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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Eye Opening 2012

As 2012 is about to end it has got me doing my own personal review of the year. I have certainly learnt a lot about people this year. In positive and negative ways, I have seen many people in a different light. The other day I was just pondering on how intolerant society is becoming. I came up with the following poem as a result.

Intolerance.

Walking the walk of shame,
but you barely know my name.
You sit and judge,
for the petty hold a grudge.

Forget benevelent,
people are barely tolerant.
Pushing and shoving out of the way,
and must have their say.

Forget lending you a hand
just out to repremand.
Basic human kindness,
lost in the wilderness.

Even if you are a child,
no mercy if you go wild.
Do not make a mistake,
politness people cannot even fake.

Watch your back,
as you fall under attack.
This may sound pessimistic,
but I point out the realistic.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Candid Comeback

 
Finally made my long awaited comeback! With events building up to the gig I wondered if I would pull it all together on the day. The weeks leading up to the big day were certainly eventful. I'm slowly getting multi tasking down to a fine Art. The preparation for the show was juggled between  school runs, parents evenings, doing homework with Nishka and of course my dreaded court case.

On the day I mixed my backing track with my friend Tony, I was switching between mixing the track and going through a statement with my Lawyer for a court hearing. Two days before the performance I was actually in court. When I look back on all this now,  I feel I have more resilience than I credited myself with.

On the morning of the show I woke up feeling excited about the day ahead and really soaked up all the events. Before collecting Nishka from school I even found time to do my nails! Once I collected Nishka and her childminder I gave Nishka her dinner, got her settled with homework and made my way to he Y Theatre.

Once I got to the Y Theatre everything happened really quickly. The performance itself was over in a flash. I found myself having an outer body experience with the disbelief that I pulled it all together on the night. Everything happened very organically.

I am still buzzing about the performance it has been a journey of discovery for me on so many levels. It was an experimental piece where I performed my poems to a backing track for the first time. It was also my debut performance where I wrote, produced, directed and performed all the material.  Even though it was not my first performance ever I would say it was my most candid performance. I have struggled with self doubts and insecurities as an Artist to the point that I was ready to give up. Much of this was down to the fact that I have been struggling to find a style and identity of my own. I have finally found something I am more than comfortable with and intend to keep developing on this.

I have really seen myself in a new light and will make more of a conscious effort not to doubt myself again. My performance may get perceived as controversial and an act of provocation. I will be honest I am trying to push the boundaries and move away from certain conventions. Art should always come from the heart and ones true inner feelings should not be censored. My main message in this performance is really be yourself, love yourself and  in my idol Madonna's words " express yourself and don't repress yourself."

For those of you who missed the big night of just want to relive the experience I have included video footage with this post. Please watch it with an open heart and open mind.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Mummy Takes To The Stage.

After months of sharing  my ramblings on the blog ( both poetic and non poetic) I have decided to take the next step in my writing journey, by taking to the stage again. I will be performing some of my material live at The Y Theatre Leicester on Thursday 29th November at 7:30 pm. Further details can be found by clicking on the following link:

www.ytheatre.co.uk

This performance is a big project for me at several levels. It is a kind of comeback performance after several years of being out of it. I started singing at the age of seven and won my first poetry competition at this age and was an active child performer. At a very young age I performed on  Radio Sheffield and at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. As I got older various personal problems took away my energies to perform. However these challenges have given me an abundance of inspiration for writing material.   Since I have become a mother and joined The Phoenix Writer's Group, I have found my confidence again and started experimenting with my style. I am ready to make this comeback.

This will also be an experimental project for me where I will be bringing together Music,Poetry and Theatre, with a fusion of East meets West. I personally feel poetry gets a raw deal and needs to be made more accessible to the wider masses. The best way to do this is through performance. My own journey as an artist has taken me to the disciplines of  Music  and Literature and I will be marrying these together.

I am looking forward to this new adventure and I hope many people who have read or are following my blog will share this journey with me at some level. The encouragement and support my followers have given me has also played a huge part in my decision to take to the stage again.  I look forward to meeting some of you at The Y Theatre, Leicester next week.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A Real Life Yummy Mummy Photo Shoot.


All these gossip magazines are full of praise for how amazing people like Victoria Beckham look. People forget about the full entourage of nannies, make up artistes etc that she has. They say every picture tells a story and so far all my blog profile pictures have done this.

 This recent picture was taken by a talented photographer friend of mine, Tony Lyons who I mentioned a few posts back. I raided my ever expanding wardrobe and chose all the outfits myself and did my own hair and make up. This was along with making breakfast for and getting a four and a half year old ready to drop off at childminders. I certainly was not chauffeur driven. After I dropped Nishka off at Childminders I went to the Writers Group then made my way to Tony's for the photo shoot.

The photo shoot itself was fun, creative and collaborative. I am not a natural poser and actually do not like having my picture taken but Tony put me at ease. Also I do not like smiling when I am forced to and like to look natural without looking too miserable. I feel Tony and I got the balance right with looking natural but not miserable.

Despite the mania beforehand I feel I looked pretty good during the photo shoot without the entourage of Victoria Beckam. I feel more of us real life yummy mummies deserve credit for been even to multi task the way we do. I'm on a learning curve on my journey as a single working mother but I feel often along with many of friends,  us mums do not credit ourselves enough. After working a full day, looking after a child alone and dealing with an ongoing legal battle many of us non celebrity mums feel far from beautiful or sexy. I am not just going to give Tony a pat on the back for a beautiful set of photographs I feel I deserve a pat on the back too.



Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Another Fitting Task.


I feel maybe this months Writers Group chairperson is reading my mind. For the second week in a row the task set has been very close to home for me.  This week we were asked to produce a 200 words piece ( choice of flash fiction, poetry, start of a longer piece etc) which had to include the phrase " I'm about to find out". I could not actually attend this week but found the task very stimulating and once again cathartic, this is my take on the piece:

I'm About To Find Out.

I'm about to find out:
If my prayers have been answered,
the course of my destiny,
Which way will the ship steer?
Are my beliefs a farce?

Seasons are of no consequence,
the cold and grey winters,
the hot and sticky summers,
always a morbid day.

The clock keeps ticking,
to the beat of my heart racing,
an hour takes up a lifetime,
I will grow old in this place.

On first names terms with them all,
four walls ingrained within me,
a hyped up bazaar,
full of sorrow.

Some mothers cradling infants,
the tears in their eyes,
the fears in their hearts,
looking so lost.

Usual morning tea cannot sustain me,
everything tastes sour,
my stomach is churning,
I cannot relish a morsel.

My name is called out,
the long awaited verdict,
of my little ones future.

Sickened how they play god,
to my flesh and blood
like she is not mine.

I carried her inside me,
within a battlefield,
she entered the world.
these common ignorant peasants
decide her future.

A prolonged conclusion
Inside screaming please be over!
Drained and rung out
all I long for now, is hibernation.






Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Thought Provoking Writer's Group Task.

At the Writers group we set a weekly task . Last weeks task was very close to home and approriate for my blog, which is why I have decided to make it my post for this week. The task of hundred words was " an object in your house is watching your morning routine". This is what I came up with:

Mummy Mania to Yummy Mummy.


Kidding herself that the plumbing is not working. Newsflash I am more than a burst pipe, we are all screaming at her STOP. No time to pause for a cup of tea, then she complains about mouth ulcers. Fresh out of the shower, sweating again another shower is needed. The party really gets started when the little one awakes. A minature mirror reflection. She leaves the house tripping over her stiletto's. The outside world would be none the wiser to the mania. She certainly gives the celebrity yummy mummies a run for their money. Stepping out looking so glamourous and immaculate.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Enlightenment.








This week has been a very testing week for me with the obstacles I have faced. It may sound corny and even clichéd but among the turmoil I have also seen some light and put my thoughts on paper, by composing the following poem. This poem works at two levels for me. The feedback I have received about my poetry at the writers group is that maybe I need to trim the rhyme and really get to the core of the emotions. Unlike my usual rhyming poems I have started experimenting with a prose poetry style. This poem has also been like catharsis for me. Here goes.



The Light Within Turmoil.



Acted in haste,

Repent a life sentence.

Not just at leisure

I live and breath the karma.





Although I have broken the chains

I am still held prisoner

of the cruel torture chamber.

Trying to break the wings I found.



Consuming my mind, body and soul

eating away the goodness.

Gripping so tight I cannot breath,

Passive suffocation

away from the darkness of the dungeon.



I now hold the key

and nobody can touch me.

It causes pain

That I am not held captive

Inside the cage.



Going insane

with an unfulfilled mission,

of obsessive vendetta.

Trying to break me at a distance

Crumbling down on my knees.



This bird has strong wings

and will keep flying high.

In captive I did not break

and walked away standing tall

cutting the rope of suffocation.



I cannot be harmed at distance.

The light of an angel

Set me free,

from the darkness of the dungeon.

This light fuels my inner fight.




Monday, 1 October 2012

Music for the soul.


Rishii  is now getting well into his tabla tour. Nishka and I watched Rishii and up and coming Sitar player Akash Ash Parekh give a musical demonstration last weekend, for a Health and Culture Event. This took place at Beauchamp College, Oadby, Leicester which happens to be mine, Rishii's and our sisters old college.

The demonstration that Rishii and Akash gave focused on the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of music. Rishii began with a demonstration of   warm up exercises on the tabla that really work the upper and lower arms, focusing on the physical aspect. Akash went through warm up exercises on the sitar and mentioned how even the sitting position when playing the sitar requires a level of physical flexibility. Akash then went onto demonstrate the warm up exercises he performs on Sitar during his practise.

They both moved onto  the mental aspects of music and the emphasis on different levels of concentration. Playing tabla and sitar involves memorising different phrases and various time and rhythm changes that really work the left and right brain.

The final part of the demonstration looked at the spiritual aspects of music, where Rishii emphasised on "zoning out". During  a performance a musician gets very deep into their music but at the same time they often have to contend with background noise and often organisers telling them to hurry up if performances run past the allotted time. Akash talked about how the raga's ( compositions) played on sitar have different moods and can put the musician in a relaxed medatative state. Rishi talked about how tabla players often say the rhythms they are playing and how this is like reciting a mantra.

I personally walked away from this demonstration full of motivation to encourage Nishka's musical interest. From this demonstration one can see that investing in music lessons for a child is an investment in a child's over all health and well being. One of the many reasons my blog is called mummy manic Mondays is because I have moments of mania when Nishka gets bored and does not know how to use her energy. I have observed many positive behaviour changes in Nishka since she has been having lessons with Rishii. The other day Rishii and Akash were rehearsing and when Nishka came home she went into great detail about what they were practising. According to Rishii Nishka was more than happy to sit and watch them as they rehearsed. Getting an energetic four year old to do that is a result.

On a more personal note, I am friends with a lot of single mums who like myself are going through bitter legal battles. During these moments of darkness, I would say both a parent and a child can find light through something they are passionate about. For me it is writing and I am so happy that Nishka is showing an interest in music, which I will wholeheartedly support. To all parents and kids find a passion that nourishes your mind, body and soul.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Rishii puts "Yo-Tabla" into practice.


Most of us would agree that every teacher should practise what they preach. This becomes vital when they have an inquisitive niece like Nishka as a student. Rishii is embarking on a tabla tour, the UK leg of it starts this weekend in Leicester and Wolverhampton. After the UK dates in September and October Rishii will be going onto India. I caught up with Rishii during the week and we chatted about tour preparations and how yoga has been a godsend.
 Performances involve mental and physical preparation and Rishi explained how yoga has helped him to focus his mind and body. It is not just the performances, but the individual practise  preparations and rehearsals. On stage it may look effortless but often quite a show goes on behind the scenes.
Madonna has always been known for her punishing fitness regimes during tour preparations. Yoga is a very strong focus in Madonna's regime, once again marrying the disciplines of music and yoga.
This Saturday Rishii will be giving a Tabla demonstration at Beauchamp College, Oadby Leicester and talking about the health benefits of Music. Nishka and I are excited about attending this event and the next post will give full coverage . I have uploaded footage of one of Rishii's performances in San Francisco last year in front of the legendary tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Husseinji. Please refer to the previous posts for links to Rishii's work and forthcoming tour dates.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Yo-Tabla- a Holistic Approach to Music and Life.


 

It is an absolute pleasure to be contributing to my sister’s blog. It is a great way for a writer and musician to collaborate on ideas that we share and are passionate about. I have been playing tabla since childhood and have had the opportunity and fortune to have learned from the very best in the industry.

Teaching is a strong passion of mine and I think it comes from being surrounded by educators on a daily basis such as Mum! As well as being a student of music, I am also a student of ‘Ashtanga Yoga’(Pathanjali). These two disciplines really complement each other as it provides one with a more flexible approach to life. It was one of those rare divine interventions that the concept of ‘Yo-Tabla’ came to me last year. As Indian musicians, we sit for long periods of time absorbing a vast amount of information whether in our own practice or performance. From personal experience, I have found that by incorporating basic breathing techniques and stretches, the body and mind become fully prepared. You have the clarity of thought and sharpness to handle any challenge that comes your way. This holistic approach has provided me with positive results, not just in my music career but in other facets of my life as well. This has also been the case for the students I have had the pleasure of teaching.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching kids and it is an incredible learning journey to go on. I was a tutor at an Indian Music Summer School that took place in Leicester in August. I was teaching young children how to play the tabla. The transformation was amazing. Not only were they playing, but the children had a strong level of focus and determination. It is seeing these types of results that inspire me to keep on teaching.

Some tips

When teaching children, I have found that keeping sessions short, varied and fun really helps. I have a five year old student and when I sense that his energy levels are a bit low, I like to allow him around 8 seconds(counting slowly), to just jump, run, make noise or whatever he fancies doing in that time. After eight seconds he must come back immediately to play tabla. The benefits are that he gets an energy release, but then he also learns discipline knowing that he must to come back and play again.  It is quite unconventional, but it works.

Playing tabla or playing any other instrument can be quite demanding, so levels of concentration need to be at their optimum. However, there are some yoga stretches that you can turn into games. For example, seeing who can stand in the tree position the longest, staring at an object, standing on one leg and so on.

When you are teaching kids that are so young, it is important that the parents know the benefits of what their child is learning because they can do these fun exercises at home together. However, when communicating to the child in class, it is important they feel reassured and not overwhelmed with information. Just by reciting and clapping a very simple rhythmic pattern, becomes a mantra in itself. If the learning process comes across as fun and interactive, students will react to this and will respond. The educational part will be the by product.

Teaching my niece Nishka is an absolute pleasure. Since birth, Nishka has been surrounded by music in our house and it is wonderful to see her embracing tabla. We have a lot of fun together and I am excited to see her develop over the next few years.

It has been great sharing my experiences of Yo- Tabla with you all. I am thoroughly enjoying my path and grateful to have a wonderful support network around me. I hold regular classes in Leicester, do contact if you want to find out more. Also, feel free to follow my music journey by visiting facebook.com/rishiichowdhury, twitter.com/TablaRishii, youtube.com/user/04mrrishi and Rishi Arts on facebook. 

 

God Bless

 

Rishii

 

 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Music- The Breath of Life


As Nishka is getting older and more energetic I have found the perfect way to keep her occupied, something I would recommend to all parents. Nishka has taken up music and has started learning to play Tabla (Indian drums). This however is no ordinary music lesson, it is in in the style of "yotabla" which a fusion of tabla and yoga. This unique style has been created by Rishi Chowdhury a renowned performer and teacher of tabla, who also happens to be my brother and Nishka's uncle. This post is really an introduction to the next post where Rishi will be making a guest appearance and explaining more about "yotabla" and how it benefits young children. From a parental point of view I can say it is a brilliant concept that marries two holistic disciplines together.
Tabla or yoga alone provide many emotional and spiritual benefits, why not bring the two together. For children especially there is the coordination and concentration aspect of tabla and the calming and physical benefits of yoga. As I said in the last post Nishka has now started school and I feel this is the perfect time to introduce these disciplines.
In my own experience I have found that it can be difficult to get children to sit still and concentrate for long periods of time. This can often hinder the benefits of music lessons. Break the lessons down with yoga and I am sure Rishi will tell you the benefits he has observed with his own students. My own initial observations of Nishka are she seems calmer and sleeps better at night.
Having a calm and happy child has a positive knock on effect for parents too. If there are any parents out there looking to calm down their hyperactive kids who refuse to sit still, keep a look out for the next blog post, where Rishi will be appearing as a guest blogger to go deeper into "yotabla".

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A New Journey

My little one is not such a little one anymore, Nishka has now started school. The run up has been occupied with uniform shopping and home visits, while still juggling other commitments, writing especially. As the big day dawned closer certain emotions got conjured up in me, resulting in  the following poem of the same title as the post:

A New Journey

It is hard for me to perceive
A child I once could not conceive,
Is now all grown
and stepping into the world alone.

I had my fears
over the last few years
trials and tribulations out of the blue,
but we got through.

Of what she had to endure
has made her mature,
This journey is an easy ride
In comparison to the high tide.

She has already done me proud
and stood out from the crowd.
Made of stern stuff
when times have been tough.

A trait I never had
of this strength in her I am glad.
For this journey she is ready
but life is not steady.

She keeps me strong
when things go wrong.
But the world is a cruel place
How will she run the race.

She is human after all
And we all take a fall.
But each and every endeavour
we will face together.



Monday, 27 August 2012

The Irony of Virginity.

 
 
 
I have treated the last three posts as a kind of Madonna trilogy and this is the third and final part. Obviously not the final part indefinitely as what kind of fan would that make me. My own mentor Maria Smith inspired this post based on the comments we exchanged about the previous one. The youtube footage I have used is from when Johnathan Ross interviewed Madonna in 1992 during the  controversy over the Erotica album and Sex Book. When you watch this interview, Madonna actually delves into the creative thought process behind these pieces of work that caused so much hype. People are quick to brand Madonna as blasphemous and perverted but you need a certain level of intelligence to understand the irony behind the messages conveyed. The sex book is actually a collection of short stories and Madonna happens to be playing the character.
 Even the song "Like a Virgin" can be looked at from different angles. There is the most obvious one of losing your virginity. Look deeper it can also be about doing something for the first time. When I went to the writers group for the first time I also felt "Like a Virgin". Reading your writing in front of then strangers is like getting undressed. I felt nervous at first and could not let myself go. When I finally got undressed it felt so good inside. I am sure Maria and Keith will vouch for this. Nowadays at the writers group I have no problems with getting my kit off and am getting more intimate by revealing more!   Cynics interpret that how you wish! I  am  sure if people read just this  paragraph alone of my post  and the title  I would also be branded as some sort of sex crazed nymphomaniac.
  Madonna said it herself later on in this interview, that if being provocative was all she was about she would not last this long. This was back in 1992 and nineteen years on she is still around. If people looked at Madonna with their brains rather than their sexual organs they would get the irony.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Leave my idol alone!

My blog has been up and running for about four months now. Being a hardcore Madonna fan I feel on my part, it is very rude that this is only the second post I have done. However I can make up for it and I feel this post is a must. I have been following Madonna's MDNA tour and have been rather annoyed at the bad press my idol has been getting. Elton John has made comments that her career is over. If that is the case how do tickets for Madonna's concerts sell out so quickly.

The cynics out there are always quick to pick on negatives and critisise people, but do not want to acknowledge the positives. Madonna is fifty plus and in her shows she sings, acts, dances and plays guitar. If anyone has ever seen the documentaries In Bed with Madonna and I'm Going To tell You A Secret, Madonna is very much at the forefront of the creative process of actually putting her shows together. People just want to critisise but fail to even acknowledge all these finer points. Madonna does nothing by halves, she looks amazing. Even her fitness regime is part of her tour preparation.

It is true Madonna does give out some strong massages in her shows. As I said in the previous post Art is a way of expressing yourself. The resentment of Catholicism seems to be a reoccurring theme for Madonna but clearly she has a lot of purging to do around this particular issue. I totally agree " Express yourself. don't repress yourself". Madonna has been slated for turning her shows into a political convention. However it takes people of Madonna's calibre to raise awareness of issues. Flashing her nipples in a Muslim country, there is a strong message in that. People are just stuck in their narrow minded, primitive views which is why the Madonna's of the world are not popular, as they are prepared to challenge these.

Where Madonna's comtempories and younger have burnt out or been one hit wonders  Madonna has proved her longevity. This has not happened by luck but her cast iron discipline.  I can easily see Madonna touring till she is a hundred, so get over prejudices and stop bad mouthing her. Even if Madonna chose to retire, the musical history she has made will continue forever, she will always be the queen, critics accept that fact and leave my idol alone!



Friday, 10 August 2012

Freedom of expression

In my profile I said I am mad about Madonna. That is an understatement! I could easily dedicate my whole blog to this woman who I really admire and look up to as a role model. The speech Madonna made when the Vatican tried to ban her  show in 1990, has more meaning to me now more than ever. When I heard it for the first time during Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour I thought " wow what a woman standing up for what she believes in".  As I have got older and experimented within my own art this speech has such a profound meaning to me personally.

Not at quite a high profile level, but I have been in a similar position to my idol when I was asked to censor my poem during a local recital. During the rehearsal there was one stanza that some people perceived could cause offence to some of the audience.  I was asked to edit that stanza or choose a poem that was less controversial. The other option would have been to not perform at all.  All my writing is pretty controversial, as I guess I am trying to push peoples buttons and bring to the forefront issues that people are afraid to talk about.  I also write to express my emotions and asking me to tone this down   is a censorship of my art, taking away what is in my heart and a cap on my freedom of thought and artistic expression. It felt like the poem was not mine anymore and changing just that one stanza changed the meaning of the poem.  Watch this speech closely  as it portrays the message that I am also trying to put across in my own writing.


This speech also conveys how I personally felt when I was asked to change my writing because of the "potential" offence that could be caused. I am in agreement with my idol, censorship leads to imprisonment of thoughts. When I watch this speech now I actually feel like Madonna is talking to me and giving out the message  do not compromise on your freedom of thought and artistic expression. Anyway I could go on praising Madonna forever but I will save that for another post! Watch and enjoy this speech with " an open heart and open mind".

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Two faced!

I have had a funny sort of week which has made me question the human race. My thoughts have sparked off the following free verse poem;

Which face are you wearing today?

The face you put on for me;
The guise of friendship,
the free advice,
a fake smile
illusion of a confidant.

Face to the world;
assassinations on my character,
the daggers in my back,
all flaws under scrutiny
watched under a microscope.

The ugly face;
You are too fat
you are too skinny
your house is too small
You do not earn enough money.

My face;
I am true to myself
a free spirit
make up illuminates my face
and does not mask a lie!



Friday, 20 July 2012

Pregnant Pause

I am very delighted to hear about the pregnancy news of a close friend, as well as many other friends in my age group. As a mother of one it is an honour that I am being looked at as a pregnancy  mentor/Doula. With this role I have been asked some very vital questions. Some of them the common ones. What is the best cure for morning sickness?Will I get my figure back? Does breastfeeding give you saggy boobs?

In the title of this post I am literally trying to say "you are pregnant now pause". The in laws and great grannies may fill you with all the myths and old wives tales. Do not eat this, do not do that, have lots of bed rest. Until I got pregnant myself I also took these myths on board. My own pregnancy certainly did not go as planned.

The typical myth pregnant women are fed is  avoid stress and if you live in India lots of bed rest. These two were not an option for me. I was working full time with a thirty mile commute to work everyday and studying for a postgraduate degree. The thirty mile commute continued three weeks before I gave birth, till literally my bump was jammed in the steering wheel. During some of my pregnancy I felt radiant and energised and even got some of my best writing done.

Before I gave birth I was hospitalised for over a week but this was not a problem as I had an abundant supply of writing pads and pens. A maternity ward can certainly spark off inspiration. At week thirty nine I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

My main piece of advice to my friends is enjoy the pregnancy and follow your own maternal gut instinct. Do not be swayed by the influence of over bearing in laws who often instill fear in you. If you want to eat cake just eat it and having a baby actually helps your figure. I will explore this point further when my friends have given birth. For now happy pregnancy, eat, drink and be merry.(if your hormones want to be merry)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Gratitude part 2.

I have located a poem I wrote last year, which I feel makes a fitting continuation of the point I was trying to make in my last post. This is the first time I have posted one of my  poems on my blog, bit of an experiment. Here it goes;

B******* To The Norm.

You may feel you are on the shelf,
At least you are true to yourself.
It is hard to find
Someone with a like mind.


Life is good, bad and ugly,
With tragedy and comedy.
A true soul mate
Is worth the wait.


Why settle for less?
And end up a mess.
Seems like the done thing,
the misery it can bring.


Why run into a storm?
Just to satisfy the norm.
Ending up a bore
who do you live for?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gratitude for my Mummy Manic Mondays

Towards the end of my last post I said I feel blessed with being granted the gift of motherhood. I am feeling inspired to expand on this further.

Even though we are living in the twenty first century, society seems to think you are only classed as normal if you are married and have children and do it in a certain order by a certain age. If that is a measure of normality I am proud I am not normal. The way my life has worked out may seem unconventional, not  normal etc etc. I would not have it any other way.

 I may not be married anymore but I am proud to say even though life is tough, I live with my heart. I wake up in the morning and see my daughters smiling face. When I go to bed at night I see her sweet little face. A child is the most honest person to live with. If I look shit Nishka will often tell me and not mean it with malice.

 My life without a husband means unlike many relationship's and marriages out there, I am not worrying that my other half is cheating on me. If I want to indulge my passion for clothes I can do it without justifying it to anyone. I am in charge of my own destiny. Yes I have to think about Nishka but we actually make a very good team and she is often more mature than any man I have ever dated.

I do not look at my marriage or past relationships as failures I look at them as lucky escapes and life defining moments. I would rather be on my own and happy living a life where I am true to myself, rather than a toxic existence that society deems as normal.
I hope anyone reading this post will feel that living life by a tick list does not mean you will be happy, live with your heart guided by your own principles.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Big Day.



Today started off on a positive note, the smoothest nursery run in a while. Nishka got up in a happy  and positive mood. I had her bag packed the night before but she still checked that I packed her sun hat, as the weather was really good. Madam was very cooperative and took the sensible option of wearing her trainers from home rather than her usual sandals. I planned ahead and packed Nishka's trainers in her bag thinking she would not wear them until she got to nursery.

I could not get the morning off work so my brother Rishi was my representative today. It was impossible to concentrate on work, I kept texting Rishi for updates. The event started at 10am and finished  at 11am, the children completed twenty laps around the nursery car park. They did have small breaks in between for what Rishi described as some delicious looking biscuits and fruit squash.

The picture is of Nishka with her medal, she also received a certificate. A very proud mother moment for me today and all for such a good cause. A big thank you to Rishi for supporting Nishka today and for taking some amazing pictures  that can be viewed on facebook.

I know in previous posts I have ranted but I honestly do cherish the gift of motherhood that I have been granted with. It is moments like this that make the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile and I do feel blessed.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Eve of The Big Toddle Event.

All set for the Big Toddle event tomorrow. Even though the weather was hit and miss on Sunday, Nishka and I did fit in some practise at Knighton Park, Leicester during the sporadic dry spells. Nishka alternated between walking, skipping and jogging and has indicated this will be her game plan on the day. I have also treated her to a princess style headband to match her princess dress.

As I am writing this post madam is tucked up in bed getting a good nights sleep ready for the big day. Princess dress, trainers, water bottle etc are all set too, now lets pray for some good weather. My brother Rishi will form part of the cheering squad, routing for his niece to complete as many laps as possible and raise lots of money for Barnado's Children's charity.

Wishing Nishka all the best , I am sure she will do us all proud.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Run up to the Big Toddle charity event.

A slight disappointment that I am unable to attend the writers group this Saturday but I will certainly be keeping occupied . I have earmarked myself as my daughter's personal trainer this weekend. To raise money for the children's charity Barnado's, the children at my daughter's nursery will be participating in  "The Big Toddle". This involves walking a few laps around the nursery car park wearing  a Superhero outfit ( girls have the option of a princess outfit). Barnado's is a charity that helps vulnerable children. Nurseries and pre- schools across the UK will be taking part in this event to raise money to help these children.  More information can be found at www.bigtoddle.co.uk.
 I have been advised by the nursery to take my daughter on long walks this weekend and keep her active in preparation for the event. The weather has been a let down but this has not curtailed preparations and my daughter is certainly taking it very seriously. We have tried to get out for walks where possible. When the weather has been too much of a let down my daughter has taken the initiative to ride her bike indoors and joined me for yoga sessions.
The event will be taking place on Wednesday 20th June, hoping to raise lots of money for a very worthwhile cause.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Picture Perfect Bank Holiday.

The  long weekend just gone was both enjoyable and productive. I could really get use to working just two days.On Sunday I felt like a celeb yummy mummy when my daughter and I met up with my friend and talented photographer, Tony Lyons. I keep meaning to get some up to date pictures for the blog and Tony was more than happy to help.  I viewed samples of Tony's work before and was really impressed and thought he would be perfect. The new profile picture was actually taken at work when Tony did a photography workshop for Learning at Work Day. A very popular photographer in demand on that day.

I am not a natural poser and really do not like having my picture taken but Tony really put me at ease. An extra challenge was also keeping a very active four year old entertained and well behaved. Madam turned out to be a photographers apprentice when she was given a small camera to play around with. The photo shoot was fun and creative experimenting with different poses and switching between colour and black and white. I still feel nothing beats a good old fashioned black and white photograph.

After the photo shoot we looked at other pictures Tony had taken, over an amazing cup of filter coffee.. I was impressed how he made a five foot two model look nearly six foot. In my  pictures  I even look taller and have a kind of celeb yummy mummy look,  no airbrushing in sight, I promise.

Overall a busy, creative and enjoyable weekend, even on the writing front.  An artistic match made in heaven, looking forward to the next photo shoot. Watch this space!
 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The winning entry- The Curse of Dirty Dothan

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Workshop week-Hectic run up but all came together on the day



Last week was certainly a manic week with the lead up to the Phoenix Writers Group Workshop. With my mentor and co pilot Maria we lead a session which involved preparation during the week and phone calls which I like to call editorial meetings.



Of course in true mummy manic Mondays fashion the workshop was not the only thing I had to juggle. At the start of the week I had to fit in a consultation with my solicitor and read over my ex's statement for court. Going through the repetitive character assassinations is certainly no fun. At the end of the week there was my daughters parents evening which was a moment of pride for me as a mother.



By Friday I was feeling calm, relaxed and buzzing about the workshop. I was extra pleased that my daughter and I even found time to put her new bedroom together.



Getting closer to the workshop I ran into an obstacle. A horrible eye infection, conjunctivitis. I kept calm and just had an early. I tried very hard to hide it from Maria but she noticed on the phone that I sounded quite nasally.



The day of the workshop arrived, I looked dreadful like I had been in a fight. Just the short drive from Oadby to Wigston dropping my daughter off at child minders was a struggle. I took the bus into town.



I never thought I would say this as an ex driving phobe but I really missed my car on Saturday. At times it felt like I would never make it to the Phoenix. I made it and felt relieved when I got there.



The day seemed to just fly by. Keith Morley who presented the first session about characters set a very high standard with a very enjoyable and informative workshop. After coffee break Maria and I were on. I am positive I speak for Maria too, it was a pleasure presenting this session. The only worry we had was finishing too early.



My eye was in pain for the whole day and I even nearly resorted to an eye patch at one point. It was even advised that I leave early, but I was having way too much fun.



I really had fun with the fictitious character I created, Marsha Mindful. She started off as just a spinster with a colourful past. When I got my writing buddies Maria and Mark to do some harsh editing the story took a different turn. It turned into a lesbian vampire story with the creation of another character, Dirty Dothan, Queen of Faye, created by Maria.



It turned out to be a winning formula, when the winners were announced it was a tie break between the Dothan story and Keith's story. When put to the public vote again it was a tie so we shared the prize.( I may put this story on the blog at some point)



The hectic run up and the pain in my eye was all worth it as it really did all come together on the day. I'm still on such a high from that day. It was my first workshop and I am relatively new to the group but in the space of just a few months I have gained so much. My writing has certainly gone to another level even I am intrigued by what I can do with Marsha Mindful and Dirty Dothan.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Manic Overload,writing to the rescue.

It has been a couple of weeks since I lasted posted on my blog, unfortunately my mind has been clogged up with negative energy which has often left me drained. On my profile I mentioned that I am juggling my writing with being a working mother, that is not even the half of it. For the last four years I have also had an ongoing legal battle with my ex husband. The best way to describe it is kind of the cancer in my life. There will be quiet periods where I will not hear from him then when I do it is a violent attack of negativity.Not only do I often loose the will to live, my creative impulses get eaten away. The life gets sucked out of me.

This week I have managed to somehow perk myself up and get back in the driving seat. However I am constantly switching gears. While attending to my daughter's often Diva like demands I am also slotting in time to read over court statements and having solicitors appointments. Of course the love of my life,  writing cannot and will not be neglected. This week I have also been preparing for my first stint as this months Writers Group Chairperson. A challenge I have never undertaken but was totally up for. During the week while I was picking up the debris for the mistake I made, my marriage. I had several moments of self doubt and wondered if I was just out of my depth.
Yesterday everything came together for me somehow. As I dropped my daughter off at her child minders, she was also in a very calm mood. She gave me the biggest hug and kiss ever as I left her to make my way to the Writers Group. Just the boast I needed.

I really enjoyed chairing it was a brilliant learning curve for me. The adrenaline rush continued in the evening when I got home, so I started putting this post together.
During these manic overloads I often forget the positives in life. After the week I had dealing with the legal case thank god I had chairing the Writers Group ahead of me. It really kept me sane, a true love in my life that has often given me back my zest for life.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mummy Manic Rant.

On the writing front this week has been slightly unproductive and bitty. I have resorted to stealing the odd moment with a note pad and pen and nothing very focused. This week has left me very drained constantly dealing with unforseen eventualities, like a leaking shower. Any spare time has been dedicated to dealing with bills, domestics and off course a screaming child.

 These so called self help guides for parents, that I mentioned in the last post rant on about delegating to a spouse. They say " men hunt and gather and women nurture". I am doing all the hunting, gathering and nurturing, playing the role of a mother and father. When my daughter screams " I want this, I want that" I find my self screaming back " What about what I want"?

Anyway my rant is over for now. Lets see if next week can be more productive?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

In Search of a Miracle Manual.

With the best of intentions I visited the local library with my daughter at the weekend. As I put her in a corner for" time out" for naughty behaviour I came across a book, that I literally thought was a godsend. It was "The Girl's Guide To Being a Working Mum: How to be happy at home and happy at work" by Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio.

 Just from skimming through it I feel reassured that I am not on my own with my feelings of guilt and have actually discovered  some good mantra's to keep me sane. For example by taking care of myself I am taking care of my daughter. Also just because I am a mum it does not mean that is the end of my writing dreams.

 However when it comes to practical advice some of it is impossible for me to apply. For example delegate to your spouse, which I do not have or want. Also the suggestion about not doing laundry everyday, which is easier said then done considering my daughter has only been out of nappies for a few months.

If I stumble across even one magic formula that works I  will post it on the blog. Until then my own journey of mania continues.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Course of True Love











Most of us would associate this phrase with romantic love. I feel this is also the case when you find something in life that you love to do, your passion.   Especially when this passion conflicts with the love you have for your child.

I love writing and know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life but I also love my daughter.  On a hot sunny day we will get lunch in a café. While we are waiting for food  to arrive I will scribble down some notes. I try to do it discreetly so that she knows my attention is on her. Some would say this is good multi-tasking. Others would say I am a bad mother.

The flip side of that with some parents is that they give up on their own dreams and try to get their children to live them. They end up taking their frustrations out on their children if they do not succeed.



I have also come across parents who pour all their love onto their children and nothing else. When they flee the nest they have nothing in their lives to get excited about. What started as love turns to possession, interference and control.  Often resulting in relationships ending.



All these are dilemma’s that stem from love. Is it true love in all cases though?












Friday, 6 April 2012

Inspiration Strikes

At last I have found a profile  picture for my blog. As a result I feel inspired to write this post.  It is quite fitting for the theme I would say, as it was taken on a very manic day. A few months back I was asked to recite one of my poems for an event and do a cookie stall.

 Leading up to the event I had to compose a poem especially for that occassion and stay up for a couple of nights baking cookies. All this while taking care of a toddler who was not potty trained then. I still managed to find time to paint my nails, do my make up etc etc. Now that is how a real life yummy mummy fits it all in.

I get frustrated when the likes of Heat magazine have front page pictures of these stressed out celeb yummy mummies. How do us normal mums living in the real world get by without the entourage and the celeb salaries?

Sunday, 1 April 2012





Going back to what I said in the introduction, I will be updating my blog weekly but not necessarily on a Monday. As a working mother of a nearly four year old also juggling my writing, domestic duties and various interests etc. etc. Every day is a manic Monday. Even a seemingly relaxing weekend away.

Take last weekend for example when my daughter and I went away for a friend’s wedding and the weather was just gorgeous. Sounds relaxing? Hmm not necessarily. It was my daughters first train journey with packing for both of us and the need to look fabulous for the wedding. I was lugging a heavy rucksack around Cambridge while controlling my daughter. All this wearing an expensive silk suit and high heels.



On the train journey back for the first few minutes my daughter seemed happy just watching the scenery. The hypnotic effect of it must have sent her to sleep. As she fell asleep on my lap I worked on my two hundred word piece for the writers group on Saturday. I was also due to meet a fellow writing friend for a blog planning meeting so I scribbled down some last notes.



Now that really is multi-tasking at its best. Looking glam for an important event, controlling an energetic child and still finding time to write.