Wednesday, 22 June 2011

This is life...

Life-changing events can be hard to take,
Especially when they signal the make or break.

Navigating tension, anxiety and fears,
Attempts to make light of it turn into tears.

Trying to be strong as things threaten to unravel,
Tip-toeing carefully across molten gravel.

Not knowing when to talk or just not breathe a word,
But afraid of the consequences if you are not heard.

Life throws many obstacles across the paths we walk,
The good, the bad, chiding us to meander along their fork.

But ultimately things have a habit of working out on their own,
And it’s irrelevant whether you greet them with a smile or with a groan.

Following the notion that things happen for a reason,
That days will pass and year on year life moves with the seasons.

It becomes that much easier to stand aside and enjoy what is in store,
And then you’ll find undoubtedly that you’ll enjoy it that much more.

Stress and worry may appear but it’s better to lay them aside,
Positivity and strength make anything possible; it’s easy when you try.

In the face of other’s doubts, look at what could actually be,
Because then, in the end, you’re likely to spend your life happily.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Game, Set, Cake!!

Strawberries and cream, grass stains and Rafael Nadal (sorry, Andy Murray) – yes, it’s that’s fabulous time of year again. The time for pulling consecutive sickies to stay home and watch the top seeds serving up a sport-tastic treat on the BBC to the tune of Sue Barker’s customary curatorship; the time for reaffirming your patriotism in the blind hope that a British player might actually make it to the final; the time for kicking back with a pitcher of Pimms and watching the time-honoured summer tradition, Wimbledon.

And this year, to go with your usual refreshments, innovative bakery have a mouth-watering range of delights to see you through those nail-biting weeks. From tennis rackets to tennis whites, however you envision your sporty sweets the team at Completely Cakes will serve it up on a gleaming platter!!

Here are their top ten tips for surviving Wimbledon:

- Schedule time off work for those all-important matches you don’t want to miss

- Install Adobe Flash Player to get the most out of BBC iPlayer

- Accept that Murray, and any other British hopeful, will probably just scrape the quarters

- Stock up on sun-cream if planning a trip to Murray Mount/Henman Hill

- Similarly, stock up on Pimms and yummy treats to enhance your viewing pleasure

- Purchase a TV Times to keep up to date with match schedules

- Read up on the competition on the official Wimbledon site (

- Download the Wimbledon iPhone App to get the best of the event on the go

- Free up space on your TV recordings library – just in case you’re worried about missing any of the action

- Sink your teeth into a delicious cake/cupcake instead of your nails as you watch Murray fight it out for that all-important victory!!

To sample their tennis-inspired range, visit, and place your order now!! They are also taking orders on graduation goodies and of course treats for Father’s Day this Saturday 19 June…

Follow them at twitter/@completelycakes
Like them on facebook at

Monday, 6 June 2011

More Sour than Sweet...

The adventures of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield were among my favourite stories during my pre-teen and teen years. Exchanging piles of books each weekend at Stanmore library to sate my voracious literary appetite and dining in on the loves, lies and sun-kissed lives of these Hollywood-standard beauties. So it was with great excitement and anticipation that I received my copy of Francine Pascal’s decade old tribute to her twin heroines, revisiting Sweet Valley High ten years on.

However, though it started well, evoking the OTT descriptions of the Wakefield beauty and the page-turning pace that kept me hooked during every other SVH tome; something started to jar this time. It wasn’t the lost love: the fabled romance between Elizabeth and former-basketball hero, Todd Wilkins had met its fate at the hands of Elizabeth’s ditzy, manipulative sister, Jessica. It wasn’t the split storytelling between Elizabeth’s rundown New York apartment and the sun-drenched Californian oasis in Sweet Valley. And it wasn’t the fact that our heroines seemed to have switched personalities in the ten years they have been absent from our bookshelves.

No, as I attempted to immerse myself in Pascal’s prose it dawned on me that the sparkle which had so attracted me to her tales all those years ago had been lost as she endeavoured to reignite the relationship she had with her heroines. They just weren’t there anymore. Their appearances may have been the same but the substance which made them who they were seemed to have disappeared and they could easily have been any blonde, blue-eyed heroine in any story. Their traits were magnified as though to remind their creator who she was writing about and there was more retrospective and back story than I could quite willingly take.

Jumping from third to first person depending on which era she was writing in, I found it fairly disjointed at best, and excessively boring at worst. It was not the Sweet Valley I remembered from my youth – the sugary-sweet tales of revenge, intrigue, friendship, romance and rivalry – it was a sad return to a much-loved film set that had long-since lost its allure and glamour, replaced now by a depressing reality.

Pascal ties up the ends of this anniversary issue in a pretty bow, making sure to end on smiles and happy endings – though a tad implausible and rather predictable – and includes a brief rundown of past characters in her epilogue. However, I sadly did not close the final page with the sense of satisfaction I had been hoping for, but then perhaps my expectations had been too high. After all, a lot can change in ten years, I guess I just thought the Wakefield twins, like so many of my literary heroes and heroines, would be forever entrenched within the pages of the stories I loved.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Somewhere beyond the sea...

Inspired by the perpetually changing British coastline, giving way to beautiful natural yet temporary art, Sea Green Art has evolved with their ever-growing selection of handmade cards.

Unique photos are mounted on eco-friendly card to create loving sentiments, fascinating scenes and messages of those who have been inspired by the coast and all that it offers. From art on the walls to art on the sea cliffs, I chat to one of the creatives behind this coastal venture to find out what more they have in store…

1) What inspires you most about the coast?
The changing colours of the sea, the light, the treasures we find on the beach, the fact that it changes so frequently, the freedom can bring the child out in you.

2) What first led you to embark on this particular venture, creating handmade cards?
Noticing the chalk graffiti on the promenade, I/we were inspired, laughed at some, had my/our thought provoked by others, and some simply left us bemused. So we photographed it, thinking it would be nice to capture and share in card form. We think they’re different and like nothing you would usually find. It’s something everyone can send to each other any time and being mounted they can be framed and kept – mini art forms. It’s important for me to leave a small print and eco just makes sense.

3) Who is your favourite artist and why?Picasso – because he was so revolutionary and lived for so long, he constantly changed his styles.

4) Which are your top picks from your current range for Father's Day?All of the cards are left blank so you can say what you want for whatever occasion. Many either expressing love or simply a picture but for Father’s Day I think my favourite is: Inspirational – how many fathers are inspirational and yet we never or rarely tell them?
Another – I love Beer – say no more!

5) How would you spend a perfect day by the coast?
Whatever the weather the coast is beautiful and inspiring. A perfect day really is about letting yourself go, being willing to explore and see what’s around the next bend. Making the most of what is natural and the pleasure is that it’s simply on offer to anyone who cares to come. And of course, you may get to see one of the sunsets, made famous by J.M.W.Turner.

To find out more and to sample the photographic delights for yourself visit and be inspired.
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