Toy Story 4 – Review

This is just a brief review of the commercially very successful movie, ‘Toy Story 4’.

I knew there was a buzz about this film and because the Toy Story franchise goes back to the early nineties there is also quite a but of nostalgia. I don’t often see animations these days but this one was very intriguing.

I was glad to discover return of the original cast members and from the word go Tom Hanks, Tim Allan and the gang transported me back into that toy box and immersed me into a believable world where toys really do come to life every time their owner goes out.

The story was cleverly threaded together with the main focus being on a brand new toy which was made by their owner using a spork. Forky was entertaining and enabled Woody to go on adventures to keep him safe and stop him heading for the trash.

Some creepy dolls were trying to steal Woody’s voice box and I actually found then quite scary. The heart of this movie was the close bond between the toys, which was drawn out in a situation involving Bo Peep. You can see what happened for yourself.

Overall, this was Disney magic at its best. Slick. Funny. I would definitely say it is well worth going to watch.

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Learning a new skill

Well something that has really pulled my attention is a new hobby of mine. I have finally got around to dusting the keyboard that I bought 14 years ago and actually paying someone to teach me how to play the thing.

Luckily reading music soon came back to me. I had about a year’s worth of lessons playing the cello back in the late 1980s but never saw them through, sadly. This time I am more determined as piano is something that really thrills me. I love a soft melody and a traditional musical number.

Right now, as well as practising chords and going over using my left and right hands separately, in turn, I am trying hard to become tuneful with The Greatest Love Of All. Remembering Whitney is motivating me to get to grips with this timeless classic.

I hope that I can keep the motivation, keep attending the classes and remember to devote twenty minutes each day to maintain the practice. I would ask you to consider playing a musical instrument as it is great for stress as well as allowing you to have a sense of achievement.

Writing books and playing melodies are my favourite things to do. What are your hobbies?

Moving On

Do you have to take your car?

Is your journey really far?

If you are going somewhere close,

Try to walk or cycle those

Journeys that are not so far.

Not every ride involves a car.

Dropping off your kids to school,

Maybe let them walk – it’s cool!

Going to the local store,

A brisk walk would give you more…

Fitness, time to think and fresh air,

Plus you would show how much you care,

About the place in which you live,

Walk and cycle, that’s a good way to give.

Summer feelings- work and distraction

This summer heat really is making it hard to concentrate. So many ideas are rushing around in my head and yet I cannot fix them down and finish an individual task.

I am a hard working person but this new climate we have really does not promote a healthy work appetite as the heat just makes it uncomfortable to do anything productive. Maybe it is time we started to have siestas like they do in Spain.

This week has been interesting in terms of the types of things that have come up as trending on twitter. From many Love Island hashtags linked to bickering twenty-somethings who want to expand their instagram followings, to earthquakes in California and scandals linked to potential prime ministers. Oh what a weird week it has been.

My instinct tells me that the kinds of things that should be trending are climate change and educational subjects and mental health. We live in a culture of excess and superficial thinking but sadly our behaviour lets us down.

In terms of writing, I spent the week exploring how to move my WIP forward, having had a few weeks break from it and suddenly realising how to unwind the middle of it. Sometimes a change is needed to help you come unstuck. Being busy with work gave my head the clarity it needed to then return to my story and develop its turning point.

I hope that you all are having such a wonderful summer and look forward to reading more inspiring blogs over the coming weeks. Blogs that will make me sit up and grapple with issues that really are important.

Warning! Hot Weather?

Feeling the brilliant heat,

Enjoying the balmy weather,

Stop for a minute and think,

For we are getting ourselves into a tether.

This heatwave is caused by us,

So yes I’ll be making a fuss,

To me the hot weather is sad,

A reflection of all we do that is bad.

Pollution, consumption and travel,

Are putting us under the gavel,

We need to think of a way through,

Where the climate is stable but the skies are still blue.

So I agree that the hotness is fine,

But the damage it does is causing Earth to decline,

We need to get governments to start fixing this mess,

So we prevent the world becoming a desert of loneliness.

Summer Breeze

For many months we wait to be warmed,

Till leaves have blossomed and bees have swarmed,

The winter, cold and bleak and long,

Finally is submerged under a blanket of song.

As birds rush out and insects thrive,

Us humans grab our cars and drive,

To places full of sand and fun,

Our summer of love has just begun.

And as the evenings draw out wide,

Our barbecues fire up outside,

As parties start and drinks will flow,

And sun tan lotion helps our new tans grow.

We emerge into the summer bright,

Absorb the heat and sweat through each night,

We cherish every moment with ease,

Just waiting for a summer breeze.

Balancing ‘Work’ with Writing.

Of course, we all know that the world is a crazy place to work in. Work these days rarely sits within the cosy hours of 9 and 5. For many people, work is flexible and taking home work to do in the evening is part and parcel of the expectation linked to modern careers. For me, this has been the problem. But I am determined not to let writing be neglected, even though other ‘work’ tends to try its hardest to get in the way.

Top Tips for balancing the two:

1) I have learned that finding time to write takes determination. I LOVE writing but finding the energy and time can seem challenging as the rigours of daily life kick in. One way I have got around this is by setting a very easy to manage minimum. This is the non-negotiable that I have set myself. I have ensured that I write for ten minutes every day. In ten minutes I may only manage a paragraph or some basic editing but it means that I keep going and do not go for weeks without writing anything. Often, I manage to spend a good hour writing, and this is when I am in my element.

2) Finding a time to squeeze in that concentrated session of fiction writing is also difficult. With working, ironing, catching up on TV series whilst doing homework on the laptop and many other demands on our time, we have to think carefully about when to slot it in. I have found that in the mid-evening, after eating and before settling down for the News and some cheesy later night telly, I can happily have a short time to write creatively. Others prefer doing it early in the morning, before they slip off to work.

3) If writing really is your passion then do not sideline it as though it were a hobby. To be a writer you need to accept and persuade those around you to accept that writing is an important part of your life and should be on par with other things you do. It may not pay the bills quite yet, but if you never take it seriously, then it certainly never will get the opportunity to.

I have just decided to return to regular blogging, I hope this has helped someone to think about their timings and inspired them to shuffle things around and write a little more. I am just about to release my first properly published book and am excited about seeing where that journey takes me.