Busy, busy, busy!


I’ve been pretty much AWOL for a little while, simply because I’ve been so busy!

06.03.16 bTadpole has been preparing for his key stage 1 SATs (he started them this week), which I hate, because he’s been stressing out and personally, I think six and seven year olds are far too young to be sitting formalised exams, but that’s beside the point – he has to do them, so doing them he is! His first two papers were yesterday, and thankfully, he seemed to find them not too taxing (in fact, he said they were “A piece of cake!”).

17.03.16I’ve also just applied for Choochie to start nursery in January. He can’t start till then, because they can only start the term after their third birthday, so he’ll have to wait till after the Xmas holidays. Still, I wanted to get the application in early to make sure he gets a place – I can’t be traipsing between two different schools! Choochie also finally weaned (31 months of breastfeeding!), and has started potty training. He likes to sit on the toilet, but so far has only managed to squeeze out a tiny tinkle each time – he’ll get there eventually though!

Last month, I worked backstage on a pantomime – I did make-up for the Dame, which was great fun, and reminded me how much I missed the theatre, so I then went and auditioned for a show for the first time in 15 years! As a result, I have a very small role in a production of Sister Act, which will be performed in October. Officially, I am “Nun #11”, so as I don’t have a given name, I’ve chosen one for myself, and I shall be known henceforth as Sister Sara of the Two Mules (simply because I love Two Mules For Sister Sara). I’ve also decided to audition for a part in Annie later this year, so watch this space!

I was also part of the centenary celebrations at Blyth Battery this past weekend! Blyth Battery Goes To War is an annual event local to me, and it’s always a fantastic weekend, but this year marked 100 years since they started building it (it took two hears to complete), so it was extra special. And we got some wonderful weather for it too – the place was absolutely heaving all weekend, and the audiences were very appreciative. I got such lovely comments from people who watched my performances, my confidence was boosted a hell of a lot (I have an ego the size of Texas now!), and I was pleased to see  from photographs that I look half the size I did last year when I performed! And the most adorable little girl (who I think may well be my number one fan!) came up and danced with me during my instrumental sections – she was a superstar!

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Finally, I’ve done a fair bit of work on my Sky Blanket since I last did an update on it. I now have eleven rows joined, and I think it’s looking pretty neat! As Tadpole has been asking for a new “lovey blanket” since Choochie got his full-sized one at Xmas, I thought I’d give this one to him for Xmas this year. He’s been admiring it as it grows, so I think he’ll be very happy with it, and as I won’t actually have a section for every single day (or I’d have the wrong number of yo-yos for my rows), I will hopefully be able to finish it just in time, although it could mean a hell of a lot of border crocheting on Xmas Eve!

13235220_10156817102490386_7625483622086569872_oOn top of all that, I’ve picked up my cross stitching in earnest again for the first time in a good few years – I stitched a little sampler for my best friend’s wedding last November, and now I find the bug has crept up and bitten me again, so I’ve taken up a few of my UFOs to see if I can finish a few of them. I’ve stitched a few bookmarks to send off to my pen pals, but I’m also working on my Rules For Life sampler, which I started before Choochie was born – hopefully it’ll be framed and up on the wall before the end of the year!

Speaking of pen pals, I’ve picked up a few new ones, and I have been involved in making pocket letters and flip books for them – I’ve been going paper-crafting crazy, and writing letters like a mad woman. Actually, I have one to write today, so I’d better get a move on!

And so, I hope normal service will now be resumed, although I seem to have even more things demanding my time and attention than ever, what with getting involved in a show again!

 

 

Blyth Battery Goes To War – 100 Year Celebrations!


12814015_10154012320291255_2977294936568317673_nIt’s that time of year again, but this time, it’ll be something extra special, because Blyth Battery is celebrating its 100th year!

There will be all manner of flashes and bangs – loads to see, do, and hear.

I’ll be singing in the entertainment tent
in front of the cafe
at 1pm and 3pm
on both Saturday 21st May and Sunday 22nd May.

So, if you’re in the area, come on down to the beach and be entertained, wartime-style – you’ll be given a very warm welcome, and it’s a FREE event, so bring the whole family for some fun!

I hope to see you all there!

 

A-Z Challenge: Reflections


So, here we are, ten days after the end of the A-Z challenge. I’m so pleased I did it again this year – that’s three years running I’ve participated in and completed the challenge.

I hope you enjoyed exploring my A-Z of Zentangle. And if you did, perhaps you’d enjoy going back and looking at my previous two A-Z challenges. You can find the links to all my A-Z Challenge posts on THIS PAGE.

I hope to take part again next year, although I have no idea what my theme will be. At least I have a whole year to think about it!

Steven Scaffardi Blog Tour – Author Guest Post – What Is Lad Lit?


Thank you to Steven Scaffardi for inviting Kincavel Korner to be part of the blog tour for his latest book, The Flood!

What is lad lit?

I nostalgically refer to the 90s as the decade of my youth. Both my high school and college years happened during that 10 year period, which in turn means that all seven of those wonderful, weird and awkward teenage years also came during that era too.

I danced to music by The Prodigy, fell in love with Kelly Kapowski, and to this very day I still quote lines from Pulp Fiction and Dazed and Confused.

It was the decade where the ‘lad’ phenomenon took off. Lads mags such as FHM and Esquire filled their pages with content that young men wanted to read about, from football to music to beer to (of course) women.

But it wasn’t just the shelves on the newsstand that finally started speaking to men. The arrival of great novels such as Man and Boy by Tony Parsons and High Fidelity by Nick Hornby meant that bookstores had a new section, and lad lit was born. In that very moment, men finally had had a form of literature that talked to them. But what happened? While chick lit has gone from strength to strength, lad lit has somewhat disappeared into obscurity.

Writing in The Telegraph a couple of years ago, novelist Jamie Fewery asked the question Why don’t men read novels anymore? and in doing so he attempted to delve deeper into the debate rather than stopping at the ‘women read more than men’ answer.

He wrote: ‘By its nature, women’s fiction is a broad genre. But it’s also an important one that acknowledges inherently that the reading of fiction has a great impact on emotional intelligence. A male equivalent of the genre simply doesn’t exist, or at least in decent numbers.’

‘I should make it clear at this point that I’m not talking about literary fiction. Highbrow, intellectual novels have always existed, and appeal equally to women and men. I’m talking about commercial fiction; novels aimed at a chap who just wants something decent yet distracting to read on the train. Something well-written, readable and funny about modern life from a male perspective.’

Jamie goes on to argue that while great writers of that era like Hornby and Parsons were pioneers, no one else really picked up the torch and kept running with it, so the flame slowly started to burn out.

That is until now, because I believe that two decades later lad lit is making a comeback and reigniting that flame. Just take a look around at the talent writing novels that lad lit Godfathers Hornby and Parsons would be proud of. Mike Gayle, Danny Wallace, Matt Dunn, Jon Rance, and Nick Spalding are to name but a few.

They all write stories about relationships, emotions and day-to-day life experiences from the perspective of a male protagonist; told with humour, charm and wit, which leave many readers laughing out loud at the scenarios men get into.

That is why I embarked on the Lad Lit Blog Tour, as I was just as passionate about promoting this genre as much as I am about promoting my Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series. It’s just as important to make sure that men have a genre they can call their own, as it is to balance out all of the chick lit the girls are reading.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not having a go at chick lit. I just think it causes men unnecessary headaches. Chick lit often paints a picture of the perfect happy ever after ending that we simply can’t compete with. It’s not like we don’t try, but we’re men, you know? If we get things right two times out of 10 with our wives and girlfriends we’ve had a pretty good week.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of lad lit. It pushes the boundaries of what it’s like to be your average every day Joe. It doesn’t pull any punches or pretend to be something it’s not. It’s not a perfect specimen of a man with a stupid surname first name like Parker or Carter, who drives an Audi R8 Coupé and plays squash at practically a professional level. It’s a guy called Dave or John who drives a Vauxhall Corsa and is quite happy playing a bit of five-a-side football on a Wednesday night.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that lad lit isn’t the stranger everyone thinks it is and if we all gave it a second chance to come out from its 90s wilderness, then the world of book reading would be a much funnier place.

Steven Scaffardi is the author of the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series. His first novel, The Drought, is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man’s quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!

The Drought is available to download for FREE at Amazon between April 28 – May 2 or you can buy it now for 99p (eBook) or £8.99 (paperback). His second novel The Flood will be released on the Kindle on April 30 but you can pre-order a copy now for just 99p. The paperback version will be available on May 19.

Follow all of the fun on his blog tour by following him on Twitter @SteveScaffardi using the hashtag #LadLitBlogTour. More information about Steven and his books can be found on his blog.

 

Lad Lit Blog Tour – Book Review – The Flood by Steven Scaffardi


IMG_6511Title: The Flood (Sex, Love and Dating Disasters #2)
Author: Steven Scaffardi
ASIN: B01D1U7Z0I
Publisher: Lad Lit Press
First Published: 30 April 2016 (Kindle)
No .of pages: 359

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
One bet, four girls, eight weeks, multiple dates. What could possibly go wrong?

Following his traumatic eight month dry spell, Dan Hilles is back in the driving seat and ready to put his dating disasters behind him.

But if only it were that simple.

After a drunken afternoon in the pub, fueled by the confidence of alcohol, Dan makes a bet with his three best pals that will complicate his love-life more than ever when he brazenly declares that he could juggle multiple women all at the same time.

With just eight weeks to prove his point, Dan is about to find out how hard it is to date a flood of women without them all finding out about each other, especially when they come in the shape of an ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen and the one that got away.

The Flood is the hilarious follow-up to The Drought by lad lit author Steven Scaffardi, chronicling the adventures of unlucky-in-love Dan Hilles.

Review:
I was fortunate enough to review the first book in this series, (The Drought) a few years back (you can see my review HERE) and found it pants-wettingly hilarious, so when I was offered the chance of reviewing the sequel, I grabbed it with both hands, expecting to once again bust a gut laughing.

I was not disappointed!

The Flood picks up where we left Dan and his pals. A spanner has been thrown in the works of Dan’s love life, and his friends, Rob, Jack and Ollie, are there to lend him a shoulder to cry on. Oh, wait, hang on, this is LAD LIT, not chick lit – the guys would laugh Dan out of the pub if he cried like a big girl! Instead they’re there to poke fun at his total lack of prowess with the ladies, and get him into situations he’d do far better staying well out of. But if Dan didn’t get into trouble, we wouldn’t have this gem of a comedy to amuse us, and that would be a crying shame!

The lads are fleshed out more roundly, and we see a little more of what makes them all tick. Jack was still incredibly annoying (I don’t know – maybe it’s a girl thing, but I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole!), but I found Rob strangely attractive – is he showing a slightly more sensitive side? I’ll leave you to be the judge of that. And Ollie, well, even the thickest of mates can occasionally be the wisest and most astute, and his seemingly naive words, more often than not, provide the advice that helps Dan the most.

Then there’s the introduction of a new Welsh workmate who isn’t black enough, and an absolutely insane flatmate with a dog obsession that had me almost falling out of my chair. More than once, I snorted coffee out of my nose whilst reading this book, and on one occasion I almost dropped my Kindle in the bathtub while reading in there, because I was laughing so hard – I couldn’t put it down!

Seriously, whether or not you are a fan of lad lit, if you like a good laugh, this is the book for you. Just make sure you read The Drought first to really get the most out of this sequel, (you can get it FREE from Amazon until the end of Monday 2nd May – just click HERE) then continue Dan’s hapless adventures in dating with The Flood. Never has a reversal of fortunes been so funny!