Sports Challenge: Celebrating Sports For All

On Friday we took Squiggle to the athletics track to do some races. This reminded me that I never actually properly wrote up our fantastic sports challenge (100 days of sports) last year! 

100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Athletics track

I had started out by doing regular round-up posts about it but then for one reason or another, I decided to just do a big summary post at the end, once we had actually finished. But it never happened! We successfully completed the challenge, and had a great time doing it – I just didn’t get round to writing the post to share all the sports activities we did and brilliant fun we had! Oops! So I figured better late than never; Squiggle and I are excited to finally share this post with you… at last!

During the sports challenge, Squiggle took part in a wide variety of sports. Some activities we arranged ourselves, often with her home ed friends, whilst others we attended were organised sessions. I was pleasantly surprised during my research for this challenge at how many inclusive sports sessions are available, including some aimed specifically at SEND children. 

100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Netball

This has also led me to reflect on the great importance of sports being accessible to everyone and the huge value of disability sports for both physical and invisible disabilities. I think back to London Olympics and Paralympics 2012 and how we opted to take Squiggle to watch the Paralympics specifically, as not only is it truly inspirational and an incredible honour to watch live generally, but we felt it particularly important for Squiggle to have such role-models from a young age.

I am thankful that there is such a great awareness within the sports sector and for the investments that have gone into disability sports and developing inclusiveness. Bristol Street Versa have also created this infographic to celebrate the pioneers of disability sports; because without them, of course, probably none of this would ever have been achieved. 

(By the way, if you happen to be looking for a wheelchair vehicle, check out their website bristolstreetversa.com/new-wheelchair-vehicles)

100 days of sports, disability sports, pioneers of disability sports, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge

So anyway, back to the sports challenge! Here are some of the sporting activities that Squiggle took part in as part of 100 days of sports…

  • Athletics (long jump, hurdles)
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Beach tennis
100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Beach tennis
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Foot golf
100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Foot Golf
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Netball
  • Rounders
  • Sports day (including flat races, relays and fun races e.g. egg and spoon race, beanbag balancing race, sack race etc…)
100 days of sports, childhood unplugged, freedom to learn, Home Education, outdoors, PE, physical development, SEND, sports, Sports Challenge
Sports Day races
  • Table tennis
  • Tag rugby
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

She invented her own sport too; a game she called ‘Round and Round Tennis’. She also acted out sports with her Sylvanian Families and played indoor versions of games; such as finger tennis, desktop table tennis and blow football.

We had a fantastic time doing this sports challenge and there are still plenty more ideas that Squiggle is keen to try out sometime in the future too! Such a great experience and very motivating!!!

What is your favourite sport? Let us know in the comments section!

*This is a sponsored post. 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 21 (Raising a Daisy)

Introduction

We have one daughter, she’s 7 and has never been to school. Our reasons to home educate are vast but simply put into the facts, we don’t want the national curriculum to limit her love of learning and we don’t want her to be defined by standardised tests.

As a family unit she has two mothers; I am Mama in the blog world and there is Rainbow Mama my wife. I (Mama) facilitate her education Monday – Friday whilst Rainbow Mama works. I work evenings to fit around everything else.

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Approach to Home Ed and Typical Week

We do not define her education into a label. I often think we are autonomous but some parts of her education wouldn’t fit into that. We are simply in the apprenticeship of life stage.

Our Week usually revolves around her extra curricular activities. She attends 4 different dance classes a week (she has attended since the age of 3). Previously “The Daisy” worked all year through minus one week in September when I forced her to take a break. Last year she then requested a break, we had not long moved house so she enjoyed the summer through play and learning as we went along.

Highlight of Home Ed and Advice to Other Parents

Our daughter also has a passion for reading. Reading was the biggest concerns for me as I personally cannot remember learning to read. We signed her up to reading eggs online to help. We have always read to the daisy, every bedtime there has always been alot of books. I did some research that if you read to your child and your seen actively reading it’ll happen. However I’m a parent and so it still worried me. 

If you are a parent reading this, regardless of how you choose to educate your child, please don’t stress over this. The daisy has a reading age of an eleven year old! Yes, you read that right. She’s 7 and has a reading age of an eleven year old! Not that we define her learning on a scale but it’s often good to see where she currently sits on a scale.

So that’s our home ed journey in a nut shell, thanks for reading!


Follow the adventures of ‘The Daisy’ here…

Website: raisingadaisy.wordpress.com

Instagram: instagram.com/raisingadaisy


Facebook: facebook.com/raisingadaisy


*This is an updated version of a guest post by Raising A Daisy previously written and published in 2015.

A Quick Cuppa With… Mrs Mummy Harris

Today I’m having a cuppa with Mrs Mummy Harris. To find out which famous celebrity​ she used to work with, and what she does on her daily commute, then read on… 

Living Life Our Way, A Quick Cuppa With, guest post, interview, Q and A, blogger, Mrs Mummy Harris

Tell me about yourself…

I’m Lianne, Just hit the big 3-0 and mummy to Benjamin who is nearly 8 months. Me and Hubby have been married for 2 years and live in Essex.


We have two furbabies Leo and Harley who rule the roost! I have just returned to work and work for an international  Law firm specialising in Low value and Fraudlent Personal Injury Car accident claims.

Name one random fact about yourself.

I used to work with James Corden (Pre- America, pre gavin and stacey obvs!)

Who is your biggest inspiration?

I dont think I actually have just one person who is an inspiration to be honest! Im really struggling to think here. There are several people I look up to and learn from both in the blogging wold and real world.

Tell me about your blog. What is the main theme? What inspired you to start it?

My blog is a parenting blog, It revolves around my life as a mum and wife so there are articles relating to relationships also. Its not all stepford wives-esque. Its very much “say it how it is”. I started it after my PND got a bit too much and I needed a way of venting.

Do you blog full time or do you work as well? How do you juggle your time? Any tips?

I did blog full time until this week when I went back to work. It is a good thing that I am organised otherwise I dont think i’d cope blogging aswell as working full time!


My tip is to use your commute time wisely. I do my linky comments on the way home. but if you dont get internet signal, draft a post instead!

What is the best piece of advice you can give to fellow bloggers?

I would definately say to find your voice. Dont worry if your first few months sound a bit unprofessional or lengthy. You will find your voice and your flow in time. I’ve only been going four months so know I’m still new to this and still adapting and learning. But I think even the most experienced bloggers learn also!

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?

Other than drinking copious amounts of alcohol, I like to read and watch movies. Dancing in my kitchen with Hubby is also a well known past time of ours!!

What are your favourite family activities?

Ben is only 7 months so family activities are few and far between, however he really loves going to London – all the lights and hustle and bustle keeps him amused for ages!!

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

We both really love Oxford as the architecture is amazing, but unfortunately we havent been there since Ben was born due to the cobbles being a nightmare for his buggy! maybe this year when he’s walking though.

Best family day out?

I think the time we went to Winter Wonderland and Ben had really started to pay an interest in everything that was around him. On the way back he entertained the whole train carriage with his dancing and cuteness and they were all laughing at how adorable he was. I wonder who he takes after hahaha!

Read more about Mummy Harris here…

Website: www.mrsmummyharris.co.uk

Instagram: mrsmummyharris86

Pinterest:  mrsmummyharris

Facebook: mrsmummyharris86

Twitter: @mummyharris86

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 20 (Squiggle’s List of Maths Resources/ Activities) 

Today for #100daysofhomeed  Squiggle has written a list of 10 maths activities/ resources we use at home. Of course this is not an exhaustive list but it does give some good examples…

  • Pop to the shops 🏦

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  • 3d shapes 🔺
  • Valontines day math 💗💚💐🌹💌 (Note: She is referring to themed subject resources from Twinkl website) 
  • Fraction fourmula game (sp: formula) 

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, maths, activities at home, educational resources, Fraction Formula Game

  • Shape snap 🌟🌟🌟🌟⬜🔶🔴🔺
  • Make  3d shapes ⬜⬛⬜
  • Sports bar graph 🎾⚽🏀🏉(or) Eny tipe of talliey chart or graph⚽🎾🐈🐶🐰🐯🐆🐧😹😻😽 (sp: any type of tally chart)
  • Four fraction snap (Note: Function not fraction!) 

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, maths, activities at home, educational resources, four fraction snap

  • Shut the box 📦📦📦📦📦
  • Scails (sp: scales. ie to teach weights, comparison, measurements etc…)


Here are links to purchase some of the activities Squiggle has mentioned:(Please note these are Amazon affiliate links. This means I get a small amount of money if you make a purchase via my site. This does not cost you anything. Thank you for the support!)

Pop To The Shops (Orchard Toys) £8 approx. Aimed at ages 5- 9. Teaches about handling money, coins etc…

Geometric Solids (Learning Resources) £13 approx. 3D shapes. Aimed at ages 8+

Fraction Formula (Learning Resources) £26 approx. Aimed at ages 8+

Shape Snap (Orchard Toys) £6 approx. Aimed at ages 3-6 but we still enjoy it!

Four Function Snap £5 approx. Teaches addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Including practising mental arithmetic. Aimed at ages 7+ 

Shut the Box £4.50 approx. See my previous review here for more details.

We often use Twinkl for our printed resources. This is where we sourced several of the activities mentioned, including our themed maths printed-off worksheets/ activities (such as the Valentines Day ones Squiggle listed), nets to make our own 3D shapes and various tally charts/ graphs etc…


100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 19 (Karen: Ex Home Educator – A Different Perspective) 

Today for this #100daysofhomeed series I have something abit different from the Q&As so far. The following is a guest post from a lovely lady called Karen, who previously home educated her son before finding a suitable school for him. She is kindly contributing to this series to share her experience and offer words of advice for anyone in the same boat. Thank you Karen! Over to you….
Hello! I’m Karen… mum to Harry (now 8) and Imogen (now 7). 

Living Life Our Way, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A

I’d never intended to home educate. In fact, both children were registered for a local prep school shortly after birth.I had an idealised vision of them skipping out of the door in knee high socks and boater hats!!! 
However, by the time Harry was due to start school, that lovely little prep school had written to me advising that they could not meet Harry’s needs. As hard as it was to read, it didn’t come as a surprise – there were warning signs well before then and, in hindsight, I believe it’s one of the best things that happened. Early intervention has been an amazing blessing for both Harry has an individual and for us as a family. 

Due to the school’s rejection of Harry, we stopped ignoring all of those little warning signs and had Harry assessed. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism shortly before his fourth birthday. Though there was an element of grief, there was also a good deal of optimism. I felt sure that, with the diagnosis, support would be easily obtained. 

I applied for and was subsequently offered a place at our local state school which had an excellent reputation. Naively, I believed Harry would be awarded a statement and be fully supported. It came as a huge surprise when, after only a few days of Harry being at the school, they announced that Harry’s needs could be met without any additional support. Undeterred (but with hindsight, I now see that this was the beginning of the erosion of my relationship with the school) I pressed for an assessment. 

In the weeks this took to complete I watched my gorgeous, happy inquisitive little boy retreat into a shell. The many, many talents he had were merely annoyances to the school. ridiculed for what he could not do and reprimanded for what he could left him bewildered and confused. It was apparent that the school would not – or could not – support Harry. It is my personal belief that they simply didn’t have the resources, so it was easier to constantly repeat that they weren’t required. 

Coupled with this was the reaction from other parents. While the school’s strapline was that Harry didn’t require extra help, it was glaringly obvious to everyone else that he was occupying far more than his fair share of the classes only TA’s time. I didn’t (and don’t) have any issue with their concerns. In fact, I welcomed them… hoping that it might add weight to my argument, but it was with a heavy heart that I acknowledged it was my child no-one wanted theirs to sit next to or to be friends with. That my child would be excluded from playdates and parties. 

I had promised myself and my family that I’d make it till half term before reviewing the situation (again!!) with the school but after 4 weeks two things happened. Firstly, I got acknowledgement that harry was not eligible for a statement.  His academic work was not significantly behind (and in order to trigger support, it should be two academic years behind!!!!!) and, while everyone around me was telling me what Harry needed was ‘socialising’, the LEA confirmed that he was at school for an education… so no support would be offered at breaks. Secondly, two days later, Harry walked out of school. Aged 4, he walked home alone. No-one stopped him. For quite a few minutes, no-one noticed he’d gone…. because (I only found this out after the event) once again, he’d been isolated and put alone in a corridor. 

I de-registered him the day he walked home. His school days had lasted 4 short weeks. 

I had absolutely no clue what I was going to do. I knew nothing about home education. I knew very little about SEN. But I knew there had to be a better way. 

For a good few weeks, we did nothing. Harry and I sat and played and just worked on Harry becoming that happy little boy again. Over time, we started to venture to home ed goups, SEN sessions…. and a whole new world opened up. We decided on a semi-formal education. We changed a room into a classroom, so Harry was never expected to do school work outside of his ‘school room’ and employed a wonderful tutor who deals with additional needs students to work on the areas Harry found hardest… All the areas Harry enjoyed, we simply enjoyed together. Days were spent at forest school, skiing or making science experiments. Working slowly to engage Harry, I realised that he could remember things better through song, so we sang a lot!!!

After 3 years of home education, Harry was offered a spot at a lovely small independent additional needs school and he started there just over a year ago…. He is supported with a 1:1 for 20 hours a week (and always when off site) which is what he needs. It is what he always needed. I believe that this is the right setting for him at the moment, as it allows him more freedom and independence from me. 

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A

While I’m not a natural home educator, and my children are both now in formal school (my daughter did indeed start that local prep and she really enjoys it!) I am blessed that I embraced home education at a time Harry so desperately needed it. Home education allowed Harry to be confident in himself. In who he is…. and, moreover, it proved to both children that I would never send them to a setting which made them unhappy. While I am comfortable with the schools they both attend right now, I wouldn’t hesitate at taking them out if that was right for them. 

I’d like home education to be seen for what it is – a viable alternative to formal school settings. It’s whatever you want it to look like, which is massively empowering both to parents and to children. It’s not a one-shot deal, it IS possible to move between home and school educational settings as and when the time is right for your child. 

And I’d like to say to anyone whose child is struggling in school… PLEASE consider the alternatives. You will find a wonderfully supportive network of people out there.

Children’s Art Galleries

Squiggle has been busy getting creative this week with an art box kindly sent to us by Children’s Art Galleries.​

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Children’s Art Galleries is an online space where parents (or carers, educators etc…) can upload photos of their children’s art work to share publicly. This is a brilliant solution if you are looking to save space by recycling the original version, yet still want to ‘keep’ the art available to look at somewhere. And better still, it is a place that is easily accessible. 

It is also great if, like Squiggle, your child wants to exhibit their artwork for all to see! It is a useful alternative to facebook or other social media for this because it is specifically designed for this purpose so is more child-friendly. It is also a good source of inspiration too, by browsing other mini artists!

Children’s Art Galleries costs £3 per child per year. However, it works out cheaper than this per child if you purchase a bulk package for siblings/ groups. (Note this is the cost for an annual subscription to the online art gallery, art box not included).

activities at home, art and craft, creative, Home Education

Squiggle was excited to receive her art box and was keen to get started right away! She is still very much feeling the love of Valentines Day last week so she went for this theme when creating her art. She is all about the hearts and flowers at the moment! 

First she made a simple heart collage, which I uploaded onto her personal (public) gallery. It is quick and easy to use, although there is a delay before it appears because all photos have to be approved first – which is, of course, a good thing!

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She then designed her own funky pair of heart glasses – so cute!

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You can find out more about Children’s Art Galleries here:

Website: www.childrensartgalleries.com

Facebook: childrensartgalleries

Instagram: childrensartgalleries

Twitter: @childrensAG


*I received the art box and one year subscription to Children’s Art Galleries in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Why Our Rooms Are #NotCompleteWithout Texture: The Importance of Tactile Input

As a parent of a child with SEND, including sensory processing issues, I have spent alot of time thinking about how our home environment meets Squiggle’s needs. We have created a specific sensory area in one of our rooms as a space for her to relax whenever she wants and it also offers her sensory stimulation that supports her specific individual needs. 

Julian Charles, #notcompletewithout, home decor, home environment, interior design, SEND, sensory, sensory processing disorder, tactile, textures

One important part of this is through different textures. Squiggle is very tactile. She really likes soft things, so we have a big selection of fabrics available with various different textures to provide her with the tactile input she needs.

Julian Charles, #notcompletewithout, home decor, home environment, interior design, SEND, sensory, sensory processing disorder, tactile, textures

We have a mismatched assortment of colours and styles to also reflect Squiggle’s other sensory needs too; for example, in terms of visual stimulation, she prefers a variety of colours and to have lots of interesting styles and patterns to look at, especially in her sensory chillout area. So we offer her a bright and colourful, albeit somewhat uncoordinated, environment in that particular space at least!

Of course, like most people, we prefer to stick to more of a specific colour theme and therefore have coordinated the rest of our rooms in a more ‘typical’ organised way! But providing Squiggle with a variety of textures to touch and feel is essential for her sensory integration nonetheless, so we have tried to incorporate her tactile sensory needs throughout the rest of our home too; in particular through our choices of home decor. Cushions, throws, drapes and blankets in a variety of different textured fabrics really adds another dimension to our home. The truth is though, even without SEND, it is great for everyone to have a variety of textures in the home environment. It feels good! 

On this note, Julian Charles are also taking ‘the finishing touches’ very literally and asking what interior design a room is #notcompletewithout, especially in terms of texture. They have just released the most beautiful style guide to give you some brilliant ideas on how to incorporate textures in your home.

Julian Charles, #notcompletewithout, home decor, home environment, interior design, SEND, sensory, sensory processing disorder, tactile, textures

I also love this neutral and beautifully coordinated room decor I found on their instagram too, with all the wonderful textures that have been included. It demonstrates perfectly what a difference that textures can make to a room; check out that gorgeous rug and the lovely textured bedding…

Do you have tactile home decor ideas to share and inspire others with? Join in the conversation on facebook and twitter using the hashtag #notcompletewithout… and of course you might also find more inspiration for your own home too!
*This is a collaborative post. 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 18 (Mumma HE Green)

Introduction

Hello I am Mumma Green and I have 3 beautiful daughters, eldest is almost 5, middle miss is 3 and a half and littlest is only 20 months. 


We live in the countryside and love being outdoors having adventures. We learn through life and living. Our journey is what others would call autonomous or unschooling. Learning what they want to right there and then, self-directed and self-motivated, with me there to facilitate their learning.

Living Life Our Way, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, Mumma HE Green, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?

I feel like we have been home educating for ever, to some because eldest isn’t what you call Statutory school age (the term after they turn 5) we haven’t even started yet. But to us it’s something we have done since they were born. Facilitate their learning, helping them reach their goals. However technically I guess it would be 6 months as eldest would have started school last September.

What made us decide to home educate, that is a difficult question to answer. The main one for us was that 4 or 5 feels too young for children to be in that environment. Then the more research we did the more and more pros there were. Having more time to be children, play, socialise and be themselves. The more 1-2-1 time they can receive at home, the freedom to learn what and when they want and to learn skills they do not teach at school. For us the ‘academic’ stuff isn’t important to learn so young, that will come, life lessons, skills and independence is something we want our children to learn over being able to read a novel at 4!

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

As I mentioned previously our home ed ‘style’ would be classed as autonomous, learning in the moment and following their lead. Nothing is typical about our weeks generally! However there are a few activities we tend to do weekly, like aerial hoops and circus skills, French, horse riding and an home ed social meet. Between those it can be anything from clearing out our chickens, learning about space, taking a walk, mushroom spotting, tree IDing, free play and anything and everything they would like to learn.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

Ohhhh our highlight of last week…so much! But probably our Fab-u-lingo half term workshop were the girls played games, made and decorated cupcakes all while learning French. They were really engrossed and took it all in and learnt so much.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?

The freedom to do and be who we want to be.

Living Life Our Way, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A, Mumma HE Green

What do you find most difficult and why?

The most difficult thing I would say is trying to juggle everyone’s demands. However I don’t think that’s specific to home educating! Fitting everything in can be very difficult, with children various ages. But like anything you want to do you just have to work through these and find the best solution for everyone.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

The same advice I would give to new mums, or indeed anyone with an idea that others may not understand….. Listen you your instincts. Trust yourself.


I blog about our adventures on Facebook, the ups and downs of home ed, life being a mummy of 3 young kiddies who’s eldest and littlest are only 3 years apart!! I hope it helps others who maybe don’t know what home ed looks like to see one way of educating, in an nontraditional way (although is traditional for us!!)

Read more about Mumma HE Green on facebook here: My Life Outside The Box

Love Them And Leave Them by Sue Shepherd – Blog Tour

About The Book

Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind. The new heart-warming and heart-breaking romantic comedy from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?

On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.

But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.

Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

Love Them and Leave Them, author interview, blog tour, book, character spotlight, guest post, Q and A 

Character Spotlight Author Q&A

When did you create them? Where? How?

There are two main characters in Love Them and Leave Them. Jessie and Jessica share equal star status! 

When I first began writing the book, I knew I wanted it to be a parallel world story and I knew I was going to need two main characters, each a different version of the same person, but I wasn’t sure of anything else. I simply began writing about two women who’d had very different opportunities in life, and Jessie and Jessica appeared (although they had different names back then.) The more I chatted to them in my head, the more defined they became. Their main differences all hinged on the sudden loss of their dad at a young age (or not). 


From that moment on, their personalities splintered, and, as Jessica told me all about her time at university and the support she had from her parents and boyfriend, so Jessie told me how hard it was to lose not only her dad, but her future, all in the blink of an eye.

What do you like most about them?

I like both my main characters, but I think my heart goes out to Jessie just a little more. She took a hard knock and is struggling to come back to herself. The way she feels about her dad’s death in chapter one is very similar to my feelings regarding the loss of my own dad, who died very suddenly over 12 years ago. All this time, and I still can’t listen to ‘Dance with my Father’ without getting tearful. I’ve experienced other losses since, but I think the shock of that particular death will always remain with me.

What do like least about them?

It’s possible the readers will feel that Jessica has it all too easy, but I suspect that will change as they progress through the book.

Did everyone like them to start with or did you have to change them in any way?

When my editor read my first draft, he was concerned that both my main characters swore too much. He asked me, ‘Are you angry?’ Reading through it I had to agree – both women were quite sweary and selfish. I concluded that I was allowing some external stresses in my own life to influence the way my characters behaved and spoke.


Once I was aware of it, I was able to rectify it. The good thing is, with the click of a button, you can eradicate many f*cks. I softened the characters and made them both much more caring. But I learnt an important lesson – try not to let my own mood reflect in my characters’ dialogue.

Are there any similarities with anyone real?

Both Jessie and Jessica physically resemble a real-life friend of mine. In my head, I see Jessica as my friend when she’s dressed up and Jessie as the same friend on her more casual days. Which friend? I couldn’t possibly say!

What are your plans for them?

I don’t have any further plans for Jessie or Jessica. I feel their stories are told. I know where I imagine them to be in the future, but I suspect not all my readers will agree. But, then, isn’t that the joy of writing – once a person reads your book, they have their own take on your characters and the worlds you’ve placed them in, and that’s exciting to know.

Win an e-book of Love Them and Leave Them by entering the rafflecopter below (two prizes to be won). T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About The Author

Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour. Her debut novel, Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? was published by Corazon Books in March 2015. It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon in November 2015. Sue’s second novel, Love Them and Leave Them, was published in September 2016.

Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies.

author interview, blog tour, book, character spotlight, guest post, Q and A

Energy Waste: How To Save Money On Bills 

Energy waste is a huge problem – for everyone. It not only impacts our environment but it also costs money too. This infographic by Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies shows how much energy the UK wastes and how this compares to other countries. Perhaps more importantly, it also explains the ways we can save energy (and how much money this can save).

Did you know that the UK wastes a shocking 54% of its energy? Furthermore, the average UK household wastes a massive £250 per year just by not being energy efficient? EEK! Overall, in 2010 the UK used almost 330 billion kWh. For comparison, Africa uses approximately 19004 kWh annually.

Worse still, the amount of energy wasted in 2012 by the US economy could power the whole of the UK for 7 years. Now that really is shocking! The average American household also uses 2.7 times more electricity and 1.3 times more natural gas than the UK too.

So what can we do to reduce energy waste, and therefore also save money? Well, quite a few things actually! Simple changes can make a big difference; turn off technology properly (not just leave on standby!) and/or set them to auto shut down, unplug small appliances when not in use, use smart power strips, use LED lightbulbs and change air filters regularly.

To reduce energy consumption in your home you can make investments that will save you money in the longer run. For example, buy the highest star energy efficient appliances, invest in smart blinds and ceiling fans, install a dual flush toilet and water-saving shower head, and use light dimmer switches.

Underfloor heating is very energy efficiency. To maximise this, make sure your home is properly insulated. Also, use a heating pump. Last but certainly not least, use a smart thermostat to further save energy and therefore heating costs. Ideally this would be in conjunction with underfloor heating but either way it is well worth investing in. 

energy waste, green living, environment, sustainability, home and garden, bills, money saving

*This is a sponsored post.