Oil Pulling: Would You?

Thank you everyone for your flu remedies! I’m feeling so much better now, although I’ve probably had enough lemon and honey drinks to last me a lifetime. I even lost my voice for a couple of days – the husband was quite amused at my attempts to keep chatting by using hand gestures and hand-written signs.

While making full use of my returned voice, I was talking to a friend about oil pulling. I mentioned I do it most mornings. You just swill some oil, in my case coconut, around your mouth for about 20 minutes. I combine mine with a shower, killing two birds with one stone.

Mmm, goopy
Mmm, goopy

The benefits I’ve noticed are whiter teeth, cleaner mouth in general, and fresher breath. Some people think it helps with things like eczema and acne as well, just by reducing the amount of bacteria generally in your body. I have no idea if that’s true, but hey, it probably won’t hurt.

My friend thought this sounded disgusting. Words may have been mentioned, including but not limited to, “silly hippie”. To be fair, it did take getting used to. Coconut oil is solid when you first get a teaspoonful, then melts thanks to your body temperature. Holding oily liquid in your mouth for 20 minutes certainly feels a little odd at first. Olive oil would probably be too far for me, purely because of taste.

But hey, I like whiter teeth, and am not willing to go to the dentist for it! So the oil stays.

How about you, would you give oil pulling a whirl? Or are you joining my friend in shaking your head at the silly things some hippies will do?

Advertisements

Attack Of The Peak Flu Season

40-face-with-medical-mask
Approach with caution

While everyone in the northern hemisphere is enjoying the heat of summer, here in New Zealand, we’ve hit mid-winter. While I wrote before about the benefits of staying home to write next to a glorious wood fire, there is a downside. Everyone is sick right now, including me.

I am usually a pretty brave, soldier on, kind of sick person. Not this time! It hit at the end of last week, with such force that I crawled into bed and stayed there for two days. The husband was at first amused, then happy to join me over the weekend, all cuddled up while he read a book and I kept sleeping. Ladies, if you find a man who likes to snuggle, put a ring on it!

I’m almost better now, but ironically, I sound worse than ever. My voice has completely disappeared. I’m far too much of a chatter box to let this stop me, so I’m just squeaking and creaking all over the place while people try to keep a straight face.

So, writing’s been on the back burner for a couple of days, but don’t worry, straight back into it tomorrow. Gotta get that second book ready to go so you guys aren’t left hanging too long after I release the first!

Have you been sick lately? And please, any home remedies, share them with me!

Cover Reveal: Hawaiian Heartbreak

HH_med

Ta da! Here’s the cover for my new book. It’s my first time self-publishing, so my first time working with Carrie from Cheeky Covers. I may be biased, but I’d say that between us we cooked up a great cover!

If any of you are also self-publishing, I’d really recommend Carrie. She was lovely to deal with, asked all the right questions, and landed on the perfect cover for this book. I’m really happy with it.  I’ll definitely be going back to her for the rest of the trilogy!

The book is still making its way through the official editing process, but I should be able to share the synopsis with you soon. In fact, it should only be a couple of weeks before the book itself is out – it’s all go!

Forcing The Muse To Visit

muse1

Writing is a funny old thing. Often the hardest part is sitting down, and forcing yourself to actually do it. Not waiting until you feel inspired, not trying to put out something perfect, and certainly not trying to edit as you go. Just sitting down, and writing.

The first book of my current trilogy is already with my editor, but that doesn’t mean it’s rest time. That means it’s time to start writing book two! In a funny way it feels like hitting reset. I’ve just finished celebrating getting the entire book down on paper, and now I’m at the beginning of the next.

I always have bullet points of where a story is going before I start. Some days it flows. I giggle to myself as I put in witty banter (at least, I think it’s witty), or get a little hot under the collar as I write a love scene. Other days it’s a slog. But I’m not allowed to leave that chair until at least 3,000 words are written down, even if I’m sure I’ll delete them all tomorrow.

The funny thing is, even though I might slash and burn with the brutal editing red pen, rarely do I delete the entire lot. Usually it’s 90% as good as the stuff I wrote when I was feeling inspired. I just didn’t feel like working. Funny that!

If you wait for the perfect moment, you’re likely to never do it. With a regular job you still have to turn up and get it done on the days when you’re feeling tired and over it. Writing needs to be treated the same way. There are good days and bad days, and you’ll need to write on all of them. Because, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

What’s your technique for beating procrastination?

P.S. For all my talk of procrastination, I’ll soon have the cover for my new book! I should be able to post it and show you guys by the end of the week. Exciting!

It’s All In The Little Things

FullSizeRender (1)

I’m a big believer in regularly going out of your way for the person you’re with. Telling them you love them, giving them a kiss goodbye, picking up food for their favourite dinner on your way home.

Admittedly, this does mean I can sometimes be a wee bit high maintenance. But hey, if you don’t have high standards, they won’t get met! I like to snuggle up while watching TV, go out on dates regularly, spend an entire Sunday lazing about in bed together. Physical affection is particularly important to me. I love hugs and kisses, even if you’re in the middle of cooking dinner!

I know a couple who I think have got it totally sussed. Little acts of kindness are routine for them. He regularly brings her breakfast in bed, because he’s up first. Whereas she calls him into the bathroom and moisturises his face each morning, like a little mini facial, because otherwise he won’t get around to it.

True, that’s a bit sticky sweet for me to do every day, but boy are those two happy. I think it’s all those little things that add up to a happy relationship.

What are the little things that mean the most to you? And how far is too far, before you become that gross couple everyone avoids?

What You Wear Is All About Sex?

I tend to write in bursts of about an hour or so, with five minute breaks to clear my head and sort through my thoughts. YouTube is constantly open on my browser for just this reason! Funny clips from Amy Schumer or BuzzFeed are just long enough to make me giggle, without taking up more time than I should really allow.

That’s how I found this latest video, talking about how our clothes relate to sex. I really recommend watching the video, as it’s well put together, but the parts I find most interesting are:

  • An obsession with modesty turns clothes, especially underwear, into sexualised objects. This makes clothing sexier than nudity!
  • The buttons on shirts for men and women are on different sides, because historically men dressed themselves, and women were dressed by servants.
  • Ties point your gaze toward the wearer’s crotch. (Gross, I work with men in ties, I don’t want to think about that!)
  • Red drives both men and women wild, because it makes us think of dominance, testosterone, and sex.

These things are fascinating! In the credits for the YouTube video they list all the source material, and it’s fairly extensive.

What do you think, is what we wear all about sex? Will you ever be able to look at a man in a tie the same way again? I’m not sure I will!

Review: The Hurricane

hurricane

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

I really enjoyed this book. BUT, there were a couple of almost deal-breakers. I’ll get to that in a moment.

The connection between these two was heart-warming. It really was two people coming together, and helping each other become the best version of themselves. Em took a long time to be ready for more than friendship, and he was so patient, never pushing her to do more than she wanted. Once they finally moved past friendship, it was explosive!

There were some darker themes in this book. Without dropping in spoilers, Em has been terribly abused in the past. There’s always a danger with these types of story lines that it becomes a gimmick, and isn’t taken seriously. Not in this case. I thought it was dealt with sensitively, but still staying true to the brutality of the experience. That’s a fine line to walk, and it was done well.

HOWEVER. The first niggle is a small one. There were a few typos still in the book, sometimes a word was used when you knew they meant another one. That happens sometimes, and it wasn’t more than three or four times throughout the book. I thought it was forgivable.

The almost dealbreaker? Talking about other women in the book as sluts. There were lots of macho guys, sleeping with a different girl every night, flaunting their muscles, etc. But female characters who weren’t wearing much were bitchy, and out to get Em. They were regularly referred to as sluts.

I am NOT ok with that. Particularly because it’s a double standard. But also because we don’t need, in books that are mostly written for women, yet more describing of good girls vs sluts. Lets just not go there.

The rest of the book was so good, it didn’t quite spoil it for me. In any other book, the slut-talk would have absolutely ruined it.

End result? 3.5/5 stars.

3.5

The Final Countdown

fire

While most of the world is enjoying summer, or even suffering through a heat wave, here in New Zealand we’re smack in the middle of winter. Worse than that, we’re in the middle of an extra cold snap.

I don’t know about you, but I do not love winter! I would far rather be too hot than too cold. My husband disagrees, but that’s because he’s crazy, don’t listen to him.

There is a bonus to this for me though: there’s never a better time to be a writer! Especially when you’re in the middle of editing, which is the part where I like to procrastinate the most. Instead of going out and convincing friends to spend their lunch break with me, I’m hunkered down in front of the fire most days, blanket over my legs, cat fast asleep on my knee while I tap away at the computer. There are worse ways to spend a winter’s day.

Which leads to the good news – I’m finally finished with my own editing! Now it just goes off to the official editor, the cover has been ordered, and the book is almost ready to be released.

Don’t think I’ll be twiddling my thumbs waiting for the editor though. The book is the first of a trilogy, and I like to get out sequels relatively quickly (nobody likes suspense for too long), so I’m thinking I’ll capitalise on the cold weather, and start writing book number two. The cat will be the only one unhappy about that: I can edit with a furball on my knee, but for some reason, actual writing is impossible!

Where in the world are you at the moment? Are you staying warmer than I am?  And has anyone, ever, mastered writing while dealing with a cold cat that wants cuddles?

What makes a great kiss?

kiss

Happy International Kissing Day! Yes, you read that right, and no, I’m not making this up. It really is a thing, apparently designed to make us remember the joys of kissing for kissing’s sake. Personally I’m well aware of how awesome that is, but I suppose it never hurts to get the reminder in there.

It got me thinking about what makes a really good make out session. I think partly it’s chemistry: you either want to jump someone’s bones, or you don’t. No matter how technically attractive a person might be, if you don’t have chemistry, it’s just not going to be a great kiss.

I’m not entirely sure what chemistry really boils down to, but part of it has to be a connection with a person. I like to joke that I’m sapiosexual, which means you’re aroused by someone who’s intelligent. But in all seriousness, if we can’t have a good conversation, I’m not interested!

There’s another criteria that I do think needs to be put out there: hygiene. Funky breath is gross at the best of times, but if you want to swap spit with me, you’re going to need at least average maintenance. It’s basic manners.

Beyond that, kissing is pure fun. It’s apparently linked to stress relief, which I can believe, because after a stressful day I love to pull my husband aside and make out with him in the kitchen! It also works out your facial muscles which makes you look younger. Bonuses all round.

What do you think makes a great kiss? Did you realise we had a day dedicated to this?

Inspiration from the bucket list

Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

I’ve always loved travelling, and am an absolute nerd when it comes to planning a trip. I’ll research endlessly about the top things to do, best places to stay, always on the look out for a gem that’s a bit off the beaten track.

Hawaii is not exactly off the beaten track, but it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go. So when flights came up on sale a while back, my husband and I jumped on the opportunity. Top of the list of things to do there? LAVA.

On Hawaii’s Big Island there’s an active volcano. It has a lava lake in the crate (pictured above), lava rolling down the hillsides and into the sea, and even a restaurant on the rim of the crater where you can eat beautiful food and look out on the lava glow. Seeing an active volcano was on my bucket list, so it was satisfying to finally tick it off. It was even better than I expected. Standing in the middle of a volcano, the ground warm under your feet from lava deep below, makes you realise why ancient cultures believed a god lived in the volcano. It’s awe-inspiring.

At the risk of sounding like a tourism advert, I think our trip to Hawaii was one of the best holidays I’ve ever taken. This comes from a person who’s constantly scrimping and saving for the next travel adventure. I was so inspired by it, I came home itching to write a book set there.

So, that’s where my current book is set! It’s actually a lot of fun, re-living the highlights of our trip, and putting them into a love story. It was such a romantic place to be, it’s making this book quite easy to write.

What’s on your bucket list? And what sorts of things inspire you?