Monday, 18 May 2015

A Fabulous Night In....

A Fabulous Night in with Lindsey Kelk, Lucy Robinson and Lucy Holliday

My dear writer friend Vicki Bowles (author of My Unintended Buy here) posted a link to this event and as it was only £5 I thought why not?
So I booked my ticket and arranged to meet Vicki and another writer buddy Natalie Ross at London Bridge Underground Station.

The event was in the News Building and was held by Fabulous magazine (free with the Sun). The building was fantastic, but more about that later.
I left my house at 4pm for a first time drive alone to the O2. I am getting braver! I joined the M25 and sat in traffic for 20 minutes as there had been an accident right before the junction I needed.
I got to the O2 and parked with no problems. 
I walked to the North Greenwich Underground and went down the escalator to buy my ticket. I had rung my hubby just to reassure myself more than anything. I got to the ticket machines to find they had closed the booths down and you now had to use the automated ones. 
I looked at the prices and saw that a travel card for zones 1 to 4 was now about £12, so I opted for a return to London Bridge ( 4 stops down the line). It was £9.20. I asked one of the Underground staff if this was correct as I had travelled to Chancery Lane a few months ago and had paid less, but I was told yes it was correct.
So ticket in hand and trying to look like a seasoned traveller (with not much luck) I joined the rush and got on the tube. A man knocked into me and actually apologised. When we got on the train there was a seat and the same man asked me if I wanted to sit down! Unheard of usually on the tube. I politely declined as I wanted to stay by the exit. I hate having to battle through crowds to get off the tube.
I reached a very busy London Bridge and made my way through the crowds and found Vicki waiting outside Starbucks. Natalie then joined us and we followed the signs for the News Building. The signs took us into an arcade, but the way to the building was closed off. I knew which building we needed to get to and we could see it, but we set off in completely the wrong direction! Natalie then suggested we went up the escalator next to the magnificent Shard and we finally reached our destination.
We went in, but we were 30 minutes early. So we headed for All Bar One across the road for a glass of wine. Vicki bought a bottle (I was driving unfortunately so only had one glass). We sat down to find Lucy Robinson and her agent Lizzie Kremer were seated beside us! We all had a girl fan moment and chatted for a little while until Lucy & Lizzie had to leave. 
We stayed in the bar and had a chat and almost finished the wine.

We made our way over to the News Building and the doorman asked us what event we were here for. He directed us over to some ladies who ticked us off a list. They then directed us to another man who let us through the security gate. Next we had to go to another two men who checked our bags and then finally we got into a lift to Floor 14. The lift moved a little too quickly for my liking and did that "tummy jolt" thing at the top, which was not very pleasant. We got out of the lift and wow, the view that greeted us was amazing. What a fabulous place to work. A view from every window and light, airy offices.

River Thames

Walkie talkie Building

St Paul's Cathedral

 We were greeted by another lady and shown the bar with free wine! Bummer! There was also Baileys and water. I stuck to water. There was an independent book seller The Riverside Bookshop selling books from the three authors too for £5 so I bought the two new releases that I didn't have - Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk and A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday. I had The Day we Disappeared by Lucy Robinson on my Nook already.

 We wandered through and found a seat behind the gorgeous Sara-Jade Virtue (Twitter handle) from Books and the City and waited for the 3 authors to appear on the stage. Unfortunately the bright evening sun (yes you read correctly sun in the city!) was blinding us. The blinds apparently were designed to come down automatically in the daytime, but this didn't work in the evening. Most of the audience therefore watched the authors through sunglasses or by holding a book up to shield their eyes.

From left: Lindsey Kelk, Lucy Robinson, Lucy HollidayLindsey Kelk Twitter   Lucy Robinson Twitter   Lucy Holliday Twitter

The questions put to the authors were by Clare Frost (Twitter Handle) and were excellent. We heard how Lindsey Kelk was once a bridesmaid and foiled a make up heist by the string quartet at her friends wedding. She also wore a bridesmaid dress for 5 days straight as a child! Lucy H had chosen her sister to be bridesmaid at her wedding and was told by her now heavily pregnant sister that she didn't feel comfortable, so had to get an emergency dress for her disgruntled friend to take over.
They were asked about writing techniques and Lucy H told us that she types out the reasons that she can't move on with the plot. She tried the coffee shop planning that her favourite author Sophie Kinsella favours and found herself full of coffee and getting fatter on the cakes!
Lucy R filled us in on a Channel 4 documentary made about her where they followed an actress portraying Lucy. She had been present at the auditions for this documentary and as she is quite sweary on her blog, one actress decided to swear throughout the audition. She didn't get the part, instead it went to a young Scottish actress - Lucy is not Scottish!

All 3 ladies were very entertaining and gave good tips on writing and more importantly that you should never give up. They have all suffered rejections through their careers and it was encouraging to hear this.

After checking our goody bags - yes goody bags! we went over to join the queue to get our books signed. We had quick chats with the authors who are all lovely ladies. Lucy Holliday liked my combination of a bunny scarf and fox t-shirt.

Signed by Lindsey Kelk

Signed by Lucy Holliday 

Back to the goody bags. They contained another book (yet to be published) called The Blue by Lucy Clarke, Jelly Grizzly Bear sweets, nail varnish, face cream samples, perfume sample and a copy of Fabulous magazine. No bad at all! 

Goody Bag Contents

After visiting the toilets (which were bigger than my house) and looking at the excellent wall of books (pictured below) we left the building in the dreaded lifts and started our journeys home. It was lovely to see Vicki and Natalie again and I hope we can meet again soon.

I rode the tube successfully again back to the O2 and then went back to the car. My phone had decided to freeze so I had to take the back off it and restart the thing. I hate sitting in the car alone in a car park so I locked all the doors! Finally the phone worked again (smart phone my arse!!) and I rang hubby to say I was leaving. I went to the barrier and the machine asked for my ticket, then it asked me to turn the ticket over, then it asked me to turn it over again, before opening the barrier without the ticket as it had read my registration number!
Finally I began my journey home. I arrived home safely and went straight to bed absolutely knackered.

I was tired and had to rest the following day, but it was a great night and I really enjoyed it.

Come and say Hi to me on Facebook and Twitter

Lindsey Kelk Website and Twitter
Lucy Robinson Website and Twitter
Lucy Holliday Info and Twitter

Friday, 1 May 2015

Z is for Zzzzz

Z is for Zzzzz

Sleep is something I do quite well. In fact if there was an Olympic sport that involved sleep I would win a Gold medal easily. Saying that though there are some times when I can't get to sleep and I lay there with stupid thoughts going through my head. When this happens I usually try and read, but inevitably I get up and watch tv.
For my illness I take a lot of strong painkillers so they do tend to knock me out quite quickly. Sometimes though the pain keeps me awake which is pants quite frankly as then reading and TV is not an option, but hospital is. My Z blog is a day late, because I spent the day in hospital yesterday with pain.

So back to sleep. Sleep is something our bodies need. I often wonder who invented the first bed and how did our ancestors sleep. Did they always find shelter or did they sleep under the stars. 
From eight hours of sleep we only save 50 kcal of energy (about the same as a slice of toast) but if we don't sleep we become grumpy and we make mistakes. Tiredness or lack of sleep is said to have contributed to the Chernobyl disaster.
17 hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance which is the equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% which is the legal drink driving limit in the UK.

So what happens when we sleep? There are two main categories non-REM (which is further split into 4 more stages) and REM sleep.

Nom-REM Sleep 

Stage 1: Light Sleep
This is when we are half awake and half asleep. Muscle activity slows down and there may be muscle twitching. We can be easily awakened at this time.

Stage 2: True sleep
After 10 minutes of light sleep we enter stage 2 which lasts about 20 minutes. Our breathing pattern and heart rate begin to slow. 

Stage 3: Deep Sleep
The brain produces Delta Waves and breathing and heart rates are at their lowest.

Stage 4: Deep Sleep
During this stage there is rhythmic breathing and limited muscle activity. If we were to be awakened during deep sleep we would not adjust immediately and would be groggy and disorientated for several minutes after waking up. Some people experience night terrors or bed wetting during this stage.

REM Sleep

The first rapid eye movement (REM) period starts about 70 to 90 minutes after we fall asleep. Humans experience 3 to 5 REM episodes a night. We are not conscious, but the brain is extermely active often more so then when we are awake. This is when we dream. Our eyes dart around, our breathing and blood pressure rates rise, but our bodies are paralysed.
After REM sleep the whole process begins again.


How much sleep do we need? Jim Horne of Loughborough University's Sleep Research Centre has the simple answer "The amount of sleep we require is what we need not to be sleepy in the daytime!"
The average human sleeps for 7.75 hours a night.

Animals also need different amounts of sleep a day:

SpeciesAverage total sleep time per day
Python18 hrs
Tiger15.8 hrs
Cat12.1 hrs
Chimpanzee9.7 hrs
Sheep3.8 hrs
African elephant3.3 hrs
Giraffe1.9 hr

Information from the BBC Science Department

Randy Gardner went without sleep in 1965 for a record 11 days. Four days in he began to hallucinate. He then believed he was a famous football player. By the end of the 11 days Randy began functioning normally again and even beat another scientist at a game of pinball!

Melatonin levels in humans become regular in the third month after birth. Melatonin's primary function is to regulate day-night cycles. The highest levels of the chemical are found between midnight and 8am. The production of Melatonin decreases as a person ages. Elderly people are often found to wake earlier and go to sleep later. When children become teenagers the melatonin release occurs later in the day leading to later sleeping and waking times. So your bouncy 3 year old will eventually become a zombie so don't worry!!
Crazy 3 yr old

"Zombie" Teenager


Early beds were just piles of straw and have to have been used from the beginning of mankind. An important change would have been when humans began to raise their beds off the ground to avoid pests and dirt. Some beds were found in Scotland in a preserved village were dated between as 3200 BC and 2200 BC. They were raised boxes made of stone. 
The Egyptians had very high bedsteads which were ascended via steps. The elite of society would have had wooden beds gilded with gold.
Ancient Romans had several different types of bed for different activities, these were usually:

lectus cubicularis - Chamber bed for normal sleeping
lectus genialis - Marriage bed which was highly decorated and used for intercourse
lectus discubitorius - Table bed - they would lay on their left side and eat. There was usually 3 people to a bed with the highest ranking person in the middle
lecus lucubratorius - Study bed
lectus funebris - Funeral bed on which the dead were carried to the funeral pyre

Beds became bigger and more ornate through the centuries with wood becoming more commonly used. Decoration was added in the form of gilding and the use of curtains for warmth and privacy became more popular. The largest bed ever made is now housed in the V&A museum. It is called The Great Bed Of Ware. It was built in Hertfordshire, England by carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke in 1580 and housed in the White Hart Inn in Ware. The bed is an oak four poster and measures 3.38m long and 3.26m wide and can accommodate 4 couples! Many people that have used the bed have carved their names into the posts.

The Great Ware Bed

So as you lay down tonight you will know what will happen to your body as you sleep and the history of what you are sleeping on!!

Just bloody cute!!

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this A to Z Blogging Challenge. Apologies that some including this one have been late, but I have been a poorly girl so I have an excuse. I have enjoyed the challenge immensely and have had fun researching the various subjects.
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