30 December 2014

Christmas 2014 Big Wrap-Up Extravaganza!

I had high hopes for this month. December is a blogger's dream: advent calendars, Christmas decorations, activities in preparation for the big day, not to mention the big day itself.

What happened? Life happened. The computer didn't rate as a terribly high priority. And that's quite alright with me.

So now, instead of regaling you with many mini posts about Christmas sub-topics, I give you the whole shebang.



There was a bit of playgroup Christmas crafting:

Paddle pop reindeer with antlers made with real twigs

Playgroup's very own nativity scene craft


This was a pretty special Christmas for us, as it was the first Christmas in our new home. Added to that, we had my parents and grandmother over for Christmas lunch, so I got to play in my new kitchen.

I took Christmas Eve off work to spend at home with the family (in the kitchen).

MissyMoo2 (5) took this one :-)
 
 
On Christmas Day, we gathered around the table and enjoyed some quality time together.
 


I'm not the most confident cook around, but I was actually pretty proud of my cooking efforts:

Lasagne



Cassata for dessert, yummy.



A belated Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you had a wonderful time :-)

28 December 2014

Happy 5th Birthday ... To My Blog!



There are two things you may notice about the above picture, which is a screenshot of my first blog post. One is the year - yes, this blog is now five years old!

The second thing you may notice is the exact date ... and the fact that my fifth blogiversary was actually yesterday. Oooops, is this the best example of a bad blogger - forgetting such a milestone as this?!

But let's focus on the positives, shall we?


Happy birthday Francesca Writes Here (for yesterday)

In the past five years, this blog has witnessed some amazing milestones in my life and the lives of my family members.  I have learnt so much about blogging, websites, social media and writing. I have nurtured a hobby I very much enjoy and felt part of a wider community.

You would almost certainly have noticed a change of pace in my blogging in recent months (i.e. from "meandering" to "a snail's pace"). So I will use this fifth blogiversary to recognise a certain maturity and coming-of-age of this blog. Francesca Writes Here doesn't attempt to be a big-name blog. I don't go to blogging conferences or rub noses with the who's who of the blogging community. I feel less and less comfortable blogging about my children now that they are getting older and will have their own online identities to shape in years to come - so I don't think this blog really falls into the "mummy blogger" category either.

The simple fact is that this blog is from me, by me. Francesca. Francesca Writes Here. And Francesca writes about whatever Francesca feels like writing about whenever the inspiration and opportunity arises (sorry about referring to myself in the third person there - a bit over-the-top, hey).

I'll plug my book from time to time. I'll write about writing, reading, languages, music, family life - all of the things which make my soul sing; things which you'll see from reading this blog that I have enjoyed writing about over the past five years. I may also have the occasional whinge, but that's life. Sometimes, blogging may seem just like hard work ... and when it does, I'll have a break. But I'll probably come back - I always have so far ;-)

So happy fifth blogiversary to me, if I do say so myself. It's been a huge five years in many ways. I wonder what the next five years will bring?!


How long have you been blogging?  What's your claim to "bad blogger" fame?

21 December 2014

Messages from Santa

This is NOT a sponsored post - I just really like the Santa messages, so I thought I'd tell you about them.


The jolly big man in red just loves a photo. As kids, my sister and I had one with him every year and Hubby and I continued the tradition with the MissyMoos from the time MissyMoo1 was 1.

But for the past couple of years, we haven't done the Santa photo. Before that, we always did. But a combination of moving house, three kids and negotiating around school hours has meant that the idea of driving more than half an hour to a busy major shopping centre, waiting in line for two hours, then possibly having to get in the photo with an uneasy child, just doesn't float my boat.

And do you know what? The kids don't mind.

They each write a letter to Santa making their present requests. They know Santa is busy getting ready for Christmas - he can't be appearing at every shopping centre beforehand. Santa does take some time out of his busy preparation, though, to send them a personalised video message, telling them whether they're on the nice list or the naughty list.

I request a video message for each child from Santa through the Portable North Pole website. We have done this for a few years now. The message is different each year, although each child sees the same storyline in a given year (personalised to them, though) because I've only done the free one. Next year, I may branch out and pay so the MissyMoos can have a different message each ... we'll see.

One of Santa's elves emails me when the video message is ready for the MissyMoos to watch. Generally it's really close to Christmas because we wouldn't want the cherubs on the nice list getting complacent now, would we?! Santa Claus also mentions that this is the list they're on now, so we all know that Santa is still watching even after the message has played!

Watching the MissyMoos' eyes light up as they see Santa greet and speak to them is precious. It's much less stressful and time-consuming than trekking to shops for a photo, so this is my children's experience of Santa for now, and they love it :-)

11 December 2014

My Family Nativity Scene Has Found a New Home!

Some of you may recall that three years ago, the MissyMoos and I made our own nativity scene out of paddle pop sticks.

This ridiculous craft frenzy with, at the time, a newborn baby and two older children under school age, was inspired by my childhood memories of my Nonna's nativity scene which she made herself. When we were kids, my sister and I would look at the nativity scene and move the characters around. We'd make the wise men walk over the mountains to get to baby Jesus. The sheep would nudge a snoozing shepherd. The cow would moo. And it was there every Christmas for us to enjoy.

My Nonna made the nativity scene around 40 years ago.

Here is a photo of my sister and I with it 28 years ago:



The last Christmas I spent in its midst would have been around 16 years ago.

And now, here is a photo of it taken this week in my new home:



Yes, for the first time in 16 years, I am spending a Christmas with my Nonna's nativity scene in the house, only this time, it is in my home being enjoyed by my children - the fourth generation of my family to see it.

It's a little something from my Nonna, left behind for us to enjoy again after all these years. It's something I can tell her great-grandchildren about her and something of hers they can see for themselves.

Thank you to my Zia for keeping it safe all these years. Thank you to my parents (known as Nonna and Par on this blog) for driving interstate to bring it to me for the next generation to enjoy. And thank you to my Nonna. I miss you, but I am so happy to have this reminder of you in my home.

Buon Natale!

08 December 2014

Returning as Rated on Goodreads

I was pretty chuffed when I saw this the other day on Goodreads:


It's the ratings graph for my novel, Returning. Now I know there aren't a lot of ratings in the scheme of things and not everyone rates books on there anyway, but it was still very nice to see the graph looking like that :-)


If you don't know what I'm on about, I wrote a book! Check out my website for more info: www.francescasuters.weebly.com


07 December 2014

What's in a Bookshelf?

When we were living in the rented house, a lot of boxes remained packed, as we knew we would be moving again soon once our house was built. One category of boxes which remained packed was my books. One of my bookish friends looked at me as if I had three heads when I told her that and many of you book-loving blog readers may share her sentiments. I thought it a sacrifice worth making to save packing angst later on, plus, I made great use of the library while my books were packed away.

So, in the rented house, this was our bookshelf:

Yes, it's lego.
Now that we've moved into our built house, the lego has its own place and I have reclaimed the bookshelf!


When I started unpacking book boxes and filling the shelves, I instantly began feeling more settled and "at home".

Getting there :-)

06 December 2014

Caleb's Crossing - Geraldine Brooks

Image Source

So, this book is an award winner. But I only managed to read it on my second attempt. Going back to my first attempt, if you are a freaky stalker of this blog have an uncanny level of attention to detail, you might remember seeing the cover in a blog post from March 2014, and even then I think it was an old photo. I had borrowed Caleb's Crossing from the library and could not get past the second chapter. That was when I did something I rarely do: I gave up on the book and returned it to the library.

My second attempt was out of my control: it was nominated as an Old Ducks Book Club book. That is why I borrowed it again and that is why I pushed myself to finish it.

It wasn't a bad story. It was just reeeaaaallly slow. I also felt a little cheated at the end, having read through about three quarters of the book (hard slog) to then have the last quarter cascading into what seemed a very rushed conclusion. Now I don't mind a change of pace to reach a climactic end to a book, but at around that three quarter of the way through mark, the pace changed so dramatically that it hardly seemed like the same book.

I gave it three stars because of the language. Set hundreds of years ago, the author must have immersed her mind in the language and culture of that time and place (to the extent possible) to recreate a bygone era and that, my friends, really earned my respect.


Book: Hardcover. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Cleverly written but difficult to read. Slow for most of the book, but the late change of pace left me feeling unsatisfied.

05 December 2014

My Baby Still Hasn't Had a Haircut

My baby still hasn't had a haircut ...
 


... and by "baby", I mean "3-year-old".

But seriously, how did my baby get so big??

04 December 2014

Homecoming - Cathy Kelly

Image Source
Although it's been a while since I blogged about books I've been reading, I've still been reading them. Now I shall play catch-up on the blogging scene :-)

The story is about a few different women, all at turning points in their lives, who cross paths and whose stories intertwine. As it was set in Ireland and in a small neighbourhood, I couldn't help but be reminded of Maeve Binchy.  I got into this book and read it quite quickly. It was an enjoyable, warm read, but not a stand-out, must-read-again book.


Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Enjoyable story, interesting characters, well-woven

03 December 2014

Playgroup Fun

I'm a huge fan of free play for my kids. The MissyMoos are at school, preschool and daycare with varying forms and amounts of structure ruling their day. Don't get me wrong, structure is important, but so is freedom to explore their imaginations and find their own way socially.

This is why I love my playgroup. I get toys out for the kids and prepare a craft activity each week, but the kids direct their own play. (It's usually the mums/grandmas who end up doing craft because the kids are too busy dressing up or riding tricycles!)

Kids grow up and move on. We're preparing to farewell another three kids in a couple of weeks (one of my MissyMoos included) as they "graduate" to big school next year. Hopefully new people find their way to us over time and we make new friends and playmates. It's a beautiful little community with strong bonds formed over a cuppa to the sound of children's laughter.



28 November 2014

Advent Calendar 2014

Long time followers of my blog will know that I'm not so keen on chocolate Advent calendars, which for a chocoholic like me is saying something. Apart from not needing an excuse to eat chocolate, for me, Advent is preparing for the celebration of Christmas being the birth of Jesus and that is what I am trying to teach my children about, so chocolate doesn't cut it.

I like to have activity-based Advent calendars which bring things back to the reason for the season. But my Advent calendar efforts seem to be getting more effortless every year ... in the sense that I'm putting less and less effort into them.

In 2012, I was Advent calendar queen (if I do say so myself). In 2013, there was slightly less effort involved, but I was still prepared.

And here we are in 2014, with Advent beginning THIS SUNDAY! I'm completely not ready. We have had / are having a busy couple of weeks, with a birthday, swimming intensives, a sacrament and school orientation continuing on top of the usual juggling act of having little kids and working.

I nearly succumbed and bought a chocolate one at the supermarket...

But I stayed strong. This year, I bought an Advent calendar at my local-ish Koorong shop (not sponsored). I also bought a Christmas story colouring in book for each child and figured they can each work at theirs at their own pace.



I've also printed off a picture of an Advent wreath with candles for each child. I'm hoping that every Sunday in Advent, we'll colour in a candle, talk about what each candle means and, by Christmas, have completed an easy craft wreath. We did this last year and it was a simple way to do some Advent craft and bring the focus back to our beliefs.

24 November 2014

Song/Artist Review: "Will", KADA

Disclaimer: I was directed to this artist by a PR company. No money has exchanged hands and all opinions expressed are my own.


You may not know this, but before starting this blog, yours truly was quite the muso. In my late teens, every spare moment I had saw me with guitar in hand, making music. So, it's really cool that I have an opportunity on this blog to talk music and let you know about an up-and-coming Aussie artist.

KADA is a born and raised New South Wales lass like myself. This is where the similarities end, though! She's quite a bit younger than me and is making her dream of music become a reality, currently living between the US and Queensland.

KADA's debut album was just released last week. It's called "The Unknown" and the first single is called "Will". The song is a bit of a mix of genres: R&B, electronica and folk all rolled in together to make quite a unique sound. If you're interested in hearing it for yourself, check out the official video on YouTube:

 
 
Now that you've had a listen, let me tell you something else about this artist. She and her partner have been living through something most of us couldn't imagine and show amazing strength through adversity day after day. Wondering what I'm on about? Read this article. Now listen to the song again and you may find a deeper meaning beneath the lyrics.
 
It's great to be able to change things up a bit on Francesca Writes Here and to shout out to a debut artist. I know through launching Returning how hard it can be to stand out in the busy internet, so I hope this helps in some small way.

20 November 2014

MissyMoo2's School Orientation



Yes, you read that post title correctly. School. For MissyMoo2!

My middle girl is blossoming into an almost-school girl before my very eyes.

I am so happy for her. She is excited and more than ready. In recent months, my 5-year-old has grown amazingly in confidence and it's beautiful to see.

It seems like only yesterday that it was MissyMoo1's big school orientation ... where did those three years go?

Second time around, I am no less excited for my child, but I at least know what to expect. And for MissyMoo2, whilst school will still be "new" and "unknown", she has her big sister there to look out for her (as well as an eager collection of big sister's friends) in addition to the two beautiful buddies she has been placed with.

This progressive shift in "stages" for MissyMoo2 from pre-school heading towards school has also resulted in a slight shift in dynamic between siblings at home. MissyMoo2 (5) and MissyMoo3 (3) hung out together the majority of the time because MissyMoo1 (7) has been off at school for the past almost three years on her own. Now, the older two are finding that they have a bit more in common again, so they're seeking each other out more and wanting to do more things together. It's not to the exclusion of MissyMoo3, but it's now more evenly spread.

I hope she continues to enjoy her orientation experience and I hope she also manages to enjoy the summer holidays without being too impatient for school to start!

19 November 2014

Book Review: Run Tree Run by Kelly Alsop


JoJo Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book for my review. All opinions are my own.

Run Tree Run
Written by Kelly Alsop and illustrated by Boris Silvestri.
Published by JoJo Publishing
RRP S/C $16.99 H/C $24.99

This is a children's book with a conservationist message. It was written as a protest against a proposed mine near a wildlife reserve at the Cape York Peninsula. The story is written from the perspective of Australian native animals all forced to move away from their homes because "the mine is coming" and they are guided by a wise old tree.

The story introduces some iconic Australian wildlife: a red-tailed black cockatoo, a sugar glider, a couple of galahs, a goanna, a rhinoceros beetle, an archer fish and a cassowary. The book is beautifully illustrated with great use of colour and attention-grabbing design on every page.

Although it is a picture book, personally, I think it would be more appropriate for school-aged children than really little ones, given the themes. And it's those themes which will determine at what age you feel it appropriate to read this book to your child. I did not read it to my 5-year-old, as she is quite sensitive and I felt there was a good chance she would be upset by the ideas. The underlying message of the book is not subtle, so it is definitely one which parents would need to talk through with their children.


14 November 2014

Summer Awaits

If you're anywhere in New South Wales right now, you're probably sweltering in the first really hot day we've had in a while, waiting for the cool change to come.

We're getting our air-conditioner installed ... tomorrow...

This, I guess, is our first real hit of summer with the weather having been pretty much all over the place in recent weeks, ... well, months, really. That's probably why I am finding it so hard to believe that it's already mid-November.

No, this isn't just a post about the weather.

Going through the photos I put aside for blogging and haven't yet used, I found these beauties from the September school holidays. I'd say they were taken about 8 weeks ago. We were lucky enough to catch a couple of gorgeous days in the last school holidays and spend some time at the beach.


 




If that was Spring, then bring on Summer.

Family time, time out on the tinny, at the playground, playing in the dirt at home. Time to get some relaxation into our systems, time to chill in the heat.

04 November 2014

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

Image source
This is the third in the series of Robert Langdon novels. It has all of the intrigue, plot twists and interesting detail you would expect from Dan Brown if you have read his first two Robert Langdon books (Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code).

And yet, it's the "expecting" which I think also was a little disappointing for me. Although the subject matter was different, perhaps because it followed the same sort of formula it lost a bit of its mystery. Or perhaps because it wasn't set in Europe, it was a little less attractive to me. Or perhaps because it was about masonic symbols which I have no prior knowledge of or interest in, it was less exciting than I had hoped or expected.

Whatever the reason, although I consider it to be well written, I just enjoyed this book less than the previous two. Still worth reading though.

Book: Hardcover. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Not bad, but not as good as his earlier books.

31 October 2014

Packing Boxes

Having now moved house twice in 11 months, I figure I can lay claim to knowing a thing or two about packing boxes.
 
Here are some words of wisdom from yours truly.
  
1. Let the kids "help"
They will want to anyway. Letting them draw on the packaging paper or newspaper is no big deal, keeps them away from the breakables and puts a little smile on your face when you unpack the masterpiece at your next abode.
 
 


2. Stock up on tools of the trade
Packaging tape is your best friend. A good marker to label boxes is a must (you will not remember what's inside each box when you're packing up a 4-bedroom house). I also prefer a Stanley knife to scissors to cut the tape and then to cut open the boxes after moving - packing tape makes scissors icky sticky.


3. Get as many boxes as you can - and then some more
You will always need more boxes. Even when your place looks almost empty, there will remain boxes of bits & pieces which need to be packed up.

Proper removalist boxes are good for big stuff. They're even better when you get them second hand from a colleague and cost you nothing. Oh and here's a bonus pearl of wisdom: don't fill these big 'uns with books - removalists don't like that!


Ask friends and local businesses for smaller boxes. Relieve your school canteen of their excess.


Nappy boxes are a great size for most household items. We saved ours up between moves.


 4. Bags are good too
These bags are great for stuffing clothes and soft toys into. Super cheap too.


5. It will end
You will move, unpack and relax eventually.
Here is just a small reminder of what the last few weeks in the rented house looked like. Sitting where I am sitting now, these photos renew my relief that it is all over.



I am SO glad this move is over. I have no desire to further develop my box packing skills in future. It's the feeling settled skills which I intend to become an expert In :-)

27 October 2014

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: Arrivederci

Sooo ... hi.

How are you?

Is there anybody left subscribing to this blog?

Yes, it has definitely been a while between blog posts from yours truly. I have been MIA in the blogosphere in the lead-up, duration and aftermath of moving house. But we are now home and mostly unpacked. There is still plenty to sort out around the place but we are here.

My somewhat forced absence from blog land (due to a lack of internet for a while there) has refreshed me in real life. And as I so often do, I reassessed. Although we have been busy and stressed moving, I have had a wonderful opportunity over the past few weeks to spend time with my family. To really "connect" with them and devote more time to them. I have liked doing that and I want to continue.

I love writing fiction, I love blogging and I love reading (blogs and novels). But I don't like feeling pressure around my hobbies. And I just don't have time, between family, work and my interests, to read heaps of blog posts (as much as I'd like to). So, I have decided suspend
 
Francesca Writes Here

  
"Arrivederci" isn't goodbye forever. I may start this linky up again. But I may not. I just don't know. For now, I am content to write and read when I can and not to commit to anything which takes away from other priorities.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to and read posts in this linky. You have contributed to a warm little community in blogland and I truly appreciate you taking the time out to visit my blog. I hope you continue to do so, even though the linky is no longer.






05 October 2014

Happy Birthday MissyMoo3

Our baby girl celebrated her birthday last week. Can you believe she is already ...


?
 
No, neither can I, really. And yet, I can't very well remember what life was like without her.
 
From her dramatic entrance to the world and every day since, MissyMoo3 has filled our lives to the brim with excitement. She delights and amuses us, as well as driving us a bit batty at times. As she grows, so does her charm and I am so lucky to have her as my daughter. She may be our third daughter, but she is no carbon copy of either of her sisters - she is a unique individual and so very, very loved.
 
Happy birthday MissyMoo3  xx

04 October 2014

Unlocking Our Future


Can you guess what this means?

I'll give you two clues:
  1. It's a set of keys; and
  2. The key ring decoration is in the shape of a house.
Yes! (Okay, I know it's pretty obvious, but just humour me here)

We now have the keys to our new home. I am beyond excited, as well as overwhelmed and exhausted.

We've had a lot going on in the past few weeks and will have our work cut out for us over the next few, as we move in and get settled. But I'm looking forward to exhaling the stress and craziness soon and then taking a deep breath to soak it all up and enjoy our new surroundings.

Catch ya later!

23 September 2014

Toilet Roll Craft: Binoculars

Here's something we made at playgroup recently which I'm actually quite proud of. Now I can't take full credit for this one because we have done it before (B's idea last year), but this year I was able to jazz it up a little, thanks to some cheap scrapbooking paper from Aldi (not sponsored, but if they want to supply me with cheap scrapbooking paper in future, I'm happy to oblige with blog posts!).
 

Looks pretty good, eh? And the best bit is that it's so easy!

  1. Measure the length of the toilet roll along some nice paper and cut enough to wrap around the roll.
  2. Glue the paper onto the roll (glue sticks are great and the kids can do this bit easily themselves).
  3. Do steps 1 and 2 again for the second toilet roll.
  4. Staple the toilet rolls together on the inside (one on each end should do it)
  5. Poke a hole on each side (single hole hole-punch or just a sharp pencil)
  6. Tie the ribbon around each hole - adjust the length to however low the child wants the "binoculars" to hand when they carry them around.
Not only did the making of these little beauties occupy the kiddies, but afterwards, they used them in their play during the rest of the morning's playgroup session.


21 September 2014

House Update: Getting Closer

Things have continued to move ahead with the house since my last post.

The driveway is now done.

Formwork for the driveway done

Cement poured

The day the cement for the driveway was poured was a little stressful. It had rained for almost a week beforehand, but the day before had been a fine day, so the area had dried off. The day of the concreting, I got in the car to go to work thinking that it wouldn't be happening that day because it was so cloudy and looked like rain. As I drove past, the cement truck was already there. The rain held off until the afternoon when a massive storm tore through the area. The rain was pelting down sideways at work and I think it was similar at home. I was a little stressed! But when I drove past that night on my way home, I saw that it had been covered. All good.

The down-pipes have now been painted (same colour as the garage door). All the internal painting and tiling is complete (looks amazing!) and the range-hood is in. The TV aerial is also on.

Tomorrow, Hubby and I get a really good look at the place, as we'll be doing our "practical completion" inspection. It isn't completely completed yet though, so I don't know how that works. The carpets aren't in yet, the screens aren't on the doors or windows and the driveway hasn't been painted. But we'll look really closely at what is there and hopefully get a good idea of when we can move in after tomorrow's appointment.

Watch this space!

19 September 2014

The Household Guide to Dying - Debra Adelaide

Image source

Delia writes household guide books - laundry, kitchens, home organisation ... dying...

This is a book where you know the ending before you start, but it's where Adelaide takes readers along the way which is really moving. The book weaves accounts of Delia's past in with her present. It has a few surprises and a few light-hearted moments to balance the deep, raw emotional themes and scenes.

I was moved to tears more than once while reading this book, which I struggled to put down when real-life responsibilities called.


Book: Paperback. Borrowed from my local library.
Rating: I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Such a moving book - it had me crying. Well written and a great story.

17 September 2014

A Little Prayer to Start the Day

Here's something which popped into my head recently. I think I made it up, that is, I don't think it's something I've memorised from someone else.



I hope to apply it to my life and teach it to the MissyMoos to help to guide them.

15 September 2014

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There - Lewis Carroll

Image source

This is a book MissyMoo1 (7) brought back from her most recent trip to Gran & Soots' house and I just had to read it too. As this is apparently the second of the Alice books, my logical side would have preferred it if I had read the first one before reading this, but my inner child and my impulsive streak ganged up on logic and read it anyway.

Aside from alluding to having multiple personalities (which I neither confirm nor deny!), the main purpose of this blog post is to convey the joy I feel when reading fun children's literature. Allowing my mind to indulge in escapism and more than a little silliness is just the tonic for a tired adult mind which has lost touch a little with fun.


Book: Hardcover. Borrowed from Gran & Soot.
Rating: I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: What a great collection of smile-inducing nonsense!

13 September 2014

Notebooks

I love stationery.

When I was in high school, my friend and I would sometimes go "into town" after school or on weekends and just wander the (two) aisles of the newsagency, admiring.

Fast forward a few years to when my parents bought a newsagency business of their own and I was in heaven. I got to look at it all the time then and, knowing the fondness I had for stationery, my parents allowed me to order it for the shop as part of my work there. It was wonderful. When I wasn't serving customers, I would flick through the supplier's latest catalogue, professionally taking notes, of course.

At the time of my newsagency days, I was also a uni student, so my main focus for stationery needs revolved around things like pens, highlighters, sticky notes and folders.

Nowadays, I have less reliance on sticky notes - an unsupervised pad of sticky notes doesn't last 5 seconds in this house, as the stationery vultures MissyMoos adopt them for their latest "library" or "shop" game. Highlighters are only used in secret because when they see the light of day, they generally like to party and leave their mark on MissyMoo arms and legs (I never knew parenting would affect my stationery use - there's a topic for the guidebooks!).

These days, I continue to keep a paper diary - it fills a place in my heart which an iPhone calendar could never replace. Cool pens are a constant - you can't have a stationery equation without them.

Recently, notebooks have become my "thing". I've really noticed, even more particularly in the past few months, that the words flow much more easily for me when I am writing them down on paper. Even this blog post was first written in a notebook. It would not have been nearly as easy or enjoyable to write if I had been sitting at the computer. That's just the way I write.

So, notebooks. I have a few.


The two big floral ones at the back were a congratulations gift from a friend for my book launch. The big one in the middle at the back is the current home for my first draft of Returning's sequel. The Paris book holds blog post ideas and scribbles. The black with pink corners has the chapter plan for Returning's sequel. The rainbow one at the front was a Mother's Day present from MissyMoo1 (7) and is where I write draft blog posts (including this one).

After taking this photo, I discovered a couple more.

I love the promise of opening a blank book (or even just a blank page) and beginning to write. I love seeing words forming and coming alive on a page. I love the flow of words reflected and enhanced by the flow of running writing in a book: from my mind through my hand, one letter joined to the next, forming word after word, sentence after sentence until, at last, the creation is complete.



11 September 2014

Oh! To Be Five!

The MissyMoos each have allocated jobs to do around the house.

MissyMoo2 (5) takes the rubbish out ... sometimes.

Me: "Can you go and do the rubbish now please?"
MM2: "Hang on a minute, I'm playing snap."




Oh, to be five again!

07 September 2014

A Talk in the Library

Last week, I put my adolescent public speaking training back into operation with an "author appearance" (man, it sounds weird saying that).
 
Lake Macquarie libraries, after kindly hosting my launch, asked if I would be interested in talking about my experiences of self-publishing my novel, Returning.
 

I went along to a different library branch this time - Cardiff in Lake Macquarie. It is a recently opened library - very nice and modern.

I absolutely loved it.

The audience was very attentive, but relaxed and they asked some really insightful questions. I hope they each got something out of it and that in sharing my experiences I have been able to help them in some small way on whatever path their writing may take. The hour flew by and I think we could all have stayed there a while longer, except that it was the library's closing time, so we had to scoot.

Did I mention that I loved it?

Public speaking is something I have always enjoyed. Writing is something I have always enjoyed. This appearance gave me the opportunity to put them both together.


We had a section of the library to ourselves

I put a few books on display


Hello!

As if appearing wasn't fun enough, I walked away with chocolate! What a great evening:-)

Yes, I loved it :-)



If you want to find out more about my book, go to www.francescasuters.weebly.com. The website also has a "Contact Me" form, which you can use to drop me a line if you would like to.







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