The Elephant in the Mirror #Review

OMG, I don’t know what’s going on with me, but whatever blogging mojo I once had seems to have officially left the building. I mean I wouldn’t put myself up there with some of the greats of the blogging world, you know the ones, those really down to earth, hilariously, snort your coffee over your keyboard bloggers who manage to juggle three kids, a million and one glitz engagements and all whilst having perfect hair. Honestly, they are the type of woman that if they weren’t so lovely, you would hate a little bit.

I must have been staring at this blank page for weeks, I know I have re-written that first line at least 20 times. I’m still not happy with it, but I think right now it’s about as good as it is going to get. Being honest, I have missed this. I still get a little thrill whenever I hit publish, it’s just the motivation to do the writing which is seriously lacking. But that lack of motivation, of direction, seems to be something that is happening throughout my life right now, not just on here. I’m tired but not sleeping, trying to remain focused and positive but easily distracted and left feeling a little lost.

I feel like I am very much in a bit of a slump and I needed something to get me out of that. Which is why I volunteered to review ‘The Elephant in the Mirror’ by Annette Earl.

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I’ll be honest, I was expecting to hate it. I have been given a couple of “self-help” books since Dad’s death and I am struggling to read them. You’ve really got to be in the right frame of mind to pick them up in the first place, and when the one my counsellor gave me started to give me the impression I was an idiot for having a faith, well… Suffice to say I currently have that an a couple others buried under a pile of slightly more appealing, but just as neglected, fiction books my friends had loaned me.

However, with the promise of free stuff*and a deadline (of sorts) to have the blog post written by, I thought if I get nothing else from this book at least it’ll force me back into writing.

The day I received it I was staying at a friend’s house, crashing in her daughter’s bedroom. Unlike at my house, my friend has a firm no TV in the bedroom rule, which I love. It means I always do some reading when I stay at hers and so I took it with me. Also, I have a really bad habit of offering to review stuff and then putting it to one side and not getting round to it. Ok, I’ve only done it once, but it haunts me and I promise that one day the ‘bake your own boyfriend’ cookie cutter will get a review, but it arrived just after I had broken up with OH, yep it’s that overdue, and it went into a box on one of the house moves and well, I think it’s still in my loft somewhere. Anyway, I digress.

The Elephant in the Mirror is one of those books that when you pick it up, it becomes really hard to put it down. The night at my friends it was gone midnight when I finally picked it up and within a few pages I was hooked. When Annette decided to use the analogy of cakes and icing to explain how relationships can enhance a life (icing), but not having them does not take anything away from life (cake without icing is still going to get eaten, am I right?!) that I knew that this is a book that’s talking to me, and I sort of wanted Annette to be my new BFF.

When I read the book it feels more like I am sat having a good catch up with a wise friend, over a glass of wine. The warmth and personality of Annette pours off the page, and unlike some self-help books I have read, it is an easy, enjoyable read. There are exercises to do throughout the book, and the language is simple and easy to get your head around. Hello, she even includes 🙂

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Now, I have to admit I haven’t finished the book yet. I haven’t had the chance. Life is hectic and I am currently climbing into bed somewhere around midnight ever night. Sensible me, knows that going to bed at midnight and reading for the next hour or so is not conducive to me getting my arse out of bed the next morning, so the book has sat next to my bed, on top of the pile of other neglected books I have been given. However, I am definitely going to finish this book and when I am done, well I am not yet decided. I’m either going to pass on the love and give the book away or it’ll go on my newly acquired bookcase and I will look back at the book and the answers I have given a year from now.

I really don’t feel like I can do this book justice. Annette does not guarantee that this book will change your life, in fact in the first conversation she was very keen to point out that “the book is self-help and based purely on her experience of the world” but I would encourage anyone who is going through some stuff right now, maybe try cuddling up with this book. Especially as the Kindle version of The Elephant in the Mirror is currently available for free until the 3rd Dec. So why not treat yourself?

I am certainly going to finish the book, as soon as my life calms down enough that I can find time to lock myself away for a few hours. If you try the book, do let me know what you think – I would love to hear from you. And hopefully, as I push publish on this review, my mojo is finally back in the building. Fingers crossed.

*I was given a copy of the book to review for free, but obviously, all opinions, pictures, and utter inabilities to finish the book before the review was due, are my own.

I’ve lost my mojo

Something has happened. Probably not the something that may spring to mind, and believe it or not it’s not even something that horrendously bad, but it has left me struggling to write. I keep trying to write but I can’t finish posts. Sometimes I get a good chunk of the way through but then the ending will leave and I can’t remember why I wrote what I have written, I can’t seem to get to the point I was trying to make.

I’m not a natural writer.

As I’ve said before I sit in front of a computer and the words just pour out, but I have no control of them. Today I wanted to write a post about the holiday and something that happened between me and S but 30 minutes after I first sat down I have managed the sum total of 3 lines, and I must have re-written those lines about 20 times! Instead, this post… if I can call it a post… this whatever this is was longing to be written and so I hit save and moved onto a new blog post.

Worryingly, I am now worried that the above makes it sound like this blog post will have a point, and at this stage, I can’t guarantee that. But at least it’s writing itself which appears to be half of the battle. I don’t fully know why this has happened, what the catalyst has been that has found me even more incompetent than I once was but all I can ask if that you bear with me while I go through whatever it is I am going through.

I miss you all so much, and long to come back to the blog. To tell you what’s been going on with me, to find out what’s been going on with you. I don’t want to loose this little space that I call my own, one of the few places I am completely me. But at the same time, it’s become more of a chore than anything else and I am constantly feeling guilty about not sticking to the schedule. I was blogging five days a week, then I dropped down to two and now I am very aware of missing one. I’m worried that if I do nothing, this space that once was so special to me will be lost to me forever. But I am also worried that if I carry on this will become another burden and I will no longer love it.

So I guess, once again, I am asking you to bear with me while I get my sh*t together. I know it’s odd that the one place I used to turn to and work through issues, this time I am not able to. I am hoping that won’t be the case forever, but at least for the moment…

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Trying not to get too excited

I don’t look forward to things, or at least I try not to. It seems to be a bit of a pattern for my life that whenever I do get excited plans fall through and it never happens.

And it looks like it’s a case of history repeating itself again.
A few months ago S asked me to go on holiday with him and mentioned Portugal. I was very exited but tried not to be. I didn’t have a passport and my gut told me it wouldn’t happen. However, as time went on and my passport came back in plenty of time I started to get excited. I couldn’t help myself. I bought euros, sorted out my injections and even bought myself a new dress.
The only thing that was missing was the holiday reservations.
I found a few and sent them to S for approval. A week passed. I got more excited. S said he’d put me on his travel insurance and I read far more into that than was necessary. Then tonight it all fell apart.
I don’t care where we go.
I just want sun shine and a pool, ideally indoors so we can swim if it’s cold, but if it’s not I’ll survive. S would quite like a beach and we both agree no more than £200… you’d think with that very normal list of demands we’d be able to find somewhere. We can’t.
The placed I’ve found he either doesn’t like or the links I’m trying to send from my phone won’t work. He’s clearly not enamored with anything he’s looked at. He’s now suggesting a week in the lakes, which would be lovely but it’s not the week in the sun I’ve been looking forward to.
I just want to get away from it all and I think I worry that I won’t be able to if I stay in the UK. Plus I think what’s the point in paying to stay in a hotel why not just stay at mine and save some cash, but that’s not what I want. I need to get away. I want to get on a plane turn off my phone and just look after me for a week. But I can’t help but feel that’s not going to happen.
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It’s a bit weird.

*ok, so a little bit out of order but this is what happens when you write a blog post then forget to hit publish!

So last night, I sort of had a mini-freak out. Sort of.

Mums moving date is approaching, although we still can’t tie the solicitors down to an actual date, and this means the time had officially come to go through Dads stuff and begin donating as much as we possibly could to charity shops. I have to admit to being quite impressed with myself. I let more go than I thought I would and have only come home with a couple of things the vast majority of which is very practical and is stuff that I will use in my day to day life.

The rest went to charity. We only threw away 5 socks and that was only because we couldn’t find the matching pairs. I am not saying that everything is 100% perfect and that the charity will be able to sell them all, but they were my Dads clothes and I couldn’t bear to see them in the bin. In fact, the only t-shirt which was resigned to the bin, as it had a whole in the back of it, has been removed and is now safely nestled in with the rest of my PJs. I just couldn’t see his clothes thrown out.

Anyway, going through it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I mean there was an awful lot of tears, and at one point I felt sick to my stomach. But it is done, and the world keeps turning. As it seems to.

However, back to my little freak-out.

Dad had this really lovely, very stylish white shirt. It’s one that we all loved him in, but there was no way it would be of any use to my sister, my Mum or I. It was a button down the front, short sleeves, intentionally frayed t-shirt type shirt. (I feel I am not selling this particularly well, and this probably explains why I will never cut it as a fashion blogger!)

Anyway, we all looked at it and said it’s a shame we don’t know anyone it will fit. Then I thought, hang on a minute. I think it would fit S and it’s the sort of thing he would wear and look good in. So, without thinking I sent him a text asking if he wanted a new shirt.

He responded with “why?” and so I started writing a text to him explaining that Dad had a shirt, and I was giving him first refusal before we put it in a charity bag.

As I was writing the text I thought “this feels a bit weird”

His response was “isn’t that a bit weird?”

I have to admit it was. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why it felt quite so weird and we all know that when I can’t figure something out I start to worry.

My first concern was he would think this was some big romantic gesture. It wasn’t. Had he been in the room I would have said to him “do you want this” he would have said “no” and I would have thrown it into the charity bag and moved on to the next shirt.

Then I worried he was saying no as he felt it was some statement of where I thought this relationship would go. It wasn’t that either.

I think it probably had something to do with the fact it was my dead Dad’s shirt, a man he never met and I hate that. I hate that the fact my dead has affected things. Would it have been so weird if Dad was still alive? Or did it have nothing to do with Dads death and if he was still with us would it have still been weird in its own right?

I don’t know. All I know is I don’t like it.

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My life is a Musical…and I think I need to pick a different one!

You may or may not know this about me, but I LOVE Musicals.

My iPod is full of various cast recordings, the current CD in my car is the Full Monty, the Musical soundtrack not the film, and when I listen to music at work it is always some musical soundtrack that I have playing in my ear. In fact, I am waiting for the day when I forget where I am and I belt “Do you want to build a snowman?” across the office.

Defying Gravity from Wicked has become my go to break up song and with lyrics like “But I don’t want that. No. I can’t want that anymore” and “I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game…” is it any surprise?

I have known all the words for Les Miserable and Mack and Mable for as long as I have been able to talk. In fact, I am such a Les Mis geek, that I know the exact moment in ‘Castle on a Cloud’ where the balloon pops on the 10th-anniversary concert causing the girl singing it to jump. Heck, even though I sort of can’t stand that song, it did inspire the name of my blog.

When Dad and I were decorating my house we became obsessed with listening to Avenue Q. Every time, it’s a fine fine line came on my Dad would race across to the iPod player, turn the volume up and we would both sing along at the top of our lungs until it finished at which point he would skip it back and we would do it all over again; and my car is lovingly referred to as Kate Monster, another Avenue Q reference, by my Mum.

Growing up, my sister and I would act out various musicals in our lounge, and there are more than one dodgy home videos of me “performing” mainly as a child, but I have to admit since I have started doing amateur dramatics there are one or two dodgy ones out there of me as an adult too.

I sang “On my own” and “I dreamed a dream” alone, in the rain on the banks of the River Seine after OH had dumped me (true story) and the very last plans we made as a family were to go and see Billy Elliot when it was touring. Sadly, Dad didn’t make it. And my sister and I are planning a trip away for Mum on her birthday which will include a visit to go and see Miss Saigon.

Throughout my life, certain circumstances have reminded me of certain songs.  “Mix tape” certainly sums up the situation I currently find myself in with S, as I am uber aware that I spend an awful lot of my time looking for the reason behind the actions – although this is something I am getting better at.

I love musicals, and I love the songs but as my life currently seems to be mirroring some of my favourite show tunes. I can’t help but feel maybe now is the time I need to pick a new song.

 

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