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Christmas Card Letter: 2012

By Books & Authors, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, TechnologyNo Comments

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Monday 19th November 2012

Dear Reader,

Another year passes us by, time flies by so quickly doesn’t it? For me this year has been a mix of passive times with periods of immense activity. In January I bought myself an iMac (see iMac Part 1 & iMac Part 2), promising myself to write creatively more often. In April I went to watch Steps to relive my youth with mum, Ian & Jodie.

(Above left to right: Ian, Mum & Jodie. Steps Logo on MEN screen. Jodie & Mum.)

In May I had two weeks of annual leave and celebrated my birthday at Alton Towers. If you’ve never been to Alton Towers…you must go; it’s a brilliant day out. During my time off I also visited Chester Zoo for Steve’s Birthday and visited Steve’s family in Hastings.

(Above left to right: Steve in Giant Turtle Shells. Two Cheetahs sunbathing. Me, Steve’s Friend & Steve in Masks at the gift shop.)

My Degree in Nursing results were released in June and I got a Upper Second (2:1) Honours. I felt a sense of achievement and a sense of relief that it was finally over after I previously had to put the final module back a year.

Sye came to stay in July for the Summer. With his arrival I felt a renewed level of motivation to get things done. He returned to Uni. in Salford in the Autumn, it was good having him to stay but I am glad that he’s back where he wants to be.

I had a day trip to Liverpool in August with my good friends Chrys & Simon. Chrys being a proper scouser (minus the accent) showed us round the beautiful city and for the first time I understood why people love the city: the architecture, the culture (music) and the seemingly relaxed nature of the people.

Just before the day trip to Liverpool I started experiencing some severe back pain. After seeing my GP I had an x-ray, was given some painkillers and was referred to Physio. My back’s still causes me some grief now, but the combination of co-codamol and physio exercises have massively reduced the amount of pain I experience.

Having continued to blog throughout the year including several book reviews, I was surprised in September when I had caught the eye of a Publicist (who works for several publishers). This Publicist, from Publishers Group UK asked me if I would review one of their books. I had a bit of a confidence crisis, as I had absolutely no confidence in my writing but Sye encouraged me to go for it. So I did…

The Publicist was that pleased with my review that he sent me another five books to read and at one point stated “a career as a book reviewer beckons!” This was a huge complement and has given me a little more confidence around my writing.

About a week or so ago, I was approached by a Publicist Manager for Headline publishers who have asked me to review a copy of Fuse the second book in a trilogy.

Among my plans for next year is to develop my writing further. But for now I’m focusing on Yule and Christmas. Things are changing this Christmas; for the first time ever Mum is working on Christmas Day, I am off work for the whole Christmas period and I am going to attempt (with Steve) to make Christmas Dinner. Ha ha should be fun at the very least.

Have a joyful festive period,

Antony, Dylan & Russell (the cats)

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A Catch-Up

By Friends & Family, Life, TechnologyNo Comments

Hi all,

I really haven’t had chance to blog recently, so I just thought we would have a general catch-up. So what’s new? Well…

I’ve fully transferred my website to a new hosting provider (see Transfer of Hosting). The main technical glitch was many of the images not showing up. I’ve manually fixed every page and every blog post so they should all be working now. But if by chance you stumble upon a broken image link, copy the address bar in your browser, paste it into the message body on the Contact page and click send. Then I’ll know where the problem is and I can get it fixed.

I’ve had a spell of ill health in the form of lower back pain (see Ouch…Severe Lower Back Pain), but apart from the odd painful twinges here and there I’m now feeling much better.

My good friend Sye is back from Uni and has temporarily come to live with me. It’s great to have him here, he’s good company, I feel happy being able to support him. He knows he is welcome to stay for as long as he needs too.

Sye’s also been a huge support to me in a difficult week I’ve had recently. The reason for the difficult week was financial pressures, Sye was my listening ear (along with a few other people close to me) and has given me some good advice. I discovered I have a leaking pipe under my floor, need to replace the two front tyres on my car and have had some hassle of my buildings management company.

I’ve been to my friend Steve’s graduation-from-Uni meal. It was delicious food in the Hilton in Manchester. Unfortunately I only managed to sit through the meal due to my back pain but I still enjoyed the night out.

I’ve caught up with Simon & Chrys at a recent Food & Fire Evening at Chrys’ house. It was lovely, relaxed and social, just what I needed.

I’ve also been reading Pure by Julianna Baggott which is a post-apocalyptic story about two young people whose worlds collide. Pressia a wretch in a world with deformed people and animals after the detonations and Partridge a Pure from the Dome that was protected from the detonations. It’s a trilogy with the next book out next year and the final book out the year after. It’s a fascinating read and will review it after I’ve read it.

I’ve downloaded OS X Mountain Lion. One of the reviews in the Mac App Store described it as an evolution of OSX Lion rather than a revolution. This review is right, they’ve built on OSX Lion rather than a complete redesign like Windows does. OSX Mountain Lion feels more streamlined, the iMac boots up faster and complete operations with more speed. It seems to just work, it has fixed my sound issues (see Intermittent Sound Problems on the iMac) and has a few cool new features.

The first feature I love is Siri. It’s current use is as an dictation App, but in the future it is likely to be utilitised for starting Apps, putting reminders in iCal and other functions like the Iphone 4S. I think it’s very clever how it learns your voice characteristics and uses this learning to improve the dictation. I like the Notification Centre but it doesn’t work as I’d like. For example, my new emails don’t appear in the Notification Centre like on my Iphone 4. The share button in Apps is useful and being able to post Twitter updates from my desktop makes life easier. But I was disappointed that Facebook integration is only coming in Autumn as this was one of the features I updated for.

That’s about all I’ve been up to. However I’ve got a few events here and there, working on some creative projects I hope to share with you soon and am coming up with some good ideas for thought provoking blog posts.

Blog soon,


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Ouch…Severe Lower Back Pain

By HealthNo Comments

About a month ago I started suffering a sudden onset of severe back pain. It got so bad that paracetamol and ibuprofen wasn’t touching the pain and I couldn’t find any position to sit or lie in that would relief the pain so I went to see my GP. The pain was so bad that I felt constantly nauseous meaning I wasn’t eating, which is not good for a diabetic.

My GP thought it might be crushed vertebrae and gave me co-codamol with an appointment for an x-ray of my spine. The Co-Codamol was effective at relieving the pain but made me really drowsy. This mean’t that I was off work as wasn’t safe to drive.

(Some of the tablets I was taking.)

I didn’t agree with the doctors diagnosis of a crushed vertebrae as it is usually associated with trauma. While waiting for the x-ray results and being off work I rested my back as much as possible and the pain eased, meaning that I had to take the pain killers less often. I even managed to start getting out in the car and getting to the supermarket which was a major achievement as I had been house bound for nearly two weeks.

When the results of the x-ray came back it was revealed that my spine was fine so the GP diagnosed me with a muscle spasm. She gave me some Diclofenac as well as the co-codamol and referred me to a physio.

I’m still getting twinges of pain somedays, especially if I do a lot of walking or other physical activity. I am trying to rest my back as much as possible and be careful about not putting too much pressure on my back muscles. The whole experience has made me really appreciate my back, feel thankful of not having any spinal damage and made me more aware of the physical pain some people face in their day to day lives.

To anyone who suffers pain on a day to day basis, you are brave and I hope one day that medical advancement can lead to completely curing you of your pain.

Take Care,


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