"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; The Art of Detachment

Detachment is a wonderful thing.  It is something I have a knack for.  I can cut myself off from disappointing or difficult situations with relative ease, retreating into a bubble of my own space, where none can touch me.  I suppose it is a kind of self-preservation.

Detachment is something I have done for as long as I can remember.  It is a common defence mechanism, but as a young girl I wasn't really aware of it - I just did it naturally, shutting myself away and retreating into a world of books and imagination.  This means that I developed a habit of withdrawing into my own world and it is a habit that continues to this day.

I can already feel myself detaching from my college course and class mates because we only have three classes left to go. Already I feel the need to separate myself from them and go into the bubble. It's not that I don't engage or interact with people - it's more that I keep interactions quite superficial.  I am polite, but not personal. People rarely get to know the deeper reaches of my personality.  I keep up a barrier between me and them; we can chat and have a laugh, but I've always got one eye on the clock, counting down the hours until the little performance is over.

There are degrees of detachment - the bubble is a way of separating myself from a situation I am not fully engaged with, which bores me or might upset me. Lots of people use this technique to get through divorce or funerals etc.  Isolation is a stronger kind of detachment, where I might cut someone right out of my life altogether, because I don't consider the drama they, or their associates, bring into my life to be worth my time.  This means that if I feel my time is being wasted, or someone has let me down, spilled my secrets or betrayed my trust, I can cut them off with barely a blink and detach from them. What's more, I am unlikely to be as easily drawn in by that person a second time - they will have to work much, much harder to capture my attention. And if betrayal is a factor, they will never have my friendship or trust again.  

My defensive walls are high and thick and made of ice.  I can literally feel myself moving through the process of detachment, because it is so familiar to me now.  It is like a frosty layer, icing over my whole being. Whenever I think of the person who came up short and let me down,  I turn into an ice maiden, retreating behind a wall of ice, untouchable and therefore safe from further harm. 

I support this detachment by eliminating all evidence of that person from my life, so I throw away all gifts, cards and so on.  I might block their phone number so they can't call me; or delete them on social media.  

And of course, I do forget people completely due to PTSD!  This can be both a blessing and curse, because not everyone deserves to be forgotten - but some do.    Eventually I will remember them in flashbacks - itself a traumatic experience - and then I might want to talk to them again, just to validate those memories, but this isn't always possible and so after a time, I have no option but to detach from them all over again.  And after four and half months of solid flashbacks, day after day, with no validation, that's kind of where I'm at right now. 

Because there comes a point when you just have to write people off, for your own peace of mind.  You can't keep flying round in circles, searching for those who are never there for you when you need them. You just have to write them off, for your own sanity. So that's what I do. I write them off - in my journal, on Twitter and Facebook and here on my blog - I just write them off, saddened that they let me down, cross that I was taken in by them in the first place, but ultimately the pilot of my own life, moving on to a new, as yet unknown, horizon.

Detachment is just a natural part of me. It's how I cope with loss; the big losses and the little ones. It's my thing. Let it go.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; The Mothership

People frequently ask me why I don't have children.  It's because I'm smart.  It's because I'm observant.  It's because I noticed from a young age that motherhood changes women, and not for the better! I have always known that motherhood is not for me.  I didn't even play with baby dolls as a child - only fashion dolls.  It is a way of life that has never interested me in the slightest. 

I remember having a tantrum with my mum when she insisted on dragging me to the GP for a Rubella injection when I was 11.  I knew then that it wasn't needed - I was never having babies. She didn't believe me and gave me the standard grown up answer of "You'll change your mind when you get older".  I'm now 43 - and I still haven't changed my mind, nor do I have any regrets or worries that I might have made the wrong decision and left it too late. I have made the right choice for me - babies are just not my thing.

I have noticed over the years that something happens to women when they have a baby.  The first pregnancy is filled with excitement and joyfulness - they can't wait!  Subsequent pregnancies are much more subdued and quiet.  There is little fanfare in the announcement and the joyfulness isn't apparent - because they know what they are in for!  The blessing of ignorance has been stripped from them and replaced with experience of the birthing chamber and the day to day toils of childcare.

I have watched motherhood turn bright, ambitious women into snazzy, resentful individuals, envious of anyone with an ounce of success or freedom. I have seen kind, compassionate women become engulfed in entitlement, expecting the world to bend over backwards for them just because they have a few kids in tow! As if!

Motherhood diminishes women and dulls their sparkle. They lose their glitter.  Motherhood can derail a promising career; or render it completely out of the question, particularly if education has been forsaken in favour of getting pregnant as young as possible.  When motherhood is viewed as a career choice, as it is by lots of teenage girls; or a get out of life free card when women reach a certain age and realise that they have done nothing with their life so far except drift, resentment is the result; resentment that they are shackled to the home and a school run; resentment towards their man who gets to enjoy a career and the success that goes with it; resentment of women who don't have children and who live a life of more freedom. 

It seems to me that the only person a woman can really trap with the 'accidental' pregnancy plan, is herself. But she knows that an empty nest just isn't enough to keep a man coming home every night to a wife he never wanted, or has tired of. And if she can't have more children herself, she'll use the grandchildren to fill the void. 

Men will take any and every opportunity to leave the house that has become a creche, whenever they can.  They take on jobs that mean they work away a lot; they stay late at work for meetings; they have to play golf with the boss at weekends; they work overtime to gain promotions.  And ultimately, a man is always free to walk away from the relationship and start again with someone new, possibly even having more children and a whole new family.  Men are never really trapped by parenthood in the way that women are, for it is always the women who are left holding the babies. 

Call me crazy, but I am not prepared to take such a high risk gamble with my life and the freedom that is so important to me. I want to be as free as any man, and the only way I can achieve that is to remain blissfully child-free. I certainly don't feel as if I am missing out on anything. My nurturing side is given over to animals and my counselling work, and my ambition has never been derailed.  I generally achieve my goals, because I can commit to them fully; I am not distracted by childcare duties. 

So I am content with my choice to remain child-free. What does irritate me though is the resentment I get from women with children, because I have more free time and disposable income than they might have.  I can spend my money on what I want. If I want a new Chanel perfume I can buy one, with my own money, not a husbands - I don't have to wonder if the kids need new shoes first.  If I want to go away alone on a nice holiday, I can do so - I don't need to organise childcare first and then worry all week! I am free to do as I please.  Spending my life hiding behind a pram has never been my aspiration, but for some women, giving birth is the best way for them to avoid life, tucked far away from the working world and the responsibilities that go with it. 

This doesn't go down well with some mums who seem to think that their life choice is more valid and important than mine. It isn't. The fact that they work to provide for their kids isn't more valid that the fact that I write to provide for myself.  But I often get comments like "Mmm, it must be nice"  Yes, it is.

I make no apologies for my life. I chose not to get married or have children because I knew it would make me feel trapped and I need to feel free.  I had the sense to think ahead - I took a good long look at motherhood and I didn't like the end the result I saw, so I didn't go down that path.  Which means that I don't wake up in my mid-forties wondering where my life has gone and why I haven't done anything with it!  I wake up knowing that I have achieved most of my goals and I am still setting new ones that I will achieve in the future.   I'm just not interested in being beamed up by the mothership.

My journey is one of freedom and fancy, of glitter and glamour. My path is artistic and creative.  I have the freedom to follow my heart wherever it leads and to chase after my wildest dreams...to go where the whim takes me, because freedom is my bliss. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017


Midsummer fey-dreams
I am a day-dreamer, a fey-dreamer...It is that time of year again, as the summer solstice approaches, my mind turns to all things fey and faerie, to the wondrous and the whimsical.  As the earth embraces the bright season and all is lush with new growth, I fall into fey-dreams of possibility.  Hope is renewed with the lengthening days and the magic within me stirs restlessly, eager to be cast out into the wider world with a heartfelt cry of Blessed Be!

I cast daily charm spells for all who need a little boost - for people I know and those I have never met; for my readers and my clients; for family and friends alike.  Charms are simple acts of magical kindness, like lighting a candle and dedicating the flame to those who need a little more light in their lives. Or blowing wish bubbles out into the clear blue sky, wishing joy for the sorrowful, or healing for the sick.  Random acts of magic like this help to keep me positive and optimistic. Because someone, somewhere needs a bit of magic in their lives and I am happy to share mine. It takes no time at all, but it puts a spring in my step as I think of the good wishes reaching the targets I know nothing about.

Summertime is all about faerie magic and it is nice to get out into nature more. I make daisy-chain crowns and wish on stars on a summers eve. I cast a pebble into the seventh wave of an incoming tide and state my desire to the merrowmaids.  I write goals on leaves and bury them to bring them into reality. I float feathers on a river to cast troubles away or dance with the sylphs of air on a windy day or invoke the winds of change by hanging wind chimes in my home. These are all simple charms to keep the good magic flowing in my life. 

The long winter can leave us all a little stagnant, but spring and summer bring oceans of opportunity if we are open to it.  Faerie magic can open your heart to love, joy and abundance, which is why I wrote a book and composed music about it. Reading books on fairy-lore and ritual can help you to rise above the mundane and see the world in a completely new light.  

I love reading books about Otherworldly places, allowing my imagination to take flights of fancy with the elves of Middle Earth, or the water kelpies of Scottish folklore.  

I believe that flights of fancy are to be encouraged at any time of year, but especially through the faerie season of midsummer.  I was going to write a Book Nook post about my favourite faerie books and music, but I honestly have too many to choose from. So instead I plan to Tweet about various fey books from now until the end of August - it is the best way to do them all justice!

So come follow me on Twitter and set your inner Faerie Queene free as we tread softly upon the petal path of faerie dreams, venturing deep into Elphame to dance with the Sidhe...for this is where the magic happens!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Banking Karma

It's 3am as I start to write this post. I have been up all night writing essays for my counselling course, which I am happy to report will soon be at an end.  I have only five classes left to attend and a couple more essays to write, and then the training will be over.  I am looking forward to crossing the finish line!

It will be nice to get my freedom back.  When I embarked on the course I didn't imagine that it would infiltrate so much of my life, but it feels as though everything else has had to be put on the back burner for the past four years.  It will be nice to have free time again, where I'm not thinking about the latest college assignment.

I miss day-dreaming. I miss being able to sit in reverie, without feeling guilty because I'm not writing essays!  I miss reading books that are nothing to do with psychotherapy.  In the past four years, I have had to think of my course as a priority.  This doesn't sit well with my rebellious, Bohemian spirit. I like to be free to drift through the days, doing what I want, when I want to.  

I hate writing essays.  It is the most tedious writing I have ever had to do. Essays leave no space for self-expression because every word has to meet a certain target and you are shackled to the criteria.  This academic hoop jumping has really stifled my creativity.  The best way I can describe is, it is like writer's block, but instead of being blocked out of writing, you are boxed in to a corner and a particular kind of writing -  a kind that is zero fun to produce and feels very much like a complete waste of your time. It's not that it is hard intellectually - it's just very tedious to keep repeating the same thing over and over, because all essays are simply a variation on a theme. At least I keep passing them though, that's a blessing. 

I feel less like myself because of it, which is surprising because I was assured that this course would make me much more self-aware - so shouldn't I feel more like myself then?  Apparently not. 

All this will change once I have my life back in July - I will no longer have to wear the student hat, and I can go back to just being myself.  I won't be trapped in a classroom every week, bored and fed up of endless navel gazing. Instead I will have my freedom once more - freedom to look up at the stars and dream magically, rather than examining all the crap in the world and trying to identify where it came from!  Freedom to focus on my real job of writing once again, taking it in a new direction;  freedom to take the dance class that I've had to put off because it falls on the same night I'm in college; freedom to play, to be filled with wonder at the beauty of the world, rather than focusing on that one inevitable imperfection and discussing it to death!

There is one good aspect to the course though and that is my placement.  I love doing my clinical hours.  It is the only part of the training that makes me happy, and which validates my original theory that you really don't need a diploma to help people - counselling is little more than basic common sense and human kindness. I said as much at the beginning of my training, and four years later I stand by that assessment.   I have used nothing I have learnt in class on my placement because each organisation has its own way of working.  My placement is with a counselling organisation and totally separate from the college, so it is a nice break from the lectures.

I never expected that working for free as a psychotherapist would be the best part of the course, but it is.  Obviously it would be better if I was getting paid for my time, but that will come eventually, just like it did with my writing.  I love my placement.Because everyone is voluntary there is no hierarchy, and people are nice! There is no bitching, no snottiness (some counsellors I've met in the past can be quite snotty) and no veiled put-downs masquerading as 'concern' like you sometimes get with doctors.  It is just a really nice environment. I enjoy working there and I come home feeling elated that I have played a small part in helping my clients through a very dark time in their lives.  It is the one part of my course where I feel like myself again.

Of course helping people with their troubles is all part of being a witch, so despite the academics trying to remould me, I am still doing exactly what I have always done - and that is, I help people, bringing a glimmer of light into their darkness, as any wise woman of old would have done.  As a messenger, I can sometimes bring comfort to those who need a sign, but mostly I help people to keep living, as best they can, when they think that their life is over. 

I see it as banking good karma - I help those who need me, for free, and that skilled kindness will be returned to me by the threefold law at a later stage. Its a win-win situation.  I wish all good things for my clients, just as I do for my readers.  Spreading kindness and gentleness helps to shine a light in the world and it makes a positive difference. But I'd be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to the eventual cosmic pay-day! Good things come to those who wait. 
BB x

Sunday, 21 May 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Patience is a Virtue, But Mine Wears Thin!

"But it never is time for the waiting to be over, until its time. No matter how much wringing of the hands, crying, begging or bargaining we do, the waiting will continue until its damn good and ready, which is rarely soon enough...

The truth is that waiting is when the magic happens. Waiting is the mystical space between the dreaming and its coming true."

from Romancing the Ordinary by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I'm good at waiting, but sometimes my patience wears a bit thin.  Its not so much the waiting that bothers me - its the silence, the false endings and the lack of news that irritate me and make me wonder if my time is being wasted. But this is what I need to remember - it will all happen in its own time, not mine. Be patient. Keep busy. Play music with meaning and wait for the magic to happen, because this really is just the beginning...better to wait and make a fresh start, than to rush and make a false start.


Monday, 8 May 2017

MUSICAL DOLL; Half The World Away

The sun comes up in China
The lights go on in Rome
Half the world is waiting...

Friday, 5 May 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Pretty In Pink - Biker Heaven

My Life Mantra

I have been utterly seduced...I have just returned from retail heaven!  The local shopping centre is simply full of pink, tempting me in every shop window...shades of rose, blush, flamingo, candy floss, baby, shell...were everywhere I looked, as far as the doe-eyed could see.  The shopping buzz has me in its grip and I am delirious and dizzy with joy! 

Pink has always been my favourite colour, closely followed by red. But for years pink hasn't really been that available, so I am delighted that it is now the colour of the season.  I have spent a happy couple of hours shopping this morning, adding to my collection of all things pink.

Some time ago I bought a lovely dusky rose pink, trench-coat style jacket.  Because I am petite I have a problem getting coats and jackets to fit me and all the trench-coats swamped me, but this little pink jacket comes just past my hips and belts at the waist, so it fits quite nicely.  I have been wearing it for college and clinical placement and people always compliment me on it.  You certainly do get more attention when you're dressed in something pink, hence the old saying "Wear pink to make the boys wink".  I have always found this to be true. 

Earlier this week I was out with my mother and I spotted a darling pastel pink tote bag, which of course I snapped up right away.  It's the perfect size for me and matches my pink kiss-clasp purse from Accessorise, so I knew I was meant to have it.  It goes beautifully with the dusky rose trench-coat too and they make a perfect pair.

Then today I was seduced - literally seduced - by another pink jacket!  A leather biker jacket to be exact, in the softest, palest shell pink!!  It's zips were twinkling at me under the store lights and I just lost all sense of self control... I had to have it...I just had to. It reminded me of Michelle Pfeiffer singing 'Cool Rider' in Grease 2.  I love that song (see end of post) - it sums me up.  So the biker jacket and a pink semi-sheer skirt, shot through with silver thread, found their way into my shopping basket and I beamed at the check out girl as she claimed her commission on the sale.

I justified the purchase by reminding myself that I still wear the black leather biker jacket I bought way back when I was 18.  It still fits and looks fab, so if the pink one is as good an investment, I will be very happy with it.  I also feel like I deserve a little treat for making it through four years of academic torture - my psychotherapy training finishes this summer and this jacket is my reward for sticking with the course.

It also goes nicely with a very pretty dress I bought a few weeks ago - a dream of a dress that is floaty, floral and balletic in style.  If you follow me on Twitter you will already know that I love this dress so much I named it Juliet! It's romantic and feminine and I can't wait to wear it with my new pink biker jacket.

Finally I popped into Victoria Secret and sniffed around all their fragrances.  I love their bath and body products; my favourites are currently Amber Romance and also Temptation, which suits me, being the author of  The Wiccan Temptress, which you can purchase here if you are so inclined. 

So it has been a very productive few weeks of girly shopping sprees.  I do love buying new clothes - it honestly makes me feel better, and I need smart new things to wear for my clinical placement and also for my holiday to Oban in autumn.  I can't wait for that. Just four months or so to go and I will be back in the land of the kilted Scotsmen where kisses aplenty await! Until then let's not forget that... 
"On Wednesdays we wear pink" 
- from Mean Girls
I wanna Cool Rider (In a kilt!)

Monday, 1 May 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; The Wheel of Fortune

Image result for wheel of fortune tarot google images

"It is the wheel of fortune that can throw you up very high, or bring you down very low. Its message is to be indifferent to victory and defeat, as they both come on the turn of the wheel."

extract taken from The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I have been ruminating on the wheel of fortune a lot recently, pondering on how it governs all of our lives; how it turns steadily round and round, allowing each of us to experience the highs and lows of life.   It's as if we are all riding a cosmic big wheel - for someone to enjoy the view at the top, someone else has to be at the bottom.  With each cycle the wheel draws you higher and higher, until it is your turn at the top, but then inevitably, it also begins its descent, taking you back down to earth again.

You will know which half of the cycle you are on by noting the main events of your life in recent months or years.  An upwardly mobile cycle brings promotions, great experiences, new lovers and friends, opportunities, abundance, lovely holidays and all the good things life has to offer.  In this stage of the cycle, it will seem as if everything is just coming to you, as you realise your dreams and enjoy life to the full.

A downward cycle tends to strip things away from you, so you experience bereavements, divorce, job loss, poverty, rifts with family and friends etc.  Delayed starts, false endings, obstacles and the derailment of plans are all a sign that you are on the downward cycle. It can be frustrating, upsetting and debilitating. But the wheel doesn't take away anything that you were meant to keep - rather, it removes that which has been holding you back, or which has served its time in your life.

It's like emptying a vase of stale, stagnant water and refilling it with fresh, pure water so that the flowers can continue to bloom.  If you didn't do that, the flowers would die, poisoned by the toxic water. They need purity to survive and thrive.  On a downward cycle it can feel as if your life has been emptied out and there is nothing left but the void of what used to be, but take heart, because when you feel that you are at your lowest ebb, that is a sign that you have reached the bottom of the wheel, and the worst is over. 

Like any big wheel in a funfair, the wheel of fortune allows us time to enjoy both the pinnacle at the top and the doldrums at the bottom. We need this breathing space to assess how far we have come on the climb, enjoying the fruits of our labour, or to come to terms with the losses.  It isn't about being punished - it's about being prepared for the next cycle. 

And you are far from powerless - you can use the two poles to make plans for the next half of the cycle; so when you're at the top, you can start cushioning yourself for the downward journey by setting money aside in savings or retraining to improve your qualifications etc.  When swinging in the doldrums, you can rest and recover, seek counselling for support with the losses and make goals for your next upward cycle so you know what you want the wheel of fortune to offer you.  

These seemingly small actions will keep you being proactive in your life and set the wheel swaying a bit. Before you know it, you will feel the jolt as the wheel shifts gears and moves on once more, taking your day to day life along with it.  

I have also noticed a pattern of seven year cycles in my life, in that I tend to have a seven year block of any one thing, whether it be good or bad, before moving onto something else. These cycles tend to alternate between negative and positive, and right now I am sitting on the cusp between the fall and the flight. My next bliss cycle is due in any time this year and I am ready to welcome it, knowing that the wheel of fortune is lifting me into a new phase of life, with new people for me to meet and new experiences and opportunities for me to enjoy.  

It's exciting and liberating to be free of the past and ready to move on into the unknown.  That is the purpose of the wheel of fortune - it keeps us moving forward; it teaches us that everyone has ups and downs and no-one's life is perfect. It makes us stronger, more resilient and ready to accept that change is necessary and can be a good thing.  It prepares us and makes us ready for the fresh start it brings, as we ride on into the next upwardly mobile cycle of life. So say a prayer for everyone who needs it...because their down cycle might have only just begun. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

MUSICAL DOLL; Right Here Waiting...

Some of the most beautiful songs have been written about the act of waiting...waiting in the bittersweet space between the dream of love and its reality, where yearning lyrics couple with haunting melodies, these songs can melt even the coldest heart...


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

CLASSIC BOOK NOOK; Romeo and Juliet

"I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise."
Romeo and Juliet

Someone once asked me if Romeo and Juliet had a happy ending which really made me giggle...I suppose it depends on how you look at it.  Yes, they both die in the end and it is technically a tragedy, but they are also together forever in eternal love.  Forever young and in love, never to disappoint one another, let each other down or tire of each other.  To me, that sounds like a happy ending of sorts, because the deepest, strongest, truest love is worth dying for.   

I tend to read this play each year as the summer months loom into view - the balcony scene is perfect for the lighter, warmer nights.  It reminds me that love is always unexpected - and sometimes it can be downright inconvenient!  It knows no bounds, or prejudices; it breaks all the rules; it is a headlong dash into the unknown, with someone you hardly know, yet trust automatically.  Love lingers in the ears long after the lips have spoken. As Juliet says;

"My ears have not yet drunk one hundred words 
Of thy tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound.
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?"

It is a remembrance and a dream; a waking thought not easily shaken off; a rekindling of hope and a healing charm to soothe the 
heart, lost in its chamber of solitude.  It may never be more than fantasy; reality might prove too complicated for the dream to be fulfilled - yet, the dream lives on in the mind, of whispers in moonlight and what might have been.  When Love's little arrows are lodged in your heart, it hurts a little bit. 

Despite the tragic ending though, Romeo and Juliet is my favourite
Shakespearean play, because it is still so relevant to modern life.  It can be tough to read if you are not used to the language, but Shakespeare designed his work to be seen, not read.  He wanted people to watch his plays, so if you prefer to watch one of the film versions or go to the theatre, rather than read the play, I'm sure he would approve.   It has inspired works of art, modern re-tellings and pop songs "for never was a tale of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo".  It is certainly well worth reading.

"A thousand times goodnight...
Goodnight, goodnight! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say goodnight till it be morrow"

Saturday, 1 April 2017

BOOK NOOK; Beauty and the Beast, movie tie-in novel

A novel of the film

"What if I'm too late? What if I never get to see the Beast again?" She knew that if the Beast was gone she would have no one to blame but herself.

Against all the odds, the Beast had shown her true beauty. He had shown her it was okay to be different. He had shown her it was okay to feel lost and made her realise how desperately she wanted to be found.

Last month my mother and I went to see the new movie version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and it was a fantastic film. It was the kind of film that stays with you and you are reluctant to leave behind at the cinema, so when I saw there was a book of the film out too, I just had to get it.

I have spent today reading this beautiful, romantic, novel length fairytale and it has kept the movie fresh in my mind.  What has taken me by surprise though is that I found I could relate more to the Beast than to Belle!  Like me, he has a temper and he can be easily provoked.  He doesn't always know what is good for him and he has to be gently persuaded to give Belle a chance.

I can relate to his wariness, because I am the same and when those little arrows of love hit me, my first response is to snarl and growl and scare them all away.  This means I scare away the very thing I need most. It means I lose my temper with the wrong people, when someone else has provoked me.  We can all be beastly at times. 

Like the Beast in the fairytale I just need someone brave enough to see past my tantrums, to soothe the fear that lies beneath.  I need someone who won't give up on me and who will keep trying to coax me into a gentler mood and a more playful attitude.  I need someone who can calm me with a soft voice and a bit of patience, until my trust is gained. Because sometimes a rejection comes from fear, not disinterest. 

Belle and the Beast initially reject one another because they are both fearful.  They bicker and snipe at one another, but deep down, they have much in common.  They get to know one another through a mutual love of books and the library in the film is truly breath-taking. Any book worm would love to spend time there. 

Eventually they come to see each other as allies, rather than as enemies. Once they understand that they are on the same side, love blossoms between them, though there are a couple of false starts along the way...barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly. 

Because if someone really is on your side, they will fly right back to you like little arrows, giving you the chance to turn the beastly curse into a spell of love and friendship.  Maybe there's a happy ending in second glances and second chances?

If you like tales as old as time you will enjoy this novel, available from Amazon here and the theme songs below...

It was a kiss full of apology, full of thankfulness, and full of deep, deep love. It was a kiss full of enchantment...

Wasting in my lonely tower...waiting by an open door...

Friday, 31 March 2017

MUSICAL DOLL; For GI Blue Eyes, Louisiana USA

Hello, GI Blue Eyes...
I know you like Britney Spears, you being from the same home state as her of Louisiana and
when it comes to military music parody videos, the UK has nothing on you guys...(I blame the English reserve!)...the USA military has this genre totally nailed - and I love them for it! Enjoy; love and blessings to you and yours...stay safe, wherever they send you...
...Love and kisses from Marie xoxo

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


My beloved cat Pyewackett died today.
He was my faithful friend and familiar for eighteen and a half years and I felt the light had gone from my life when it left his beautiful green eyes.

He suffered a stroke this afternoon, and even though my mother and I rushed him straight to the vet, there was nothing to be done for him.  He died in my arms - in the arms of the only real mother he knew, as he and I were inseparable. I was his mother and he was undoubtedly my baby.

I kissed his little head and told him I would love him forever and his spirit was always welcome in my life and home, wherever I am. Then I said a blessing and asked Bast to receive my precious feline back into her eternal care.

He will be cremated and his ashes will be returned home to me, where he belongs.

Of course I am inconsolable and heart-broken, but I knew he was struggling as his age caught up with him and he began to feel the years weighing on him. I was prepared, but it still hurts so much.

Strangely enough Pye was making my Mum and I laugh hilariously just last night, when he was bright as a button and trying to steal the fresh cream out of her chocolate eclair!  Then today, he died.

He has left us with some wonderful memories and he will be much missed. The void he has left behind is hard to face up to, but I just feel so privileged to have had him share half my adult life. It has been an absolute pleasure to love and care for him for the past 18 years. He was the truest friend I ever had.

Merry Part Pyewackett, until we Merry Meet again. 
My love goes with you as you make your final journey to Bast. I will look for you in the Summerland.
Blessed Be

Friday, 24 February 2017

BOOK NOOK; SAS Who Dares Wins

Image result for sas who dares wins book

I never thought that I would be the kind of person to read military books. Its not that long ago, while in a bookshop in Oban, that I stumbled across the military section, pulled a face at it and walked away!  Now though, they are fast becoming my favourite books to read and I like nothing better than taking a soldier or two to bed with me in the evenings for a spot of adventurous bedtime reading!

This book is my new go-to manual for motivation. Co-written by the four ex-SAS soldiers who made the TV series SAS Who Dares Wins, this companion book to the series is full of information and tales of high risk adventure.  Not only does it give details of how these men came to be in the SAS, but it aims to teach civilians how to think, act and persevere like an elite soldier. In short it is a cross between a collection of biographies and a self-help manual.

I had some fun Tweeting with the authors during the show and they all seem like nice lads.  Colin Maclachlan has even emailed me tips and advice on how to deal with anxiety, telling me to identify the situations that trigger a hyper-sensitive fear response and to remember that no-one else can make me afraid - only I can do that to myself by allowing myself to panic.  It's good advice and it was his emails that made me want to buy the book, just to see what the other lads had to say as well.

I wasn't disappointed and there are some cool stories used as examples of how to remain calm under pressure, control one's emotions and how to be the 'grey man'.  I've read the book three times now and so when someone recently said that he didn't know me at all after 18 months of working together, I took it as a compliment and a sign that some of this book must have sunk in, because I am learning to keep my cards closer to my chest.

As my college course has become something of a battle-field lately, with the pressure piling on, I need books like this one just to get me through these final few months of my diploma!  Because military books are not just for those who serve in the Armed Forces - everyone can benefit from reading them.  SAS Who Dares Wins is a great introduction to a new way of thinking, reminding you of your capabilities and that you can push yourself to even greater achievement if you just keep going and don't quit. This is exactly what I need to hear right now!

The book has chapters on mission planning and delivery, avoiding and deescalating conflict, identifying strengths and weaknesses, knowing when to retreat, gaining respect and establishing command, decompression, how not to quit and handling responsibility.   It aims to teach readers how to be 'an army of one' so if you are like me and you prefer to be independent, or if you lack a support network, then this book could well become your new best friend.  It will give you motivation when you need it, remind you of your achievements, skills and capability and steer you in the direction of leadership and personal responsibility, helping you to better yourself along the way.

My one gripe with the book is that there are a few football analogies used to explain something.  I'm a woman. I don't get football, so these explanations went right over my head. I can just about cope with the military lingo (because there is a glossary at the front of the book), but football is beyond me!  Still, there is a nice selection of glossy photos of the authors in their uniforms so I can forgive the football references. Boys will be boys! 

The book is available in hard copy and Kindle on Amazon UK, just click here
You can Follow me and the boys on Twitter too, here are the links;

Sunday, 19 February 2017

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Will You Remember Me?

I feel no fear tonight
 I feel no pain
I don't know what I feel
Or hope to gain...
Will you remember me?
Dannii Minogue - Disremembrance
One of my favourites from her greatest hits album.

Friday, 10 February 2017

ONCE UPON A VALENTINE; Chin Up, I Remember You

Sometimes an unexpected memory is the only Valentine you need to make you smile for days...

And sometimes he doesn't even need to be in the same room as you...
...the sound of his voice on the phone is enough;

Before you know where you are, you've taken flight and you're feeling the afterglow.

Sometimes the briefest of connections can be one of the most awesome...

A gentle reminder, right when you need it, to just keep your

Friday, 3 February 2017

MUSICAL DOLL; Broken Arrow

Love this song by Pixie Lott

And now you're trying to convince me, 
He wasn't worthy,
But you can't complete me,
He's the part that is missing...

You could be my hero, if only I could let go,
But his love is still in me,
 like a broken arrow...

Sunday, 22 January 2017

IVORY TOWER; Snowy Reverie

I have spent the weekend acting on my plans to winterise my bedroom and I couldn't be happier with the results!  This was the last room in the house that I needed to bring into my overall snowy winter theme, but I didn't want it to be an exact replica of the main room downstairs, where I have lots of ornamental silver stags and wintry trees, like an enchanted forest.  

For my bedroom I wanted a white winter rose theme, as I live in Yorkshire and the white rose is the emblem of this county.  I was also inspired by images of beautiful swans in snowy settings and the blush pinks and purples of a frosty sunset.   I adore swans and I have befriended them on my visits to the highlands -  I love their strength, grace, beauty and purity.  They are symbols of true love and fidelity, so as a totem animal they are perfect for a bedroom.

I was dreaming up a vision of an enchanted hidden glade in wintertime, with a sparkling pond, white roses growing nearby and a pair of loving swans gliding on the water. I think I have managed to achieve the essence of this dream in the decor items I have chosen to spruce up the room.  Everything I bought is creamy white and has a shimmer or a glowy finish.  The cream crushed velvet curtains literally gleam and look very glamorous set against the voile blinds that sparkle with silver sequins, like a sprinkling of snowflakes. The crystal tie-backs hold it all in place and catch the sunlight shining through the windows.  White roses and lilac thistles on the windowsill finish it off perfectly.

I had a particular image in mind when it came to the bed. In series one of Once Upon a Time there is a scene where Snow and Red are sitting on Red's bed chatting.  It is a four poster bed, hung with cream drapes and the bed is covered in lots of snowy white fur and sheepskin.  It looks warm and cosy and very wintry and I wanted to recreate that look, as I already have a four-poster bed with a cream lace canopy and drapes.  So I covered the bed with a cream faux fur throw and added scatter cushions in white faux fur and cream faux suede with diamante trim. It looks like the kind of bed you would never want to get out of...a dreamy wintertime retreat.  It makes me think of Anna Karenina snuggled up in furs on a sleigh and dashing through the Russian snow to meet her lover Count Vronsky.

I have a lovely white rose picture that is hung above the bed and the briar rose trellis of tea-light holders going up the side of the bedroom door, brings in the winter rose element.  I am also getting a white rose rug for the centre of the room.  With all the ice-fairy and snow-angel ornaments I already have, and a fresh scattering of dainty white swan ornaments, the room is now a picturesque vision of an enchanted winter wonderland.  It is delicate, pretty and feminine, while still having the bright wintry feel of a snowy day.  I'm very happy with how it has turned out.

So tonight I plan to have a long hot bath and then retreat into my winter rose bedroom with a glass of mulled wine, a good book and my ambient snowy DVD playing, which has relaxing scenes of winter woodlands and snowy rivers, with nature sounds.  With this DVD and my lovely winter themed home I can now enjoy the beauty of snow all year round, whether it be in the silvery forest downstairs or the enchanted swan glade upstairs.  And all this without having to get cold and wet! 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

IVORY TOWER; Winter Revisited

You might remember that this time last year I was in the process of giving my living room a bit of a face lift by creating a winter theme with lots of new soft furnishings.  I wanted it to look like Narnia and Scotland in the snow, so I bought lovely faux fur throws, silver stags etc.  You can read about it here and here if you want to know more about the transformation.  

Since then the wintry theme has spread through my house - I got a stunning large glittery tree picture for my birthday which is in my kitchen, plus I have a set of snowy white owls in there too.  My kitchen is all cream and natural wood, so it has a wintry feel anyway.  I was given a lovely cushion of a reindeer in the snow for Christmas - this is sat on the settle in the hallway, on top of a snowy white faux fur throw, so it has a very Scandinavian 'log cabin' vibe and helps to brighten up a small dark space. 

My staircase is also quite dark and so yesterday I bought some lovely new pictures that are shot through with sliver glitter to bounce the light around more.  The first picture is of a red squirrel eating a nut in the snow and the second is of a snowy winter woodland with two white hart deer in the middle - this one looks like Narnia and has tons of glitter so it shimmers like frost in moonlight.  I've bought a crackle-mirrored vase and filled it with silver light-up twigs and white roses to lift a dark corner. With the huge winter landscape picture and the white voile curtains that have metallic silver thread running through them that I bought last year, the staircase is now light and bright and silver white. 

I am making plans to winterise my bedroom too - I want it to have a glamorous, shimmering winter rose look, so for the past two weekends I have been shopping in the January sales, picking out things that I can use to spruce up my bedroom.  I'm not going to change too much as I am basically happy with how that room looks.  I will be keeping the knights and ladies pictures and all the furniture, but I want all new soft furnishings in lighter colours to brighten the room.  

I tend to buy things when I see them and put them to one side until I have everything I need to complete the transformation, so I recently bought some gorgeous crushed velvet curtains in a rich cream colour.  They have a very glimmering effect and the fabric looks so luxurious and glamorous.  Yesterday I also bought new crystal tie-backs that have an icy finish and some voile blinds with sparkling metallic detail.  I want my bedroom to shimmer and sparkle, like a white rose on a frosty morning.  I also bought a cream faux fur throw and cushions for on the bed, so that will look like a winter sleigh all covered in creamy white fur.  I already have a large picture of a white rose hung above the bed and I am going to get a white rose rug for the centre of the room to pull it all together and really give the space a winter rose look.

It is going to be so lovely and I can't wait to get it all done.  I think I will do it in the next week or so, certainly before the next half term break from college, so that I can enjoy the space, and then my little winter palace will be complete in a vision of silver trees, snowy woodland creatures and romantic white roses!