I picked up the ‘wrong’ magazine.

Christmas seems long past now. In some respects my Christmas was a frugal affair. I couldn’t even afford a tree and had a budget of £50 for gifts. However, waking up with 4 of my 6 strong brood  on Christmas day was priceless.

I decided that, like many people, I would begin to squirrel away gifts throughout the year ready for the 2011 festivities. So when I spied on a magazine cover ‘Free Elizabeth Arden fragrance worth £12’ I did my sums. Given the price of the magazine plus postage and packing I felt that £4.35 is a reasonable price for a potential gift.

I have never bought Yours Magazine before and was a little embarrassed to discover that it is aimed at women of a (ahem) certain age. Granted, at 42 I’m past the stage where I care about which celebrity has had botox or that the latest fashion trend is orange striped denim (modelled by a 15-year-old anorexic).  However as I flicked past the ads for stairlifts and continental wigs I was pleasantly surprised to find  some real gems.

There’s something quite reassuring when you see familiar celeb faces. I have always been a  fan of Dawn French, Pauline Quirke and Lynda Bellingham and it’s like greeting old friends. But what really made me sit up and take notice were the writing opportunities.

Their letters page is called Meeting Place where you can share funny stories, let off steam. pass on tips or even share a picture you’re proud of and you could bag yourself a £10 High St voucher or £25 for a Star letter. Plus they are looking for Seasonal Poems for their annual compendium. Useful if you have a little poem that needs a home.

They also publish a short story in every issue. I’m not sure if they are taking submissions for these as of yet but it may well be worth making enquiries. The financial rewards may be small but the opportunity to flex those writing muscles and possibly be published in a fortnightly magazine is a very attractive proposition.

For all you compers out there are no less than seven competitions including a late winter break and an overnight stay at a spa (ooh, yes please). Plus a potential £100 prize if you find Sammy The Squirrel (I’m still looking).

Opportunities are everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t normally expect. My initial ‘Uh, oh’ when I started to read Yours quickly turned into an ‘AHA’. It just goes to prove that you should never be afraid to try something different even if it’s as simple as picking up a new magazine.

You can follow Yours magazine on Twitter @yoursmagazine or visit www.yours.co.uk

You did what???

I received a link from the lovely Nick Daws, author of numerous books, short stories and courses (including Write Any Book In Under 28 Days!). Well worth a visit http://www.mywritingblog.com/

The link concerns a current competition being run by Candis Magazine to win a 12 month writing contract. The main requirement for this position is the ability to  ‘craft your day-to-day life into sparkling prose’. Even more incentive for me is that this is a paying gig. So I duly sent off my details and the required information. Here’s the link http://www.candis.co.uk/blogcomp2011?complete=1

Then the doubts started to creep in.

My regular readers are fully aware that I don’t lead what could be remotely termed as a conventional family life. I have three grown up children, two non-resident daughters and am the single parent of my youngest. It dawned on me that, should I be successful, I could be laying myself on the block. Do I really want to invite criticism and scorn to my door again?  For a woman who has spent the better part of four years hiding behind a false name, a blog and a Twitter account even the tiniest bit of exposure is daunting. Yet, in spite of the fear, I have done it.

Go me!!! 🙂

A Resourceful Girl

Polly loved doing nice things for her mum.

One sunny day she decided to skip to Bluebell Wood and collect some flowers. Sometime later she skipped through the living room, her arms full of blooms, and proceeded to look for her mums favourite vase. But she couldn’t find it so, being a resourceful little girl, she began to arrange her collection in various cups and jars and placed them around the house.

Then Polly ran up the stairs and wriggled under her bed to retrieve a box of Maltesers. Even through the cardboard she could smell the yummy chocolate. Mummy would love these too. She wiped her runny nose on the sleeve of her cardigan, inspected her mud caked shoes and waited on the sofa for a while.

It was only then that she remembered, She hadn’t put the flowers in water. A little frown passed over her freckled face but, being a resourceful little girl, she lifted the kettle and proceeded to fill all the jars and cups dotted around the room, splishing and sploshing as she went. Once again, Polly sat and waited for Mummy to arrive.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

The box of honeycombed chocolate beckoned from the mantelpiece. Perhaps if she tried one, just to make sure that Mummy would like them.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

The taste of chocolate rolled around her little mouth. Polly was a little alarmed to see that the box was now half empty but, being a resourceful girl she reasoned that, if she spread the rest out, no one would ever know.

Finally she heard the creak of the front gate, the squeak of the babies pram and the clomp of her Mummys’ shoes.

Helen stood rigid, mouth agape. Muddy little footprints darted here and there across the carpet. Every surface was covered in various receptacles filled with sickly looking weeds. Water dripped everywhere. She turned to her daughter who beamed at her through a muddy, snot caked face. Around Polly’s mouth were smears of chocolate and she excitedly offered up her half empty, slightly melted gift.

In her best six-year-old voice, Polly stood up and proudly proclaimed…… ‘Happy Mothers Day’!!!!