Tag Archives: family

Expiry Date

It doesn’t creep

in the middle of the night.

It’s not that cold shiver

you experience as the

first golden leaves fall

at the end of summer.

It’s not the cold ache

biting into your skin

in the middle of winter,

or the silence that slips in

behind the laughter.

Our fallibility falls like dust motes,

coating one and all equally

in the inevitable: our expiration.

Copyright held by Eloise De Sousa (2021)

Cover Reveal

It is such a pleasure to share the book cover of Cecily Lalloo’s new book, which is counting down its its debut as I write this. Cecily has worked tirelessly over the last year to perfect her book on employing positivity and I look forward sharing her work with you over the coming weeks.

cecilyswritings.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/cover-reveal-book-1/

Trudging Through Treacle

After a month of sickness where I watched each member of my family fall under the evil grasp of ‘Rona, I am happy to say that we have all survived and are now on the road to recovery. With anosmia taking away the taste of victory for a few of the family members, and the hubble’s residual chest infection sounding like sludgy blocked pipes every time he coughs, it still feels incredible to say that we survived her visit and lived to tell the tale.

The scales were weighed against us from the onset of this crazy year and a half since the news broke about a new, more deadly virus sweeping across the world. As people panicked and tossed toilet rolls into their trollies, the hubble and I made a plan to shield for as long as possible, setting up cleaning stations for the children on their return from school and berating the older two when they dared go out into the invisible dangers that threatened our lives. The year swept by with the same speed and violence as the virus and 2021 brought opportunities to vaccinate ourselves against the deadly disease. I was called up for my first vaccination in March. It wasn’t a pleasant experience as the side effects knocked me down for a few days, making me regret my decision. Before I had a chance to recover my wits, the hubble was hit with a massive heart attack. I watched helplessly as they wheeled him to the ambulance and told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to go with him to the hospital. He was alone. There are no words to describe the gut-wrenching moment you realise your life partner might never return and this would be your final good-bye. His last words before the doors closed were of him begging the paramedics to give him the vaccine before taking him to the hospital. We were terrified at the prospect of him going into a place riddled with the virus as we had heard horror stories of patients catching Covid and dying once they entered the hospital.

He survived. A surprise phone call two hours later reassured me that our world had not completely imploded and that the super heroes working the wards at the hospitals were still fighting fearlessly to keep everyone alive. Over the next few months we moved forward as a family, making sure the hubble’s recovery went smoothly. All was well and he received his vaccinations making us both double vaxxed and supposedly safe. That is, until the virus decided to catch a ride on one of our older children and arrived home at the beginning of July. It didn’t take long for ‘Rona to make herself feel at home, nestling in the folds of the family, sucking the breath and life out of each member as they fell under her spell. The older two were the first to fall, followed by my youngest. I nursed them, watching them turn and twist with the fever, cry out at the blinding headaches and cough up phlegm and what sounded like lung into mountains of tissues. My hands turned crusty from the amount of bleach and disinfectant used in the battle to keep the virus to their rooms, but she was clever. She hitched a ride on me. Just as the first lot finished their isolation, she attacked the next, knocking down the hubble and my middle child within a day. By this time I had fallen to her wily ways too and lost a weekend to delirium.

Weak, washed out and weary, we struggled to hold each other up during what felt like endless days of illness. Work had to continue and each family member limped on, trying their best to keep some semblance of order after a sudden reshuffle of life cards. I think the worst part was the fear – the fear of watching the children burn up day and night without respite. The fear of hearing their airways close as they struggled to talk and slowly lost their sense of smell and taste. Stress over the hubble’s weak heart created palpitations in my own ticker. Would he be removed from our lives again? Would the children have to watch him disappear into the back of an ambulance, never to return? ‘Rona had us all in her tight grasp and refused to let go.

There are those among us who don’t believe that the vaccines work or protect us. I, myself, had my doubts whilst fighting through the riptide of ‘Rona’s wrath. All I can say is that my worst fears were not realised. Were were not hospitalized and for that, I am grateful to the vaccines for what little or immense support they gave our bodies in fighting off the virus. As I sit here now, I still have a cough and a very husky voice that will rival a heavy smoker. The hubble is sitting across from me working at his desk, suffering coughing attacks every few minutes and continuously blowing his nose. If this is the price we have to pay for tussling with the b*tch from hell, then I am okay with that. When I think of all those friends and family who have lost loved ones in this battle to survive, I count our blessings and breath a shaky sigh of relief. We are probably not completely out of the woods yet as ‘Rona has a way of paying her respects to her victims in the form of long Covid. That’s a fear that we will just have to live with.

We all have different experiences and opinions about this virus. Some are educated and others less informed. The media does not help with the scare tactics and misinformation, which is spreading fear and segregation as fast as the virus is killing us off. She doesn’t need help, yet here we are giving her an extra hand. I’m sharing my experience with you not to sway you towards a certain opinion or to share the gross facts of the side effects of what awaits those who fall under ‘Rona’s spell. No. Instead, this is me acknowledging just how awful the past few months have been for us as a family and realising that the virus itself was bad, but the fear of it was far worse. Yes, I will be that person wearing a mask when you come near me and I will take a few steps to bridge a gap between us because I know just how much of a toll this virus has taken on myself and my family. I am going to do my level best to make sure she doesn’t get a return visit.

What is art?

A short essay on art by Vaughan De Sousa

What makes truly great work is often not the work itself but the premise it stands on. To subvert reality is to create art which stands a level beyond ‘good’ or ‘impressive’ and has the ability to move people.
Is the purpose of art to move a person? Who knows. Art is already not a fully understood entity, and the purpose of an endeavour as intense as creating a piece of art one is proud of has deep psychological influence on the creator, even if this doesn’t reach the audience.

The Picture of Dorian Gray sees an artist put a piece of his soul into the painting he has created. An object of moral degradation used by its commissioner, but a creation of desire and connection. How art is used is somewhat meaningless once it passes from the artist to the surveyor. Try as we might, artists do not have the power to force their viewers into seeing their own vision. We will never see things the same way as another.
Sight, like every sense is built upon by experience. We are what we have been through, even if behind that we are the same. With our differing experiences we interact with the world, creating new visions every second. Does this invalidate the creator’s vision? Maybe. One could say that the value of an artist resides in their ability to create works which follow their intention, which transcribe the world from the brain of the madman to the eyes of the sane.

So then, could we argue that art is a language? Language is a method by which people relate their experiences with one another through a common understanding. We can never truly communicate our own world to another without a medium understood by both. This is because, as previously mentioned, there is no way for two minds to interact. Speech, signals, even expression define ways in which the living are able to relate their experiences. So too, in this way, does art describe an experience. We understand that which exists through the veil of that which is universally understood. Yet, art is able to provide an experience which is understood only by the creator.

Then does art not dictate reality? Maybe. Because what is reality other than what we define it to be. Let me explain; for us, the viewers, a piece of art may display nothing but an amalgamation of ideas, an expression on paper or a blur of half concepts. Yet to the artist this is a truth, a fundamental of their reality put into the universal world. A form of linguistic expression. The reality of this piece of work gains and loses substance depending on the surveyor, yet it exists! It is real, an expression placed into the observable reality. Meaning and value are nothing as art breaks the barrier of the mental ‘real’ and the physical ‘real’.

So then, what makes a piece of art great? I can only speak from personal perspective now; however, we have already seen that this does not invalidate my approach. Rather, this work that I put forwards is my own art. It is my expression of idea, understood by some and rejected by others but nevertheless a piece of my soul etched on paper.
I believe to move myself art must first break expectation. Whether that be in the initial glance, or scene or second, or at the end when a perspective shift changes everything. To create art which shatters the illusion of safety allows the individual to begin to ‘feel’. Before this we are simply running through the motions of experience. Everything changes us, but we are often not aware of it. Jarring processes allow introspection and a hasty desire of the brain to catch up to the new perspective, this provides a gap for art to flourish.

Think about art like waging a battle. Everything is connected of course, one could say: think about battle like performing a dance, or performing a dance like painting a picture. Everything is connected.
To win a battle at the highest level it is not enough to be perfect. Imagine two chess players of excellent ability coming to a head. To play perfectly allows the chance of winning so long as the other player makes a mistake. But these are human players. One can only think ahead so long. What if one were to play an unexpected and jarring move. The response can be a number of things: hasty, direct, winning, losing, cautious, optimistic… a previously perfect game is thrown into disarray with the introduction of a subversion from the norm. In art, there is no winning or losing, there is only the break from reality, and the chink the defences of our mind.

The surveyor is your dance partner, your enemy at war, your chess opponent and your audience. To slip past the defences created by a mind is to find the opening whereby a life can be forever altered. Sometimes this is easy. The surveyor has had a hard day, they have lost a family member, or they are ready to quit their jobs/lives. The armour is in tatters, the audience has come to the show begging for change, at this point to change one’s life is simple. We can relate an armour-less surveyor to a child. Experience weathers us, it creates layers or expectation which prevents art, and all other experience from changing who we are. Or better yet think of it like a river, causing erosion on a smooth surface. A rush of water down this surface will not change much regarding its path, as the path is already set in the ground. It may widen or deepen it, but there is no new course to be made.
The mind of a child is a pile of sand, and you the artist hold a bucket of water. You can shape this mind however you wish with the notches, grooves and streams that you may pour atop this pile of sand. And as the sand mixes with dirt and clay, the grooves you have created solidify. I hate to say with time, but that is what happens. Once the grooves are made they remain, slowly gaining in intricacy as other sources of water pour, and more sediment hardens the earth.

Everything is connected. You understand where I am going with this, I am sure. The ability for art to create or add to a stream is clearly there, but what is the joy in adding to a groove in the dirt. You want to make your own. Perhaps art is a forceful thing, the artist a dominant figure. I write this piece expecting a change in your mental state, you will change after reading this regardless of who you are or what you have experienced, if only through the fact that you will have read something. But as the creator I have changed you, moulded a tiny piece of your mind forever.
But what if I were to change this work here. And completely destroy your expectations. I am not a great artist, I do not know what I could do to do this, but imagine I place beneath this wall of text an image which shatters your illusion. A picture that shocks you to your core, making you rethink all you have read thus far.

This would be your chink in your armour. Following this shock I could place a few simple words. You may go away from this with a desire to make something new, or a fear of art and it’s grips on your soul. ‘Soul’. Mind.
With this new experience you will rework your mind, you will solidify what you have seen and heard around your personality. It will become a new groove in your earth. And you will continue on, with a line drawn into your life by me. The artist.

I believe that art, when great, stands on a premise and shatters it. I believe this allows the artist free reign of your mind. I believe that a truly great artist uses this moment to reshape you, like a clay doll being altered before being placed into a kiln.
Because death is the final point of hardening, you will not gain any experience (known by us) from then on. You are the finished piece of art upon your deathbed.

Art is not just a painting on a canvas or a clip of a movie scene. Art is the the experience, from the creator to the created. We shape ourselves and others when we form art. Art is a language, and is also every language. But then you may ask, what is the difference between art and ANYTHING ELSE.

Everything is connected.

The Final Journey

What Is Our Life

by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618)

What is our life? The play of passion.

Our mirth? The music of division:

Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,

Where we are dressed for life’s short comedy.

The earth the stage; Heaven the spectator is,

Who sits and views whosoe’er doth act amiss.

The graves which hide us from the scorching sun

Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.

Thus playing post we to our latest rest,

And then we die in earnest, not in jest.

For Sue, on her final journey to rest. 🌸

Story time tonight

Join Moofy and Flo as they make their debut on EYFSHome tonight at 6.30pm. Our loveable, furry friends will be sharing their story as a bedtime treat for all the little ones out there who love live video books.

Click on the pic below to take you to EYFSHome’s page.

I hope to see you there tonight!

Glub, Now Under New Management!

Some books are most than just words on paper. They are the flesh and bones of writers’ journeys from obscurity and misadventure to their well deserved happily ever afters.
This is Glub’s story:

By Samantha Webb

I am so delighted to be writing this blog post. Glub, my curious purple creation has had a rough start of it and has been on a real adventure but I feel like he has finally found his true home.

Glub

I wrote the story of Glub around 12 years ago, after a trip to Paignton where we always go in to the arcades and have some wholesome family fun. My husband was adamant that he wanted to win a particularly unflattering teddy of Micheal Jackson because in his words “it is so bad, it is brilliant?’. Our then one year old daughter Lilly was horrified and was grabbing for the cute teddies and really no one would blame her. Sadly that day we walked away without any prizes but an idea was beginning to form in my mind.

Concept art by Jamie Webb.

On reading the first draft my…

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The Little Ice Cream Shop by the Sea

For those of you who have followed me for a while now, you will know that I have a secret fetish: chocolate box romance novels. Reading through heavy texts from the classics to modern literature, my get away novel has to transport me to a place where I can relax in a world with enough drama to distract me from everyday life without taxing me with its heavy language and drawn out plot.

There are few contemporary romance writers that I enjoy as much as Lizzie Chantree. Her books are fun, uplifting and carry realistic characters that any reader can relate to within a setting that feels familiar and welcomes you in with open arms. Her style of writing fits the modern reader with its twists and suspense that keep us guessing whether the protagonist will end up with his or her love interest and live happily ever after.

Lizzie is releasing a new book called, The Little Ice Cream Shop by the Sea. I can’t wait to add it to my TBR (to be read) list.

Before I do, let’s find out more about her book and what inspired her to write The Little Ice Cream Shop by the Sea.

Tell us the basic premise of your novel.

The little ice cream shop by the sea is about a close family who run a seaside business buried in tradition, but a sudden incident throws them into turmoil and they all try to cope with the repercussions in their own way. The main character, Genie, doesn’t know why her family suddenly decides to sell the family business that she’s worked in since before she left school, but she’s determined that they won’t throw away her heritage so easily and fights to make them stay. 

The friendship between genie and pensioner Ada, who starts as a customer, becomes a lifeline for both women. Throw in some dashing locals who set their heart on helping Genie and a furious grandson who is out to protect his grandmother, and you have a sizzling story full of sunshine, secrets and finding love when you least expect it.

Lizzie’s book is available at a special price of 99p/99c for 7 days only, from launch day: 19/02/2021.

Now that we know more about her new book, let’s find out about the author herself.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I love to paint huge canvases of colourful landscapes. I find painting really relaxing and I enjoy capturing a view, especially if it is by the sea.

What was your dream job when you were younger?

When I was younger I wanted to do a creative job, but I didn’t know which one. I studied in art, graphics and display and design. I also went on courses about business and social media. I always knew that the creative industry intrigued me and being surrounded by a family who run their own businesses gave me the courage to start my own company selling products I designed, when I was eighteen.

For more information on the best selling author, check out her bio below and links to her social media pages. Don’t forget, Lizzie’s book is on offer for the next seven days.

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantreehttps.

To access Lizzie’s collection of books, click here.

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizzie-chantree-03006425/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

Living

Don’t go out. Don’t go near. Don’t uncover. Just don’t!

We are living the dream.

Those festivities we avoided with such flippant negligence is now a distant memory.

Zoom. Zoom. Google Meet. Teams. Whoop!

Again.

Repeat.

What a way to communicate.

Jokes agitate as Tiktok concentrates the bored.

Meetings with half-dressed workers fade to tirades for and against the vaccines and face masks.

The sound of tumbleweed rolls across school room floors.

Stillness catches on the feet of silent students sitting through online lessons, pretending to care.

Each household occupant mesmerised by screens – all shapes to fit all sizes – fuelling the need to educate and replicate finances.

We grow as people.

News becomes the main course of entertainment; briefings from the Government is seen as prime time television. Yet, it plays out like a soap opera, portraying predictable plots with caricatured speakers grinding out soliloquies of fortitude to the nation.

We grow weary.

‘Get children back to school!’

‘Vaccinate the vulnerable!’

‘Brexit!’

‘Nothing was done fast enough!’

Hyperbole flows in rivers of information, confirmation and confrontation from all corners of the continent. Unsettled murmurs of incompetency grow as fear is replaced by anger. Explanations and apologies hold as much value as a bag of Dolly Mix.

In the meantime, we count the souls like lost teeth.

More bitter than sweet.

Life becomes hard to swallow.

Copyright ©Eloise De Sousa (2021). All rights reserved.

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – #Bullying Eloise de Sousa, #Adventure D.L. Finn, #Butterflies Bette A. Stevens