So many faces

I’m a Gemini, and I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dog. I used to joke that this made me a two-faced bitch, but I probably wasn’t far off! The traits of a Gemini include being adaptable, indecisive, and impulsive, which describes me to a T. But, there is some consistency to me. I tend to come back to the same ideas and thoughts.

My husband teases me that I have a grasshopper brain, always jumping from one thought and idea to the next. He’s not wrong. I’m constantly writing new opening chapters, then not doing anything with them, or coming up with a new possible business start-up, then pushing it into a drawer and going no further. I have several Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages reaching out to different people. And I hide who I really am.

Most of you are aware that I run RW Literary Services. Work trickles in occasionally, but it’s not the only part of me. It’s not the only business I run.

This weekend has really pushed me to my limits, and as a result, I’d like to introduce you to who I am.

My first challenge this weekend was to run a 5k.

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I hate running. I always have. But I am a volunteer for our local Cub Scout troop, and they were taking part in a 5k run, so I joined in. I stayed at the back, walking the first 2k with those that didn’t run or managed to hurt themselves (my daughter) 200m off the start line. After dropping them off with one of the parents at the 2k mark, I carried on until I caught up with a couple of other Cubs, and jogged/walked the rest. I finished the 5k in 45 minutes and 52 seconds, which is a huge achievement for me.

This wasn’t an achievement because I ran 5k – I walk that distance on a regular basis with the dog. It was an achievement because I conquered my anxiety and ran in public. I put my fitness levels on display. But unless you follow my ‘Mum’ Instagram account, you may have missed it. Because that’s the first part of who I am: I’m a Mum.

Mum-me does a lot of cooking and days out with the kids. I review products, recipes, and places to visit, with a focus on tight budgets and children with allergies and intolerances.

You can follow Mum’s Cupboard HERE.

My second achievement of the weekend was sitting on a stall at a local fair. Doesn’t sound like much does it? Except, I have severe anxiety when it comes to doing anything in public, which is why I don’t go to book signings. I’m terrified of putting myself out there. And this Sunday I didn’t just myself out there, I showed off my beliefs and lifestyle.

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I’m what is referred to as a hereditary witch, passed down from my mum’s side. Growing up, my mum taught me to read Tarot, and my grandma read tea leaves. We had crystals hanging in windows, and have always been taught to respect nature. As a teenager I referred to myself as Wiccan, as many Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans of the 90s did, but it goes deeper than that. I don’t label myself now, and say I’m simply spiritual.

There’s a lot of scepticism surrounding witchcraft and Tarot reading, so I don’t talk about it. But with the support of my husband, I’ve started an Instagram account (HERE) and even have an Etsy shop (HERE). I make my own spells, charms, and dream catchers, and have created some typography designs. I offer Tarot reading and energy therapies, including distant therapy. Tarot Lottie has a website, which is minimal because I hide myself. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed but I do have anxiety, and as part of that I don’t want to offend or upset anyone, and I’ve already been criticised for these beliefs.

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So this weekend, I decided enough is enough. I’m not going to let other people’s negativity make me feel unworthy. If they have a problem with what I do, then that is their problem, not mine.

I find Tarot Lottie works nicely with my C.V. Leigh persona, where I write Urban Fantasy.

I do enjoy writing romance, but my love has always been with the paranormal. I’ve been writing an epic high fantasy series for 6 years now, because I struggle to finish them. The Change was easier to write, because it’s urban, meaning it’s set in the here and now. You can find C.V. Leigh’s social media links here:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Instagram

But there’s still more to me. And this part is the bit I struggle with being public about. However, after this weekend, I’ve decided to put it all out there.

I’m a prepper. I even have a Twitter page.

Not hardcore. I don’t wear tinfoil hats or believe that the world is going to end. But life has taught me that I need to be prepared for everything about to be thrown at me. I have a stockpile of food, we grow our own when we can, I forage throughout the year and teach my children about the food we can find in nature, I knit and I’m teaching myself to sew. It’s not about waiting for a nuclear bomb to drop, it’s about being ready for any possibility.

I keep a bag in my car that contains blankets, food, water, a first aid kit, and a torch, minimum. And with Brexit looming, I’ve increased my stockpile of food and medicine. I’ve also written a couple of non-fiction guides, one of which is constantly in the top 50 of Amazon’s Disaster Relief Kindle store. Both books are available on Kindle Unlimited to read.

Due to wanting to remain anonymous (originally, obviously not now!) they are fully self-published, including self-edited so I can guarantee there are mistakes throughout. But the sentiment remains the same. These books are designed to give UK preppers are a base to start, with lists of things to buy and stockpile. The books can be found HERE.

Being a prepper came in use this weekend.

As Scout and Cubs leaders, we camp a lot. And in a couple of weeks, I’m going to be cooking chilli for 18 people. Possibly more. I was giving the shopping list, and Mum’s Cupboard-Me cringed when I saw “jars of chilli sauce” written down. I cook from scratch, with fresh veg when I can. And Practically Prepping-Me has everything needed (minus meat and quorn) to cook chilli for 20+ people. So during a stock rotation check, I’ve emptied the older foods into a crate, ready to be used during Scout camp, and saving the troop money.

So that’s me, and all my faces.

The dream is to combine them somehow, perhaps in a shop. But for now, it’s all social media.

My anxiety is currently through the roof. I’m going to go make myself a cup of tea, and wait for the comments…

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off!

This blog post is more an apology for my lack of presence throughout 2015.

So much has happened over the last six months that I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going. My feeds and timelines have always been flooded with preppers telling me that I should be preparing for the apocalypse (a variety of scenarios are mentioned from alien invasion to the more believable, total economic collapse), and I’m starting to feel like I really do want to GOOD (apparently it means, Get Out Of Dodge). Not because I actually think we will have a SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan) event, but because I need a break and off-the-grid, away from it all, back to nature living sounds pretty darn good right about now.

Back in December, my dad died. I am executor of his will so have spent the last six months fighting with solicitors and organising finances. Add that to being a full-time mum and housewife (is there really any other kind?), working part-time as an admin and teaching assistant, job-hunting because that contract was about to end, volunteering for the Girl Guides Association, completing the first module of an English Literature & Creative Writing degree, finishing my next erotica novel (currently under submission), and trying to promote, market and publicise my other five books, I have been left feeling utterly drained. The rest of the year doesn’t seem to look any less hectic. I’m still a full-time mum and housewife, I’ve just agreed to be a supply teaching assistant and midday supervisor at two schools (the original primary school I was working at and a specialist school nearby), the next module for my degree starts in October, I still need to promote, market and publicise my books, and I’ve started writing a new fantasy series (which will be published under a pen name). Not only that, but I’m still dealing with my dad’s estate, I’ve got a couple of courses that I’m taking as part of the Girl Guides, and I’ve started a new company – R W Literary Services (www.rwls.co.uk). I feel exhausted just reading through all that.

Something needs to give.

I’ve started to make some changes. One of these is the day job. I can’t go into too much detail, because the right people haven’t been told yet. We’re lucky that hubby has a good job, and my books are selling quite well **Seven Dirty Words is available for 99c / 99p** so finances aren’t really an issue. I need a break though, something bigger than just getting rid of a few stresses. But, thanks to the fridge dying at Easter and other unexpected expenditures like having to pay vet and crematorium bills after editing cat died (RIP Harry-Bo, **sniff**), our savings have been eaten into over the past few months, so no holiday this year. We have done day trips to places like Longleat and Lego Land, but really what I need is a desert island or a cabin in the woods, away from reality.

I’m not religious, but I’m praying for a change in luck right now. 2015 has been nothing but bad luck after bad luck. I’m hoping that 2016 will be a new year and new start, but I still have the next four months to get through…

Why I might be a secret prepper

I’ve read the books, I’ve seen the movies, and I’ve watched the documentaries. But I’m still not convinced whether the world is going to end any time soon. Even so, my husband seems to think (and I’m inclined to agree) that I might be a secret prepper, setting up  for survival should the SHTF (Sh*t Hit The Fan) at any point. I’ve even said to him that perhaps we should consider it – not to the extremes that some go, but you know, have a supply of food and water for any emergency reason that could crop up.

Our cupboards are already pretty full of food – mainly because soup was on offer so I took advantage of saving some money while I could. We also have several bottles of water – because the water company were doing works on the pipes and so gave us X amount of litres every day, even though the taps were fine. We are also trying to set ourselves up as near to self-sufficient as we can buy growing fruit and veg. (Although this is a new venture and so want come into fruition until next harvest.)

We also have basic survival gear and skills. Hubby was in the air cadets and did a lot of survival training with them, and I’ve done some basic training with youth club trips, and an excessive amount of reading my Dad’s books. We have pocket guides to foraging, types of mushroom, and SAS survival, and we have books on how to create our own remedies using herbs and essential oils (of which I have a lovely stock). Our attic and sheds (we have 2) are full of equipment that could be useful at some point – Bergen rucksack, bivvy bag, trangia stove, camping gas stove & table, and sleeping bag (I did the Duke of Edinburgh Award and went camping a lot as a teenager) and extensive first aid kit (I have a 4 year old boy who insists on throwing himself off things, doing stunts, and everything else a 4 year old boy does). We also have extra blankets and duvets (lots of visitors), extra oil radiators and electric fans (we live in Britain and get stupid winters and summers).

Weapons we lack in – although we do have things like an axe, pick-axe, lots of sharp knives (my husband likes to cook), and I do own a very heavy griddle pan as well. My husband would jump at the chance of owning a gun, but we live in a small village, not on a farm. We have no need for a gun. Yet.

So if the SHTF tomorrow, we might be able to survive for a few days before needing to venture out and go looting.

Clearly we’re not as well prepared as others, but I have to ask myself how prepared they actually are. Most of the documentaries, the preppers are only thinking about one possible disaster. I think about ALL of them. How do I survive in an economic crisis? What about a solar flare? Floods? Earthquakes? Viruses? Zombies??!?!  (If a zombie attacks me, I’m giving up, rolling in a ball, and being eaten.) The only possible solution that we could come up with was to buy a nuclear submarine and isolate ourselves entirely. But then how will we know if civilisation returns??

Oh there is far too much to think about. Perhaps when I win the ultimate lottery (remember by £100,000,000 blog post?) we will build our dream home to include fortresses, panic rooms, and underground bunkers…