to read them all again!

Lorna Holland on the Hogwarts Bridge on the Harry Potter studio tour
Lorna on the famous Hogwarts Bridge on the Harry Potter studio tour
Show Lorna some love!
Visit her fab blog: www.thewritinggreyhound.co.uk
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And of course feel free to leave her some comments below!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Done Deal - Part Four: Judgement

Man with bookWelcome to the final instalment of Done Deal! You can read Part 1 here: http://myrandommusings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/done-deal-part-one-beginning.html Part 2 here: http://myrandommusings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/done-deal-part-two-darkness.html and Part 3 here http://myrandommusings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/done-deal-part-three-it-is-time.html if you missed them.

Done Deal: Part Four: Judgement
'Are you sure you want to be in the meeting son?’ asks the man as he walks towards the boy. The boy is only 8 years old, so young, so fragile, so alone and the man’s heart goes out to him. These meetings were intense and he had seen people much older than the boy crack under the pressure.
‘Yes,’ replied the boy, forcing himself to turn away from the viewing window. ‘I’m sure. Is she ok?’ He inclines his head towards the viewing window.
The man steps forward to look, placing a reassuring hand on the boy’s shoulder. ‘She’s fine,’ he replies, ‘the simulation is over now and to all intents and purposes, she is just sleeping.’
The boy senses he is missing something. Something in the man’s tone tells the boy he is worried.
‘Come,’ says the man, ‘We must begin.’
He turns and leaves the room, walking down a long corridor towards a door marked meeting room. The boy follows anxiously. Nearing the door, he takes a deep breath, and straightens his back. He has nothing to worry about. He has passed the test and he has no doubt that his mother will have passed too.
They enter the room, and the man takes a seat at a conference table, already filled with people. He motions towards an empty seat and the boy sits. He takes a sip from the glass of water there, glad to have something to do with his hands.
‘Just waiting on the boss,’ says the man, smiling at him ‘shouldn’t be too long. You understand what’s going to happen, right?’
The boy does. His mother’s fate is to be decided in this room, like his was only moments ago.
He nods. He is still trying to get his head around the whole process. When he had completed his simulation, they had told him what had happened. He and his mother had been in an accident. They had been standing in a bus shelter, waiting for the number 3 into town when a car had lost control and ploughed into them, killing them both instantly.
He had woken up here to the good news he had passed judgement day and would enter Heaven shortly. He was given the option to wait for his mother’s judgement, which he had accepted readily. He wasn’t sure he could face this alone.
He still found it hard to accept that judgement was passed this way. The recently deceased were hooked up to machines, and a simulation was played in their minds. Their reactions were measured and fed back into a computer, and the results of this decided your fate.
The boy remembered his simulation well. He had been hit around the head as part of a mugging. A man appeared to him and offered him the chance to live in exchange for his soul. He had said no immediately, souls aren’t something to be gambled with!
The man who seemed to be looking after him explained each simulation was specifically tailored to the individual, and everyone gets two chances to pass. If he had accepted the deal, and failed the first time, he would have fast forwarded to the time when he would have to pay the price of the deal, and spend a bit of time in the darkness of Hell. He would then be offered his greatest desire in return for sacrificing someone else. If he failed again, that would be the end of it.
He knew his mother had failed the first time, but he knew she would never sacrifice someone else, so he was confident how the decision making meeting would go.
When all this was explained to him, he had told the man he thought judgement was more like how it was taught on Earth. The man had laughed, but not unkindly.
‘Son,’ he had said, ‘it never fails to amaze me that the human race think their technology betters ours. It’s not the first century anymore!’
The door to the meeting room banged open, startling the boy back to the present.
‘Apologies for my lateness gentleman,’ said The Boss, the one they had been waiting for. Noticing the boy, he continued ‘Greetings son.’
The boy found he couldn’t speak, so he merely smiled at The Boss. This was some man. He radiated power and goodness, and the boy felt instantly humbled.
The Boss took his seat and waved his hand. A screen appeared before him and the boy found himself watching his mother’s simulation.
His heart sank as the action unfolded. The playback ended, and the boy knew what the outcome would be before anyone spoke.
 ‘Case number 458235612566. Subject failed to make the correct moral choice twice and will be leaving us shortly,’ The Boss announced, purely a formality as everyone in the room knew what had to happened. He stood and began making his way towards the door.
The boy knew he had to do something. He had to speak up. His mother had tried to save him and now he had to do the same for her.
‘Sir, please,’ he begged, tears forming in his eyes. ‘She wasn’t being selfish. She only wanted to save me.’
The boss turned back and looked at him sadly. ‘The first time, so she was, and that is we always give people a second chance. The second time, she was merely giving in to her desire to see you again. She knew who she was dealing with by then, and she made the wrong decision. If she had only had had faith.’
The Boss held up a hand to silence the boy. ‘Unfortunately, rules are rules. She will be leaving us in approximately 10 minutes. You may say goodbye. I am truly sorry son. She would have made a lovely angel. It always saddens me to hand over the ones who came so close.’
I would love to hear what you think! I hope you enjoyed reading the story half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Follow me on Twitter @randommusings29 and feel free to comment :)
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