In the news : Jane Austen to feature on the new £10 note

serge bertasius photography

serge bertasius photography via

One of our literary greats, Jane Austen, has been picked to be the face of the new British £10 note which is due into circulation next summer. According to the Daily Mail (DM 29/05/16 – The money that’s okay to launder), we will soon be seeing our first ‘plastic’ banknote in the shape of a £5 note which will feature Sir Winston Churchill. The £10 note will follow next year and a £20 note featuring Joseph Mallord William Turner (landscape painter) is planned for 2020.

The Bank of England have created a new, flexible, polymer note which they claim will last around five years and will even be able to survive a 90 degree wash cycle. These new notes will also be slightly smaller than those currently in circulation and are predicted to save around £100 million over a ten year period on the basis that the bank should need to print fewer notes.

One thing that the Bank of England does warn about with these new notes however, is that we are going to need to take care when using them. It would seem that the polymer plastic notes have a tendency to stick together which could mean us handing over more money than we need to!


Iamnee via

The proposed concept of the £10 note includes this quote by Jane Austen:

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

And I must declare, I do agree!


(For the full story, please see the Daily Mail 29/05/2016.)








Saying of the week

Open book and pages flying into skies

Meaning: The mole, the conspirator, the cause of a person’s downfall

Derived from: The death of King William III was caused by complications when he fell from his horse. The horse had stumbled over a molehill which had led to King William’s fall. Thus the mole became the cause of King William’s downfall.


Source: Oxford Dictionary of Idioms 2000




Writing: Is further learning just another great way to procrastinate?

2016-05-25 11.23.45The fantastic Writing Magazine (UK), introduced me in its latest edition, to MOOC’s – Massive Open Online Courses. (See Writing Magazine, June 2016, pg.85).

A MOOC is essentially an online, university-level course which offers ‘high-quality learning materials‘ that have been compiled by ‘prestigious universities around the world‘. What’s more, a vast number of MOOC’s are FREE. The courses run entirely online and cover a huge range of subjects – great for us writers for both research and learning purposes.

There are several websites which offer these courses – being one of the largest – but I opted to try out which is run by the Open University.

With very little searching I found a free course dedicated to online researching techniques. The course is only two weeks long and comprises exercises which can be completed whenever it is most convenient. The course is due to start on 6th June and I am already excited about what I will learn.

hyena reality

hyena reality via

I also discovered a course on forensic science – a field which fascinates me – and so I have registered my interest for that one too. There is no start date as yet but it is a longer and more in depth course again, about which I am truly excited.

As far as I can understand with the free courses there are no costs – if you would like a certificate at the end however, there is often a charge for these. This being the case and having spent a few minutes browsing the courses, I can see myself taking more of these in the future. This, however, is where my dilemma comes in.

I love learning. I love research. I love to know everything that there is to know about everything, yet I can also do a heck of a lot of procrastinating. My concern, therefore, is that I am going to be spending so much time learning that my procrastinating will increase and I will forget to actually write – which, after all, is what my love and passion is all about.

For an answer to this dilemma though, I am going to turn to Henry Ford:


courtesy of

I think I am going to keep learning, stay young and take my chances with procrastination.

And sign up to as many MOOC’s as I have time for…

What about you? What is your approach to learning?




My 5k journey : Breathing

Every day plus

every-day-plus via

It has become apparent that, after only a couple of minutes, my breathing is a little all over the place. Having spoken to a few fellow runners, I have been told that it is entirely possible to maintain a steady breathing routine, regardless of the distance that you run. Hmmm… okay…

One set of advice I was given was to breathe in through the nose and then out through the mouth, making sure that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath. I was also advised to make sure that I was breathing from my diaphragm (the bit that makes your tummy go up and down) rather than just the chest.

Practising these tips is easy when you are not actually running – doing them whilst on the move however, was infinitely more challenging. In the end I opted for a kind of mixture of both and inhaled, exhaled and puffed my way to my longest continuous run to date – 27 minutes.

I’d like to say that I enjoyed it but I am still a long way from that goal. I did however find that with my attempts at breathing, my recovery period at the end of the run was faster. I also felt that if my legs had been willing, I may have been able to puff and pant my way to 30 minutes – so I figure I am on the right track.


nenetus via

In terms of distance I have now reached 4.1 km (I had to take a couple of breathers to get that far) so the 5k is in sight. All I need to do now is build up my stamina so that when race day comes, I don’t look like a bright red, wheezing, puffing monster as I cross the line.

Any tips on breathing anyone?






In the news: Driverless cars

Car 1Google, according to a recent article in the Daily Mail (‘Driverless car “flypaper” to catch collision victims’ – DM May 21st 2016), are well on their way to developing the ‘driverless’ car. In fact, it estimates that we could see these cars on our (UK) roads as early as 2020.

My first thought was why? Why do we need driverless cars when we have enough trouble with cars that are controlled by people? Then I read on…

These cars it would seem, are potentially going to have ‘sticky’ bonnets. A glue like substance will be applied to the bonnet which in turn will be covered with an eggshell type paint. The idea is that if the car hits an object the paint will shatter allowing the object to stick to the bonnet, thus, minimising injury. I must admit, I had a giggle. Does this mean that on an average journey you can expect to return home with various accoutrements and the odd pedestrian stuck to your bonnet? And what happens to these items when you get home? What if the pedestrian was going several miles in the other direction?

Google states that the glue will allow the objects to be removed after a ‘period of time’ so does this mean that our paramedics are going to need to carry nail polish remover or some similar substance?

digital art

digitalart via

After a while I got to thinking – maybe driverless cars are not such a bad idea. Imagine being able to have a cuppa and even a nap whilst you are on route. Or perhaps, a cheeky tipple. Who knows what the law will be in that regard?

As it stands I cannot imagine seeing these cars on our roads but I am sure that is purely because I do not understand the concept or the need. When the time comes I have no doubt that all will be revealed and, even if by 2020 I still don’t get it, there is a massive plus side.

At least I won’t need to pay for my son to have driving lessons.


(This is purely my humorous take on this piece of news – no offence intended or meant)




Dictation rocks!

I have just upgraded to my first ever iPhone (5s model) and despite some teething problems, I am firmly in love, not least because it completes my wonderful little Apple family.


bplanet via

Being an already happy owner of both an iPad (Air 2) and MacBook Pro, I am familiar with the operating system of the iPhone (I have an iPod too but that’s slightly different), however I had never used the dictation setting for sending text messages etc.. until the other day. A friend introduced me to it and now I can’t stop using it.

My one issue when I first used the iPhone was the keypad. The phone screen is not the largest thus the keyboard is quite small, and I found myself getting frustrated with it. The predictive text suggestion is in the top left of the bar rather than in the middle (as it was in my previous phone) and so my initial messages were slow and laborious. I had waited so long for an iPhone and I really didn’t want to dislike it so when I was introduced to the dictation setting – wow.

At first I felt silly talking to the phone but, when I saw the words appear on the screen as if by magic, I soon got over that. Now I find that I am dictating anything and everything which means – as I am a bit of a talker – that my friends are receiving War and Peace like text messages. Of course I have to make the odd correction after I have dictated, but it is so much easier.


Before digital dictation! dan via

My husband, when he first heard me talking to the phone, was a little sceptical. He didn’t understand how it would punctuate so I promptly sent him a message full of commas, full stops, exclamation marks and questions marks. He was converted. I love that you can say ‘full stop’ and it puts one in, or ‘exclamation mark’ and the same happens.

I know that I am probably a bit late to the party on this one but, when I then discovered the built in compass and leveller on the iPhone .. what can I say?

It was definitely worth the wait.

Anyone else love/hate their iPhone?




5k = tough but rewarding!

So yesterday – a few days later than planned – I tackled the dreaded 20 minute run which I mentioned in my first 5k journey post. Having previously bought and used one magnetic knee support, I have now invested in a second and yesterday was the first time I went out with both on. No longer did my knees hurt but running for the entire 20 minutes was really tough going.


holohololand via

I downloaded an HIIT timer onto my iPhone along with the Map My Run app and I had these operating in tandem. The timer told me when I had got to half way (10 minutes) so that I could turn around and the Map My Run app gave me completed distance.

At the end of the 20 minutes I had run 1.6 miles which means I am looking at double that to get to 5k. Although elated at completing 20 minutes, the thought of doing double that fills me with dread! I had just about enough puff to do one lot of 20 minutes so I am hoping that as I continue to train, my lungs will become more compliant.

Next run is on Friday which is 15 minutes, and then another 20 minutes on Sunday.

More in the next post!