Sunday, 29 November 2015

#12 - Take part in NaNoWriMo in November - COMPLETE

Sunday 29th November.  Four weeks after the official NaNoWriMo start, I scrambled and submitted my novel.  My official word count was 62,023.  And that was unfinished!  It has a start, a middle, but it's still not conclusively finished!  The weather has been so terrible here, we're on a yellow warning.  We've lost internet connection twice since last night, and I could just see us being without power and my not being able to submit it tomorrow, after all my hard work.  It is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the hardest things I have ever done (mentally) in my life, but also one of the most enjoyable. 

My little seed of a story grew legs and ran away, had to be reigned in a few times, smacked about the head a bit, and then took off in a completely different direction to what I'd first intended.  And even though NaNoWriMo is over for 2015, I still intend to finish my novel.  Just because it deserves to be finished.  Maybe it doesn't deserve to be read, or published, but my characters deserve their 'for the time being' endings.  Whether they're HEA or not. 

Will I take part in NaNoWriMo 2016?  Definitely.  I'll do it all again.  I'll do it all again with the same characters that it's been my pleasure to share my headspace with for the last two months (one plotting, one writing!).   They've made me laugh, and giggle, and want to cry.  Even though I was in control, I didn't always know what was going to happen next.  And I want to see what they get up to next.  I have bloody loved it.  And I am insufferably proud of myself :-) 

Friday, 13 November 2015

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 4/40

4.  The place - Antelope Inn, Bangor.  The dish - Beef Burger and Chips  Eat in - 13th November, 2015.

Ok, so not strictly a 'new' place, this is where we tend to eat with my parents, my Dad seems to like it here.  It's always been very safe, but very generic and not very exciting pub food.  Although I didn't get to have a meal in Manchester, today I went with my parents and brother (Mr G was feeling poorly after his big day yesterday) as it was also my father's birthday yesterday.  The reason it's being included in my list even though it's not new for me, is that it has unveiled a brand new menu.

I decided on burger, and I realise that out of the four meals I have posted about so far, two have been cod and two have been burger... I am so boring.  It was on a par with Blue Sky Cafe's burger, it was so good.  Tasted like a homemade burger.  Served on a brioche bun with salad, mayo and seasoned chips, the meal - which included a soft drink - weighed in at £5.69.  Bargain.  Cheese (bleurgh) was an extra 50p.
The only criticism that I had, not for me personally, is that the chips were highly seasoned.  Really salty.  I loved them, but... one of my friends doesn't take salt as she has high blood pressure.  My children have very little salt.  I think seasoning the chips should be done at the table to your own preference, and not in the kitchen?  Just IMHO.  Also nice to see The Antelope giving their customers more than 5 chips with their main meal, which is how it had gone with their ridiculous 'chips in a tea cup'.  Very nice indeed, and if the rest of the menu has improved as much as the burger has, then it could once again become a regular eating place for us.  10/10

#1 - Lawson in Concert and #24 - Meet a Celebrity - COMPLETE!!

Wow.  I actually have no words.  No, I lie, I have several words.  What a day I had yesterday.  It is up there with my Wedding Day and having my children and meeting Mr G.  Yesterday, I met Lawson, I spoke to Lawson, and I watched them perform live.  My favourite, Adam, spoke to me, and he touched me (not inappropriately, sadly) and I managed to slightly embarrass myself by fanmomming over him.

Having arrived way too early in Manchester, after a breakdown in communication with my friend Shelly who thought we were arriving to visit them at 4, not that we had to be at the gig for 4, we found a parking space, walked to Sound Control to get our bearings, had the worlds worst burger from a Street Food van (no foodie entry for yesterday, boooo!) and then ended up killing 3 hours or so in a pub, people watching.  Which was fun. 

Mr G

The pub was literally across the road and under the arch from Sound Control so it was a 30 second walk.  Things didn't quite run to the VIP itinerary we'd been emailed from Ticketmaster, and it was gone half four by the time we got in.  We went upstairs, there was 100 of us (although the crowd that night was 500, sell out), and we were at the front of the stage.  Lawson walked on and everyone was hushed, it was mad.  They stood and talked to us, and joked and asked who had come the furthest apart from the fans from Dublin and Amsterdam.  We said 'Anglesey' and Adam, my favourite, he said 'Anglesey?  That's in Wales, isn't it?  Isn't that where Prince William was based, you've got a big RAF base there haven't you?'.  I swooned.  He. Spoke. To. Me.  They sang two songs for us, Stolen and Red Sky, and also 'Chimpanzee riding on a Segway' (don't ask, you had to be there).

Here are some pics we took of them during the course of the day.



Joel, Adam and Andy

My boys... sigh...


Andy and Ryan


Andy, Ryan, Mr G, Joel, me and my Adam

When we had our photographs taken, the guy said 'I've never used an iPad to take a picture before.'  I was stood with Adam and Joel's arms around me going 'Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God..."  The lads were telling him to turn it the right way round, and that he had his finger over the lens.  When we checked after that the photo was good, Adam had a look and he said 'Yeah that's fine.'.  I said 'Yes it is.' and closed Photos down.  As I did that... my desktop paper came on... His head.  I said 'You didn't see that, did you?'.  'I didn't see that.' he said, smiling at me.  Cringe! #almostoldenoughtobehismom

They came on just before 9, after two support acts, one called Frontiers and the other a guy called Pete Gardiner.  He was good but not my cup of tea.  However Frontiers are definitely one to watch for the future.  Very Lawson-esque.

I know I might be biased, that they're my favourite group, but Lawson really are fab live.  The whole place was bouncing.  They could have just played the music and not had to sing a word, because everyone sang along all night.  They are lovely guys, down to earth, interact with their fans, so, so funny and what I love the most about them?  They are a proper pop band.  Not a group, but a band.  And they can sing, and they can play too.  The four lads, guitars, drums, and their voices.  Joel is a fantastic guitarist, and Adam gives his all when he's on the drums, it's like he's in his own little world. They sang so many songs, new and old, including a cracking cover version of Jess Glynne's 'Hold my Hand'.  Highlights for me were 'Make it Happen' which is my favourite non-hit of theirs from Chapman Square, and Brokenhearted.  La la la, la la la, la la la...  Being such a small, intimate venue was wonderful too.  They could easily sell out bigger places, but what you gain in seeing a concert in an arena (a seat for one, my legs and feet didn't belong to me!) you definitely lose out in atmosphere.  I know that when their new music is released next year that the likelihood of these types of gigs happening will be less and less, and so I am so happy that I have seen them this way, before I have to sit with thousands of other people, miles away from the stage.  I'm still looking forward to that sort of concert too though ;-) 

I know I've undertaken a few things from my list so far, but this was in another league completely.  This is the sort of stuff that makes you feel alive, I felt like a teenager again.  So, I needs me some more of stuff like this, definitely. 


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

General Update

I thought I would update you all with the progress I'm making on my list.  Things are moving, quite slowly, but I'm not getting despondent!  Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture to see progress, right?  Something fabulous happened this morning, and tomorrow, three more things are happening that will knock spots off today's event.

These are the items from my original list that I have started and either the progress I am making with them, or that I've completed, as of today, 11th November 2015.

1)  I want to have seen, or at least have purchased tickets ready to go and see, Lawson on tour.
Almost complete!  Tomorrow, not only will I have seen Lawson in concert, but I will have MET them too!  Mr G and I have VIP tickets for the event.  So on Friday, expect a blog post with loads of pictures!  Hopefully including one of me getting a kiss on the cheek from Adam Pitts. 
2)  I want to lose a predetermined amount of weight by my 40th.

I started and tailed off.  It's nearly Christmas.  Start again in January?

3)  Take a hot air balloon ride.

Looking over my list again the other day, I looked at the hot air balloon one.  I have to admit, it's something I never really looked into, price wise.  I knew it would be expensive, but I didn't quite know how expensive that would be.  So, I did a bit of research.  I made a mental note of the figure.  I knew that if it was meant to be, something would take care of it for me.  This is the wonderful thing that happened today.  Taking a break from my NaNoWriMo (more on that shortly) I decided to check my emails, and I noticed that I had a WEM (winning email for you non-compers).  I have only gone and won a £250 Leisure Voucher!  I looked at all the things I could spend this on, and right there, Virgin Experiences. Mr G has a fear of heights, so I am going solo, and that will leave about £100 to spend on another item from my list ;-)

8) I want to win something really wonderful.  Like a dishwasher.  Or hundreds of pounds of shopping vouchers.
See above!  This remains not complete though, because I want to win something else really wonderful ;-)

12) I'm going to take part in NaNoWriMo in November.
I'm doing really well with this one, the objective is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  I was a prepper as opposed to a pantser, and so I had the outline ready for the start of November.  I've laughed at my characters, I've felt their pain (because at some point in my life or other, it might have been my pain).  I've pulled my hair out with frustration when I realised that a certain part of the story didn't work, or I had a better idea for it, and then realised that that one little change meant that hundreds of other things in the story also had to be amended for it to make sense.  I've watched as a villain turned into a heroine, when that wasn't my original intention for her.  I've fallen in love with my characters, each and every one of them.  They're like my babies.  If anyone is under any illusion that it is simple to write a novel, I suggest you sign up for this next year.  That's just the writing part alone.  To actually get it published?  For it to be any good?  For people to buy it?  To be under contract and have to do it all again?  I take my hat off to anyone who does.  Eleven days in?  I've written just over 48,000 words, and I'll have it finished tonight.  I've then got nineteen days or so in which to add, amend and titivate it, before I paste it in and become a NaNoWriMo Winner!  Yay! 

14) I want to deactivate Facebook for at least a month.
It took a bit of faffing about and telling my friends I was off, and making sure they had other ways to connect with me, but I am now a week in, and I love it.  Facebook has gone, and with it went Messenger.  I wish I had done it sooner.

17) Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before (or recently).  
Three out of forty so far, hopefully we can find somewhere nice in Manchester tomorrow before the concert to make it #4.

20) Learn a new language.   
I've started learning Italian, and I love it!  A lot of it is common sense, having learned French, and basic Spanish, there are a lot of similarities in the words.  Some words you can look at and guess.  I'm using a nifty little app called Duolingo, but I might see if there are any proper lessons or courses being offered locally.

24) Meet a celebrity.   
And hello, by the time I go to bed tomorrow, I will have met four! 

27) Buy nice glasses.
Ok, so I had to sell a kidney, but they are nice glasses.  Also had the added bonus of finding out I have Glaucoma thrown in free...

28) Complete a food challenge.  
This was pencilled in for next week, Mr G and I planned to visit our closest Sizzling Pub to us, in Prestatyn, to partake in one of their unfinishable meals.  While browsing the website for the vouchers I have won, I see that Sizzling Pubs is one of the restaurants that accept them as payment.  So, that's two items that I'll be able to complete off my list that hasn't cost me a penny!  The prizes can take up to 28 days to arrive, so the day it comes, we're off ;-)

30)  Connect and reconnect
Having had Shelly come and stay with me last month, before we go to the concert tomorrow, we are calling in to see her Dad Sam, who was a very good friend and father figure to me many years ago.  I haven't seen him for twenty years, and I am so looking forward to seeing him again.  Tomorrow is going to be a fantastic day for so many reasons, but I think this is the part that I am most looking forward to.

There you have it, my 40/40 update for you.  Although it is technically a 30/40 list at the moment...

Saturday, 7 November 2015

#20 - Learn a New Language - STARTED

I already speak English and Welsh, and I have an A grade GCSE in French. I studied Spanish in college but didn't really like it.  On a whim, I've chosen Italian.  For no reason, just instinct.  I've downloaded an app called Duolingo, and it's really very good.  I am doing fairly well, day 2 and apparently...

 ...which I'm not altogether convinced about.  But it's great fun, anyway.  

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

#17 - Eat from 40 different places I haven't eaten at before - 3/40

3.  The place - Town Fryer, Church Street, Wrexham.  The dish - Cod and Chips (for a change >.<).  Eat in - 2nd November, 2015.

I've been wanting to try The Real China in Eagles Meadow for ages, and that was the original plan for lunch yesterday.  Mr G had a hospital appointment in Maelor, and by the time we came out, we were absolutely famished.  We waited for half an hour for The Real China to open, and a further ten minutes past their opening time, before we gave up and looked for somewhere else.  We saw a sandwich board at the end of the street for Town Fryer, stating that you could have Fish and Chips, bread and butter and a cuppa, two for £10.  Sorted!  Located near the beautiful St Giles Church, we received a really friendly welcome.  Food came within about five minutes and was piping hot.  Served in little cutesy 'newspaper' cartons.  Mr G maintains it's one of the tastiest fish he's had in a long time, and I loved the batter!  All crisp and no sponge.  I'm fussy with hot drinks, and I drink tea once a decade, if that.  Even the cup of tea was good, so good that I had to go and buy Mr G Yorkshire Tea today.  Being able to eat in, for that price?  Can't fault it.  Well worth it. 10/10

Monday, 2 November 2015

#27 - Buy nice glasses - COMPLETE

Optician appointment made for 22nd October.  To be updated...

New glasses ordered... cost more for this pair than I've paid for the last six pairs... yikes!  Thanks Barclaycard...  Will put a picture up when I have picked them up...

New bins - sorry about the dodgy road trip 7 am selfie...