How lovely – an award!

December 8, 2008 at 11:26 am (Memes) (, )

kreativeblog1

A little while ago, my good friend, Sandy, alerted me to the fact that she had given me the Kreativ Blogger Award – at the time I was snowed under and put off “doing my bit” and then, due to being snowed under, forgot about it! However, now that I’m getting caught up a little bit, I remembered and thought I’d do the award thing now (and thank Sandy profusely for giving me the award in the first place!).

Anyway, I am apparently supposed to list six things I like, so here goes:

  1. That time between about 8.30am and 9am when Xander gets all smiley and giggly and wants to play – I love that!
  2. Snuggling on the sofa under a blanket with Dale and Xander when it’s cold in the evenings.
  3. The look on Xander’s face when he’s finished feeding – he looks so sleepy and satisfied.
  4. Finding the time to finish a really good book.
  5. Finding the time to have a really good soak in the tub.
  6. Finding the time to have a snooze.

And now to nominate six blogs for the award:

  1. Creative Rainbows
  2. Sitting on a Cornflake
  3. In the Wee Hours
  4. As Usual, I Need More Book Shelves
  5. Words and Pictures
  6. Somewhere in the Distance
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Tagged – Three Things

September 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm (Memes) ()

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My lovely buddy, Sandy, has tagged me with a little meme, so here goes:

3 Joys

  1. Reading
  2. My hubby
  3. The thought of our new baby who is soon to arrive

3 Fears

  1. Heights
  2. Anything that naturally has more than 4 legs
  3. Loud, sudden noises

3 Goals

  1. To be a good mother
  2. To get promoted
  3. To buy a house with a garden where I can grow my own vegetables

3 Current Obsessions

  1. Our new baby who will very soon arrive
  2. Being prepared for motherhood
  3. Books

3 Random/Surprising Facts

  1. I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the RAF, but couldn’t because I was a girl who wore glasses (things have changed slightly since then!)
  2. I used to be a professional actor and was doing rather well with it, but I’m much happier since I gave it up (scenario of dream job becoming more of a nightmare, really!)
  3. I’m a neat-freak at work but messy as hell at home.

So, I’m supposed to nominate some people to do this after me, but I think I’ll just leave it open – do it if you feel like it!

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How lovely – an award!

September 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm (Memes) (, , , )

I was just checking my email inbox and to my delighted surprise I find I have been given the Brilliant Weblog award by my very good buddy Sandy (whose blog is one of the ones I regularly read and who is also one of my pen pals). According to her write-up of me, she finds me an interesting person (which is always nice to hear) and she loves me dearly (which is also always lovely to hear – incidentally, Sandy, I love you too!).

And so the task now falls to me to pass the award onto other deserving bloggers. Like Sandy, I don’t always have time to leave comments, but I do regularly read the blogs listed in my blogroll and there are a few I’d like to pick out as being a bit special and deserving of a little credit:

  • Sitting on a Cornflake is the blog of my good friend, Michelle, where she writes about life, books and bringing up her two lovely daughters.
  • Creative Rainbows is the web home of another of my very close friends, Susie, who is very artistic. You can check out some of her beautiful work at this blog.
  • Bookworms Will Rule the World is the home of many a fine book review by Janet whose reading tastes are very eclectic and there is bound to be a recommendation to suit any reading taste!
  • In the Wee Hours is the perfect place to catch up with Sarah’s life and love of literature.

And, although I may be a little biased here, I’m also flagging up two blogs affiliated with The Book Club Forum. Yes, I’m Admin on the forum and I contribute to both the blogs, but they also have posts written by other people and are really great:

Of course, there are other fantastic blogs I regularly check out (and to see them, all you have to do is click on the links in the various sections of my blogroll – go on, you know you want to!), but these are the ones I visit most regularly for various reasons and I just wanted to give them a high-five for being great!

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A book meme I pinched…

July 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm (Memes) (, , , )

… from Kylie, simply because I saw it and thought it was rather nice!

1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien (tried it once or twice but I can’t stand Tolkien’s style)
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible (despite being Pagan, I find some of the Old Testament tales very entertaining!)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (well, I’ve read all the plays anyway!)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (see No. 2)
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis (many times!)
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis (see No. 33)
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (found it dull and pointless)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (detested it!)
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (hated it)
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (another one I hated)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton (I read some of these as a kid, don’t know if I read all of them though)
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (very dull)
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (nice enough, but a bit weird)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams (NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So, 51 read and a further 24 I intend to read. Not bad, really!

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Tagged again…!

June 3, 2008 at 8:07 pm (Memes) (, , , )

I’ve been tagged again – this time by the lovely Nici:

The rules:
Link to the person that tagged you, post the rules somewhere in your meme, answer the Author questions, tag some people in your post, let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog, let the tagger know your entry is posted.

1. Who is your all-time favourite author, and why?

Terry Pratchett. I accidentally discovered his genius in the summer of 1992 whilst bored on a family holiday in the Lake District. I picked up  two books – one was Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton (which is excellent, by the way,  and far better than the film), the other was The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett. I was blown away by the story and the style – and immediately vowed to search out all his other work. The Discworld  series really sealed it for me – the man is nothing short of being a God in the writing world! His books never fail to entertain me and there is always some witty link back to something in the “round world”.

2. Who was your first favourite author, and why?  Do you still consider him or her among your favourites?

Astrid Lindgren. I picked up a copy of Ronia, The Robbers Daughter when I was about 10 years old and was transported to a world where the real world collided with another filled with mystery and magic. The characters are wonderful and the writing is enchanting. I read it again last year and was pleased to find it was every bit as wonderful as I remembered – it’s still a 10/10 book and has appeal for readers of all ages.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favourite authors, and why?

Mario Puzo. I’m currently reading The Godfather and it is already one of my favourite books of the year so far. I came to the film trilogy only over the last couple of years and loved all three movies (masterpieces all!) and the book is even better (something I hadn’t actually thought possible in this case!). I am completely loving this book and will definitely be searching out Puzo’s back catalogue!

4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?  Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?

Straight off, I’d have to list Terry Pratchett, Simon Scarrow, Kelley Armstrong and C S Lewis – those are the ones that jump out of my head immediately. If I think a tiny bit harder (and really, it doesn’t take much to bring these spinning out either!), I’d add Ben Elton, Stuart Macbride, Christopher Brookmyre, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, A A Milne, Kenneth Grahame, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Philippa Gregory, Neil Gaiman and P G Wodehouse. And that’s just a start. I have literally hundreds of favourites who I rate highly for a variety of different reasons and also depending on my mood.

Tagged:

Well, I’m going to leave this as an “open tag” – if you fancy joining in, please do post a link back to your blog entry – I’d love to see your choices!

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I’ve been Tagged!

March 16, 2008 at 11:46 am (Memes) (, , )

Tag!

I’ve been tagged by the wonderful Sarah over at This Closet Isn’t Big Enough (if you haven’t already become a regular reader of her blog, go and have a look immediately – you don’t know what you’re missing!).

So, here goes:

Four films I’d watch again:

  1. Amaedus (because it’s superbly written, cast, directed and performed)
  2. Dangerous Liaisons (because it’s quite the most sumptuous adaptation ever)
  3. So I Married an Axe Murderer (because it never fails to make me laugh)
  4. His Girl Friday (because of the perfect comic timing and fast-paced dialogue of the leads)

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Ashington, Northumberland (north east coast of England, just south of the Scottish Border)
  2. Portlethen, Aberdeenshire (north east coast of Scotland)
  3. Kirkcaldy, Fife (not far from Edinburgh)
  4. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire (north east coast of Scotland)

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. NCIS
  2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  3. Battlestar Galactica
  4. The Unit

Four things to eat:

  1. Really good, strong Cheddar cheese (there’s nothing quite like it!)
  2. Lots of fresh fruit (especially strawberries and raspberries)
  3. Potatoes (where would we be without the humble apple of the earth?)
  4. Home-made chickpea and chorizo soup (which is delicious, if I say so myself!)

Four places I’d rather be:
I’m quite happy where I am, so, like Sarah, I’ll list my four dream holiday destinations instead:

  1. Egypt (a Nile cruise would be just the ticket)
  2. Rome
  3. New York City
  4. A trip on the Orient Express

Four people to tag:

  1. Suzie at Inspirational Rainbows
  2. Kylie at Kylie’s Book Nook
  3. Jen at The Redneck Romance Writer
  4. Karen at Breathe In, Breathe Out

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I’ve been Tagged!

February 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm (Memes) (, , )

Tag!

My good friend, Michelle, was kind enough to tag me. Here’s how it works:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

That takes care of one and two immediately, so here goes with part three:

Six Unimportant Things About Me:
1. I refuse to say my age in “real numbers”. instead, I’m currently Twenty-Eleven. I find it easier to cope that way!
2. I read an average of 120 books in a year, give or take a few. Usually a small handful more than that. Of course, all that’s going to change later in the year once Tadpole arrives!
3. I’m a total Daddy’s girl. My Daddy is my hero!
4. I used to be a ballerina and went en pointe at an absurdly young age. You’re supposed to wait till your foot bones have grown properly (around the age of 14), whereas I decided not to wait and got up on my tippy-toes when I was 9. I now have problems with my big toes – I think I may have got hairline fractures in them due to my own stubbornness!
5. My favourite drink is mineral water. It doesn’t matter what brand – it can be the cheap own-brand stuff from the loacl supermarket so ling as it’s chilled. And I like both still and sparkling. It’s refreshing and healthy and does the trick every time!
6. I would love to be a green-fingered person, but I have a tendency to accidentally kill my plants. That said, I do have a peace lily that has stayed alive against the odds for almost three years now. It had flowers when I was given it, but has never flowered again. It doesn’t look like the healthiest of plants, but it’s hanging in there! I wouldn’t mind so much, but I always follow the guidelines for keeping my plants to the letter and they still end up dead! I’m hoping this one will keep going though – it’s something of a record for me!

And my six random people to tag are:
1. Karen
2. Kylie
3. Jen
4. Suzie
5. Janet
6. I can’t think of another person – everyone has already been tagged!

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What an honour!

January 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm (Memes) (, , , )

Blogger Award

Well, my first blog post of the year (I’ve been a bit busy and, thus, neglectful of my little place on the web), and I find I’ve been honoured with an award by the lovely Sarah (thanks, chuck!). Apparently, I’m an amazing blogger – who’d have thunk it?

So, I’d better start by nominating another four wonderful bloggers for this great honour, and they will be (oh, it’s so difficult to choose from all the wonderful bloggers out there!) *drumroll please*

So, now I’m supposed to reveal seven random or weird facts about myself (why do we feel such a need to expose ourselves in this way on the internet?), so here goes:

  1. Feet – My second toes are the same length as my big toes on both feet (and on the left foot, my third toe is just as long). My baby toes are turned on their sides, so they look like they’re curled up asleep. And my feet are very small – I only take a UK size 4 1/2, so I have difficulty getting shoes to fit me properly. As a result of this, I usually have at least one blister.
  2. Books – I am literally never without a book. Even on my wedding day, I popped one of those tiny gift-books into my handbag, despite knowing full well I’d have no time or inclination to read, because I couldn’t bear the thought of being without one for a whole day and night! My tastes are very eclectic and I’ll read pretty much anything, right down to the labels on shampoo bottles in the bathroom. I take part in many reading challenges and average at about 120 books finished per year. It’s my preferred form of entertainment. You’re never bored or lonely with a book!
  3. Flexibility – Despite the fact that I’m not a skinny person (not by a long shot!), I’m very bendy. I won’t go into details, but you’d be surprised!
  4. QI – My brain is a repository for random bits of information. This makes me very handy in a pub quiz and I often know the right answers on the TV show QI. Strangely, I often have no idea how I know things – I must just absorb information like a sponge and squirrel it all away till it’s needed, or until there’s a quiet moment that needs to be filled.
  5. Paganism – I became a Pagan by accident. It’s true! A chance discovery in the encyclopedia whilst looking up Dracula once rainy lunch time and my life was changed forever! You can read about that HERE.
  6. Cooking – I’m a regular Kitchen Goddess and can whip up a tasty meal at the drop of a hat. It’s often joked that I don’t have food in my house – only ingredients – and it’s true! I aways have the makings of a meal, whether simple or complicated. I’m excellent at soups and meat dishes; make a superb lasagna, bolognese, chili or curry; and also make authentic Turkish kofte. However, I’m useless at baking. The most I’ve ever managed was a mediocre cake from a packet mix and a pie that tasted like the pastry was made of cardboard. I shall keep trying, though! I am determined to succeed!
  7. Deceptive Appearance – Although most people think I’m outgoing and confident, I’m actually painfully shy and insecure. Like many who have had a theatre upbringing (yes, I used to be an actor!), I learned to hide the “real me” as a defence mechanism. I come across as friendly and easy-going, but it’s something I have to work at – it takes real effort to actually speak to people,let alone actually approach them! I get around it by seeing life as a performance. I play a character who is self-confident and out-going, so the shy person that I actually am doesn’t have to deal with it all. I’m actually happiest with very few, very close friends, rather than larger gatherings (really, any more than about four or five people and inside I’m all of a panic!).

So, yes, seven things about me. I hope it gives people an idea of the person behind the blog (and the books!). Thank you, again, to Sarah for giving me this award. I hope you all have as much fun reading this post as I had composing it!

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Now and Then (or How Things Have Changed!)

November 23, 2007 at 6:17 pm (Memes) (, , , )

Change

Every now and then, it’s good to have a good think about things and clear out all the clutter – many people do this early each year and call it Spring Cleaning. Occasionally it’s good to do that to your head too, taking a good look at how things used to be and how they’ve changed – how I’ve changed over the years. In order to make this exercise productive, I tend to focus mainly on positive things, rather than negative, although I’m a great believer that negatives can be turned into positives, depending on how you look at them!

Anyway, there are some of the things that are different about me, and my life, since I’ve grown up. Well, maybe not grown up as such, but since I became an adult… and if you decide to take a look at your past and present, let me know – I’d be interested in reading the results!

My three best friends as a child:
1. Louise Wilson
2. Julie Merryweather
3. Claire Hagleburg

My three best friends as an adult:
1. Dale (hubby)
2. Leni (sister)
3. Rod (gay best friend – every girl should have one!)

My three favourite books as a child:
1. The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter (a gift from my Dad when I was two years old)
2. Wizwam and Kelley Under the Sea (one of those books where you’re the star in the story)
3. The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis (the first in The Chronicles of Narnia)

My three favourite books as an adult:
1. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (I still love fairytales!)
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis (with the exception of The Horse and His Boy)
3. The Stand by Stephen King (post-apocalyptic perfection)

My three favourite films as a child:
1. The Neverending Story (I read the book and loved it too)
2. The Goonies (The first film I saw in the cinema without adults supervising us!)
3. Dracula (All the Hammer House of Horror Dracula films – I adored them!)

My three favourite films as an adult:
1. His Girl Friday (There’s nothing like a great screwball comedy)
2. Arsenic and Old Lace (I just adore Carey Grant)
3. Harvey (I love James Stewart too)

My three favourite TV shows as a child:
1. The Adventure Game (space adventure game show with a “talking” plant)
2. Doctor Who (Tom Baker is still “my” Doctor)
3. Bagpuss (I loved him much more than Emily did!)

My three favourite TV shows as an adult:
1. Desperate Housewives (what’s not to like about the women of Wisteria Lane?)
2. Firefly (cowboy-pirates in space – why do my favourites always get cancelled?)
3. Farscape (another epic space adventure that sadly got cancelled)

My three favourite pastimes as a child:
1. Reading
2. Dancing
3. Writing

My three favourite pastimes as an adult:
1. Reading
2. Writing
3. Watching old films

Three jobs I “wanted to do when I grew up” as a child:
1. Ballet Dancer
2. Actor
3. RAF Fighter Pilot

Three jobs I have had as an adult:
1. Actor
2. Bouncer
3. Cinema Manager

Three habits I had as a child:
1. Correcting peoples’ grammar
2. Asking “why?” all the time
3. Chewing my fingernails down to the quick – till my fingers bled!

Three habits I have as an adult:
1. Correcting peoples’ grammar, spelling and punctuation
2. Asking “why?” all the time (I have to have the reasons behind things – I can’t just blindly do them!)
3. Being “blonde” if I think it’ll get me out of bother or get someone to do something for me that I’d rather not do myself

Three people I admired (and why) as a child:
1. Wayne Sleep – I adored ballet and would have loved to have had the chance to dance with him!
2. Adam Ant – My first proper crush! He was handsome and famous and he dressed as a Dandy Highwayman – he could have been my Prince Charming any day!
3. Christopher Lee – Arguably a bit of an odd hero for a small child, but I really did love those Hammer Horror films!

Three people I admire (and why) as an adult:
1. Eddie Izzard – He’s so clever and witty with a mind that seems to take the simplest of things and make them completely absurd.
2. J. K. Rowling – She’s written a very successful series of books and has reached thousands of children who never really read for enjoyment before they read the Harry Potter books. She’s also been very savvy and made a mint!
3. My Dad – He’s a hero in a very quiet and unassuming way and is always there for me, no matter what. Yes, I’m a bit of a Daddy’s Girl, but that’s beside the point.

Three things people said about me as a child:
1. That I was very, very good (which was true).
2. That I was very clever (which was also true).
3. That I was very outgoing and sociable (which was kind of true – I sought approval from everybody and so would entertain on demand).

Three things people say about me as an adult:
1. That a read a LOT of books and seem to get through them very quickly.
2. That I’m generally a happy, smiling, friendly person.
3. That I crack on with things, even if I don’t enjoy the task – I like to get things done!

Three accomplishments of which I was proud as a child:
1. My collection of medals and certificates from various dance competitions (ballet, tap and national dance) was a major source of pride.
2. Getting good marks in my classes, especially in English and Drama.
3. My ability to calm a situation down quickly between my friends when they were quarrelling

Three accomplishments of which I am proud as an adult:
1. Living alone – I only did it for a short while, but if I ever needed to do it again, I know I can.
2. Learning to commit – I danced around and avoided commitment until I met the right person. It took a while for me to be comfortable with committing to one person for the rest of my life, but I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.
3. Being able to admit when I’m wrong and apologise as soon afterwards as possible.

Three things I’ve learned that I would tell my young self if I could go back in time:
1. That it doesn’t matter how many friends you have – only that the ones you have are good ones.
2. That sometimes the things you think you desperately want aren’t what you want when you get them, but not to be disappointed – learn from it and move on.

3. That it’s OK to not be perfect all the time – cut yourself some slack occasionally – people won’t like you any less for it and your family will still love you.

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