The 52 Week Illustration Challenge – The final few weeks

2015 is nearly over, and I have managed to do the last 3 weeks illustration roughly on time. Go me!

I have enjoyed participating in this and shall continue with next year’s challenge hopefully completing all weeks on time, unlike this year.

The link for ‘The 52 week illustration challenge’ blog page is here if you would like to see the rest of the world’s contributions, or are considering participating yourself.


Almost Anyone Can Do Almost Anything If They Really Want To.

You can do it.

Almost anyone can do almost anything if they really want to.

I have held this fundamental belief for as long as I can remember. I genuinely feel that physics aside, if you put in the time and effort you can learn, achieve, or do anything at all. I’ve added in the clause about physics, because obviously at no point, no matter how much time effort you put in, are you ever going to fly like superman. Other than that, the trick is putting the effort in, where a lot of us fall down is in not doing so. In my mind I see it as a see saw. On one end you have the desire for the result, on the other the aversion to the work required; whichever one is greater will determine whether you succeed or fail.


Sometimes you hear someone described as gifted, or a natural in a certain area. Someone is born to run, or they’re a gifted violinist, however I think that detracts massively from the work they put in. Maybe they have a head start, they are physically or mentally better adapted to a particular task but that is not the end. Continue reading

A Christmas Feast And Other Stories by Katie Fforde – A Book Review

I have read a few books this week, 2 Agatha Raisin books (earlier review here) and I’m listening to an audiobook aswell; I’ll review the audiobook later this week once I’ve finished it.

This week for my book challenge I thought I’d try a different sort of book, specifically a collection of short stories.  A Christmas Feast And Other Stories is a book I came across in The Works for £1 and had to have it. Katie Fforde is easily my favourite chick lit author and I have read all of her other books, consequently my expectation were high. This particular book is a collection of short stories, some more festive than others but all fluffy and lovely. I had come across a few of them before in the Kindle book store which I was slightly disappointed about but there was enough new work to keep me entertained.

katie fforde

Her writing style, fluidity and likable characters are all there and for this time of year I found the book ideal. Continue reading

The Evolution of Personal Reading Preferences.

Have your reading tastes changed over the years?

Have you ever thought about it, noticed it or wondered when, how, why?

I am extremely interested to hear any of you views on this, particularly your ideas on what prompted the change.


I have always been an avid reader. As a child I devoured books; I loved Enid Blyton, the Hobbit, Harry Potter, Robert Muchamore, David Eddings and so many more. As a teenager I read more than ever.


My Mum sometimes said that I would read anything with words on it, it was only when in the school library one day trying to choose a book that I considered this statement and whether it was really true. The librarian was trying to help me out by asking what sort of book I wanted to read. That was when I realised I wouldn’t, in fact, read anything. I had extremely specific tastes. I think maybe when I was learning to read, I would read anything, they joy of being able to read probably eclipsed anything else, the magic of creating whatever was written about in your head is exciting, particularly when it’s new. By the time I was in my early teens and trying to choose a book in the library I seemed to have a very narrow area of interest.

With my current ‘read 1 book a week’ aim I am attempting to read a variety of books rather than sticking in one genre. Through this and a few conversations with friends, it has dawned on me how my tastes have changed over the years. The change that struck me most is that non-fiction appeals to me now the way it never did as a child. I want to read a book on physics, on gardening, on social science. Bee keeping interests me, projects fascinate me, and people’s everyday lives now have a draw. When discussing this with a friend we decided this was a common evolution in peoples reading preferences. Continue reading

Daily Doodles – 9 Day Update

The daily doodles are still going strong, and to top it off I can’t say there are any in this batch that I actively dislike, in fact there a several I am really proud of.

I tried to post this last night (24th) but my internet went off. I reckon it was Santa trying to ensure I went to sleep.

Merry Christmas to all,

and to all a good night…

after I’ve done today’s doodle of course.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton – A Book Review

This weeks I found the book challenge harder than anticipated, far harder than simply reading a book should be, but perhaps because of that it was all the more satisfying. The book I chose this week was Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton. I noticed a whole collection of Agatha Raisin books whilst Christmas shopping at The Works on offer at 3 for £5. These books all have quirky titles and fun covers (naturally I would not dare to judge a book by its cover) and having read the blurb for a couple decided to buy the first 3 of the series. The books are light hearted murder mysteries set in the Cotswolds (English countryside). The lead character, Agatha Raisin, is a newly retired business woman who is finding retirement extremely dull, and fitting into the village nearly impossible before she then ends up at the centre of a local death.


Continue reading

Ecclesiastes – A View on Life and Happiness

I have just recorded the whole of Ecclesiastes in the NLT version which can be found here.

Ecclesiastes has always been one of my favourite books of the Bible, though that might seem odd with some of its negative themes, it has always made sense to me and echoed many of my own thoughts. There are many well-known quotes and ideas in Ecclesiastes that are used in everyday life that perhaps people aren’t aware are biblical. For example ‘There is a time for everything’ or ‘Meaningless, meaningless everything is meaningless’, ‘We can’t take our riches with us’, also ‘Eat drink and be merry’ is a concept that is brought up often as the writer sees the expanse of life and its purpose.


As one who has often looked to the past and future and recognised the futility of all efforts, it is comforting to read Solomon’s view on life. He too see’s that what we do in the end comes to nothing. That history repeats itself in cycles, each generation forgets the earlier ones, the time and effort we take to build our fortunes is left to someone else. Continue reading

Daily Doodle Update

Here are my doodles for the last 9 days, as usual some I like and spent a bit of time on, for others I just wanted to put something on paper.

The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin – A Book Review

This week’s book was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It tends slightly towards the genre of self-help book (not really my thing), but is more of a published diary, or as it more recently is called ‘stunt non-fiction’. In this particular genre you follow the writer’s progress through a project, challenge or stunt, which is essentially what many blogs are, including mine.


For this book we read as Gretchin attempts what she calls her Happiness project. She starts by identifying what makes her happy and unhappy and then by forming resolutions to optimise the happy and minimise the unhappy. The book is split into month chapters with a focus for each month that incorporates a few resolutions, which are then built on the following months. Continue reading

An Unexpected Delight – ‘Who Put The Bomp’ by Barry Mann

I have added a new section to this blog, it is dedicated to those little things in life that make you smile when you least expect it, or maybe even when you do expect it.


The first I would like to share with you all is a song I discovered, by accident, whilst listening to a YouTube playlist. It is called ‘Who Put The Bomp’ by Barry Mann (on YouTube here); it was originally released in August 1961. The pure and simple enjoyment I got out of listening to this is something I hope you will all equally feel.