Friday, 24 June 2016

Moving on.

I'm sitting here this morning trying to write, making the most of my child-free hours while Jellybean is out. And I can't concentrate.

This morning, we voted to leave the E.U.

I still can't quite believe it happened. I woke up to the news and felt the sadness and regret in my stomach like a heavy weight. Nestled in next to my unborn child who I will now have to raise in a very divided and angry country. We've essentially voted for something totally unknown and now are watching the implications as they emerge. What will happen to us? Will there be another recession? Will we lose Scotland now? When will we get the money back that we've been sending into the EU and will that happen before or after the emergency budget is declared? (I suspect long after).

It's been a hideous campaign based on lies and nastiness. On both sides. On the one hand, the 'hard working people' Farage and co. have been campaigning for will probably be massively impacted, because we have handed ultimate power to the Conservative government, who have a track record of taking away from the poor, disabled and most vulnerable in our society. If they need to make cuts (which they will) who are they going to cut from? Does it seem fair that we will now have an unelected Prime Minister?

On the other hand, I know a lot of Leave voters who voted not based on racism or xenophobia (or because they agree with Donald Trump or Nigel Farage) but because they had genuine concerns about the democracy of the EU, and are now having to a) keep silent about their vote, or b) risk being called names because of it.

It sucks.

It sucks that politicians on both sides have lied to us. It sucks that the papers are totally biased and unreliable. It sucks that this whole time, we haven't been able to find unbiased information anywhere. It sucks that far-right movements like Britain First have whipped people up into such a xenophobic frenzy that an MP ended up being shot dead. It sucks that the country is so divided. It sucks that we might lose Scotland.

It sucks that the Leave voters are calling Remain voters 'sore losers' because they are genuinely sad about the result. It sucks that Remain voters are calling Leave voters racist idiots.

It all just sucks.

For the record, I voted Remain, because I believe in unity and I believe the EU is not the terrible evil it has been made out to be. I am, frankly, very very worried about what will happen next. For the country as a whole and for us as a family. I worry about how we will provide for our children if there is another recession. I am concerned that people from other European countries that live here don't feel welcome any more. I have the right to express that concern and sadness. It's not 'throwing my toys out of the pram'. It is REAL politics. With real consequences. That impact us all.

But frankly, I feel quite ashamed of our country today. Not because of Brexit, but because of the way we have behaved. I believe in democracy. We've voted - we're out. But that doesn't excuse the weeks of bitterness, tension, and anger. It doesn't excuse the terrible things that have been said and done. It doesn't excuse the name calling and nastiness. It doesn't excuse entire campaigns being based on lies, exaggerations, and half-truths. Frankly, the behaviour of those representing us as a country make us all a laughing stock.

That said ...

The only thing we can do now is try and move on as gracefully and determinedly as possible. The only thing we can do is take stock of what we have and try and move on from it. We are still the same as we were yesterday - a country made up of determined, sarcastic, somewhat grumpy people. I believe we've got through worse and we'll get through whatever happens next, because we're stubborn like that. Somehow when the dust clears, maybe we'll be able to have more civil conversations about how we move on from here.


Anyway. I'm off to try and get on with my day. Have a good one. (Or, you know. Try to.)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Book review - Twisted Tales by Deborah Stansil

I really enjoy short stories. I find them quite satisfying to read. Plus, I really admire them as a form of writing - I think it shows great talent and discipline to write a good, intriguing story in just a few words.

So when blogger and writer Deborah A Stansil wrote a blog post asking if people would like to review her new collection of short stories, I was excited to sign up.

The collection is called Twisted Tales, which really sums it up quite well - twenty-seven short stories that are dark, creepy, or, well, twisted. They cover some really interesting ideas - from a desperate mother making a deal with the devil, to a devious husband-stealer who will stop at nothing to make him hers.

Some of these stories are flash fiction, so they are very short. I don't read a lot of flash fiction, so I found it interesting to see - how much impact a writer can fit into such few words. However I did prefer the longer stories - like 'Gaze' - because I was so enthralled by the story and characters that I wanted it to keep going. I really like the occasional creepy story - for that old-fashioned chill-up-your-spine kind of feeling - and I had that a few times whilst reading these.

Twisted Tales is currently free on the Kindle - I really recommend downloading it if you are into horror, for the interesting, creepy ideas contained within it. The stories are short but well-told. Stansil is releasing her first novel soon, The Joker, and there is a preview of it at the end of Twisted Tales. I think I'll be reading it when it comes out!

You can find the author's blog here, and on Twitter @randommusings29. You can download Twisted Tales on Amazon here!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Foyles, and meeting Pip and Posy!

Jellybean loves Pip and Posy.

I've written about Pip and Posy before in this post, but essentially, they are stories about two best friends and how they help each other to overcome the emotional issues that small children face. (Issues like losing ice creams or falling off scooters). They are really gentle, lovely and sweet, and we're slowly collecting them all.

We went up to Foyles bookshop in Cabot Circus last week, and Jellybean immediately spotted the newest Pip and Posy. A lovely lady that worked there told us that they were hosting a Pip and Posy Picnic in the store next week, and tickets were £5, if we wanted to go.

Obviously we said yes.

We had a bit of a weird day though because my baby brained idiocy led us to get there really really early and we had to hang around waiting for it, but once we were in, it was lovely.

We really like Foyles. It's not that big, but it's crammed full of books that are displayed really nicely. There is a lovely children's section:

The staff didn't mind that we were there really early and we had a nose around while we waited.

The children sat on a picnic blanket and had Pip and Posy stories read to them by a lovely lady called Megan (snap!) and then they bought out some food with the help of Posy (apologies for the blurry photographs that follow - my phone wasn't enjoying the lighting!):

There was loads of food (for the grown-ups too) and then some activity sheets for the kids to do. Then they met Pip:

Jellybean was very excited to see Pip and Posy, but did NOT want to go anywhere near them (to be fair they were massive). She just waved nervously from afar. They got lovely goody bags, which to my surprise included a Pip and Posy book:

As well as stickers and balloons and colouring sheets and other things small children really love.

We paid £5 to attend the picnic, which lasted an hour, and we were really pleased with it. The staff at Foyles are lovely, chatty, and helpful, and are quite happy for you to sink into a beanbag and read with your kid for a while. They put a lot of effort into the party and we really appreciated it.

I think events like these really help to instill a love of books into children from a young age - to get them excited about reading and connecting with characters and stories. Foyles have a lot of events happening in their Bristol, Birmingham and London stores over the summer, including loads of fun things for kids: illustrators hosting drawing workshops, craft activities, and more. Click here if you want to see their upcoming events.

You can follow Foyles on Twitter @Foyles and you can find their Facebook page for the Bristol store here!

Pip and Posy are published by Nosy Crow. Find them on Twitter @NosyCrow.

Linking up with:

My Random Musings

Pick N Mix Fridays

Talk of the Town
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