A brief update

Thursday, 27 April 2017


Hi!

I'm still around!

My creativity is having a looooong snooze. Blogging is just... not happening for me at the moment, I am completely out of ideas. I haven't picked my cross stitch stuff up for weeks, and my writing at the moment is... meh, at best. My brain needs a reboot.

I'm not feeling my normal self lately, I'm feeling a bit blah with everything and I wish I could press a reset button and start over. My physical health is all over the shop - I have painful aching joints in my fingers (early symptoms of arthritis according to the internet, which isn't what I want at twenty-flippin'-three), when I kneel down it takes me a century to get back up (I have the knees of a 90 year old), and I've lost my appetite because every single food on the planet makes me bloat/nauseous. I could probably go to the gym and solve a couple of these issues by building my strength and losing some weight but my motivation and confidence is nonexistent. I can't bring myself to do anything. All I've been doing is taking vitamins and drinking lots of water in hopes that these problems magically disappear over time.

I'm basically a sad excuse for a human right now and I would love to just hibernate for a bit and wake up refreshed and healthy. If only that was possible!


In better news - spring! Flowers! Nature! Blue sky! Warmth! I mean, we only had that for, what, a week? Now the UK is in the middle of a weird cold spell but hopefully spring will return soon. I just packed most of my chunky jumpers away and busted out the shorts but I think I was a bit premature.

Work's been nice lately, my hours went down a little so I have more free time (although it's not like I've been utilising it). I'm just plodding along at the moment, taking each day as it comes. Rubbing Voltarol into my finger joints and attempting to figure out what food doesn't make me want to die inside. Fun times!!!!!

Hope you're all having a good week. I'm going shopping tomorrow, maybe that'll cheer me up.


Kate

My favourite writing tools

Friday, 21 April 2017

Hi!

I've got a writing folder in my bookmarks that is full to bursting with writing tools, articles, tips, generators, guides, and templates, so I thought I'd share them with you guys. I'm sure there are some of you out there who would benefit from some cool writing tools to help you pen your magnum opus.

Hope you find some of these links useful! Feel free to leave some of your favourite writing resources in the comments, I'm always happy to find more websites to add to my folder.

Note: I do apologise if most of my links are related to the medieval fantasy genre, but that's what I write the most. I've tried to include a bit of something for everyone.

Image via Lum3n.com

Name generators:

Guys, I wish I was creative enough to make up names for people/buildings/cities/countries/mountain ranges etc. by myself but I'm not. I need some help when it comes to that so I turn to my trusty library of name generators. I've been curating this collection for years so here are the ones I use the most:

(P.S. I listed most of these in a previous writing-related post but I thought it made sense to have them all in one place here for convenience)

Seventh Sanctum - for naming everything under the sun pretty much, I like it for people's names and tavern names
Random Name Generator - great for if you want more uncommon names
Country Name Generator - self-explanatory
Town Name Generator - a favourite - also self-explanatory
Fantasy Name Generator - an interesting site that allows you to be more precise in what kind of fantasy name you'd like to generate, such as short, long, vowel heavy, with apostrophes etc.
Street Name Generator - another favourite
Tavern and Inn Name Generator - a really really excellent unique generator, also self-explanatory

Not generators, but these websites are also great for names:

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Characters:

Developing characters is so much fun; working on their appearance, personality, career, relationships, habits... it's great fun. I have characters that I made up years ago still floating around in my brain and they feel so real. It's amazing to think that some characters will just stick with you forever like old friends. Here's some links:

Villainous traits and their virtues - goes hand-in-hand with the link above

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World-building:

My favourite thing about the writing process is building a fictional world. I mostly write stories with some sort of fantasy/sci-fi element, so I go all out with world building. It's so fun and there are no restrictions. One of my favourite things to do is to draw maps and come up with names for towns and countries. The Atlas of Middle Earth is fantastic if you want inspiration or help on starting your own fictional map, you don't have to be penning a fantasy medieval story to learn from Tolkien's maps.

Creating a fictional currency - perfect for fantasy or sci-fi stories
A Guide to Deduction - for those writing Sherlock Holmes-inspired detective stories

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Plot help:

I hate writing plots. Plots don't come to me naturally, and most of the time I skip the plot altogether and just see where writing takes me. I usually stumble upon a plot while I'm writing and just follow through with it, whether it's big or small, good or bad. I don't have many plot-related resources bookmarked but what I do have I find the most useful:

Random plot point generator - a great generator if you need to add a twist to your story or you want to put your character in an unexpected situation
One-page plotting - an easy worksheet for those who hate plotting (me)
Hatch's plot bank - long list of plot points I find handy

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Other resources:

Here I've put the random resources that don't seem to fit into another category but needed a mention.

Family Echo - for creating family trees, amazingly helpful if your story spans a long timeline and there are a lot of births and deaths, or there are a lot of relationships you need to keep track of (think A Song of Ice and Fire)
Tip of My Tongue - can't think of that word that's practically on the edge of your tongue? This site will help
OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus - a fab tool for if you have a definition of a word but want to know the word (reverse dictionary, see?), also excellent for generating a ton of more obscure synonyms you won't find on sites like Thesaurus.com
List of colours - random but useful when describing clothing or people's appearances etc.
Character chart - useful for character developing
Tips for creating a book or series bible - I have one of these but done on Evernote, very useful
Celtx - a writing programme for screenwriters (if you sign up you can access the free scriptwriting service but you can't do much else unless you pay up which is a shame)
Screewriting.io - answers for all your screenwriting questions

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Inspiration:

If you want some visual inspiration, I've put some links below that you might enjoy:

A Game of Clothes - Game of Thrones inspired fashion
Dark Beauty Mag on Tumblr - moody artistic photography


Kate

A tour around my hometown

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Hi!

Today I'm going to show you guys some of my favourite hotspots in my hometown - I've managed to narrow it down to a coffee shop, a farm shop, and a beautiful public garden. My hometown of wee Worksop is a fairly nondescript place north of Nottinghamshire but it does have its gems.

The guys at Turo offered me the chance to play tourist in my hometown and I jumped at the opportunity to show you some of my favourite places to visit in the town I grew up in.

Turo, the San-Francisco based car rental company, has recently launched in the UK(!) It's often described as "Airbnb for cars" because you are able to rent other people's cars and make money renting your own too. Already you can find lots of rentals in the big cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh, but with the service having just launched over here last December it may take time to expand to more rural areas.

Renting a car from Turo is a cool way of exploring towns and cities because you're renting from a local person and getting a more personalised and exclusive experience. I would really enjoy going on a city break and renting a car from a local because maybe you'll bag yourself something exciting like a Mercedes, an Audi, or something vintage...! There are so many cars already on the website that you can check out here, just type in your location and see what's on offer.

So let's begin with the tour... we'll start with coffee...

1. Piccolo Espresso Bar (website)

Photo credit: Rob Ferrol - piccoloespresso.co.uk

This gem is tucked away at the top of town away from the hustle and bustle of the high street. It's very cosy inside and has huge windows that are perfect for people-watching. This place is more like something you'd find in a trendy part of London so it's great we have something this artisanal in my humble hometown. Pop down to Piccolo for good coffee (so I've been told - I'm not a coffee drinker myself despite being a trained barista, d'oh), good milkshakes (OK I can recommend these), and some yummy cake. Plus it's always great to support independent businesses and I'd love for this place to stay open for as long as possible. It is a very aesthetically pleasing place.

So after you're full up on coffee and cake it's time to take a walk in the park...

2. Memorial Avenue Gardens (website)

Photo credit: Mapio.net

That art deco-looking building above was the old public library. I had many a memory in that building as a kid, I would always go to the library at the weekend with my nan and take a million and one books home with me. If you look closely you will see the new library in the background (you can see its flat roof with the windows). The old library has turned into a wellbeing centre and cafe.

The gardens around here are beautiful and always well-kept. The council do a great job at keeping the flowers nice all year round, and they look after the grass, the trees, and the river that runs alongside it (the river is to the right of the photo behind the library). I love spending time here in the summer (in fact it's gorgeous all year round), you find so many families picnicking near the flowers and playing in the sun, it's a lovely sight.

After a little walk we head in a car to a beautiful place just a little out of the town centre...

3. Welbeck Farm Shop (website)

Photo credit: Punjaban.co.uk and The Harley Gallery

This farm shop is part of the Welbeck Estate alongside an art gallery, a cafe, a garden centre, and an artisan food school(!) It's a goldmine for gorgeous food you simply won't find anywhere else. I specifically recommend the sausage rolls there, and in the summer you must get an ice cream because it's made with the most luxurious cream. Outside you can sit on the grass next to a water feature and bask in the sunshine. There's nothing better, trust me.

Welbeck is nestled in Sherwood Forest so you'll find plenty of countryside walks nearby if you want to spend the day around this area.

Hope you enjoyed the short but sweet tour of my hometown.

If you find a car local to you on Turo, consider renting it for a day trip to the countryside or nearest city and see what there is to explore.


Kate

New season home bits

Friday, 14 April 2017

Hi!

It's now spring which means many of us are spring cleaning our homes and thinking about redecorating - a good deep clean and reshuffle is on my agenda today. I figure now's the best time to introduce some new-in home pieces from my fave places on the web. I've included lots of colour because the weather today is grey and moody and not at all spring-like. Enjoy!












Kate

Spring has officially arrived

Friday, 7 April 2017

Hi!

It's an understatement to say that I'm happy Spring is finally here. I'm so relieved the sun is finally showing its face and I no longer have to walk around wearing three layers and still shivering.


A couple of days ago I went into my back yard for the first time in months - it was actually warm enough to sit out for a couple of minutes and take some pictures so I brought my Instax camera out from hibernation and took some snaps of the flowers.


As I type this, it's a grey cloudy day and not at all like these photos, but I do see a tiny bit of blue trying to peek out of the clouds. There's hope yet.

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On Wednesday my ma and I went to Bakewell - we had chips, wandered along the river, and visited a couple of our favourite shops. I had to return a dress to Fat Face (I know, return 😱 I was sad too) which was the reason for the whole trip, but who would turn down a drive into the Peaks and a roam around Bakewell? No-one, surely.

Before going home we sat on a bench next to the River Wye and watched some ducks trying to swim against the current. I felt properly happy, like blissfully happy. It was a tad windy but I just loved sitting by the water and looking over the other side at these beautiful gates leading from someone's garden out onto the riverbank. I couldn't think of anything more perfect. Imagine sitting on the riverbank in the middle of summer with a book and dipping your feet into the water. So idyllic it hurts.


It's been a pleasant week actually, my shifts at work haven't been as strenuous and the lighter evenings mean that the days feel longer and it feels like you can do more. British Summer Time makes me happier than nothing else.

I'm a pale gal from England so soaking up all that vitamin D in the summer does wonders for my skin, my brain, and my mood. Happiness just oozes out of me. Reminds me of this quote:

Roald Dahl quote print by littlemepaperco.

Hope you have a fab weekend. I'm working today and tomorrow, then I'm going to spend my Sunday doing a big spring clean and declutter. Very excited.


Kate

Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter in London

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Hi!

Long time no blog!

Yesterday my mum, step-dad and I took a coach trip to Leavesden Studios to visit The Making of Harry Potter. I've been to the studio tour before in 2014 on a trip with college but since then they've added the Hogwarts Express and the brand-spanking new Forbidden Forest.

This all came about when we watched the Harry Potter movies over Christmas - my mum had seen most of them but not in order and with some time in between each (they air on ITV a lot so she'd watched some of them on there), and I don't think my step-dad had seen any at all. After watching every single one over Christmas I got them both hooked, so visiting the studio tour was the next logical step. I'd told them how awesome it was last time I'd been and I convinced them to book tickets.

We had such a fun day. I was excited to go again because there were some great new things to see that weren't there before or that I'd missed.

The Forbidden Forest is a new addition to the tour - I actually loved it a lot and that's coming from someone with a biiiiig fear of spiders. Aragog was pretty cool I must admit, and without spoiling anything, you first see him lurking in the dark but then a flash of lightning and...! 😱

The Hogwarts Express was one of my favourite parts of the tour. It wasn't there last time I visited so I was really happy to get to see it. They made it feel so authentic with the steam pumping out of the chimney and the all familiar air horn that makes you feel like it's about to take off to Hogwarts.

I have pleeeenty of pics below for you to enjoy - no pictures of the Forbidden Forest because it's a new addition and I don't want to ruin it for anyone planning to go soon.

1. Hogwarts Express #1 | 2. Hogwarts Express #2 | 3. Gorgeous Beauxbatons uniform | 4. The invisibility cloak plus one of Hermione's and Ron's outfits from the Half-Blood Prince | 5. Yule Ball outfits from the Goblet of Fire | 6. The ice palace from the Goblet of Fire.

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