Why a Gmail Inbox beats all other email accounts to save you time

Business woman in corridor with a Copy of A Simpler Gyuide to Gmail

Business woman in corridor with a Copy of A Simpler Gyuide to GmailI have used Google’s Gmail for my main email for years. I have also used Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook and various smaller email addresses like ceri@millionaireintraining.com. That email address doesn’t exist anymore and I’m still waiting to be that millionaire!

My book, A Simpler Guide to Gmail, does go into why Gmail is such a great option for sending and receiving email but if you have bought my book you already know how great it is. This blog post is for people undecided among the big free email providers. Here’s why I think everyone should have a Gmail account:

  • It’s FREE – No getting your credit card out.A Simpler Guide to Gmail
  • Easy to use – You can get started straight away.
  • Nothing to install – Get access from anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Clean interface – Go to what you need to do quicker.
  • Over 15 gigabytes of space (enough for a lifetime of email, although it is/can be shared between other Google services) – Lots of space.
  • Advanced Filters – Automate sorting your emails.
  • Spell Checking – Reduce the risk of sending out embarrassing mistakes.
  • Address Book (Contacts) – Start typing an email address for Google to autofill the contact using your Address Book details.
  • Mobile access (for your iPhone or Android mobile phone, although any phone capable of using a browser can use it) – Get your emails on the move!
  • Great spam protection – Save time from going through unwanted emails.
  • Your username and password for Gmail works for all the other free Google services like Search, YouTube, Chrome and Google+ etc. – Who wants to remember several passwords when one will do?

I opened a Yahoo email address as part of writing my book to see if importing emails had changed and I gained spam emails within the Yahoo account in about ten minutes of opening the account. I hadn’t even had a chance to send any emails yet! I rarely, if ever, get spam in my Gmail inbox.

There you go in a nutshell, there is no better email service in my opinion,

If you would like some tips and tricks for getting the most out of Gmail, please check out my book on Amazon. Where the Amazon Kindle Match is available, the Kindle ebook is free when you purchase a paperback.

A Simpler Guide to GmailThird edition of A Simpler Guide to Gmail: An unofficial user guide to setting up and using your free Google email account now available!

 

buy paperback1buy kindle1

Are you looking for free email but don’t know where to start? Do you use Gmail but want to use it more effectively? Do you want to organize your emails better? Spending too much time on your email? Then this guide for your Google mail account is for you!

This is the complete illustrated guide to setting and using Gmail. Packed full of tips and information.

JUPITER ASCENDING REVIEW – WHY I LOVED IT

Jupiter

JupiterWarning my Jupiter ascending review will contain some spoilers (but they are not that bad).

Having read and watched dozens of reviews for Jupiter Ascending, I was a little worried about going to see it for our annual trip to the cinema on Valentine’s day (thanks for babysitting mum!).

We watched it in 3D and in the IMAX cinema. I needn’t have worried, I LOVED it!

The reviews warned about watching it in 3D. Seriously? It was brilliant. At the beginning there was a bit where a woman was on a flying bike. It was like being there!

The story

This was my kind of story. An intergalactic space opera with unknown ordinary person taking an integral part on the plot.

An unappreciated cleaner with early starts and low wages needs some money and tries to donate some eggs to get some quickly. Her genes are picked up by aliens when tested at the clinic. They then try to kill, kidnap and marry her. Her genes are the same as a matriarch who had died a while ago. Unfortunately her predecessor wrote her in to her will which the family didn’t appreciate so the plot unfolds with some or all trying to kill her to get her/their inheritance.

There was politics in the film but you need it to understand the backdrop. Without it you would be stumbling in the dark getting annoyed at the motivations of the characters. It wasn’t as bad as Star Wars.

Jupiter

I was really dreading what this character was going to do after hearing what the critics had to say about this character.

I found the character to be believable. Before you say but she didn’t ask too many questions etc., put yourself in the character’s shoes. You have spent your entire life as a cleaner which is not that stimulating (I’ve done the job in the past), and you are suddenly a queen in charge of worlds and some people are clearly trying to kill you. Are you suddenly from nowhere going to get a full potted history of the family, politics and the skills of a Karate black belt? Huh? No, you are going to go along with what seems to be the most reasonable thing anyone says while you observe and learn.

As to her intelligence, she reads up on information as soon as she can get it and uses it at the first opportunity she can.

I also got the impression she’s a wimp from the reviews but she slaps someone early on and kicks the butt off her ‘son’ later on. She’s no shrinking violet!

The love interest

If you are ever in danger this is the guy you want on your side. Sure his emotional range is limited but he is someone who is part wolf. Put yourself in the character’s point of view. He’s not a lovesick puppy, he’s a battle scarred wolf!

Other characters

Ok, the guy who used to own Earth is quite weird but then he is from a different culture. Sean Bean is awesome but then he always is and I quite liked the ‘daughter’ even if she was morally reprehensible.

In conclusion

I loved it and couldn’t recommend it enough. I needed a good action film where the fight scenes didn’t go on and on and on… This was it. It was an intelligent movie where you have to listen to what the characters say to get the best out of it. It was bright, brash and most of all fun. The best sci-fi I’ve seen in a long time.

February Newsletter: Information and news about Ceri Clark and her books

Ceri Clark Newsletter
Ceri Clark Newsletter
Ceri Clark Newsletter

Hello and welcome to the first newsletter from CeriClark.com!
Thank you so much for signing up. As this newsletter is new, please bear with me as I find what works in this (hopefully) monthly email.

As a start, I thought I would talk about my recent and new releases, works in progress, a spotlight on one of my existing books and finally any free or bargain books from my associate publisher.

In future newsletters I might scout Amazon for some book recommendations for free books for you, depending on feedback from subscribers (LycanBooks@gmail.com to let me know what you think), as one of my books explain how to get free ebooks (A Simpler Guide to Finding Free eBooks). Please note that you must download the free books on the day you receive the email. They are usually free for only one day so if you leave it, they may go up in price!

Contents

Recent and New Releases from Ceri Clark

News about works in progress

Spotlight on … A Simpler Guide to Calibre

Bargain and Free eBooks from Myrddin Publishing

 

Recent and New Releases from Ceri Clark

 

An easier guide to keepingin touch with friendsA Simpler Guide to Google+: An unofficial user guide to setting up and using the Google Plus social network (Simpler Guides)

Check out the paperback of A Simler Guide to Google+ at Amazon!

Do you want a better way to organize and manage your social relationship? Do you want to keep in touch from friends and family all over the world in one video call? Are you interested in meeting people across the web with similar interests? Then this guide is for you!

  • Learn why Google+ is the best social network
  • Set-up a new Google+ account
  • Learn about Hangouts, the best and easiest way to meet your friends and family face to face online with video Hangouts. Up to 10 people at a time!
  • Have better privacy than on Facebook or Twitter
  • Post, comment, ‘like’ and share
  • Discover like-minded communities, Google+ i*s the best social network for photographers!
  • Understand and use the settings
  • Easily control who can see your stuff
  • And much more…

A Simpler Guide to gmailA Simpler Guide to Gmail: An unofficial user guide to setting up and using your free Google email account (Simpler Guides)

Check out the paperback of A Simler Guide to Gmail at Amazon!

Are you looking for free e-mail but don’t know where to start? Do you use Gmail but want to use it more effectively? Do you want to organize your emails better? Spending too much time on your email? Then this guide is for you! 

  •   Learn why Gmail is the best email solution
  • Set-up a new Gmail account
  • Send and receive emails
  • Avoid and explain the best way to deal with scams, spam and phishing emails
  • Protect your email from hackers
  • Organize your email
  • Understand and use the settings
  • Discover and use Google+
  • And much more…

CALIBRE SLIDER1A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader (Simpler Guides)

Check out the paperback of A Simpler Guide to Calibre at Amazon!

Do you have hundreds of e-books but can never find the one you want? Would you like to convert an e-book to work on a different device? Are you itching to organize your e-books but are not quite sure how? Then this guide is for you!

  • Learn how Calibre can be useful to you
  • Set-up Calibre
  • Catalog ebooks, i.e. add books, edit book information
  • Send e-books to your Kindle or other devices
  • Find free e-books
  • Browse and search your e-book collections
  • Convert e-books
  • Edit e-books
  • Discover, download and send news sources to your devices
  • And much more…

News about works in progress

 

Accidental Immortal Cover

November saw the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) appear again. This year I took part and wrote the first draft of the Accidental Immortal. This is a sci-fi/fantasy tale of Lynsey Walker who finds herself transported to a former Egyptian colony named Duat on another world. All she wants to do is go home but she may find a reason to stay… I’m in the process of rewriting the chapters but I am at the very beginning so it may take a few months to get to the quality I feel happy with. I have already created the cover and used it as inspiration for writing the novel. Before I began I decided to think of three random elements, namely the pyramids, a girl and a dragon. I then looked for those ideas on stock photography websites and purchased the images. This meant I had to finish the book or waste the money! Watch this space for news on the completed novel.

Spotlight on … A Simpler Guide to Calibre

A Simpler Guide to CalibreCalibre is free software to organize your ebooks. You can organise, search and browse by covers, titles, authors and anything else you can think of when you put the information into the program. It can convert ebooks as well as letting you read them using the software. The two amazing things it can do are converting ebooks and the ability to email ebooks direct to your Amazon Kindle. It is truly amazing software.

My guide introduces you to the concepts of how to use the software, how to catalogue effectively and how to find the book you want, when you want it. If you want to browse by the cover, this book shows you how. Do you wnat to find your paperbacks in your house? Why not catalogue their location in the software and then all you need to do is search in the software later and it will tell you where it is. Check it out at Amazon!

 

Bargain and Free eBooks from Myrddin Publishing

Unremembered Thiongs Kindle EditionBARGAIN: Unremembered Things

Check out Unremembered Things on Amazon.com/a>

 

Heart Search Book One: Lost. Kindle EditionFREE: HEART SEARCH – Book One: Lost

Check out Unremembered Things on Amazon.com

Heart Search will be free on Amazon 7th and 8th Feb only! http://smarturl.it/HeartSearch-Lost One bite starts it all . . . When Joshua Grant vanishes days before his wedding his fiancée Remy is left with only bruises, scratch marks and a hastily written note. Heartbroken, she sets off alone to find him and begins a long journey where strange things begin to happen. As Joshua descends into his new immortal life he indulges his thirst for blood and explores his superhuman strength and amazing new talents while becoming embroiled in coven politics which threaten to destroy him. But Remy discovers a strength of her own on her quest to bring Joshua home.

Hunted Heart Kindle EditionBARGAIN: Hunted Heart

Check out Hunted Heart on Amazon.com

Hunted Heart is on sale for $.99 with all proceeds going to charity. http://bit.ly/HHkinUL When Tali is hired to cut out the heart of Prince Kas, the huntress can’t refuse. Tali realizes there is no escape from the dark magic of the queen’s mirror, even though her own feelings for the prince are far too complex to understand. As they try to run from their shared destiny, Tali and Kas have to rely on their wits and each other as hunter becomes prey and hearts are won and lost. A genderbent Snow White for adults (18+ only.) All royalties go to SavetheChildren.org. 

Darkness Rising Book One is Free at SmashwordsFREE: Darkness Rising, Book One – Chained

Check out Darkness Rising for free from Smashwords

The first book in the popular epic fantasy series Darkness Rising remains free to download in a variety of formats through Smashwords. Dive into the spellbinding series today.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/392664 Wild magic comes at a cost… that of the mind. Emelia dreams of escape from her life of servitude. She dreams of magical powers; she dreams of dark things. When tragedy awakens the sorcery within her she embarks upon an epic journey in the company of two charming thieves. In the Dead City an ancient evil awakens. The Lord of the Ghasts covets a magical Prism, the clues to which lie with Emelia. And when he begins to share her dreams, surely it is only a matter of time until she succumbs to his power?

Huw the Bard Kindle EditionBARGAIN: Huw the Bard

Check out Huw the Bard at Amazon.com

Smuggled out of the burning city in a reeking ale barrel, Huw the Bard is a wanted man. Starving, reduced to begging and worse, he must somehow make his way north to safety. It’s a 200-league walk to the one place he might have a friend, though the path Huw must take is anything but straight.

A lot can happen to a man on journey like that.

Step into the dangerous world of Waldeyn for only $ .99 through February 28, 2015
http://bit.ly/HuwTheBard_US

Nursery Rhymes (Songs): Over 30 verses for Wheels on the Bus.

Wheels on the bus go round and round...

Advert: For Potty training tips, Click Here!

Wheels on the bus go round and round...
Wheels on the bus go round and round…

After the popularity of my row, row, row your boat article, I’ve decided to hunt through the internet for verses to the wheels on the bus nursery rhyme. I was also getting bored singing the same old, same old to my toddler. I really wanted some alternative versus to the Wheels on the Bus nursery rhyme.

Again, I’ve perused blogs, checked out, Wikipedia, Mumsnet and even made up a few of the verses myself. I did see that some versions have ‘All day long’ at the end and some have ‘All through the town’ at the end. Take your pick!

Here are all the verses for the nursery rhyme song, Wheels on the Bus that I could find:

 

The wheels on the bus go round and round.

round and round.

round and round.

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

All day long!

 

The people on the bus go up and down,

up and down,

up and down,

The people on the bus go up and down,

All day long!

 

The babies on the bus go waa, waa, waa,

waa, waa, waa,

waa, waa, waa,

The babies on the bus go waa, waa, waa,

All day long!

 

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep,

beep, beep beep,

beep, beep, beep,

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep,

All day long!

 

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish,

swish, swish, swish,

swish, swish, swish,

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish,

All day long!

 

Daddies on the bus, fall fast asleep,

fall fast asleep, fall fast asleep,

Daddies on the bus, fall fast asleep,

All day long!

 

The papers on the bus go rustle, rustle, rustle.

rustle, rustle, rustle,

rustle, rustle rustle

The papers on the bus go rustle, rustle, rustle.

All day long!

 

The signals on the bus go blink, blink, blink,

blink, blink, blink,

blink, blink, blink,

The signals on the bus go blink, blink, blink,

All day long!

 

Mummies on the bus, say “Don’t do that”,

“don’t do that, don’t do that.”

Mummies on the bus, say “Don’t do that”,

All day long!

 

The motor on the bus goes zoom, zoom, zoom,

zoom, zoom, zoom,

zoom, zoom, zoom,

The motor on the bus goes zoom, zoom, zoom,

All day long!

 

Librarians on the bus go shh, shh, shh,

shh, shh, shh,

shh, shh, shh,

Librarians on the bus go shh, shh, shh,

All day long!

 

Mummy and daddy on the bus says, I love you,

I love you, I love you,

Mummy and daddy on the bus says, I love you,

All day long!

 

Policeman on the bus, goes allo, allo allo,

allo, allo, allo, allo, allo, allo,

Policeman on the bus. Go allo, allo allo,

All day long!

 

Grannies on the bus, shake their heads,

shake their heads, shake their heads,

Grannies on the bus, shake their heads,

All day long!

 

Grannies on the bus knit, knit, knit,

knit, knit, knit,

knit, knit, knit

Grannies on the bus knit, knit, knit,

All day long!

 

Dentists on the bus say open wide,

open wide,

open wide,

Dentists on the bus say open wide,

All day long!

 

Brakes on the bus, go screech, screech, screech,

screech, screech, screech,

screech, screech, screech,

Brakes on the bus, go screech, screech, screech,

All day long!

 

Doors on the bus go open and shut,

open and shut,

open and shut,

Doors on the bus go open and shut,

All day long!

 

Friends on the bus say, how are you?

How are you?

How are you?

Friends on the bus say, how are you?

All day long!

 

Money on the bus goes clink, clink, clink,

cink, clink, clink,

clink, clink, clink,

Money on the bus goes clink, clink, clink,

All day long!

 

Granddads on the bus go snore, snore, snore,

snore, snore, snore,

snore, snore, snore,

Granddads on the bus go snore, snore, snore,

All day long!

 

Teenagers on the bus go like OMG,

OMG

OMG

Teenagers on the bus go like OMG,

All day long!

 

Animal Verses

Dogs on the bus go woof, woof, woof,

woof, woof, woof,

woof, woof, woof,

Dogs on the bus go woof, woof, woof,

All day long!

 

Cats on the bus go meow, meow, meow,

meow, meow, meow,

meow, meow, meow,

Cats on the bus go meow, meow, meow,

All day long!

 

Mice on the bus go squeak, squeak, squeak,

squeak, squeak, squeak,

squeak, squeak, squeak,

Mice on the bus go squeak, squeak, squeak,

All day long!

 

Chickens on the bus go cluck, cluck, cluck,

cluck, cluck, cluck,

cluck, cluck, cluck,

Chickens on the bus go cluck, cluck, cluck,

All day long!

 

Ducks on the bus go quack, quack, quack,

quack, quack, quack,

quack, quack, quack,

Ducks on the bus go quack, quack, quack,

All day long!

 

Turkeys on the bus go gobble, gobble, gobble,

gobble, gobble, gobble,

gobble, gobble, gobble,

Turkeys on the bus go gobble, gobble, gobble,

All day long!

 

Parrots on the bus say Who’s a pretty boy?

Who’s a pretty boy?

Who’s a pretty boy?

Parrots on the bus say Who’s a pretty boy?

All day long!

 

Sheep on the bus go baa, baa, baa,

baa, baa, baa,

baa, baa, baa,

Sheep on the bus go baa, baa, baa,

All day long!

 

Cows on the bus go moo, moo, moo,

moo, moo, moo,

moo, moo, moo,

Cows on the bus go moo, moo, moo,

All day long!

 

Pigs on the bus go oink, oink, oink,

oink, oink, oink,

oink, oink, oink,

Pigs on the bus go oink, oink, oink,

All day long!

 

Horses on the bus go neigh, neigh, neigh,

neigh, Neigh, neigh,

neigh, Neigh, neigh,

Horses on the bus go neigh, neigh, neigh,

All day long!

 

Cockroaches on the bus go skitter, skitter, skitter,

skitter, skitter, skitter,

skitter, skitter, skitter,

Cockroaches on the bus go skitter, skitter, skitter,

All day long!

If you liked these verses, you might like the verses I found for row, row, row your boat.

For Potty training tips, Click Here!

Darkness Rising: the fifth cover from the awesome epic fantasy series

Ross Kitson Five Darkness RisingI don’t make a lot of covers for other people, I tend to do just my own but there are sometimes books so good that I can’t resist helping to make those books come alive.

I’ve made five book covers for the Darkness Rising Series, you can see them above but my favourite by far at the moment is the last one – Broken. The brooding background matched by the character (which Ross picked), tickled my imagination and I just had to do it. I used the same fonts and design as the others to make the new book ‘gel’ with the others. I hope you agree, Ross has an eye for what works, I just put it together.

You can find all books written by Ross at Amazon and all good bookstores but if you want to go directly to Amazon, click the blatant advert for one of my favourite authors below:

Q&A My books have gone from Calibre, how do I get them back?

ceri's q and aMy books have gone, how do I get them back? A quick tip from A Simpler Guide to Calibre.

A Simpler Guide to Calibre
A Simpler Guide to Calibre, available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.

It can happen that when you first load Calibre your books all seemed to have disappeared. This is usually because the software has been told your e-books library has moved to a different folder and is now pointing to the wrong place. This has happened to me during upgrades for example. Another reason may be that a special file called metadata.db (which is in the folder where your books are stored) has been deleted or corrupted. You will either need to tell Calibre where your books really are or rebuild the f
ile that is missing.

If your library has moved

Find the Calibre Library icon/logo (as seen below), then choose Switch/create library.

Switching to a Calibre library

Click on the little picture to the right of the box to browse your computer for the folder you just created and ignore the already checked Use the previously existing library at the new location and click OK. Your books should now reappear.

If the file metadata.db has been moved or corrupted

If you cannot find a file named metadata.db in the top folder where your library is located on your computer, it has been deleted. You may also encounter problems if it has been corrupted in some way. To fix this:

  1. First right-click on the Calibre icon in the Calibre toolbar (as above) and choose Library maintenance.
  2. Select Restore database and Calibre will rebuild the metadata.db file.

ceri's q and a

Q&A Have a small library but cannot afford a library management system (LMS) like Oliver, Unicorn or IS OXFORD? How about trying Calibre the free ebook library software?

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKI worked in libraries for over 11 years before giving up work to look after my son and write books. I understand that sometimes small libraries whether they are school libraries or corporate information departments don’t have the money to buy a full-blown library catalogue.

When you work in these organisations you may not need all the features of a full-blown library management system. If that is the case for you, give Calibre a look.

Calibre is free software downloadable from the internet. You can install it like any desktop application on your computer and use tags to catalogue your book’s physical locations.

In my book, A Simpler Guide to Calibre, I also explain how you can use tags to mark a book as out on loan or have virtual libraries so you can see at a glance which books are on loan and their due date.

If you only need a library catalogue for basic cataloguing but no budget or accessible IT department then Calibre could be your answer. Have one computer in your library set up and use it to search and loan your books.

You can not only use the catalogue to find your ebooks (which it is designed for) but you can add physical media such as music CDs or movie DVDs. The software can be used in a variety of ways with a little imagination.

It’s a great way to have a classic ebook collection. Fill up the catalogue with Jane Austen’s, Edgar Allan Poe’s or Robert Louis Stevenson’s books from the Gutenberg project and have a classic collection that will entertain for hours at no extra cost. You can add kindle addresses and get them sent to your customers’ Kindles.

If you don’t have a budget but you need an easy way to organize your books why not give it a try? The software is free after all!

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Now for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKA Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

ceri's q and a

Why students should use Calibre to organize their ebooks, papers and other documents: A Simpler Guide to Calibre – the perfect gift for students

students calibreIt is not so long ago that I don’t remember what it was like as a student. Ahhh the life, drinking to the early hours while philosophizing about life, the universe and everything. Rocking up to the occasional lecture or watching daytime TV with a tin of baked beans in one hand and a spoon in the other. Oh wait, that wasn’t me, I was the goody-two-shoes who turned up at EVERY lecture, did her homework, went to the library and looked jealously on at the students nursing hangovers in the student bar who could get away with going in one day of the week!

This article is for the students who want to get the most out of their degrees by organizing how they keep track of their lecturer’s notes, articles they research from the library and ebooks and books that they need for work and leisure.

How can the free Calibre software help students?

Converting lecturer’s notes

If you are a student you know the problem, you are given or can download your lecturer’s notes but wait, they are in icky PDF file format or even as a Microsoft Word file. In the old days you would have had to print them out, read them on your computer or panned from left to write on your ereader (if it could take it). Well no more. Calibre will convert the ebook to almost any format you could desire. Have a Kindle Paperwhite, fire or app? Maybe you have a Nook or some other device that will only take ePUBs like Kobo? Calibre can convert from PDF to Mobi or PDF to ePUB easily. There maybe some formatting issues but the document will be a lot easier to read and will take up a lot less space in your book bag than a file full of notes!

Converting articles from the library

Most university/college libraries will have access to databases where you can download articles for free to help with your work. These can be from EBSCO or Proquest but they will usually be in the PDF format. Again Calibre will convert PDF to MOBI or ePUB at a click of a button.

Finding your notes, articles and books

Another way Calibre can help is in finding your notes, articles and books that you have found on your course. If you catalog (similar to how a librarian does but maybe not as thoroughly!) your ebooks, books, notes and articles then you will be able to browse by category. This could be by module or subject (you would put these in the tags section of a book’s information) or search the database to instantly find to what you already have access.

If the items are paper books or maybe DVDs then you will have put where you can find them or where you put them. If what you are looking for is an ebook, it is possible to read directly from Calibre or send them to your device.

News

Maybe your course requires you to keep abreast of current affairs? Why not use Calibre to download news from the top free news sites for your academic area and convert them to an ebook and get them sent directly to your Kindle?

There are several ways Calibre can help from being an ebook converter and organizer, to a news aggregator. However you use it, it will help you save time when you are writing that all important essay or dissertation – the night before it’s due…

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Now for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKA Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

How Calibre can help authors organize their research and convert their books before uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

author calibre

I love Calibre. I love it so much I wrote a book on it. As an author, what’s not to like? It’s free. I should probably say that again. It’s free (very important for the cash strapped author). It can do so much like organizing your books, it is an ebook converter and you can read books on it and did I mention it’s free? Calibre is a powerful tool in an author’s arsenal. It can save you time in more than one way.

If you have found this article you are probably an author or know someone who is and you want to know how the software can help you so I’m going to break this down into two sections, ebook organization and converting ebooks.

Ebook organization

Say you have 50 ebooks and 50 paperbacks that you simply must have to research your book. Your house is also rammed to the rafters and you only have a small corridor leading through your house where you navigate piles of books threatening to topple like several mini versions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You could find the books you need but it would take a few days, a hat with a torch on it, some provisions and possibly a bag of breadcrumbs so you can find your way out again.

No fear, this is all in the past. While you are researching your book, catalog every book you need into Calibre. This goes for ebooks and paperbacks you own but it could also include books you don’t own but you find. For example, if you find an article and you can’t download it why not catalog it and put the link to it in the description. If you saw the book in a second-hand bookshop, type in the description where you saw it so you don’t forget. Voila, when you are searching for it in Calibre you only have to look in the description for the address or click in the description to take you to the article you need on the web.

Calibre is easy to use but if you run into trouble then please check out my ebook or paperback A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Converting ebooks

I use Calibre to convert ebooks for research and to convert my ebooks for upload to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

The two ways I convert for research are to change the articles I find to an easy-read format (converting from PDF to MOBI means that I can alter the text size for more comfortable reading) and I also download several blogs using the news gathering feature and then send them to my Kindle as ebooks in my nattily titled Writerly News edition. The first is more specific for research for books I am writing at a given moment and the second more for keeping me in touch with the author/publishing world.

The other reason I use the ebook converter side to Calibre is for uploading to KDP. I have tried uploading a Word file directly but KDP mangles the formatting. The resulting Kindle ebook ignores the styles I painstakingly created and sticks its nose up at other little formatting tricks I spend hours over to give the book a more premium feel. So what do I do? I add the docx file to Calibre. I convert the docx to MOBI and then I export on to my hard drive for uploading to KDP. Simple.

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKNow for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

In countries where Kindle Match is available the Kindle eBook is free with the purchase of the paperback. Please see Amazon terms and conditions for their Kindle Match program.

Online courses: Don’t be a troll and be rude to your customers

trollsAs anyone who has spent time with me knows, I love to learn. I have taken countless courses over the years, some great, some not so much. I have done university degrees, specialist courses in library work, editing, web design and even a short writing course on the Isle of Wight. The latter wasn’t just great though, that was an amazing course. If you want to do a residential course I would check out Felicity Fair Thompson’s!

Anyway, I thought I would try out some of those online courses that you hear about. I’d tried Coursera in the past and that was actually very good but the course that got my attention was one where I would have to pay some money.

The course I was interested in was around $500. I think this is an inordinate amount of money for an online course. Now I don’t like to do anything immoral or illegal so I thought I might be disappointed in my desire to try the course. By the way I do not intend to say what this course was or what platform it was on. I don’t think that would be fair as I have a problem with the tutor not the course itself and definitely not the platform! The actual course itself was actually quite good, the tutor’s attitude however had a little to be desired. Although anyone could probably work out what the course was with a bit of searching! I’m not one to disparage other people’s skills.

So given that I won’t do anything dishonest or illegal what was I to do? What any cash strapped ex-librarian would do. I searched for a coupon. Lo and behold the tutor himself had put a link on to a forum with the course reduced to about £10. Awesome. So I bought it.

The course was about YouTube. The reason I took it was that I have very little experience of the service. Sure I’ve put up a couple of videos but it is years since I set up the account.

I watched a few of the lectures and there were a few times when I thought, “This guy’s a genius”. Other times, my brows would furrow and at others I just smiled and thought well, that’s obvious.

If you boil the course down, it’s basically informing you about the creative commons section of YouTube and how you can edit the videos on there to monetize them. It tells you to use Titles, keywords and thumbnails. There is some stuff about analytics but that’s basically it.

So you take those elements and you look at how much that applies to libraries and my other experiences. Well, titles and keywords relate to libraries in a big way. The library world (OK the IT world does as well) calls it metadata. There is a lot of information on that on the web and I have had a lot of experience using these. There is also a crossover to being an author. The guy waxes lyrical about thumbnails which are basically the book covers of the video world. As every author (should) know your book covers should be clear legible, eye-catching and make a statement. This is exactly what this guy advocates.

So my views at this point of having a quick pass through the course and skipping bits that I already know about was that it was useful, inspired in some areas but then I realised that it didn’t have some fundamentals like how to set up a new YouTube channel. I could work this out but I have paid for this course, not full price but other people have. So I ask a question on his forum:

Me

I saw somewhere it said you can have more than one identity but nothing about setting one up. It seems to jump straight into descriptions and tags etc. I have to admit I skipped some of this. I spent 11 years dealing with titles and descriptions as a Librarian so I know a little about those.

As you can see I ask about setting up a new identity (channel) and I just explain that I skipped some of the course because I knew about the concepts because of my occupation.

Why did I do that? Well the lecturer bangs on about people not going through the course and not understanding because of it so I wanted to explain that although he could see from the stats that I didn’t go through those parts of the course (which by the way was irrelevant to the question anyway but he mentioned that he got annoyed about that in the course) but that I knew about them from prior experience. I would like to point I wasn’t being confrontational and in fact was trying to be helpful for other students. He did after all say he liked feedback in one of his courses.

His response:

You definitely need to fully study and understand titles, descriptions and tags, please – they are crucial to your success and have nothing to do with libraries.

Please see lecture 1.

Also:

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1646861?hl=en-GB

So I’m starting to get annoyed here. “I need to fully study and understand titles, descriptions and tags?” Hellloooooo, I explained why I already understand them. His bit about nothing to do with libraries explains his ignorance of library work. Just in case though, I went through his extremely boring sections on metadata (boring, because I already knew about them), and yes, he didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know. So I responded. I probably shouldn’t have though.

I beg to differ, I have a masters degree in metadata and information science as most qualified Librarians do (It’s rare to just have a BA degree). I have made websites and published books, inputting descriptions and tags using this information. In libraries we use catalogues (Library management systems) where you have to put titles, descriptions and keywords or the patrons do not find the books that you have catalogued. If you know nothing about library work, you really shouldn’t make assumptions. I did watch some of your video on the subject and it was really like teaching a proverbial granny to suck eggs. Although other parts of the course I did find extremely useful

I did finally work it out, I just thought you might have appreciated the feedback that some pointers for creating the channel in the first place would be helpful.

So there you have it, my full explanation, surely he would just let it be. I’ve told him how my experience related maybe not all of it but how some of my experiences relates. But no, wait, he says something else:

Oh dear!

You made me chortle!

Without cheating, by suddenly bothering to study the course, tell me how you would headline this video for YouTube, please. It’s currently called

“Understanding The Relativ Index”

[Name taken out to protect identity] – a relative of Mr. Dewey, incidentally … cousin on my Mum’s side of the family

So the guy had a family member who came up with the Dewey Deceimal system that died before the internet and therefore he knows enough about library work to assume that it is unrelated. I wonder if he knows about the Library of Congress cataloguing system? 🙂 Oh and he now wants to test me? Bleeding hot underworld, I have to respond. My husband is shouting, “Don’t do it he’s a troll!” from across the room, but he is really getting under my skin at this point. Should have listened to hubby!

Then you really shouldn’t insult librarians. There is more to knowing about library work than knowledge of the DDC. I understand that you might get frustrated with people asking questions. I once had to continually reply to emails about tags and labs on Gmail because they knew of my book on Gmail. I don’t believe we are getting anywhere with this conversation. I just expected a link in an answer. I wasn’t expecting a veiled insult on my profession as well. I shall of course let my colleagues know that they nothing of taxonomy and other metadata and they should resign from their positions in the government and business as soon as they can. Really, do people think that all Librarians do nothing but shelve books and say shhh! all day?

I do think those sections of your course is useful to those that have never studied or worked in information science but insulting the intelligence and knowledge of people who apparently deign to be your student is ridiculous. Your course is good but not everyone is a newbie to *all* the concepts you teach.

I believe your reply “bothering to study the course” rather than to actually just accept feedback is classed as trolling and I won’t be giving this conversation any more of my time.

Now I haven’t read his response, I read one line and he still won’t acknowledge that he is not the only person in the world that could possibly know about metadata outside of his course. He can’t seem to grasp that concepts are applicable across different fields and while he is obviously clever, he has a blind spot that makes him think that is applying wisdom that only he could possible know. Now there are a great many things I have no knowledge of (hence the courses I enroll on) but I have my experiences and I have my training and also his training now so I have a rounded picture of what he is talking about. He only seems to know what he has found out and doesn’t want to open his mind to find out how it can be applied elsewhere.

With regard to metadata, specifically keywords, I’m going to give a tip that I’ve known about for years and I won’t be charging $499 for it. You can find out what people are searching for in Google by using their keyword planner at https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner. Remember YouTube is owned by Google and videos will come up in Google searches. Applicable to YouTube videos, books and anything you sell on Amazon.

Find out what people are searching for and how many are searching for it. Use these words to plan your titles, your descriptions and your tags. See, it’s not that hard is it? Oh, but I forget I’m not supposed to know about it. Strike that last paragraph from your minds…

Holiday Review: Parkdean Holiday Park, Mullion

The caravan - Parkdean MullionSummary

Accommodation: 2 Stars

Entertainment: 4 Stars

Food: 4 Stars

Overall: 3 Stars

In the interests of full disclosure this is the third time I have stayed in a caravan but I don’t remember the other two times. We have always stayed in holiday cottages, apartments or hotels so I have been used to a certain standard of accommodation. I am trying to bear in mind that the conditions that we were in may be usual for a caravan.

The Caravan

Accommodation: 2 Stars

We stayed in the Veryan Caravan (B37) in May.

We arrived quite late on a cold, wet and windy day, but within the time allowed as stated on the Parkdean website. We picked up our keys from the Arcade from a security guide who also gave us a welcome pack.

As we drove past the caravans we were quite impressed, the rows looked neat and the caravans seemed quite nice. We passed the white ones until we reached the green ones which I have to admit didn’t look quite as nice but I reserved judgement until I could get inside.

We entered in the caravan and first impressions were good. There was a glass bowl on the little table with a little note saying the caravan had been cleaned by (person’s name) and if we had anu problems to go to reception.

Excuse the mess of the counter, I took this just before we left and we hadn't cleaned it yet!
Excuse the mess of the counter, I took this just before we left and we hadn’t cleaned it yet!

The living space was nice, there was a sofa that took up the length of the back of the caravan, cupboards EVERYWHERE, and a nice little gas fire. The kitchen was serviceable and the bedrooms looked clean. There was the matter of the teeny-tiny television but hey, I knew there would be compromises. I set my toddler on the floor to have an explore, and we brought everything in from the car.

As we sat down for a quick dinner (our toddler needs to eat at a certain time or he gets very grouchy) we realised it was getting colder. My husband went about trying to put the gas fire on. It took about five minutes but he was able to get the flames going.

20140516-20140516_094535Cooking the first dinner was a breeze. The gas hob was easy to use and our emergency tinned Spaghetti Bolognese on toast was delicious!

We brought our own cot bed because we wanted to make sure that our little one would have a good night’s sleep, I just wish we had been as foresightful with our own sleep! There were two little beds in his room and no space for his cot. We stacked the two beds on top of each other and placed mattresses on top of the construction allowing us to put the cot bed up in the remaining space.

We took our toddler in to brush his teeth in the bathroom and the smell hit me like a wall. That’s awful! Still it got worse through the stay so I learnt to toughen up a bit. As we stepped into the bathroom the floor dipped as if there was a hole in the floor covered by vinyl. It was disconcerting but after a while I automatically did a large step every time I had to go in there.

We made sure the radiators were on in the bedrooms and we settled in for the night.

Day two started with minor aches and pains from sleeping on the uncomfortable mattress. Luckily I had the more comfortable side, my husband was really grumpy because he hardly slept at all from the feel of the bed.

We picked up our baby, gave him breakfast and headed up to entrance to the camp where the reception was to ask if they could change the mattress. The lady was polite and very helpful and said that she could make no promises but that they would see what they could do. Satisfied we toddled off to where Tot Stars would be held, which was excellent, but after we tired our little one out, we headed back to the caravan to let him have a nap.

We got back to the caravan to find the bedroom door open and all our bedding thrown on to the floor. The sheet was half up the mattress and our stuff was strewn around the bedroom. My first thought was that the caravan was burgled but a quick look at our electrical equipment led us to surmise that Parkdean’s customer service didn’t extend to its mattress changing staff.

We got our baby to sleep and we went about putting the bed back together again. What a great way for the holiday to begin! The next morning I was aching all over and my husband was only slightly aching. They had simply rotated the mattress so then I had the bad side. I’m still a bit aggrieved by that!

The next day I took the duvet from one of the beds in the other room (our baby had his own that we brought with us) and put it between the mattress and the sheet. Not perfect but we were only aching as opposed to being in agony the following day. So the configuration was mattress, duvet, sheet, double duvet and for me, the other duvet from the second room to keep myself warm in the night. The double duvet provided was the thinnest duvet I have ever seen!

To cut a long story short here are the lowlights of the holiday:

  1. After the initial lighting of the gas fire, it got progressively harder so we ended up having to light the hobs to make the caravan a tolerable temperature.
  2. The boiler light kept going out at inconvenient times.
  3. The hole? on the bathroom floor kept tripping me up at the beginning.
  4. The bathroom stank.
  5. The grill pan handle couldn’t be the right handle for the plan as if kept falling off. My hsiband burnt himself as a result.
  6. The knives were blunt in the kitchen so we had to buy a utility knife from Sainsbury’s which luckily was just down the road by car.
  7. The mattress was really uncomfortable.
  8. They forgot to put pillow cases on all the pillows. Luckily I brought my own.
  9. The thinnest double duvet known to man was provided in May.
  10. They threw all our bedding on the floor!

Highlights of the accommodation:

  1. It was clean.
  2. Tot Stars was excellent
  3. The soft play area was good but it did need a clean and they should really empty that bin more than they do.

Book Review: Huw the Bard by Connie Jasperson


This book is like a good film, you can spend so long finding so-so stories that when you do find a really good one, you want to rave about it. I loved this book.

It’s loosely based in Medieval UK, (and judging by the names, Wales) I say loosely because I don’t remember reading about dragons and firedrakes in my history books! It follows Huw the Bard who suffers a tragedy in the opening chapters and has to escape his home to avoid the same fate as his father. You follow Huw from a vacuous youth to a fully rounded adult as he grapples with trials throughout his journey.

I liked that the hero didn’t have magical powers but the world did. The characters had to show ingenuity and not a small amount of bravery to get out of situations that a lesser author might have given their characters powers to just ‘wish’ their enemies away. You wonder if they will survive, who will survive and you will genuinely care if Huw the Bard gets away and finds happiness again.

I recommend this book. If you like historical fiction/fantasy then this is for you.

Top 10 of the greatest books to read before you die – and they are free…

people reading on booksI’ve got my librarian’s hat on for this post. To celebrate the publication of my A Simpler Guide to Finding Free eBooks, I decided at 1 in the morning to write a post about the top 10 books to read before you die that are available for free. Little did I know it would take hours to compile and format! Still, the list below are novels you should at least take a look at with links to Amazon and the Gutenberg Project. While you can only get Kindle versions from Amazon, you will be able to download other types of e-books from the Gutenberg Project and of course they are free.

Here are my top ten picks:

1. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

One of the first and best romance novels of all time. Set in the 19th century by a writer from the 19th century, this is a read you won’t want to miss.

Get it now as:

AMAZON BUTTONGUTENBERG BUTTON

2. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Rags to riches and unrequited love, this book has it all from the writer of Oliver Twist.

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

 

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Another classic romance, boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, split up, then get together again but this is one of the first novels and one of the best (or it wouldn’t be in this list!) Worth a look.

AMAZON BUTTONGUTENBERG BUTTON

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I read this story when I was about ten years old. This completely freaked me out as a child and so I recommend it for the next generation! Dorian Gray is a handsome man who sells his soul for eternal youth. He doesn’t lead a good life and there are consequences…

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

5. The Mill on the Floss – George Elliot

This is a fast paced love story from the Victorian era. This is a tragedy so have a box of tissues ready.

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

6. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

Ah, Mr Darcy. Who hasn’t heard of the hero of this romance? This is the original of the  often repeated tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

 

7. The Fall of the House of Usher & other stories – Edgar Allen Poe

An old crumbling, evil house, a sick relative, a death, this is a gothic horror which builds on previous horrors to a new level. The links below take you to the Works of Edgar Allan Poe, volume 2 but this is the book you are looking for.

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

 

8. Vanity Fair – William Thackeray

Vanity fair is the opposite to the Brontës, as in don’t expect the straight happy ending. It is a more complex read but well worth it.

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

9. Moby Dick – Hermann Melville

The hunt for Moby Dick has fascinated readers for generations. Will it captivate you?

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

10. Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

The last entry in this blog post is a mystery. This is one of the first detective novels ever written and if you like the Mystery genre you’ll want to see how it all began. Even if you don’t normally like Victorian literature you might be pleasantly surprised with this one.

AMAZON BUTTON GUTENBERG BUTTON

Updating CeriClark.com

ProcrastinationOh procrastination, how I hate thou. Nah, I don’t really, How could I, we’re the best of chums. We meet every day before breakfast, after breakfast, have an early morning meeting before agreeing to meet up for the afternoon. Of course I wouldn’t want to offend my friend so we regularly meet up in the evenings as well.

My latest flirt with procrastination was rebuilding this site. I have a confession, I lurve messing with websites, the frustration of plugins not working, the tweaking of the themes – manna from heaven. That was until a couple of days ago when my hosting was threatened. It was taking about five minutes to make one small change until it finally stopped. Apparently a couple of my old sites, battylibrarian.co.uk and alldestiny.com had been compromised and there were lots of comments on there as well as lots of members.

I had a lot of traffic, I mean a LOT. This wasn’t useful traffic. These people were never going to buy any of my books or enjoy any of my articles. Nope, they want to sell their gubbins and drive traffic to their sites. They didn’t share anything useful it was simply to increase the Google rankings on their sites.

I don’t mind when people have reciprocal links, that’s just nice but all my websites were nearly shut down!

What have I learned? Not to allow comments automatically and not to have a directory. I will be very careful how I set up user access from now on but hey ho, it’s all a learning curve!

Toddler crying, what would you do?

There are some awful mothers out there.  A big generalisation but hear (read) me out.

We went to our local soft play centre yesterday with our little one. We had a great time as a family and our toddler really benefited from all the extra space to practice walking.  That wasn’t the problem.

We were by the carousel watching our little one like a hawk in case he decided to jump off when a little girl wandered by.  I didn’t pay any attention at first,  I mean it’s a soft play area, there are lots of little kids. She decided she wanted to come in but not where everyone else came in.  No, that would be too easy,  she wanted to come in by us at the end of the room. There was a problem with this. The soft play wall was higher here and there was a small gap between the building wall and the soft wall and it was all angular with sharp edges poking out. Anyway she decides to come in this way and slips backwards, bangs her head and starts crying hysterically. I hate to see kids crying, if that had been our toddler in that situation I would have been there in a heart beat.

I waited for a moment, then another, no one came.  My husband had grabbed our child and we had a quick look to see if anyone was coming. NO ONE was coming. I couldn’t leave her there so I reached down and picked her out of the gap and oh my god, was she heavy. She must have been twice the weight of our baby. I put her down on the soft floor and asked the nearest women if she was theirs.  No, they shook their heads.  She was still crying hysterically and clearly needed a hug so I gave her a quick hug and put her down again still crying.  She toddled off to find her mother, hot tears streaming down her cheeks until she disappeared out of my vision.

My husband said she went to her mum but she ignored her crying.  The child had an accident she wasn’t acting up.  I feel sorry for the child.

Anyway,  my arms throbbed all day yesterday and now I can’t pick up my son without an excruciating pain zipping down my arm.  I shouldn’t have picked the child up she was far too heavy for me but I was the only one willing to do it.

What would you have done?

A disappointing visit to see Santa at the Celtic Manor hotel, Newport

20131223_222122-1We went to see Santa the other day. All three of us set off an hour early, bundled together in our warmest garb ready to meet the elements.

The traffic was heavier than we were expecting, but we arrived in plenty of time to find a space in what seemed a packed parking lot. As we made our way up the hill we noticed there was a train up to the hotel. Nice, I was expecting a lovely old style train with carriages affair (like I’d seen in the shopping centre, more fool me), instead we got a big old standard bus. Oh well, it’ll get better, I mean for fifteen quid, it had to get better right?

We took apart the pram and carried Siôn, our now excited one year old, into the bus which went up to the hotel in about five minutes. We assembled the pram again, settling the baby in there before we followed everyone (and the signs) up to Santa’s Grotto. To my dismay a large stumbling block loomed up ahead. Steps! Lots of steps. I groaned. I’m too big, heavy and unfit for steps at the moment. They rose from the ground like an impossible  invitation to Mount Olympus.Santa was calling and I had to suck it up. Grumbling under my breath I took the bottom half of the pram while my husband took the other end and we climbed.

First impressions of the first level was wow it was busy. On the right a restaurant, which was then a swimming pool as we walked, in the main building and to the left the winter wonderland.

Passing the skating rink we realised we had fifteen minutes to go, so we cased Santa’s Grotto to find out where it was and then spent some time watching the skaters.

Eventually, ok ten minutes, we tried the double doors and we were in. This looked promising. There were fake icicles coming off the ceiling, a television playing Elf in front and a reception to the right.

We ambled over to the right and proffered our ticket to the ‘elves’. They entered the information into their computer system and our son was given a sticker with his name handwritten on it stating he’d gone to see Santa. A bit premature you might think.

Anyway, we’d checked in so we went to look at the reindeer that Siôn seemed singularly unimpressed with. He preferred to play with the sign. There is no accounting for taste with babies. The reindeer seemed well cared for but starting at animals was never my thing so we had a look around the small area to see what else was on offer.

Not much is the answer. As mentioned before, there was the film, which you would only get a brief look at, I mean it wasn’t a film visit after all. There was some tiny tables and chairs where the little ones went to draw and colour-in I imagine.

The room began to fill up and I started to get worried about having to scramble into a queue but I needn’t have worried, checking in at the beginning meant that they called us in the order we came in. I just wish they had told us that when we arrived.

We hung around the entrance and was impressed with the speed that we were called but unfortunately this was delayed by a gentlemen complaining that his child didn’t have an age-appropriate gift. Whoops, this was looking more and more like a waste of money. Still, we just had to wait and see. The man left disappointed and we followed the ‘elf’ down the long white corridor to the room where Santa was waiting. Ooh exciting, I’d never done this before. Really this whole trip was for me as well as my son.

The room was decked-out like a typical living room with Santa on the sofa. It was actually quite nice. My husband was holding Siôn, so I hung back with the pram. Santa was lovely, he didn’t say much but then he didn’t have to. Siôn lasted about 1 minute before his eyes widened and big blobs of water fell down his cheeks. Yep, he cried. The ‘elf’ hurriedly brought a present and we distracted Siôn with the photo.

It was really quick and we then went to the photo kiosk where we bought the photo for a fiver. Siôn didn’t look very happy in it but hey it was the first time and I wanted something to remember it by.

Then there was the toy. The neatly wrapped soft package was gently unwrapped with the help of my son and the trip was made worthwhile by the sheer joy on his face when he saw the little dog in the winter outfit.

So all in all I would say it was a disappointing visit. I was expecting more from the Celtic Manor and indeed from fifteen pounds (twenty if you include the photo), I won’t be going there again as I’m sure there are better options. I don’t mind paying if the experience is worth it. Value is everything, sadly, I think this time I did not choose as wisely as I could have done.

Shopping with Ocado

Living in the wilds of Wales, (Newport, next to Cardiff) I am always surprised when an amenity that I took for granted when I lived in London suddenly appears here.

Don’t get me wrong, I have used Sainsbury’s and Tescos online but I missed Waitrose/Ocado. It could be because I am a snob but more likely distant memory and mummy brain.

I am happy to report that my Ocado shop was cheaper than the same shop with Tesco and it fits in with my snobby personality.

There is more choice, love the frozen blueberries for my son’s porridge. (Pity he didn’t but we won’t go into that. Grumble, grumble.)

The delivery went like a dream. Get this they tell you the drivers name!!!! Not only that what the license plate number of his van will be!

The.bags are a gorgeous purple and I can now say I shop at Waitrose don’t cha know.

Social networking: when people misread your posts

Hearst door handlesIf we’ve learned anything from the girl who was hired by the Kent Police commissioner’s office to advise on youth crime, it is to be careful what you say on social networks. Granted what she said was bang out of order but she would never have been caught if she hadn’t posted it.

What do you do if you’ve written something that has been misconstrued?

You are probably wondering what this is about. Well I signed a petition to say that I didn’t agree that the recently departed Baroness Margaret Thatcher should not have a no holds barred funeral similar to Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

My reasons are:

  • Most Prime Ministers have low-key funerals. I think this is more appropriate so the families can grieve in solitude.
  • Baroness Thatcher is not and never has been a member of the royal family.
  • In a time of austerity it is wrong to spend that much money on a funeral when there are soo many people suffering in this country because of government cuts. That money could go to better use.

So there you have it, my feelings on the subject. I should point out that I don’t really have any strong feelings for the ex-prime minister personally.  I don’t really remember her that well. I was in school during her reign and only saw her in person once. This was in the Houses of Parliament where I watched her being booed and jeered at during a speech. No idea what it was about but that was the only lasting impression I have of the visit.

Therefore I would never say anything nice or horrible about her as a person. In fact with my limited understanding of her achievements,  I approve of the Falklands war. Only because she was protecting the little guy from a big bully of a neighbour. Might not be how she viewed it but that’s how it looked to me.

You now know the background. So I signed the petition online and put it on Facebook. Next we know a relative has misread it and thinks I’ve said something awful about her. I mean c’mon, this is me. I once completely irritated a friend because I refused to slag anyone off. Sorry about the vulgarity there.

What can you do in this situation? Well I unfriended the relative in question. It is not worth the family arguments if my posts will be misread. I have freedom of speech and I don’t want to argue over it.

Nursery Rhymes (Songs): Singing row, row, row your boat. Different verses I could find…

 

If you are anything like me, you never knew there were so many verses to Row, row, row your boat. Seriously, how many? For the benefit of new parents everywhere, I have collated a whole load of verses from this nursery rhyme, thanks mainly to Wikipedia and Mumsnet. To be honest most of them came from Mumsnet and the baby group I went to.

Scroll down for the a Youtube video of me singing the various row, row, row your boat verses to my baby. I apologise most profusely for the indignity your ears will be feeling!

If you like this post, please check my post for variations of Wheels on the Bus!

Variations on Row, row, row your boat:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
If you see a crocodile,
Don’t forget to scream.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the Nile,
If you see a camel,
Don’t forget to smile.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the river,
If you see a polar bear,
Don’t forget to shiver.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently to the shore,
If you see a lion there,
Don’t forget to roar!

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the creek,
If you see a little mouse,
Don’t forget to squeak.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently over the waterfall,
If you see a telephone,
Don’t forget to call.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently over the weir,
If you see a public house,
Don’t forget the beer.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently across the lake,
If you see a jellyfish,
Don’t forget to shake.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently under the bridges,
If you see an insect cloud,
Watch out for the midges!

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the brook,
If you see a skinny dipper,
Don’t forget to look.

Rock, rock, rock the boat,
Gently to and fro,
If you do it hard enough,
Into the water you go.

Row, row, row the boat,
Gently in the bath,
If you see a spider,
Don’t forget to laugh.

Row, row, row the boat,
Gently as can be,
‘Cause if you’re not careful,
You’ll fall into the sea!

Row, row, row the boat,
Gently down the stream,
Throw your teachers overboard,
And listen to them scream!

Propel, propel, propel your craft,
Softly down the liquid solution,
Happilly, Happilly, Happilly, Happilly,
Existence is but an illusion.

Rock, rock, rock the boat,
Gently down the shore,
If you see a dinosaur,
Don’t forget to roar.

Row, row, row your boat,
Away from all your troubles,
If you see them following you,
Better blow some bubbles!

Row row row the boat,
Gently under the stream,
Ha ha, fooled you,
I’m a submarine!

Row, row, row your boat,
Quickly out to sea,
When you’ve sailed the ocean long,
Just come home to me.

Row, row, row the boat,
Gently over the lagoon,
If you look up to the sky,
You will see the moon.

Row, row, row the boat,
Gently over the sea,
Can you see the pretty fish,
Swim from you to me?

Shunt, shunt, shunt the train,
Gently down the track,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Up the line and back.

Drive, drive, drive your car,
Quickly down the road,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
With a heavy load.

Row, row, row the boat,
Gently on the tide,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
To the other side.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently in the bath,
If you see a tall giraffe,
Don’t forget to laugh.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently out to sea,
If you see a big blue whale,
Invite him home to tea.

Row, row, row your ferry,
Gently ‘cross the Channel,
Up and down, over the bumps,
Like a giddy camel.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently out to sea,
If you see a mermaid,
Give her a kiss from m.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently to the cave,
If you see a friendly bear,
Don’t forget to wave.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently to the cave,
We’re all getting tired now,
It’s been a long long day.

Singing this nursery rhyme song to my little one, was the most fun I had in the beginning. I like pop songs but I do think that nursery rhyme songs have their place. Especially when you see the smiles erupting from their cute baby faces!

If you like this post, please check my post for variations of Wheels on the Bus!

 

Baby photos and Facebook: A shifting perspective

image

I never thought I was going to have a kid and I was never interested in the world of children. In fact I used to walk in the opposite direction when I used to hear the sounds of a baby when they were introduced  at my old workplace.

My pet ‘hate’ used to be profile pictures of babies. I
found it creepy talking to a thirty something who looked like a baby. …and the timelines, sooo many baby pictures, why did they take so many?

Well since December the shoe has been on the other foot. While I haven’t gone down the profile pic route,  I have *gulp* been updating my timeline with cute baby pictures. I can’t help myself. He does sonethibg cute and I am compelled to pick my phone up and take a photo.  Then my finger slips to the share button and somehow slides to the Facebook app. It’s like my fingers have a life of their own.

So I now get it. You can’t fight the cuteness. You just have to go with the flow and hope your single friends (and those who don’t want kids) forgive you eventually. Or at least until they have their own and face the same fate as well.

…and another thing, the really weird thing is I like looking at other people’s baby photos now!