Wednesday, 27 July 2016

My special place

I always find it comforting to visit somewhere that holds memories.
A special place I look forward to visiting again and creating new memories.
My special place is St Ives, Cornwall. For the past six years I have holidayed here with Mark and his family. I can't praise this corner of the country enough. Cornwall is packed with beautiful, rugged landscapes. And St Ives is a bustling, pretty town with a harbour, beaches, arcades, shops and restaurants.
The years have been kind to us and always surrounded by exciting times in our lives.
On the first year my sister-in-law was pregnant and we stayed in a beach themed town house, a very small walk away from the sea. This was my first family holiday, with Mark, in Cornwall and I was hooked. We spent many a day touring the local scenery, and many an evening playing cards and discussing the fact there would be a new addition to the family next vacation.
On the second year my nephew spent his first holiday in Cornwall and Mark and I slept on a blow up bed, under the stairs. We look back and laugh at our sleeping arrangements that year! Mark and I were saving for our wedding and changed our mind at the last minute, regarding the holiday and finances. Therefore there wasn't a spare room, so we packed a blow up bed and said we'd sleep where we could. Upon arrival of our new home it became apparent the only space was under the stairs. We didn't really mind though, we were grateful to be away with family, on a tight budget.
On the third year, our first time in Cornwall as a married couple, I was pregnant with Tommy. Mark and I slept in bunk beds of another quaint holiday home. I slept on the bottom bunk and Mark insisted on also sleeping on the bottom bunk, with me and my rather large bump. To this day I don't know how we managed it or how I managed to get any sleep!
On the fourth year it was Tommy's first time in Cornwall and we slept in a cool cellar type room, with cot. It was was the first time my nephew had a cousin to play with. We were also more aware of stairs and steps with two small children, so we made a group decision to book a child friendly home the following year.
On the fifth year we stuck to our word, thus a spacious, safe house was booked. Although we paid for the space with a hill. It was away from the quaint winding roads and situated on top of a never ending hill. All calf muscles were very painful that year. But Mark and I bagged the best room, with en suite. We figured it was our turn for some luxury!
And on the sixth year we came to the executive decision that we couldn't face that hill and so we found a relatively child friendly home near the harbour. We also booked all our favourite restaurants well in advance. And Mark, Tommy and I slept in the attic. It was another fun year.

St Ives. It's tradition to take a photograph as soon as we arrive, after shouting, "I can see the sea!"

It's also tradition to stop at The Sloop for drinks and sandwiches, over looking the harbour and small beach. Then it's onto the sand with Tommy to build sandcastles.

This year my mum and auntie kindly gave Tommy some pocket money so we let him choose new toys for the beach and holiday home.

We're spoilt for choice with ice-cream parlours and art galleries. Tommy and I happily over indulge in ice-cream flavours.

The amusement arcade is always popular. Tommy especially loves the ice-cream van and animal boat.

We browse around the many shops and stop to listen to the buskers.

Then it's time to check into our holiday home! Here's this years.

The lounge. Many a morning spent here watching cartoons and reading newspapers.

The kitchen. Many an evening here eating takeaways (we alternated restaurants and takeaways) and playing cards.

Our attic room. Loved this room, despite the noisy seagulls on the roof.

Come back soon for more photographs of Cornwall.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Seashells and sandals

"What shall we do today?" asked Mark.
"Let's go somewhere we have never been before," I replied.
So that's exactly what we did.
After consulting Google and the BBC weather forecast.
Mersea Island was our chosen destination. It's a charming place in Essex, with a causeway separating the east and west, which floods at high tide.
We arrived fairly early in the morning and to our delight we were the only people on the beach. It felt as if we'd discovered a secret location. Tommy set to work digging with his spade and I assisted with sandcastle creations and collecting seashells for decoration.
We wandered aimlessly along the sand, admiring the brightly coloured beach huts and stopped at the cafe for ice-cream. It made a pleasant change to visit such an unspoilt part of the Essex coast.
As the day passed by the beach came alive with water sports and kite running. Families opened up their beach huts and pulled out deckchairs and teapots.
Lunch time came and we treated ourselves to locally sourced fish and chips, lazily ate whilst watching the wind surfers and fishing boats and fantasising about owning a pink beach hut.
Thanks for a special time, Mersea Island. We hope to see you again soon.

The happy beach huts.


Love these little feet.


Collecting more seashells.

The sun shone so brightly Tommy even took his jacket off.

The best fish and chips. They always taste better on the beach, don't you think?

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Catches thieves, just like flies

Recently, I have compared myself to Spider-Man.
Does this mean I'm regularly dressed head to toe in tight, blue and red, Lycra?
Erm, no. How unflattering this would appear on my body shape!
Does this mean I'm currently climbing tall buildings and swinging on my spider web, in the dead of night?
Not at all. Although that does sound like fun! Oh hang on, I've just remembered, I'm a little scared of heights, maybe that's not the best idea.
Okay, so I wouldn't make a very good Spider-Man.
However, he did once quote those fabulous words, "With great power comes great responsibility!"
That's what I'm talking about. This power verses responsibility thing.
And, personally speaking, my Spider-Man experience is referring to, in the workplace and out of the workplace.
Firstly, let me start with in the workplace...
Two errors were discovered on the back cover of one of our (printed!) academic books.
Which was pretty surprising, almost impossible, considering.
Considering the text was provided by the Publisher and he missed the two errors.
The form containing the text was then passed to the Production Manager, he didn't spot them either.
Next, the Designer laid the copy out, he failed to realise the mistakes.
The Production Assistant proofread, she did not highlight the errors.
The Publisher checked the proof for the cover, along with the Marketing Manager, and guess what? They didn't see the two errors either.
Finally, the cover was sent to the author for his approval, and he signed it off, with the errors. Therefore it was sent to print, and even the Printers did not recognize the errors whilst all pages were on press.
In all my years of publishing experience, I have never known anything quite like it. Worryingly, many human beings missed something, two somethings to be precise, which once you're aware of are so flipping obvious!
No one can really blame anyone, yet production always feel protective towards and responsible for their publications.
Therefore, the production department, myself most definitely included, are feeling less confident and more anxious.
At present, I am working on four magazines and seven academic books. I'm in charge of budgets worth ridiculous amounts of money, and responsible for publishing (correctly!) a lifetime of achievements, research and discovery, from respected Professors and Doctors.
I'm finding press days slightly more stressful than ever.
Can you now see why I feel like Spider-Man?
Granted, I am not a brain surgeon, people's lives are not at risk (thank goodness).
My risk is thousands of pounds, the credibility of very credible people, the confidence in the publishing company who employ me, and my professional career on the line.
And don't even get me started on the responsibility out of the work place, with my darling Tommy.
I love him to pieces. Frighteningly, my little man relies on me, and his daddy of course, one hundred per cent.
Actually, being Spider-Man now sounds quite easy.
If only I had a body that was made for Lycra and I wasn't scared of heights.