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Photos from Sheffield Botanical Gardens Yesterday

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Life, NatureNo Comments

Yesterday Simon and I went to the brilliantly beautiful and glorious Sheffield Botanical Gardens. The gardens have species of plants, flowers and trees from around the world. The weather was warm and dry and we even had considerable spells of sunshine.

Here are some photos from Sheffield Botanical Gardens:


Sheffield Botanical Gardens Sign


Sheffield Botanical Gardens – A place of Beauty.


Most plants had a black and white signs identifying the species, like this one.


A mulberry tree.


One of the many different species of plant.


There were many collections (like the above) that were filled with colour.


A wooden structure. Close by was also a mental ant. Both works of art added to the Gardens, but my favourite has to be this one.


A bright and beautiful yellow flowered plant, in the background are more of the same.


A tree with the most interesting red bark.


An inspiring and detailed statue at the centre of a rose garden.


More plants and flowers, with the indoor botanical gardens in the background.


Several of these flower beds (with plants of various colours) lined the entrance to the indoor botanical gardens.


An entrance to the indoor botanical gardens.


Indoors – Cacti (1).


Indoors – Cacti (2).


Photo of the glass roof, taken indoors.


Indoors – Many plants.


Indoors – One plant had leafs that were so ginormous, that they made my hand look tiny (see photo above).

Essential Info:

  • A beautiful botanical gardens, which include .
  • Highly recommended.
  • Admission Price: FREE.
  • Opening Times: Vary, see Opening Times here.
  • Parking: Limited. The gardens have no carpark and the streets close by are either Permit Holders Only or Pay and Display.
  • Toilets available.
  • Cafe and Toy Shop also on site.
  • Map:

    Map of Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
    Image from & Copyright © Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Blog soon,



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Feeling Ready

By Love & Relationships, ThinkingNo Comments

Recently I was asked: What would your ideal man be like?

I wish I had a quick and funny answer. But I didn’t. I wasn’t able to answer it at all. I couldn’t answer because I haven’t thought about a relationship, or even considered the idea of having a man in my life for a long time. Too long.

But the question sparked something inside of me. It made me check-in with my heart and head. It made me think, wonder and to my surprise hope for love. With the right man of course.

A man that is kind, interesting and funny. As I thought about my ideal man and what I would want and be able to give in a relationship, I realised something:

That I am feeling ready for love, once again.

Take care,


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Creative Writing: Beginning

By Creativity, ThinkingNo Comments

In this three part blog post series, I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve learned about creative writing over the last few years.

I want to start this blog post with a short video, which is just over a minute long. In this video Stephen King describes a magic moment after reading a book where you think to yourself: This really sucks. I can do better than this. This magic moment is usually the trigger for someone starting to write creatively. But what drives a Writer is a need or deep desire to tell a story.

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Inkwell & Quill.
(Image Copyright: Sye Watts/Antony Simpson.)

1. The Idea
The idea should be imaginative and well thought out. No idea is orignal, everything has been done. But what makes new literature unique, is the Writer’s showing and telling of the story. The unique voice of the Writer.

2. Scope & Size
Consider the scope and size of the story before you begin. According to Wikipedia here are approximate recommended word counts for different types of creative writing projects:

Short story – under 7,500 words
Novelette – 7,500 to 17,500 words
Novella – 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novel – over 40,000 words
(From: Wikipedia, Last Accessed: 11/02/2016)

I would add in word counts for the following:
Blog Posts – Up to 1,500 words
Flash Fiction – 200-300 words
Poems – Unknown, but generally quite short.
Music Lyrics – Unknown.

If journalism is your thing, online magazine The Gay UK has submission guidelines for word counts. They are as follows and likely to be inline with industry standards:
Reviews: 300 – 500 words
Interviews: 1000 – 2500 words
Columns: 400 – 1000 words
News item: 500 – 900 words
Top List: 300 – 500 words

These word counts are not set in stone, you are allowed to be a little under or be a little over. But if you are hundreds, or even thousands of words over, then the scope of your idea is either too big or you are likely to have overwritten and will need to cut in the editing. Editing will be discussed in detail in the next blog post of the series.

If you are planning to submit a piece of creative writing somewhere, ensure you know the word count limits before you start and adhere to the word count. It is unlikely that the person or people reading submissions will read a piece of work over their stated word count. No matter how good it is.

Next let’s discuss essential elements of any story.

3. Characters
Characters should be:

  • Believable.
  • Interesting.
  • Flawed.
  • Have room for growth and grow throughout the story, or the part of the story that they are in.
  • Be three dimensional and as complex as any person that you know.

Characters don’t have to be likeable or liked by the reader. In books that I’ve read, some of my favourite characters are bastards. If people read your work and care for your characters, you’re doing well. If readers are disinterested, don’t care, are irritated or frustrated by your characters, then you have some more character development work to do.

4. Storyline / Plot
Every story should have a Beginning, Middle and End. There needs to be conflict and resolution. Plot should be captivating. It should not have long periods where nothing happens. Be aware of genre conventions. It’s okay to make the reader work for the story, but don’t make them have to work too hard. Bare in mind The Seven Basic Plots:

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

A great article on plots, one that I would recommend every Creative Writer should read is The “Basic” Plots in Literature.

5. Research
If your story is set in the past, another country, or has a character with specialist knowledge you as the Writer need to do the research. You need to make yourself an expert in subject matters related to your story. Although you need to be an expert, you don’t need to show or tell the reader everything that you know.

6. Perspective
The choice of perspective is really important when writing any story. You can show and tell the story from character’s perspective, omniscient perspective or from several perspectives. A good article on perspectives is available here: The Writers Craft – Point of View in Literature.

7. Pacing
Pacing is bit of an art. Elongated sentences with detailed description helps to slow down a scene. Whereas, short. Sharp. Snappy sentences speed up scenes. Short sentences are ideal for action scenes.

8. Other Tips
You should write lots. Every day if possible. Writing, like anything, people get better at the more they practice it.

Get the show and tell balance right. Generally show more than you tell.

Your story should have hooks, things that grab the readers attention and encourage your reader to read on.

As a Writer you should read lots. Especially in the genre you wish to write in. If you’re unsure what genre you want to write in or type of story you want to write, read a variety. But don’t just passively read. Study the things you read. Look at the elements mentioned above, along with what you liked and disliked about the work. Try to understand:

  • What did the Writer do? Did they do it well or not?
  • Where in the piece of work did the Writer do what they did?
  • Why the Writer might have done what they did?
  • How did the Writer do what they did?

In the next blog post of the series, I’ll be writing about keeping going, the development of the Writer’s voice and the importance of backing-up your work.

Want to share your thoughts on writing? Leave a comment below.

Write soon,


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TED Talk: Elizabeth Gilbert – Your elusive creative genius

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Creativity, ThinkingNo Comments

This is a TED Talk video from Elizabeth Gilbert:

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This is what it’s about:

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
(From:, Last accessed: Saturday 20th April 2013.)

After Elizabeth Gilbert‘s best selling book Eat, Pray, Love she went in search of a psychological construct to deal with her work and her natural anxiety about writing her next book.

What I like about Elizabeth Gilbert‘s talk is her use of humour and storytelling. She looks at creative people in history and how they managed their anxiety; as well as talking about brushing up against devine creativity. I found myself in agreement with everything that she says and certainly related to brushing up against devine creative. I’ve had inspiration and ideas appear from nowhere in my mind and in these cases it feels Like they are not coming from me, but from somewhere else.

I have shown and shared this video with the many creative people in my life. The feelings were mixed. Some agreed with all of what she says, some agree with bits and some totally disagree. I guess it’s a perspective thing.

In the near future I will be sharing some of my short stories as free downloads. I’m stomach wrenchingly nervous about it. But the having a genius concept makes me feel less anxious. If people don’t like my short stories my genius can take the blame.

Blog soon,


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