Tag Archives: Birthday

Now we are 10…

10th Birthday CakeyPhil: 10 years ago, the world looked very different. Candice and I were sat at a quango in Coventry wondering what to do with ourselves.

The incoming Conservative government* had decided our employer was surplus to requirements. The age of austerity beckoned. The place was closing down, but we still had to turn up for work under the terms of our contracts. It’s just that there wasn’t anything to do when we got there.

So, we started writing.

Much of our first book, Kate vs The Dirtboffins was formulated during discussions over the desk dividers or during coffee or lunch breaks. How lovely to be able to chat within arm’s length!

Since those days we’ve carried on writing, and just as importantly, chatting. There have been changes of job. One of us has given birth (No spoilers, you can work out who for yourself) and plenty of cake.

We have always been proud of the Dirtboffins, but there has been a niggle in the back of our collective minds that it wasn’t quite polished enough. Yes, people enjoyed the read, but as an author, you want to feel your book is a shiny penny, perfect as can be.

So, to celebrate our birthday as writers, we’ve had it properly proof-read by someone who has taken us to task in a few places. The punctuation is much better (as good as book 2 in fact, thanks again Katherine) and so is the grammar. And one or two timeline issues have been fixed.

All this will be revealed next week when Kate vs The Dirtboffins re-launches with a brand new shiny cover and a few extra pages inside.

Watch this space, the journey continues…


*Strictly speaking, Michael Gove. I wanted to slap him then, and I still do. Not everything changes!

Leave a comment

Filed under Phil, Writing

Some times it’s all a bit much!

Candice:  Its been busier than usual in the Nolan house hold over the last few weeks, what with birthdays and new bathrooms.  Even our lovely weekend away the other week was enjoyable but brought extra stress too.

People often ask me how I fit it all in and, to be honest; on Saturday both me and the Husband (that’s not Phil) did wonder how we were going to manage.  It was his big birthday party and the day was planned down to the detail, list and everything, to make sure it was already for the party.  Neither of us slept well the night before thinking about what we had to do.  From 9am it was:

  • hairdresser visit for me
  • pick up helium balloons for him
  • take daughter to music class
  • MOT his car
  • have food
  • tidy up house and prepare spare room for guests
  • go to venue and start decorating room plus entertain two year old
  • meet grand parents
  • have dinner
  • get ready
  • feed and put daughter to bed
  • meet baby sitter
  • discover cat has brought mouse in, try to catch, give up
  • get to venue

and finally, drink wine while circulating the room, cut cakes, sing happy birthday, cut more cakes, encourage people to eat cake, speak to lots of people for a short period, dance, share out birthday cake, dance and then it was Midnight.

Then it was clear room, get home, try to catch mouse, give up, go to bed!

I need a day off.

And that I have tomorrow, but tomorrow’s day off is all about tidying up the house, fun!

And then somewhere in there Phil will be asking me what we are doing about marketing the first book or writing the second.  At the moment its all pie in the sky, which I find frustrating, but I will find time the same way I find time to go to the gym.  But it will probably have to wait until I have three days off at the start of March and I can really get my head into it (and I won’t be recovering from organising a party).

My advice, don’t beat yourself if you can’t do it just now, but make sure you plan in some time to write, else  you won’t be happy.


Leave a comment

Filed under Candice, Writing

When did Facebook become a card?

Candice: I celebrated a Birthday recently.  Not a momentous one, just an average, run of the mill birthday.  But hey, it happens at the same time every year and still people manage to forget it.

But I think these days its become so acceptable just to message people on Facebook they think its OK not to bother sending a card.

Now, the other half and I, we like sending cards.  It’s the picking and writing that makes the difference, as well as having a nice collection of them on the mantle piece to say – hey wasn’t that a funny one, or thats a cute cat, something else than just a ping on the web.

Sometimes it goes too far the other way and you  have social media and text going mad, and I never know whether the etiquette is to reply to each one or a blanket note will do?

However, the other joy of cards is often the messages inside.  Most of just write ‘Happy Birthday’ and sign.  But some go the extra mile and add a personal message that can make the difference.  It just as good to get an off the shelf card with a personal message inside as it is to get a quirky card.

I think, as we don’t write as much or post as many things we have lost the art of putting together a good card.  Some times Christmas and birthdays are the only times I communicate with people so it seems a lost opportunity not to add in a note.

So next time you think a Facebook message will do, think again, as that personal touch will often give someone a smile that a poke won’t.

1 Comment

Filed under Candice, Writing

Turning points?

Candice: As promised, I said I would blog about the birthday…  I have never really had a problem with my age, it ain’t nothing but a number, as they say.  Around the 30 point I had abit of a moment, everyone was getting married, I didnt really like my job.  So I booked myself a three week holiday to Australia to visit friends and escape.  This time around its abit different, I have a lovely husband, nice house etc… but it’s still time to sit back and have a think about where I expected to be at 40.  I’ll tell you what’s nice, the number of people who have said I don’t look 40, and I’ve not paid them to say it.  And I certainly didn’t feel it when I was throwing shapes on the dance floor on Sunday.  We have friends who have been 40 recently or have it coming up and are shying away from the concept, but I think you should really go for it as, as my parents card says, you are only 40 once!

I’ve got some lovely presents and cards (thanks Neil and Phil) – I like unusual ones ie my inlaws have bought me a framed print plus actual film cells from Grease,  Richard bought me a weekend in Rome (though I did drop some very unsubtle hints for this), and my family and friends have bought me a Mulberry handbag (well it’s still in the shop but vouchers towards). Phil got me some “calorie free” cakes, I don’t know if that’s a comment on my waistline, you can see them in the picture.  One is a money box that says “holiday fund”, but to pay for the next holiday I think I’m going to need a bigger cake than that!

But, with all this talk about it just being a number, I went to the gym on Wednesday and on the treadmill you have to put in your time, weight and age.  Typing ’40’ was hard.  Just had to run a bit harder for a bit longer to make up for it!

So back to the reviewing of where you are moment.  Phil and I had a deep conversation the other week about the book, and the fact it hasn’t really moved for a year. So now is the time to stop with the talking and start with the writing again.  We are currently looking at writing courses and short story competitions to give us a deadline to work to, as it seems neither of us are good at moving it along on our own.

Plan for year 41 – get something published that is not on word press!

1 Comment

Filed under Writing