It's September the first, meaning all over the UK, witches and wizards aged between 11 - 18 are aboard the Hogwarts Express, travelling to Hogwarts.
Alas, my Hogwarts letter never came, and I'm just a simple muggle, updating my monthly blog.
*queues The Little Mermaid soundtrack*
"I wanna be where the wizards are, I wanna learn, wanna learn the magic. Casting spells with those (Whad'ya call 'em?) oh - wands. Waving your hands you don't get too far. Wands are required for magic and hexing. Strollin' along down (What's that place again?) Diagon Alley. Where they fly. Where they run. Up where they play Quidditch all day in the sun. Wanderin' free, wish I could be, going to Hogwarts..."
Okay, with that musical interlude over, onto what's being going on in my life this past month...
Holiday/ vacation was wonderful! The drive there took longer than expected due to traffic, and Youngest was sick about five times (I guess we gave him his meds too late), but aside from that the travelling went smoothly.
The place we stayed in wasn't as nice as nice as our usual caravan. The shower was a tiny little box, where you hit your head off the ceiling and the water was never hot, so we won't be staying on that campsite again! Though it was great having access to a free pool. The other advantage is how close it was to Brean.
Usually, we stay in Bleadon, which is a 15-min bus journey from Weston Super-Mare, which is great on the day we catch the bus into Weston, but we didn't want to be catching the bus everyday. The journey from where we stayed this year (Berrow) to WSM is about 40 mins, and a family ticket cost £15, so we only went there once. We went around the shops and arcade, though we didn't go to the beach, as we missed high tide, so we couldn't go in the sea, and a lot of the beach was quicksand etc. due to the low tide. We did however visit PJ's ice cream parlour, which has been voted one of the best places for ice cream in the UK. They're not wrong! So creamy and flavourful. The boys had Pikachu ice cream cones (banana ice cream, with sweets/ candies to make it look like Pikachu), I had a salted caramel ice cream cone, and Hubby had a "99" ice cream cone, but with a Mars bar instead of a Flake!
If we'd been in Bleadon, we'd have been limited for what to do on the other days, as the free pool there is crap, and there's nothing else in the area. However, in Berrow, we were only a 10 min walk away from Brean Leisure park, which has a fairground/ themepark, a massive swimming pool (it's actually 3 different pools; toddler pool, regular pool with slides etc. and an outdoor pool, also with slides etc.), loads of arcades and a crazy gold course, so we headed up to Brean on a daily basis, and did different things there. We did visit the beach (again at low tide) but there was no sea and a danger of quicksand. We stayed near the dry sand, but it was too windy and the boys didn't like it.
One of the days Hubby and Oldest went to the themepark, while me and Youngest stayed at the holiday park so he could join in with the superhero activities; he got to draw his own superhero outside in chalk, make a superhero cape and mask, then play superhero laser tag. It seemed like he had fun.
The food was hit and miss. The on-site food was more akin to a cafe/ chip-shop. The fried breakfast was great, as were the chips and curry sauce, but we wanted something a bit more special.
On the first night we tried the Tavern at Brean Leisure park, and ordered stakes. OMG! What a fucking rip-off. £16 for a crappy little steak, that didn't even taste good. We were very unhappy with that.
But later on in the week we found this Indian restaurant called Bay Of India, which offered an all you can eat buffet for £15 per adult/ £7 per child, and that was AMAZING! Lots of flavourful curries, and a wide arrange of accompaniments.
The most fun we had was spending time in the arcades. We came away with seven plush toys in total; a Minecraft Enderman that Hubby won for me, a Minecraft Creeper that Hubby won for Youngest, a Marvel Gamora that Hubby won for Oldest, a Five Nights at Freddie's Chica that Oldest won himself, a Marvel Black Panther that Oldest won himself, and a FNAF Balloon Boy and Puppet that Youngest won for himself! We also won a bunch of little things from collecting tickets, playing 2p machines etc. It was a lot of fun!
If you want to see pictures from our holiday, I've set up a gallery here.
Back To School
Even if it's not Hogwarts, my kids are back to school next week. Oldest starts his final year in secondary school (!), meaning we'll soon be going to collage open evenings, and Youngest starts Year Four (which is the equivalent to Third Grade), meaning he has three years of Primary school left! It's crazy to think I'll soon have a collage age kid, and then a couple of years later Youngest will be in Secondary School. Where has the time gone?!
Both of them are as excited as kids can be for going back to school. I mean, who wouldn't rather be at home playing video games? But they understand it needs to happen, and they're looking forward to seeing their friends.
We sorted all the school shopping these past two weeks, and aside from a couple of items I got in the wrong size, and can no longer get replacements for in store, we're good to go. The items I got in the wrong sizes are just spare trousers and jumpers for Youngest, so I'll order some spares online.
While I've enjoyed having the boys home (and not having to get up at 7 am Mon - Fri) I'm very much looking forward to the peace and quiet, and getting back into a routine.
Setting a Routine and Making Plan
As expected, I did very little 'productive' in August. I knew with a vacation booked and the boys off school, I wouldn't get any writing done, and I've done minimal in terms of CQ work. But the break has done me good, and I'm excited to get back into a routine starting from Monday.
My napping/ tiredness issues are still ongoing and I'm still unsure if they're self inflicted (I went to sleep at 2am last night, because I stayed up reading Game of Thrones fanfic! oops!!), or if there's something medically wrong (I'll get to that shortly), but either way I have written myself up a schedule, and set goals for the month to help motivate me to be more productive.
I'll let you know how I get on.
One of my main goals for the month is to write 10k per week/ 40k per month, and I plan on doing this over three projects! Yes, three. I am insane. I plan on continuing to write Choosing Sides, which I estimate has 20k left before the story is complete. Kyra Lennon and I have also discussed re-writing our co-written novel to change some aspects, and I want to start re-writing a new version of my 2012 novel Cupid.
The basic premise is the same, and the main changes are that I'm making it firmly YA (it was NA previously, and I've aged down the characters a couple of years) and turning it into an origin story. I've also renamed and changed the dynamics of the characters somewhat, mostly to include a best-friends to lovers romance, which I think works really well in the story. My aim is to start by serialising on Wattpad once I've gotten enough lead.
Be sure to follow me on social media for updates on both Choosing Sides and Cupid, as well as my co-written novel with Kyra.
I know I talk about this almost every entry, but that's because I feel the issue is on-going. I'm still struggling with depression and my energy levels. As I said above, the energy levels could be that I've gotten into the bad habit of not going to bed until late, and then napping in the morning, so next week I aim to go to bed by 12 am every night, and not nap unless it's a weekend. Hopefully that will improve things.
However, I am unsure if the tiredness is only bad habit related. I feel like my depression hasn't been great for the last 18-ish month, especially around my period (which is still messed up), so I plan on going to the doctor to get everything checked out. Hubby suggested maybe due to weight gain I need a higher dose of anti-depressants, so that's certainly worth mentioning.
Dieting and weight gain is something else I've been struggling with since the beginning of the year. In 2017 I did well on Keto and lost about 35lbs, but since January, I've put back on 15lbs, and have been unable to stick to a low carb/ low sugar diet for more than a couple of weeks. This too could be contributing to my tiredness and depression, so one of my September goals is to be stricter with my diet.
That's All Folks!
I think that cover it for this month, so I'll leave this entry here and see you at the end of Sept/ beginning of Oct.
Thoughts, feelings and random updates from author Clare Dugmore.