April Catch-Up

Any Human Heart

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It has been a strange few months as March and April have been full of health issues.  First, I had a middle-of-the-night dash to A&E, where I was quickly diagnosed with Sepsis, brought on by kidney and bladder infections.  I was immediately put on treatment to bring me back from the brink.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is when you have an infection and your immune system goes into a crazy overdrive, starts attacking your organs and causes inflammation throughout the body.  It is a life-threatening but easily treatable when caught early.

Visit The Sepsis Trust for more information.

Recovering from Sepsis is much harder than I would have ever believed and I was medication for quite a long time after getting home from the hospital.  However, I was on the mend and just when I was finally starting to feel much better, I felt the same symptoms coming on again!  The A&E doctors had told me that if I suspected I had another infection I should come straight back, so that was what I did.  I was showing early signs of sepsis but I was put straight on antibiotics which seemed to stop it in its tracks.  Then it was back to trying to get better again.

Basically, not dying has taken up an incredible amount of time recently!

Getting ill is strange after having had cancer.  In a strange way, it takes me back to those old moments.  Laying in bed recovering = feeling like I have just had chemotherapy.  Going back and forth for hospital appointments = feeling like I am waiting to get some horrible life-changing results.  It is amazing how the brain can immediately trick you into thinking something else is going on and bring old emotions back up.  In some ways, the biggest challenge getting better was the mental battle rather than the physical one.

Needless to say, all of this put me rather behind with work, University and writing but I am finally getting back into the swing of things and I’m still in that dizzyingly excited period you get after you’ve been ill for a long time, where you just want to throw yourself into everything because it is just such a relief not to feel ill.

Writing

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 11.53.04However, in March I did have a short story, ‘Connected’, published in Fifty George Street literary journal.  It’s future fiction, imagining what it might be like trying to stay connected in a technological world.

You can read it on the Fifty George Street website.

Reading

I have read some wonderful books in the first quarter of this year, so I wanted to recommend my top 3 but I am finding it so hard to choose!  So I have ended up going for 4.  All 4 books are emotional but amazing and take you on a complete journey of the heart.  I highly recommend them all to you…

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Maillot ~ The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss ~ Soho by Richard Scott ~ Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Writing Workshop

After listening to the wonderful feedback I have received from people who have taken part in the ‘Let’s Start Writing’ workshop they have a had a bit of a revamp to include the chance to get more feedback on your writing.  I am thrilled with it and can’t wait to get started on Monday 7th May.  If you think you may be interested, please sign up here!

Let’s Start Writing – SOLD OUT

SOLD OUT - Sign up now to join the Let’s Start Writing Workshop

£20.00

For the rest of the month, I plan on getting on with writing and working and giving my body time to get stronger and stronger.  What have you been up to?  What have you been reading, writing and doing?  Leave a comment down below so we can have a chat.

Happy April x

January Catch-Up

Any Human Heart, Blogs, Creative Writing, Goals, Journey Back to Health, Writing & Blogging

january catch-up copy

The Joy of January

I have to confess to usually hating January. It’s cold, its dark, the Christmas lights that were making everywhere look so pretty are gone, money is tight and it’s so cold that I’m left clinging to the radiator like we are shipwreck survivors.

The Change
This year I have changed my whole attitude to January and have been embracing it. After the craziness of Christmas, I’ve been taking this quieter month as a real opportunity to have some downtime and spend more time quietly at home. To take care of my house a bit more, to read with my children. My evenings have been spent snugged-up indoors having a hot bath and reading one of the awesome books or box-sets that I got for Christmas. I have been enjoying the gentle quietness January brings.

Reflection
This time also allows for some quieter reflection of what I would like to achieve in 2018, rather than the big – I wanna be skinny – resolution, I can take time to really think. I mean, obviously, I do want to be skinny but I am able to take the time to really think about how I am going to achieve that. But also consider life goals, work goals, what writing I want to work on, family goals. To really think about the year ahead and what will be best for us all.

Soul Detox
I also decided to have an online detox in January and have been attempting to Marie Kondo the hell out of my life. It’s still a work in progress but if it doesn’t bring me joy… I’ve unsubscribed and unfollowed. I’ve changed my notification settings so that my phone isn’t pinging every two minutes with notifications that I don’t need to see urgently. It’s been really nice to receive emails and notifications that do bring me joy, and it definitely feels less overwhelming.

January’s Close
Now that we are nearing the end of January, I am loving seeing little shoots appearing in the ground and I hope that I too will be able to step into February feeling entered, refreshed and renewed.

January Writing Workshops

The Let’s Start Writing Workshop that I ran at the beginning of January was fantastic and we had such a wonderful time. I love running this course as it’s so much fun seeing people trying something new for the first time and loving it.
And great news – starting on Monday I am running another two courses that you can sign up to…

There are plenty of testimonials on the Writing Workshop page so take a look.  Enjoy the rest of your January and I hope to see you on one of the courses soon.

Nicola x 

 

7 Best Books for the New Year

To Love To Read, Uncategorized

I can’t believe we are already three weeks into the new year.  If you love the feeling of a fresh page that can come with a new year, why not settle down with an awesome book about new beginnings and starting over to inspire you in 2017!  Here are some of my favourite…

Unknown.jpeg1. The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

One of the things I love about it is that although it is about new beginnings she doesn’t abandon her whole life to make it happen (despite the name), she discovers a new way to enjoy what she already has – although some much-needed changes are made along the way.  A book about fiding your own inner strength and making positive changes.

This book is  also wonderfully uplifting

 

 

Unknown-1.jpeg2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I have spoken about this book before.  It is moving and powerful and you may need some tissues at the ready.    The main theme of this book is identity and how much you identity is tied into your family and the people around you, as well as asking the question about if it is possible to ever really ‘start over’ again.

A moving book that is highly recommended.

 

 

Unknown-2.jpeg3. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you haven’t read the book then I am sure you have seen the movie with Julia Roberts (which I equally love).  This book is creative non-fiction and Gilbert’s personal experience of the year after her divorce.  Its honest and moving and will probably have you wanting to travel the world by the end.

Touching and inspiring novel.

 

 

images.jpeg4. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

This is a poignant and moving novel – especially in light of the recent inauguration and possible wall building – is about people moving to the United States of America as a way to make a new life and discover their place in the world.  Themes of family, identity and what it means to be an ‘American’ wrapped in a story about different forms of love.

A novel to make you questions why people do the things they do.

 

Unknown-4.jpeg5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben

This is a great book to start the year with.  Another non-fiction book in which Ruben decides to start the year making changes to her life to make herself happier.  Ruben does a new thing every month with each chapter showing what she does that month so you can try to emulate these ideas.  In my case I didn’t follow everything but picked out the parts that I knew would work for me.

Great read to motivate yourself.

 

Unknown-5.jpeg6. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Two books by Elizabeth Gilbert on one list – outrageous!  But if you write books about making changes and positive living, I guess that’s inevitable on this type of list.  I’m such a massive fan of this book, all about living creatively which is clearly completely up my street.  You don’t have to be in a creative industry or anything, this book is more about being creative everyday and is a great place to start bringing joy and creativity into your life.

Inspiring, creative living.

 

Unknown-6.jpeg7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Again, even if you haven’t read the book you may have seen the awesome film.  The plot is not a million miles away from Eat, Pray, Love in that its a woman trying to figure out what makes her tick after the loss of her mother and recent divorce.  Rather than travelling the world she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, spending much time on her own to reflect and think.

Very honest and raw reflective memoir of change.

 

Please do comment below and let me know if you have read any of the books and what you think of them, and what books you would recommend that are around based around new beginnings or starting over.

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Writing Vlogs and #ProjectJoy

Any Human Heart, Writing & Blogging

Is your New Years Resolution to be more creative?  To write more?

Awesome! Then you should check out this #ProjectJoy blog series all about living creatively, using writing as a tool through difficult time. Check it out and let me know what you think…

Happy Writing! x

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You can also follow me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

I genuinely love to hear from you so come and say hi! Nx

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Summer Reception with Bowel Cancer UK

Cancer & Me, Uncategorized

Fun, emotional, heartbreaking and inspiring – just your standard Thursday night!

I was so excited a few weeks ago to receive an invitation to Bowel Cancer UK’s Summer Reception and the event was finally held on Thursday evening. Held at the Royal College of General Practitioners on an amazing roof-terrace in London there was a mixture of researchers, medical practitioners, supporters, writers, survivors, I’m sure many more interesting people and my husband and I.

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I must admit to not knowing what to expect but it was wonderful, interesting but also emotional. Speaking with other people who have, like me, been directly effected by Bowel Cancer and people who work tirelessly improving everything from patients survival rates and quality of life to government policy and social awareness – and basically STOP Bowel Cancer, it brought a number of experiences back to life.

My highlight was listening to speeches from both a research scientist and Deborah Alsina who gave us a flavour of what is going on behind the scene at Bowel Cancer UK…

Bowel Cancer UK export the need for research with their Gaps Analysis Project. It is not just one disease but could be as many as 7 or 8.

Money from Bowel Cancer UK bring the best in the UK to fight this particular cancer and designing new approaches such as personalised medicine.

Exciting science that can have a real impact. Understanding the illness is key to improving the outcome for patients.

As amazing as everything they are doing is, it also reminds you just how much still needs to be done.

Bowel Cancer remains the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK. However if you are diagnosed early – within Stage 1 – your chances of survival are 90% that’s why ongoing research, developments and symptoms awareness (so you can get an early diagnosis) are so vital.

Then great news is that you can now become a Friend of Bowel Cancer UK to ensure this work continues.  Sign up here and you can give a couple of quid a month and continue the fantastic work Bowel Cancer UK do.  I’m so grateful.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  I genuienyly love to hear from you so pop over and say hi!

Buy your copy of The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer here