Whale Song by Nicola Bourne

Creative Writing, Short Story
Originally published on The Stockholm Review of Literature, Issue 21

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Something’s different. Approaching the beach I feel it immediately. There’s something unknown, like a song caught on a breeze that you can’t quite hear. The wind whips my hair, slapping me across my cheeks. Salt is thick in the air, it tastes as bitter as the cold, but even so, a large crowd has already turned out.

I came as soon as I heard, running from my stall in the harbour, not even considering that I was leaving it wide open. The man in front of me rushes, accidentally kicking a child’s crab bucket over, causing crying from the boy and crabs to slip all over the walkway, unable to tell the direction of the sea. We scurried away from the harbour, to the point where industry gives way to wide beaches flanked by lawns, promenades and the suntrap making windbreakers. And then ¾ she was there. A demonstrative humpback whale beached on tiny pebbles.

There’s no blood. That’s the first thing I think. I don’t know why I had assumed there would be. Actually, I lie. There’s no blood was my second thought, my first was a half-formed thing ¾ a shock, a sharp intake of air, the size!


Continue reading ‘Whale Song’ by Nicola Bourne on The Stockholm Review of Literature

Connected by Nicola Bourne

Creative Writing

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They say when someone dies that they leave a hole in your heart but I don’t think that’s true.

Instead, they add something to your heart.  It has the shape and weight of a large boulder and its forever in the way.  It makes it hard for your heart to keep working.  Hard to breathe.  I tried explaining that to a woman at work and she told me about someone her friend knew who had a tumour inside their heart the size of a pea.  I think she thought that would help.  Empathizing by sharing a parallel story.  They did both involve hearts.  Maybe the emphasis was lost over text message.

That is why I bought him online.

Read the rest…

Published on www.50GS.com, 14th March 2018

Non-Fiction November Recommendations

To Love To Read

It’s non-fiction November and I love it.  There are SO many wonderful non-fiction books, everything from creative non-fiction and memoirs to literary journalism and essays.  There is something incredible about reading something and knowing that it is a true and lived experience.

These are just a few of my favourite non-fiction books that you might want to think about picking up this November…

71UzoY91DTLThe Outrun by Amy Liptrot

I loved this book.  It is a memoir following Amy Liptrot through a point of major change in her life of extremes.  Going from living in one of the most remote and quietest parts of Scotland to a hedonistic lifestyle in London that quickly spiralled out of control and finding her way back again.  It’s incredibly moving, beautifully written and gives an amazing insight into the mind of an addict.  This book will also make you want to desperately visit the Shetland Islands!

51D5+AsHk0L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

This book is so unique.  Nelson is also a poet which I think comes across in her work because the sentence structures are so stunning.  This memoir reflects on the woman’s body through the lens of Nelson’s relationship with her body when she is pregnant and her gender fluid partner’s body as they transition.  The text is very fragmented and jumps around time like she is trying to piece all her memories together.

9781408859261The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury

This is one of my favourite books of all time.  Katharine Norbury’s memoir is  one of the most beautiful books I’ve read.  It combines memoir and nature writing, following Norbury’s journey to the source of a river in the UK after she has a miscarrige.

This book does broach the subject of miscarrige, although its not discussed in length, I think its worth giving a trigger warning for a very sensitive subject.

91h3nXHn+dLMen We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Ohhh this book!  Writer Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life in just five years!  In this beautifully written memoir, Ward reflects on her relationships with these men and what lead to their deaths, as a way to look at the circumstances that young black men who live in poverty often find themselves in.  Let your eyes be opened and your heart moved by this incredibly honest book!

coverNo Is Not Enough by Namoi Klein

I am reading this book at the moment.  It is about ‘shock politics’ and how someone like Donald Trump (who she calls the ultimate logo) can become President of the USA.  Although it’s about America, a worrying amount is relevant to the UK at the moment!  It also looks at how we, as societies can stop letting fear taking over and bring unity back. As Klein says, ‘This is a look at how we arrived at this surreal political moment, how to keep it from getting a lot worse, and how, if we keep our heads, we can flip the script.’

51dyNorWnNL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer by… me!

Given that it is non-fiction, I kinda feel like I have to mention my book.  Part self-help and part memoir this book moves from diagnosis to getting the all clear, trying to offer everything that I learned along the way.


Do you have any non-fiction books that you would recommend?  If so, please leave a comment in the comments section below… I am always looking for books to add to my list of books to be read!


Happy Reading! x

Your Thoughts?!

Writing & Blogging

I can’t see who has or hasn’t bought my book, The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer, but if you have, I REALLY appreciate the support. It has been so exciting finally realising this dream for me and I really can’t thank you enough and obviously the more it’s brought and read, the better it is for ratings and spreading the word about the book which is why I have a little favour to ask…

Can I ask a favour, can you please pop onto Amazon and leave a review? Comments REALLY help keep the book on the Amazon algorithm so again I would really appreciate it. Please be honest in your review, whatever your thoughts they are just great to have up there and I would love to hear your thoughts..

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

Purchase The Fabulous Woman's Guide Through Cancer on Kindle or in Paperback here!

Purchase The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer on Kindle or in Paperback here!

It’s All About Me! 11 Random Facts

Any Human Heart, What's Happening?

A reader messaged me saying they love the blog (thank you) but felt they didn’t really know anything about me. Interesting!  I had never thought anyone would want to know about me in general but there is slightly more to me than cancer and colostomy’s – so here are 11 random facts about me.

  • 1.  I live in Hertfordshire which is just outside London but being born and bred in ‘Norf’ London, I struggle slightly with not living in London and still consider myself a Londoner.  The realisation a few months ago that I no longer know the whole tube map by heart actually made me cry inside.  Having said that I do love my town and would be surprised if we left, but I did say I would never leave London so, who knows?
  • 2.  Even at 34 I’m a complete daddy’s girl and have no problems with it – that man is my hero.  Am mildly obsessed with all my family.
  • 3.  I’m half American.  And not just half American, I’m half Texan!  This fact surprises everyone as nothing about me suggests I am anything other than English.  My mother moved here as a child and actually, nothing about her suggested she was anything apart from English either.  Except her passport which she never changed.
  • 4.  Growing up I wanted to be either a writer or a dancer & spent everyday after school in some sort of performing arts class & did a BTEC in Performing Arts at college.
  • 5.  In my worst nightmare I would be stuck in some sort of dark pit with rats.  It is actually making my skin crawl just thinking about it!
  • 6.  I have three tattoos but I have actually been tattooed five times – two were to cover up what was already there.  You would think on that basis I would have learnt my lesson but I would like one more re-done and then one final one which will be the date I found out I had cancer.  Sounds morbid but I want it as a reminder that life is to short not to be living the life you want to lead.
  • 7.  I change my mind about things – you may have worked that out?!
  • 8. I love making things, in particular jewellery and gifts.  I would much rather give (and receive) something heartfelt that has had effort and thought put into it.  It made my day this summer when a friend wore a necklace I had made her as part of her wedding jewellery – very cool.
  • 9.  Mexico is my favourite country.  I love the language, the people, the culture, the food, the architecture, I could go on and on but basically, its flaming fabulous.  I spent a month travelling there when I was 19 and went back travelling for three months when I was 24.  I will return soon, but there are just so many new places to explore and I am obsessive about visiting new places.
  • 10.  I love shite TV.  Reality shows like Big Brother, TOWIE, Made in Chelsea, they are all complete guilty pleasures of mine.  My husband can’t abide them so I only get to watch them sneakily on catch-up.  By then my twitter feed is full of all the gossip so I know what is coming which sort of defeats the point.
  • 11.  If I could give some advice to my teenage self it would be to worry less and do more that made me happy.  I was always so worried of what people thought and I think at times I really let it hold me back.  Of course hindsight makes everything seem so black and white but I wish I’d had the confidence I have now at 15.

So there you have it.  11 very random facts about me.  If there is anything that you would like to know, leave a comment, let me know and I if it is something I want to share I may do a similar sort of thing soon…

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Day 36 – 100 Healthy Days – Keeping Momentum High

Health & Beauty, Journey Back to Health

There is no doubt that it was easier for me to stay healthy whilst in Spain.  The heat, swimming pool and delicious salads made it easier for me to eat healthy and move more everyday.  It’s when I’m home I seem to struggle, especially with sugar and caffeine.  I just get so tired with the kids etc… so it has to be done!

photoI know I said that I wasn’t going to ‘give up’ anything but as things are going quite well and want to keep moving in the right direction I decided to give up processed sugar.  As well as wanting to be healthier I have given up sugar due to the horrible fatigue I have been feeling ever since having cancer as a way to try and help combat that.  I am on day 6 now and it is going well.  Apart from on day 4 when I accidentally had sugar in a drink I didn’t realise it was in (we will come onto hidden sugars in due course) but basically….  I have been making some ‘clean’ desserts as fab alternatives, including these delicious Cocoa Coconut Bites that are also a hit with the children – win win!

Moving wise I have taken the plunge and hired a personal trainer to make sure I keep exercising regularly and get the most out of my workouts.  I will be starting with her on Thursday so in the mean time I keep moving and getting out and about and my Davina DVD’s whenever I can.  Even when it was raining at the weekend, hubby the kids and I all got our wellies on a headed into the woods for a long country walk, heaven!

So 36 days in I would say that one thing that has been interesting is the effect I believe it is having on my children.  They are getting out and about more and their diet has definitely improved as I find healthy or clean alternatives and – if I’m honest – I don’t want to be tempted by them eating something yummy I’m not allowed so I’m not giving them things I would have on occasion before.  All in all I believe it is having a positive impact on the whole family, which is only ever good news in my eyes.

Breathing Space Spa, Harpenden & ESPA Review

Beauty Treatment, Health & Beauty

Walking into Breathing Space, you walk into a busy cafe selling delicious healthy juices and meals, with a buzzy reception desk and people heading to Yoga or Pilates in their studio but as you walk upstairs you are transported into a wonderful calming haven.  Large sofas with luxurious throws.  Dark, beautifully carved wooden furniture that looks like it has just arrived from Bali.  Dimmed lighting and  the obligatory calming music means you could only be expected to do one thing, relax.

I hunted out Breathing Space because I am in love with ESPA treatments.  I don’t mean the products (which I also love) but the actual treatments.  ESPA have very specific training and way of doing treatments they expect all therapists who use ESPA to keep to.  Having trained in them myself when I worked The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, London, I really do know just how fantastic they are.  One of my favourite things is their philosophy that a treatments should be holistic and dedicated to you.  Their treatments are also very effective but non-invasive, a perfect combination.  I could go on and on about how fantastic ESPA is, but I think you get the point.

As with all things, an ESPA treatment is only as good as the person giving it.  I had a massage and facial and both were fantastic.  They upheld ESPA’s high standards perfectly and my skin felt and looked radiant afterwards.    The therapist took an interest in what I wanted to get from the treatment and could adapt the treatment to make sure that was what she focused on.  In the massage that was a lot of extra work around my shoulders.  In the facial, using regenerative and hydrating products and doing a lot of draining and massage on my face to help clear the layers underneath the skin and tension I hold in my jaw.

I do think Breathing Space is quite expensive, but I do think that you are paying for quality and in this case, it was worth every penny.

My 100th Post & 1st Birthday!

Any Human Heart, What's Happening?

f403950fceb189c91fc58ffa65c60472This is my 100th post and it was also the 1st birthday of this Blog last week so pretty exciting in the world of this, my lovely little blog.

I love this blog, I love the opportunity to write, the opportunity to share my story and the opportunity to do anything I can to help anyone who may be experiencing the same thing or something similar or know someone who is.

Most of all I love hearing back from you guys.  Everyone’s stories and thoughts have meant so much to me, so I sincerely say thank you to you all.

I am not sure that I would ever go as fas as saying I am pleased I had cancer, but the way I have managed to take something so negative and from it gain the confidence to find my voice and create something I am really proud of.

In all honesty, if I can do it, anyone can do it, get through something they think may kill them and come out the other side stronger for it and I hope this blog continues to show that.

My dream for the next year of this Blog is that it continues to grow, build momentum and share more.

If you have any thoughts on things you would like to hear about or questions you would like me to answer, don’t be shy!  Get in touch.  Comment, Facebook, Tweet, Message me, whatever you like.

Thank you for reading, supporting and encouraging me.  Big hugs and kisses, thanks and love xxx

Invitation to Reflexology Day!

Complementary Therapies

You are invited to come and enjoy European Reflexology Day at Inner Haven

Designed to let people find out more about this wonderful treatment and try the wonder that is Reflexology!

To celebrate this special day in the Reflexology calendar, Inner Haven have a number of offers to get you excited about all that is Reflexology and enjoy it with your friends.

Come and Try Reflexology for only £10

only on Saturday 26th April 2014

Appointments are available from 10am till 4pm

To make an appointment please call 07834789107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com

Give the joy of Reflexology with a Gift Certificate

Reflexology Gift Certificates are normally £35 but between now and Reflexology Day you may purchase a Gift Certificate for only £20, to help spread the word of Reflexology.

Call me on 07834789107 or email nicola.bourne@yahoo.com to purchase yours.

Remember you only have until 26th April to make the most of this wonderful offer.

A Chance to Win a Reflexology Gift Certificate

At Inner Haven we are currently giving the chance for you to win one of 3 Reflexology Gift Certificates.  All you have to do is like our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/innerhaven and share the Reflexology Day post – good luck!

Have a Happy Reflexology Day