What Did I Do?

I feel confused a lot.
I question myself.
Things I did as a baby, as a child, as a teenager, as an adult.
Where did I go wrong? Where did I let him down? Did I disappoint him from day one? Or was it later on?
At which point did he decide that I wasn't the daughter he wanted?
At which point did he decide that I'm not worth his time? Not worth fighting for?
Not important enough?

I wonder if there was ever a time that he thought he was letting me down? If he ever felt like he could improve, or if he always felt I was the one in the wrong?
But what did I do wrong? Other than to want an honest father. Other than to want a father who loved me, who wanted to spend time with me. Who cared for me. Who knew things about me.

I used to worship him. And despite knowing things about him, I chose to shut those things away in a box in my mind and not let them influence or change our relationship.

I remember clearly, one day we were sat outside a pub on the South Pier. I can't remember why this conversation came up but he asked me "If me and mum split up who would you go with?"
My instant reply was "You. But you two will never split up, will you?"
And he replied "No".
I would have been around 13 when he asked me that. 12 or 13. At the time I thought nothing of it, but now I can't help but wonder who he was pursuing at the time, whilst his family who adored him and thought everything was perfect and happy sat at home waiting for him, with no idea that one day he would walk away and create such a fight for his teenage and then grown up children to see him and be in his life.

Every day I put that small white pill in my mouth.
As I swallow it it hurts. Not physically. But mentally.
In my head. It hurts.
In my heart. It hurts.
If it wasn't for his actions would depression ever have hit me?

If it wasn't for his actions would I have more patience with my children? And not lose my cool over the smallest thing?
Would I not really be bothered over them not putting a cup in the kitchen, and not see it as them letting me down and thinking I am worthless and not good enough to listen to.

Would I think more of myself? Would I think I was a good person? Worthwhile?
Would I think "hey, I am a good person to know?" or would I still feel like people are foolish to take me into their lives?

Looking back I have major regrets over things that I did to please him. Things I did to be able to see him.
What kind of child takes flowers round to the woman he felt would give him a better life than the family who adored him? What kind of child would thank her ever so much, "thank you, thank you, thank you, for letting me come into your home and allowing me to see my dad."
What kind of child would do this, after getting abuse from this woman for wanting some alone time with her dad?
Crying down the phone to her dad, begging to see him, to hear her in the background telling the girl that she is selfish. Telling the girl that if she wants to see her dad she can go to "their" house. The house he secretly lived in so she could continue to get money from her husband, and whatever to government gave her for now being a "single mum" as well as his wages, meaning us having to sell our lovely family home. Desperately looking for something that would be perfect for this new family of 3.
Life was hard for us. So hard. But for him, it was easy. He didn't care.
He didn't care about the hurt he caused, the mess he caused. The pain he caused.
The pain and hurt that still remains.

What did I do? 
Did I love him too much?
Maybe, just maybe, I was too good for him?




Friendships to me have never been high on my list of priorities.
To say I have had a bad experience with all of my friendships would be correct. I have been incredibly unlucky.
In 29 years I have learnt a lot about people, and a lot about myself. But the main thing I've learnt is that people are unpredictable.

The majority of my friendships now are online. Some of these friendships will always just be online, with the odd hello and chat at a blog conference or event, and some are friendships that have crossed over into the real world.
This is one of the best things about blogging for me, and the fact that I have been able to make these friendships and meet people who I maybe wouldn't have met in real life, away from blogging.

I can be too taken in by people. And I think this is something I am constantly learning.
I get too sucked into this persona that is projected via blogs, and Instagram photos. I believe that these people are being completely real and showing themselves, when in reality they are making the most of this perfect life which they can play out online.
They can be the person they always wanted to be. The sweet girl, the girl who always says what is on her mind, the confident one, the one who is always positive, the one who can do no wrong, the one who is everyone's friend.
But it doesn't take long for these persona's to be crushed and, in my opinion, you can only be the character you want to be for a short amount of time, and in the end people will either see through it or you will show your true side.

I've been blogging now for 3 and a half years and I can say that I am in a happy place when it comes to particular friendships. And in particular that these friendships, although working fine online and through other means of communication, also require some actual real life interaction.
Not so much in a "this friendship will not work if we don't see each other", but more of a "I really need to see you properly" kind of way.
Actually sitting face to face, and hearing each others voices. Being around each other. Those tiny awkward silences, the looks you give each other which can not be expressed via an emoji.
Real life interaction to remind you and reassure you of what is real.

There are so many benefits to online friendships. For me, the biggest benefit is that I am able to meet people who I wouldn't have met before. People who live miles away from me. People I wouldn't meet at the childrens centre, or at work.
I love meeting people at blog conferences, but I think these are mostly down to chance. The best thing for me, is someone finding you, or you finding someone else, on social media and choosing to then contact them, choosing to look at their blogs, choosing to almost make that next step to meet up, be it at a blog conference or somewhere away from blogging completely.

For so long I have hoped for a constant friendship. A friendship similar to the ones I envy in others. A friendship where I feel I can be myself, and a friendship where I feel the other person/s are completely themselves.
Everything is out in the open. No judging, and complete honesty is key.
I am a soppy person. I will tell my friends I love them. I miss them. I will tell them how much they mean to me. And a true friend will accept how I am, even if they are not the same. They won't tell me not to say those things, or change the subject, but at the same time they can take the mickey out of me being that way.

I sometimes sit and cry. Yes, I know, is there anything I don't cry about?!
I cry tears of sadness at not being able to see those friends often enough. Tears at the distance between us.
But I also cry tears of happiness. Happiness that I have found true friendship. Happiness that despite the distance, we are closer than I ever could have hoped.

The happiness that is constant.


1. not changing or varying; uniform; regular; invariable.

2. continuing without pause or letup; unceasing.

3. regularly recurrent; continual; persistent:

4. faithful; unswerving in love, devotion, etc.:

5. steadfast; firm in mind or purpose; resolute.

6. Obsolete. certain; confident.



The Video Effect by Nigel Camp | Book Review

Video is something I have always been interested in. I loved Media Studies when I was completing my GCSE's and A Levels and made a short film during activities week back in 2000 when I was in my first year of high school, a film which was played again to the whole school in 2012 in our last assembly
For my GCSE coursework I put together a film about a charity I worked with, a day care centre for adults with head injuries and brain damage. I loved being a part of this and although it was a team effort, it was my baby and involved 2 passions of mine which was media and the day care centre I volunteered at as much as I could. (Imagine how angry I was when another group completely sabotaged the sound in my film, therefore ruining the message behind it as the audience couldn't hear a word I was saying. Still, I got a B)

Media Studies was my favourite subject at school and even watching films and tv shows now everything I learnt is fresh in my mind. I'm even friends with my Media teacher on Facebook so constantly feel like I should run to him to discuss things I've watched.

Last year I attended my first Britmums Live Conference and one of the sessions I went to was Smartphone Video with Nigel Camp from The Video Effect and Devil Boy Productions. I learnt a lot in this session and came away with a lot of notes and inspiration.
Again at Britmums this year I went to Nigel's session and came away with lots of notes, and again feeling inspired.
For a number of reasons I held off from making videos. I think due to my experiences in high school with video making I lack confidence issues. What if I get it wrong? I want to make something I am proud of, and not something I have just thrown together and "will do for now".
I was sent a copy of Nigel's new book 'The Video Effect' to review.The book states it is to help "market your business with online video".

So, you may be thinking, why is this book good for a blogger?

Our blogs are our businesses, we are our own brand.
If you feel confident enough to do so, then making videos is a fantastic way of showing your audience who you are. Words are fine, of course, as are photos, but the image of you, hearing you speak, puts a much more personal touch to your blog. It's not just text, someone hiding behind a screen. Your reader is able to connect with you as a real person.
Words can often be misread, as can the tone, so video is a wonderful way of breaking down that barrier and introducing you. Especially if you want to talk about something you are specifically passionate about.

The Video Effect talks you through each element of video making. From the start Nigel tells us why it is beneficial to businesses, as well as sharing encouraging and inspirational statistics, and throughout the book we are talked through each stage in detail. The book is full of information which is easy to digest and easy to understand.

I really liked the Do's and Don'ts that Nigel has included throughout the book, as well as lists of Advantages and Disadvantages. These help explain each stage in more detail and make it easier to understand.
The diagrams throughout the book also help to picture what you should be doing in terms of positioning, light, storyboards, and where to add watermarks.
Nigel also focuses on things that we may not even consider. For example, on page 72 he talks about hand gestures, as some that we use in the UK translate as offensive in other countries.
If you are creating a video generally for the UK viewer then this won't be relevant or something you would want to think about. However, if your video is made for a global market this is definitely something to remember. In this case make sure you look at your blog stats and that you are clear on who your audience are.

Page 64 proves why this book is as suitable for bloggers as it is for other businesses as it features a list of examples of how businesses are using video to complement their websites.
By looking at these examples we can see how video reviews would be an advantage to our blogs and our own websites.
For example, DIY tutorials, or recipe tutorials rather than just a photo heavy blog post. Travel seems to be a big part of blogging at the moment and what better way to show somewhere you have visited through video, sharing the atmosphere and a deeper view of what you have experienced?

Nigel also talks about 'Video retention rate advantages'. I found this really interesting as he explains that in a study "subjects retained 10% of what they heard from an oral presentation, 35% from a visual presentation, and 65% from visual and oral combined".
As a blogger, and someone who deals mainly with text and photo I found this really hit home and made me think about how I can use video to my advantage in the future, be it through reviews, places I visit or everyday things that I feel passionate about.

Over the next 6 months I am going to make an effort to get to grips with video. I'll be using this book to help me along and will post updates as I go.

The Video Effect is available on Amazon at £10. Ideal for those who want to use video on a business website, or to go alongside a blog.


October 2014

So, where on earth did October go?!
It's safe to say that October has flown past, and I'll be completely honest with you, I am in major Christmas mode right now.

I spent a lot of October thinking back to the Summer. Autumn has well and truly hit now, although I'm pretty sure we were the last town in the whole of the UK to even see any signs of Autumn.
It's been really lovely to look over the photos I took in the Summer, to look at the calender and to see all the things we planned with a big tick next to them.

October saw the boys have two weekends away. One with my mum, their first overnight stay without me or my husband. We instead went out for drinks and a meal with my in laws which was wonderful....although has put me off drinking for a while. Seriously, does anyone else find that as you get older your body can't cope so well with drinking?
The other weekend the boys spent at my in-laws and I went away to Birmingham and Milton Keynes to go to Blogcamp and to spend some time with a friend.
It was a fab weekend, made even better by the most wonderful, yummy meal at Zizzi at The Mailbox.

The saddest part of October was that we have prepared our boat for her departure from the water. Any day now we will watch her be lifted onto a trailer and driven, on the back of a tractor, and tucked safely into a busy boatshed for the colder seasons.
The past 6 months have gone so fast. We cannot wait to go out on her again next year and have so many ideas on how we can improve her just with a bit of decoration and homely touches.
She definitely was the best decision my husband ever made, other than to marry me of course, and I'm not sure what we would do without her.

So now we're in November and I think it's looking to be a pretty calm month, with not a huge amount of plans other than a few girly meet ups with shopping days and lunch dates here and there.

How was your October?

Living Arrows: October

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