The Power Of Nostalgia


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The last few weeks had been a bit odd for me. My creativity had been stifled. Sometimes life gets in the way, and I need to reset. Thankfully, I had some holiday due from work, so I used it to visit my brother in Cheshire. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

My brother surprised me when he got out his old Subbuteo set from his loft. I spent hours on end playing this tabletop soccer game in my bedroom as a teenager. Now, here I was again revisiting my youth. My brother beat me 1-0 in the game we played, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that we were kids again having fun.

On another day, we visited the town of Stockport. Here, I found a comic book store that stocked old copies of my favourite comics I’d read growing up. Normally, the comic book stores I visit are full of Marvel and DC Comic titles, as well as manga and other publications. They’re all great, but here for the first time ever I found titles such as ‘Buster’ and ‘Whizzer and Chips’ – firm British staples of my childhood that are sadly no longer published. Suddenly, I was transported back to Saturday mornings in the mid-80s when I’d run down the local shops and buy a big pile of comics and read through them again and again before school came round again on Monday.

I bought a few copies, and have been laughing my head off ever since.

Comics were so instrumental in me wanting to become a writer as they opened up endless worlds of storytelling and possibility to me. It was good to reminisce about this.

The result of all this is that the power of nostalgia has fuelled my creativity again. I’ve now got a pocketful of ideas for short stories that I’ve begun working on. Plus, I’ve also got a new tactic if I get writer’s block again.

If you’re creativity is lacking, remembering the hobbies you had a child could be one way to help you.

I hope you all have a great and creative week. ☺️

A Week In Northumberland: Photo Blog Post


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A few months back, I was looking at a map of the UK trying to work out where to go on a new adventure. I became drawn to Northumberland. I’d visited its neighbours – Cumbria to the west and Yorkshire to the south – a number of times before, and enjoyed those experiences immensely. But, in Northumberland, here was a whole chunk of county that I’d completely overlooked.

I decided to do a bit of research and found out that the county was home to England’s largest and least visited national park. Those facts alone made the idea of visiting there more intriguing to me. So, before I had a chance to rationalise what I was doing, I booked myself a reasonably priced hotel and train journey to go and explore.

I had plans to explore the whole county in six days, but as soon as I got there I knew that I’d need longer. So, this is the first leg of my tour of Northumberland. What follows is the highlights of a four day trek across the southern portion of the county.

Day 1 – Hadrian’s Wall (Steel Rigg and Peel Cragg Circular Walk


The iconic Sycamore Gap

This was a lovely seven mile walk that involved some short but stiff climbs along one of the most popular stretches of Hadrian’s Wall. The above photo is of the Sycamore Gap, which is the most photographed image along the wall. The cliff faces rose up so high at some points that I couldn’t see beyond them – it truly felt like I was standing on the edge of the world!

Day 2 – Corbridge

Ruins of the old Roman town

Corbridge was the most northerly town of the Roman Empire, so its economic, cultural and historic importance is worthy of note. The village itself today is a charming place to visit with its sandstone buildings, impressive church and tower (where you can stop and have a pint) and abundance of coffee shops. If I had more time, then I’d have loved to have done a river walk. I had a cracking three course Italian lunch for just £8.95 as well!

Day 3 – Allendale, North Pennines

Awesome river walk

Allendale was one of the remotest parts of England I’ve ever visited. The thirty minute bus journey took us deep into the countryside to this village that was surrounded by rolling hills on all sides. I walked a stretch of the river and climbed hills. I spotted nineteenth century farm machinery, fat hens freely grazing across cottage gardens and some truly magical riverside spots like the one above. Then, I ambled back to the village and noticed that Dr Who had popped in…

The Museum Of Classic Sci-Fi, Allendale

Day 4 – Back At Hadrian’s Wall

Looking down along Hadrian’s Wall
Cawfield Quarry

On this last day, I did a seven mile walk that started at the majestic Cawfield Quarry. It’s well worth a moment of anybody’s time to pause by the lake. This stretch of Hadrian’s Wall provided me with some heart-stopping views across the open landscape. I dropped down into the valley, and I was truly the only person in this expanse. On this clear blue day it felt so good to be alive.


I’ve only scratched at the surface of Northumberland. Whilst I haven’t talked about the history or culture of this area in any great detail, I hope you see that by seeing the natural beauty of the places featured that this county is well worth a visit. It’s a county that I want to return to many times: there’s still a great coastline, acres and acres of forest and the Cheviot Hills to explore.

Northumberland rocks!

Have you been to Northumberland? What did you make of it?

SOS! Why is it so hard to ask for help? (shared from


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We have all been through a lot this past year and a half. There have been a lot of unknowns. A lot of isolation. A lot of wondering what is going to happen next. I think we have all had new challenges to face and obstacles to overcome and in turn days where we have […]

SOS! Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Hi Everybody, I read this really great post the other day on about the importance of reaching out for help when it’s needed – and overcoming stigma when doing so. It’s so important to be there to listen to somebody going through any kind of hardship.

The website is a place of encouragement for anybody wanting to turn their life around. Check it out ☺️

Adventure Photo Story: Northern Ireland Mountain Weekend


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Northern Ireland is a spectacular place. Outside of Belfast, there’s lush green countryside, rolling hills and breathtaking coast. The recent visit I did with my friends was to the Mourne Mountains where we took on the highest peak, Slieve Donard, at 850 metres.

On a bright and clear Saturday morning we headed out of Belfast passing through remote villages and deep green countryside. After about an hour’s drive we arrived at the seaside town of Newcastle – not to be confused with the city by the same name in the North-East of England – then began our journey from the car park.

We trekked up a rocky path that cut through open grassland with rich vegetation. A boulder-strewn river wound its way alongside us and provided a natural water slide for a number of day trippers in wetsuits. Soon, we were about halfway up when the path steepened and the mountains grew in stature.

And that meant one thing…

…My fear of heights kicked in!

On previous mountain explorations nerves had always gotten the better of me. But I was determined for this not to be the case this time. My friends took it in turns to drop back and motivate me to keep going as I tailed off the pace.

As we approached the Mourne Wall – which runs the entire length of the range – we noted the jet black surfaces that occasionally appeared in the side of the mountains. The tin huts dotted to the side of the track confirmed this had once been an area for slate mining.

Around a final corner, and then the final ascent to Slieve Donard presented itself: three hundred metres or so of awesome steepness! We met a man who said it would take us no more than thirty minutes. Secretly, I knew that would mean an hour for me.

Previously, I’d have taken on such a feat by stopping every so often, shutting my eyes and re-centering myself before taking on the next stretch. I’d repeat this as often as I needed. This time I had a few new tactics to battle the heights: I’d count fifty steps then stop for a bit; I’d zigzag up the mountainside instead of going straight up as it was less strenuous on my legs; and instead of melting down as before, I’d deliberately soak in the countryside to absorb it’s calming beauty. Plus, I made full use of the wall by holding onto it to help me climb as I went – making use of whatever is available is important to getting the job done. And my mates did a cracking job of keeping me going with banter and words of encouragement.

My mates waited for me thirty metres from the peak, so that we arrived together. The clouds suddenly formed around us like a thousand misty ghosts come to greet us. We took a few photos, then hastened our exit as conditions became more dense.

The descent was the most enjoyable I’ve had on a mountain. The first section required careful navigation down rock steps. At times my mind went into a vortex where the greens and the greys swirled and merged into one. Once this tricky part was completed, we trod a well used path, skipping over streams and through boggy sections. Before entering the forest path that led back into the town, I took in my surroundings: the powder blue sky had now reappeared; the mountains formed a horseshoe valley that towered over us, cascading waterfalls giving this place a more majestic quality; the chattering river snaking its way down the emerald hillsides. And all this abundant beauty overlooking the town and the Irish Sea below.

Heaven is a place on Earth!

And so was this afterwards…

Thanks for dropping by and reading this. Please feel free to leave a comment – they’re always appreciated. I hope you all have a great weekend filled with adventure 😊

Back Again! Self-Publishing Update And Other Stuff


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Hi Everybody,

I hope you’re keeping well in your part of the world. It’s a good couple of months since I was last here. I’m so sorry for the delay. I’ve been focusing on a few projects that had taken me longer due to my level of dyspraxia only making it possible to take on one project at a time. This can hamper in sticking to other tasks (like putting up regular posts) but these last couple of months have helped me to work at a possible solution around this.

I’ll come to that solution at the end of this post. Suffice to say here that it means that I should be posting up more regularly, and able to focus on all the wonderful blog posts that I enjoy reading more.



My new author website is up and running now. I’ve got to make a few edits to the text and replace some of the stock photos still, but I’m reallly happy with it. I’ve struggled to merge this blog with the website, but I’ve got a good friend looking into this problem now. So, hopefully it’s just a matter of time before it’s sorted.

Please feel free to have a peak at it:

It’s been a real education in learning how to get a domain name and build a website. I really felt out of my depth at times. But when all is done, I can appreciate that I had some good people to teach me and I’ve gained lot more knowledge.

Social Media

I’ve found the likes of Facebook and Twitter a minefield. Thankfully, I’ve been able to hire some very reasonably priced freelancers on Fiverr to help me to get my author accounts on social media going. It’s now focusing on putting out good quality posts that’s the next challenge. I’m learning all the time, and it’s good for me as it’s helping me to connect as well as grow as a person.

I’ve included my social media handles in the ‘About Me’ section of this site.


This has been really tough. Normally, I’m the kind of person who’s happy to sit in front of the keyboard and write away for hours on end. But writing a self-published book has so many other aspects that take up time. Plus, I’m quite shy by nature, so having to promote my book to magazine editors and other groups (even via email or telephone) can play havoc with my brain as I think endlessly about the right things to say.

I’ve had a few magazine editors say that they’d kindly promote the book. Such things do give you a boost as there’s a constant stream of people to contact including podcasts, charities, social media groups, libraries…the list keeps growing. Pitching a book can mean that you’ll get rejections or no replies. This means sending two or three rounds of emails. So, for the ones that do reply and do offer you an outlet for promotion, it makes the whole experience so worthwhile.

What’s Next?

As well as continually working on the things above, I’ve got a week long book blogger tour coming up in the middle part of October. I’ll do a separate post or two about that nearer the time.

I mentioned at the top of this post that I had a new strategy to commit to doing more posts and following other bloggers here more regularly. One thing I’m going to do is write a few posts in advance, spending a day here or there just dedicated to this blog. Dedicating whole chunks of time to this is better for my dyspraxia as it means I’m still focusing on just the one thing.

I’m at a level now with developing my website and social media skills that makes dedication to my blog easier as well. Plus, at times when I’ve been focused on other projects and not written for a while, this blog has assisted me in refocusing my efforts and reconnecting with so many lovely people.

Next Up is a post about my recent hiking holiday in Northern Ireland!

Thanks for reading, everybody. Stay safe and well. Peace and love to you all!

Mountains For The Mind


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As I’m writing this, I’m staring out at a stormy grey sky in August. IN AUGUST! The weather has been like this across South-East England for ten days now, and it’s set to continue for a few more. I, like others, hoped that once we were out of lockdown that the summer of adventure could begin.

But it’s been a slow, stop-start affair.

I’d wanted to put up posts with photos of hikes more frequently, but this is all on hold until the shoddy weather clears. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve hiked in all sorts of conditions, and will enjoy continuing to do so. I guess I’m just frustrated at not being able to enjoy the countryside as much after all the restrictions we’ve faced.


I recently came across the Mountains For The Mind Facebook group. This is a campaign set up by Trail Magazine in the UK to encourage people to go out and explore to aid their mental health. Members may have mental health conditions of their own and/or they find the benefits of immersing themselves in nature.

Reading the stories and achievements of others is encouraging in a number of ways. I feel boosted to go out there and explore again, knowing that the outdoors will always nurture me in some way. Also, being part of a community like this reminds me of the strength of humanity, and how important it is to encourage each other.


Reading the stories of others has a direct impact on my self-worth. It reminds me that the restorative effects of being in the open brings joy to the heart and soul. Spending time in the countryside can give a person the ability to put things into perspective and makes what life throws at us less intense.

So, I’m going to go outside tomorrow and explore – even if it’s in my local woods for an hour after work. Come rain or shine, my mind is set.

I encourage you to do the same. You deserve it.

Please check out for more info.



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Hi Everybody,

I hope you’re all keeping well.

I knew that when I published my book, Adventure Dayze, last month that the marketing side of things would keep me busy. Just how busy, though, has been a complete surprise to me!

Taking a different route to market

As I was writing, the advice I’d researched about marketing a self-published book told me that I should do the majority of it before publication, including reaching out to established book reviewers. However, the gut feeling I got when I told others that I was writing a book was that it’d be believed when seen. So, perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, I decided to wait and do the marketing after the release date.

Family And Friends First

Once the book was up on Amazon, I put the word out to my nearest and dearest via social media. Whether people offered kind words, bought the book and maybe left a review, I was humbled by the response. The reviews I’ve received have provided me with an important step in the next stage of my marketing strategy.

The Importance Of A Marketing Mentor

I discovered Hollie Anne Marsh via the freelance website Fiverr. Hollie has a background in marketing and she is an award-winning author with her Sweetbriars book series, which is set in the world of horse-riding. Hollie has supported me to get the book published, and has sorted the advertising campaign on Amazon. This week the Facebook advertising campaign will start.

Working with Hollie has taught me a lot that’ll benefit me in the future: how to navigate Amazon Author Central and my Facebook Author page; how to write a press release statement; how to actually get a book live on Kindle; the ins and outs of marketing.

From the start, Hollie showed me the importance of having reviews for when the time comes to reach out to organisations.

Hollie has helped me brainstorm a list of hiking magazines, podcasts and websites to contact. Libraries, local newspapers, charities and bookshops are on the list too.

The Next Step

After much brainstorming and research, then, I now have a list of contacts that I’m working my way through. It’s an enjoyable process magnified by the hope that something will come of it. It takes a lot of perseverance – there’s a lot of phone calls to find a named person to contact in an organisation followed by a lot of emails – but hopefully the fruits of the labour will show soon.

Lessons Learned

Although I’ve taken a different approach as to the order of publishing and marketing the book, I can see the importance of following the much suggested route to market for my next book.

However, as a self-published author I can see that marketing is an ongoing thing and can take place any time after a book is published. So, all I’m doing now is giving me experience for the future.

Having an experienced hand to guide me has been so important. It’s made the whole experience more navigable and rewarding.

Thanks for reading this. I hope to come back soon with some positive news about who I’ve reached out to.

If you have any comments or advice, it’d be great to hear from you.

Peace and love for now 😃.



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Hello Everybody,

I just wanted to briefly share some early insights on marketing a self-published book.

This is by no means a definitive guide. I just wanted to share a few issues I’d found that may help others attempting to self-publish.


Next Monday sees my hiking book, Adventure Dayze, go ‘live’ on Amazon. It’s actually been out about a month, but my main aim in the first four weeks was to get word out to family and friends, and to build up a few reviews.

I’ve also used that time to create my Facebook page and to put together a list of blogs, podcasts, tourist boards etc as I start to promote and market the book more from Monday 5th July.


My approach has been a little different to the advice I’d researched on how to market a self-published book. Normally, having a team of readers to review the book before the launch and doing a few other marketing bits and bobs is the regular way. However, it was important for me to focus on getting my book out there first and dealing with the other steps one at a time. My mind works better that way as I can give more thorough attention to each step.

That said, for my next book there’s things that I’ll definitely do differently before the book launch (e.g. getting it reviewed) as I can see the benefit in that.

What I appreciate is that I’ve had some great advice from my mentors, Jessica Coleman (editor) and Hollie Marsh (marketing), that is steering me in the right direction, and that the way I’m presently doing it is okay. It’s so important to have people around you that help you to believe in yourself.

Overall, this is all a learning curve and I’m enjoying the whole experience.


I’m returning to Rutland on a camping adventure holiday this weekend.

Then, it’s time for the marketing to begin properly.

I’ll put posts up about all this in the next week or so.

If you’ve self-published or are about to, what has your approach been? Or, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please feel free to leave a comment. It’d be great to hear from you