Christmas Time Frenzy

Christmas Time Frenzy

Christmas Time Frenzy

Christmas time frenzy, it turns up every year and in the last few years, it’s been a very different experience for me and I never really know what to expect or where I will be. Alongside that, I  never really know how I am going to feel on the day.

This year I have found myself in Sydney, Australia. I was here six months ago and I will be dog sitting on Northern Beaches. So one or two dreams will be coming true for me. Firstly I will be able to experience the beautiful beaches again, surely some of the best in the world and secondly, I will be caring for a dog, so in effect will be getting a dog for Christmas, be it a temporary one.

mala mantra maker
Mala Mantra Maker – Making Mala’s for creating harmony and well being

I have just returned from a trip from Mudgee (more about Mudgee in my next post) where I came across a Centre for Loss and Grief (NALAG) where you can just pop in and have a chat with someone. I just thought what a wonderful idea, no pressure just pop in and have a chat and connect with people. We often forget that Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of people and these are there five tips for coping strategies from NALAG :

  1. Do something in memory of the person who has died. (Light a candle, place a special ornament on the tree)
  2. Plan your time so that you are under a little amount of stress as possible.
  3. Plan your “escape” if need be, don’t over commit.
  4. Let your friends and family know that you need to take things slowly and as it comes.
  5. Share your memories and stories – as it’s okay to cry or laugh
  6. Do something special for yourself – treat yourself to a massage or buy yourself a present.
  7. Seek professional help if required.(copyright of NALAG National Association for Loss and Grief (NSW) inc  www.nalag.org.au

To find out more about how to help people or yourself download this brochure

For those of you who have lost a Dad or Grandad, I have attached a link to the little book my sister and I created some years ago. It’s always nice to remember the loved ones we have lost at this time of year and offer a thought or prayer for their well-being and express our continued love for them.

My Dad used to dress up as Santa and give out presents at the local Catholic club, which he loved.  We used to celebrate our  Xmas on Christmas Eve and stay up late opening presents, and chatting after Midnight Eve Mass  –  those magical moments have gone. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing – how we choose to remember the past!

Here’s to wonderful adventures in 2018

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Ubud Readers and Writers Festival 2017

Ubud Writers And Readers Festival 2017

Ubud Readers and Writers Festival
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2017, Bali, Indonesia: Reflecting on my time spent in Bali this year one of the most memorable times was attending Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.  I felt so inspired by the 4 days of interesting talks and finding out about so many books I would like to read.
My days were action packed and started at 9 am and by 5 pm I was happily exhausted by all the discussions and presentations that I had attended. I continued into the evening on a few occasions too!
We had amazingly hot weather and no rain! There was so much packed into the 4 days it felt more like a week, then all of a sudden after being submerged into listening to dozens of inspiring writers and poets the festival was over.
On the first evening feeling still full of life, I made it to Casa Luna to see Osamah Sami talk about his latest film Ali’s Wedding and his book The Muslim Boy and he had us in stitches with his stories. He is a really talented writer, comedian, actor and it was the first time I had come across this guy.

These are my top 3 recommendations from the UWRF17:

love your work

Jung Chang – A beautiful soul and the inspiring writer of Wild Swans
Jung Chang talks were (China’s Women and Writing Modern China) 

I was so looking forward to Jung Chang, as I think alongside Ian Rankin she must be the most famous person here at the festival. When I read her book Wild Swans back in the 80’s and later Mao I was enthralled by her dialogue and story. At the time this encouraged me to read more about China and Japan and give me the passion of all things Asian.
Jung Chang did not disappoint during the two sessions I attended.  She is a woman with a beautiful aura and presence and an intelligent and engaging speaker. She was able to bring to life the book Wild Swans through personal stories, showing at one point her grandmother’s tiny shoe from having spent her life with bound feet.  She really captured the audience with her passion for writing and life generally. She is an inspiration and to listen to her stories was amazing. Her research on her subject was thorough and with the help of her husband an Englishman and what this brought to life in her books. Her storytelling is gripping and of the struggles in her life and the life of her family is both shocking and amazing.
Jung Chang – author of Wild SwansMao and her new book The Empress Dowager sounds fascinating to read.   Based on a true life story of a Concubine born in China (1835) has a fascinating story how a woman impacted Chinese history.  We all need to laugh at ourselves AND the tragedy of our lives sometimes and this one I think is really going to do just that.
Osamah Sami – Iraqi born who moved to Iran and later to Australia
Ubud Readers and Writers Festival

Osamah Sami must be one of the highlights for many people who came into contact with him and listened to him talk. He came across as a thoroughly lovely guy and hugely talented. Not only was he hugely funny but passionate, and humble and able to tell some tragic stories about his life. Having written his book the Good Muslin Boy, was the winner of 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Later the film Ali’s Wedding which I can’t wait to read when I visit Australia this month.

The Northern Irish born playwright and writer Paul Mc Veigh

The Good Son by Paul McVeigh – a very touching piece he read from his book at the Festival, so I can’t wait to read his book. The blend of humour, detail, living in war-torn Northern Ireland from a young boy’s point of view and the need for survival during the troubles.  Paul came across as a lovely guy, full of energy, humour and intelligence just like this book I am sure.  A think it will be a gripping read!

I need to buy and read on a kindle so here is the deal on this one only £1.89. A bargain!

I had such a wonderful time at the festival. There is so much to share and if you want to attend next year here are the details: Ubud Writers and Reader’s Festival 2018 and Books I love 
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