Friday, 31 December 2010

My top recycleables over Christmas

As most of you know I am a keen recyclist, and am giving you my top tips for recycling over the holiday.

1. Stamps - there are various charities/organisation that collect these. I collect them all year round for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Check their website for your nearest fund raising office.
2. Xmas cards - don't just chuck them in your green bin. Stores such as WHSmiths, and Sainsbury's will have recycling boxes for the Woodland Trust for them, so take them along when you do your weekly shopping and drop them off. You will be helping to preserve our trees.
3.Foil - from your turkey and mince pies (make sure they're clean). Most councils collect these from your house.
4. Wrapping paper - make sure it's not the shiny or metallic type and the sellotape is off. Only non shiny paper is accepted for the green bins. I spent a while Boxing Day taking off the sellotape and sorting out the paper for which bins.
5. Crisp packets - I know most of you probably do put these in the bins but there is one organisation that collects these to send overseas for work for poor people. This is the Philippine Community Fund. Check out their website for the address.
6. Plastic and glass bottles - most councils collect these from your kerbside.
7. And same for cans.

They are my top recycleables for the holiday.

Check out my website. Have now put on workshops and puzzles.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Natural v Chemical smells

I have probably said something like this before but I will say it again. As someone who has been using natural toiletries for the last couple of years, whenever I smell something that has chemicals in it always smells so strong to me, almost overpowering. This has been brought home to me again this Christmas with a present from my brother. He bought me a hand cream selection, and feeling that I couldn't well say sorry but I don't use these as they have chemicals in , I said thank you and am reluctantly using them. The first one is rose and honeysuckle and my is the smell strong to me, and to my mum who uses natural products like me. We will say something to my brother next Christmas. I hate using things with chemicals in as I feel it goes against what I have been doing for the last years. Oh well.

Next post will be about my top things to reycle at Christmas (and sometimes all year round).

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

More Allie

Still working hard on Allie. Now that I have got back into it again (I hadn't for a couple of days) I am keen to get on with it. Just typed up additions to another chapter and Allie is now just under 28,000. Allie has a new enemy now who is playing with her mind, and has got partners for her team by the way of teachers. She thinks that magic can help her enemy stop playing with her mind. That will be next chapter to work on tomorrow.

As Allie is all about helping the environment here is some recycling news from home. I have found out that hopefully by the end of next year, we can recycle mixed plastics at home. I have been doing this at a local Sainsbury's and it has a notice to say that this is only a trial to the end of January. I thought this was run by the council so emailed them and they replied it wasn't run by them but the store but they hoped to have mixed plastics recycled by the kerbsides by the end of next year. I really hope so as it will mean more recycleables in our green bin. So watch this space as I will find out next year....

Well, this is all for now. Next blog will be after Xmas so have a great one everyone who reads this.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Dreams and ideas

Have you had ideas for scenes or books in your dreams? I have had many and it was one such that started me on the road to writing years ago. I had one in the early hours of this morning, actually I had two, but one stayed in my mind that I had to write it down. (Point to learn when you're a writer - always have pen and paper to hand). This idea was about a group of men and a group of superwomen who are enemies but fall in love, so adult romantic suspense. I am so keen on this idea that I might start work on it very shortly as I love the idea of it all, esp the superwomen. I loved it so much that there I was at 2am in bed, writing down notes about this idea and more of the series in my notepad with the lamp on. I had to write it down, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get to sleep with the idea going round my head, or I would have got to sleep, forgotten what I had thought about and in the morning regretted not writing it down.
So watch this space to see what happens about this idea.

Meanwhile am working on Allie and now have teachers and school machines being affected by someone. Am thinking of notching up the magic by getting a teacher and a pupil affected at the same time so Allie has to work harder with her magic. We shall see. Worked on what was Chapter 6 today and turned it into Chapters 8 and 9. Might do the same with the next chapter. I have come to the conclusion that a chapter can be just a few pages long. I have just read The Ring of Earth by Chris Bradford (the latest instalment of his Young Samurai series) and some of his chapters were a few pages long. Could be a good thing as children don't have the mind span of adults so shorter chapters can keep their interest in reading the book going.

More on Allie and magic next time.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Magical stuff

I typed up changes to chapter 5 of Allie earlier. Now have food that decays on its own and fast, as well as rubbish that goes into bins itself, water and electricity that work on its own. Now to put that to use for Allie to work with against the teachers. She also has more helpers in her team against them, so more fighting talk. Next is to work on developing Mr Potter, the art teacher.

I think all this writing about magical happenings is rubbing off on me. This morning I got up early to go to the toilet and I passed my mum's bedroom. Mum said that she had her lamp on dim but when I went passed the room, the light went brighter. Ooer. Magical stuff all round.

Well, more on Allie's world later next time.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Allie and recycling

Well, I am back to working hard on Allie. Have just added a scene from version 2 to version 13, where the art teacher is acting odd and bad. Allie is now wondering what is going on as she doesn't think it is part of the tests the teachers are giving her. So what is going on? It has given me an idea that the teacher can be seen coming out of a classroom just before another teacher acts strangely. I am having fun with this rewrite and will have more making the art teacher act even stranger. Watch this space.

Recycling news (Allie is about helping the environment). We have recently been given a plastic bag to fill up with used batteries and can put them on top of our green bins when full. So we no longer have to take batteries to Sainsbury's or other shops, but recycle them at home. Good news. Now for the council to do this for mixed plastics. Whether this will happen or not I don't with all these cuts happening. We shall have to see.

Well, this is my news for now. More on Allie next time, with teacher antics.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Library Closures

I am one of thousands who is in uproar about closure of our libraries. In my borough, Lewisham, they are planning to close 5 out of the 12 libraries we have, a few of them which are in areas that only have one, and if they close then the residents will have to travel further to get to a library. I have already written a letter to my local paper earlier in the year about this in the form of a children's author. And I have just signed up with Alan Gibbons campaign about it on Facebook and given him permission to put my name on his open letter to the ministers. Everyone, esp children's authors, are blogging about this to keep up our voices against this and the momentum. So here is my piece about it.

I used our local libraries a lot years ago, taking out a few books at a time and loved it, but the last few years I have been buying books and not going to the libraries. Saying this, libaries have been useful to get books on various things for research and for photocopying, both by my mum and me. And when I run out of books to read, then I will go back to taking books from libraries. As a children's author, as Nick Green said in his blog, they are very handy for getting word of mouth out to our relevant audience, the children, and I have found this out this year by getting involved with Chatterbooks groups. I have sold a few of my book there, and hope to do more so in the near future. Whenever I have been to the library to do these talks, I have seen lots of children either taking books out or using the computers and attending activites there. So libaries are useful for various things, and I think they are very important resources for our future generation, esp for families who don't have money to keep buying books or don't have computers. So let's keep up shouting about this and get those ministers to rethink their decisions. I am sure there are other ways to make cuts without closing important buildings that our future generation need.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

More Allie

I have now added to what was the old chapter one of Allie and with putting more magic in it, inc Allie finding out and working out how to use her magical powers, it is now two chapters. I have a feeling that this will happen to lots of other chapters when I add more magic and more conflict to it, but never mind. At the start of this change, it was just over 24,000 now it's just over 25,500. I don't really want it to reach over 30,000 as that is the ideal word count for 8-12s, what Cornerstones says. We shall have to wait and see. I am having fun adding more fun and magic to Allie's life, and will do the same when I get to revise Georgina. So far I have had disobedient cans, bottles and paper, and need to find magical electricity, water and food. Don't we have fun writing for children!

On another note. I hate this white cold weather. At least, like February, I don't have to go to work in it, but I do have to attend a job seeker training session tomorrow. I am stuck indoors in the warm wrapping up presents and writing cards out. Friday will be the day for putting up the tree and decorations. Hurrah. Will feel more Xmasy then. What I don't want is a white Christmas, esp as my brother and family have said they are coming for dinner that day. Just seen the weather forecast and hopefully snow will be going away from London by the weekend. Good, so I can go to the RNA SE Xmas buffet on Saturday. Let's hope.