Day 17: Your Zodiac Sign – does it fit?

4add4443d620c1d275c8e528d59d324bWell, this is how one astrology site summarises what it’s like to be a Pisces

Pisces is the sign of mysticism, mystery and the spiritual unknown. Pisces live in two worlds, the real world and the spiritual or mystical world where they interpret what they see into what they want. They do this to avoid all the realities of pain and suffering in the world. They have extremes of emotions and feel both good and bad intensively. Pisces have formidable intuitive ability. Most Pisces are somehow involved with occult or spiritualism. Pisces are very good at understanding people for they have the ability to delve into the psyche and see behind a person’s motivations. Pisces are prone to drug addiction and indulging lifestyles because of their eternal search for themselves and their fear of confrontation and having to change a situation, also they justify drug use by allowing it to get closer with their ‘spiritual selves’. Once they aware this is why they are doing it, it will be easier to kick the habit. Pisces are not the pushovers that they may seem, in fact they have strength of character and will stand up for what they believe in and and they can do hard work for something they believe in. They can be very lazy but only in matters that they do not care about. Pisces is the most sensitive of all zodiac signs.

And yes, I think that pretty much sums me up. Love the bit about being involved with the occult – I would love to be a witch! And my writing is definitely moving towards the more fantasy based genres as I have had some success with these kind of stories. I love entering these magical worlds of my creation and taking part through the characters.

Yes, I’m dreamy and distsy at times but I can also be very practical and action focused – as my family says ‘Jo gets things done’. Can’t say I’ve used drugs, I used to smoke and I do love a glass (and more often more than) of red wine as it does help me relax.

And Simon will vouch for the extremes of emotions, poor chap ūüėČ

And this is what Jonathan Cainer says is in store for me today…

Your ship isn’t sinking. You need not man the lifeboats. Nor is it off course. Your journey doesn’t need recharting either. You don’t lack any resource you require, other, perhaps, than confidence in your own judgement and trust in your current position. What makes you think some terrible mistake has been, or is about to be made? The Sun and your Neptunian ruler were only tensely aligned briefly yesterday. You are up against some comparatively minor issues. All they require are some minor adjustments.

Day 16: Something I Miss…

blue-drop-drops-greece-nostalgia-favim-com-458084Obviously my dad, first and foremost. Been looking at some VHS tapes I had converted to DVD’s, one of the Millennium Fancy Dress Party the family attended (where Si and I dressed up as punks and managed to ‘bully’ the guests into donating a large sum of money for charity!) and another of our Wedding Celebration. Seeing both mum and dad on the screen was very painful but also very comforting in another way. Watching them has helped me to remember the good times rather than get cross about the bad times. After all there were many years of good times, though I know it’s only natural to remember the hard bits at the moment. As Simon says, I had my dad in my life for 53 years, it’s a long time and he made a great impression on me. I shall never stop missing him.

Twelve years ago, Simon and I gave up smoking. We did it within two weeks of making the decision and it was largely fuelled by the ban of smoking and Simon’s diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes. I can only say I’ve missed a smoke this past year. But I have never given in to the temptation and don’t think I ever will. I did enjoy a cigarette with a glass of wine though, I must admit.

Footpaths! It’s the one thing we both miss here in Italy. We used to explore the footpaths of Dorset from our own front door with dogs in tow all the time. Here the culture of pets and dog walking is sort of non existent really. There is a footpath around here which follows the river Saline, but because no-one uses it, it’s overgrown and we can’t get through it! Not without a huge machete and along with matches, I wouldn’t trust Simon with such a weapon. Never mind, there are plenty of other things which living in the UK didn’t offer. Such as our lifestyle… we’re just off down to the beach ūüôā

Ciao for now


Day 15: Bullet Point Your Whole Day…

chaos-1536612_640Today, I’m going to cheat. I’m posting pictures of my Bullet Journal which I started in May. And it’s developed over those three months. Simon will be the first to tell you I have a bit of a diary/journal fettish and despite therapy cannot seem to curb my addiction. Though I have to say that this bullet journal feels right. I keep lots of memories – pictures, thoughts, tickets, anything that means something; I doodle regularly; I keep lists (another fettish of mine) – things to read, watch, listen; recipes; muse prompts; a general brain dump; and I record the weather… so I can look back and see what was happening on any given day. I have moved from daily bullets to a weekly format as it suits me better. It’s fun and I seem to be getting things done…

This is my monthly spread:


This is my weekly:

IMG_20160802_125945[1] copy

And some doodles:

IMG_20160802_130001[1] copy


Ciao for now,

Day 14: Post your 10 most favourite movies…


Now this is more like it…I don’t like going to the cinema, so it’s not something I miss living here in Italy. Can’t be doing with watching something with hundreds of other people. Much prefer the comfort of my own living room, along with the obligatory bowl of popcorn of course!

  1. Mama Mia – Caitlin and I have watched this countless times. A good job you can’t hear us singing along!
  2. Moulin Rouge – ooer, Ewan McGregor
  3. Cabaret – see the theme? Love musicals
  4. The English Patient – the ultimate love story, just so love this film
  5. South Pacific
  6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – anything with Audrey Hepburn in it.
  7. Jungle Book – the original is best but haven’t seen the newest
  8. Il Postino – poignant film as is
  9. It’s a Beautiful Life – makes me cry every time
  10. Phantom of the Opera – saw the stage show three times (or was it four?) and also Les Miserables, Cats and The Lion King if I’m taking stage shows.


Day 13: What are you excited about?

musician-664432_640Ho hum, haven’t felt much excitement the first part of this year for very obvious reasons… I’m sure that lovely feeling will return but at the moment, it doesn’t feel appropriate most of the time. All part of the grieving process I’m sure.

I am though, excited for my granddaughter, Caitlin who at the grand age of eleven became Dorset County Athletic Champion for throwing! She also came second in the short distance running and the relay. What a star. And in September she goes to ‘big’ school and will be taking part in the girls football and rugby teams. She isn’t particularly a tomboy, with tumbling sun kissed blonde hair and blue eyes but she loves her sport. In fact it’s Caitlin who will sit and watch the footie matches with her Dad instead of her brother. It’s lovely to see her participate and take such an interest when at that age, their are so many competing distractions, particularly for girls.

And I’m becoming excited at the prospect of getting back into my publishing plan. Things have had to take a back seat, but I’m determined to complete my plans for the three books which are set in World War 1 and 2. They are not part of a series but I really enjoyed writing them. I’ve decided to use my Mrs Mop pennies as my publishing budget and have decided to resource some help with the cover design. I love doing the whole caboodle, but it’s just not going to happen this year, so it makes sense. So watch this space…

Ciao for now

Day 12: Write about 5 Blessings in your life…


Don’t like the connotation of God that goes with the term blessing (Google it and see what I mean) so shall be writing this post in the context of¬†something that helps or brings happiness.

Like many of us I imagine, I tend to focus on what’s troubling me rather that what is going well, or brings me laughter, and I’ve probably covered these in other posts but that’s not a bad thing.

  1. My family: Husband, Simon who is a constant source of support and makes me laugh when I want to cry. Son, ¬†Ben of whom I couldn’t be any prouder of what he has achieved. He is the living example that conformity in education isn’t always the best path. And his lovely wife, Claire and mother to grandchildren, Morgan and Caitlin, who are growing up far too fast. And I’d have to include the animal family we’ve collected since living here.
  2. My Lifestyle: Which could encompass all five if I separated the things that bring happiness since we moved here. The main thing is living more on less. Quality not Quantity. That kind of stuff. It was a huge risk but so worth it.
  3. My Veggie Garden: which links with number two I suppose, but it is so satisfying eating fresh stuff picked from the garden only moments before. It’s hard work but fulfilling.
  4. My Writing: or just being creative. I write every morning without fail and have started a Doodle course – love to scribble and colour in. Must be my inner child struggling to be seen. I do work through a lot of angst in my morning pages which helps me every day.
  5. My Friends: Who I could count on one hand, true friends who I don’t see very often but when I it’s like we only met the day before. They know who they are.

Day 11: Something you always think ‘what if’ about…

what_ifI’m used to answering this question in my writing. What if the character says, does, doesn’t do this. What if the setting was here rather than there. What if I kill off one of my darlings. What if I end the chapter, sentence, paragraph with this rather than that. What if she was a he or a creature of non definitive nature?

I don’t often think ‘what if’ about my life if I’m honest. I’m more of a keep moving forward kind of girl then thinking about what’s gone past. I might ask the question to help me make a decision but once it’s made that’s it. Can’t change it.

If I’m forced to think about it, I’d probably pick my first career choice to ask the question. What if I hadn’t chosen to go into nursing. It was pretty much predicated for me from an early age. With a mother and grandmother both in the nursing profession I had two great mentors to look up to. And I had nurses kits for birthday and christmas presents quite regularly. My dad did offer to set me and my sisters up in a business, like hairdressing once. I would have given it a go, but it never got further than that. I don’t think I have the social skills to be a hairdresser.

Nursing was a tough choice and one I couldn’t keep up in the end. I¬†was one of the youngest District Nursing Sisters in the Health Authority at the time and I had to follow the tough path that my mother trod. I found it difficult to leave the patients, their problems and their families at the front door when I got home and so by the time I was thirty had moved into management and then teaching and education. All of which required me to be more extrovert when my preference is definitely more introvert.

Writing has always been my ‘dream’, not a career choice, not until these past few years. I always viewed it more as a hobby. It’s much more than that, it’s a passion, a need I have to fulfil.

Enough of ‘what ifs’. I have a novel to edit.


Day 10: Something I Feel Strongly About

image.aspxSome of these prompts are very taxing, but I suppose that’s exactly their purpose. Anyway, just a reminder that everything I’m writing about is my personal opinion, if you don’t agree that’s fine I’m not expecting that. So today, in this mad, mad world that seems to be imploding the thing for which I feel most strongly about is religion and the way it’s being used to maim, kill and wreck humanity.

I know it’s probably been the same since days of old, but these last few weeks seem to be filled with atrocities that I feel like doing a ‘Grandma Lamb’. Lily was my dad’s mum and whenever anything bad came on the telly she would turn around in her favourite swivel chair (which was pretty hard for her as her feet didn’t touch the ground) and refused to watch or listen. Ignorance isn’t the answer but what is?

I’m not religious, my parents did loosely connect with their christian faith when we were younger and we were packed off to Sunday School. But it’s not something I’ve felt I’ve needed. I have faith I suppose, not sure if I can label it or even if I should. We had a Humanist celebration for our wedding, which was wonderful. We wrote our own service, read out poems and lit three candles to symbolise the two of us becoming one. My aunt, uncle and cousin all had Humanist funerals, buried in wicker coffins and a service where we celebrated their life and my nephew had a naming ceremony rather than a christening.

I just hope that somehow we, as in the world, can find some kind of peaceful way of learning to respect and live with one another. Seems to me there is plenty of room and space to do so, just have to make it happen. Simplistic, perhaps…

Ciao for now,

*Humanism emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. 

Day 9: Words of Wisdom that speak to me…

566523823-Wisdom-Quotes-About-Life-Lessons-20Mmmm… not sure at all about this post. Depends on who is giving the words I suppose and who determines that they are full of wisdom?

My nan used to regularly share her thoughts on how things should be done. She was a terribly superstitious person. No walking on the cracks in the pavement, breaking mirrors meant seven years bad luck, no opening umbrella’s inside (why would you in the first place?) and no new shoes on the table. Children were definitely seen and not heard. My mum and dad even had to move the date of their wedding which they’d planned for May – ‘Marry in May, Rue the Day’.¬†¬†Were they words of wisdom? I don’t know she certainly believed them.

I do believe that we learn from our failures and mistakes though, hence the quote at the beginning of this post. I think we should encourage our children to make mistakes, take chances and support them in doing so.

And this guy seems to hit the nail on the head in many ways for me.cedc837ce371fdbecc8953804a0c4ccf

Ciao for now,

Day 8: Share Something You Struggle With

background-20736_640This prompt had me scratching my head, there are so many things I struggle with! But my biggest struggle has to be, after nearly nine years, is learning the Italian language. Before we moved over here, we did go to Italian lessons in Shaftesbury and it was one to one with a fabulous and passionate teacher. I actually think I talked better Italian when I was a tourist rather than now as a permanent resident. Not sure why that is. And when we did move over we went to our friendly neighbour weekly and she taught us from her son’s school books, which was fun and helped with our initial integration. For a couple of years I also helped another local boy¬†with his English. ¬†For one reason or another those sessions petered out.

Although we both have quite a large Italian vocabulary and can understand most of what is being said, for me it’s the reply that’s the hardest. It’s all to do with confidence, give me half an hour and I’ll have the perfect response but that isn’t helpful for the conversation and these Italians love to speak at speed! The other issue is the dialect. The Italian we learn only became the official language not long after the second World War and a lot of the elderly folk still speak their own local tongue.

I hated languages at school, well I say languages it was just French back then. But it was really down to the teacher. She couldn’t connect with the pupils and so we became bored and unresponsive. I really think that languages should start being taught at a much earlier age, when you are more open to learning new things. Ho Hum, I’ll keep trying…

Ciao for now,

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