I graduated from The Open University with 2:1 in BA (Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing!!! 😀
It has been an incredible year for me, jam-packed with wonderful experiences and achievements I never believed possible, even in my wildest dreams. But, as I bid goodbye to undergraduate studies, I embark on brand new learning adventures in the form of a full-time role in education. I now work for the ALN department in a secondary school, where I am about to undergo a transformation from LSA to SpLD Co-ordinator as I take on the professional development opportunity to cover a colleague who is off on maternity leave.
Through my new role in the realm of literacy, cognition and learning as part of the ALN umbrella, I hope to be able to support many, many students to ensure their experiences of learning while at school are the best they could possibly be. I’m also excited to use the exciting training opportunities and responsibilities of the role to further enhance my literary endeavours, as I strive to create books for young people who are reluctant readers and/or have dyslexia and other associated superpowers 🙂
Although my new role means less time for blog writing during term time, I truly hope to make a difference through the work I do – and I look forward to sharing my future books with you all!
Hope you’re well and that you’re having a lovely week 🙂
So, Gareth and I embarked on our wonderful honeymoon in late September – it was my first ever trip abroad, and it couldn’t have been more amazing!
We ventured to Rhodes, where the crystal clear sea sparkled under blazing autumn sun…
Upon our arrival at the incredible hotel, we were greeted with champagne and the fantastic staff gifted us with a fabulous room upgrade – which meant we enjoyed a shared private pool and a beautifully decorated suite 😀
The food was excellent, especially given my lactose intolerance, vegetarian preferences, and general fussy eating – the hotel staff were so accommodating and welcoming; we couldn’t have asked for better; they even organised a cake on our last day, as it was my birthday!
Another benefit of the setting we chose for our honeymoon was the abundance of exotic wildlife and the spectacular scenery that took our breath away at every turn…
I also fought against my body confidence issues by trying out some new clothing styles, and even wearing bikinis!
Gareth and I also ventured to Lindos – what an incredible place. Lindos is steeped in history and aglow with Greek mythology…
What an adventure my husband and I had in Rhodes – we’re incredibly lucky and infinitely grateful to have found each other and be able to enjoy such awe-inspiring experiences together <3
Thank you, once again, for your continued support 🙂
Sincerest apologies for not writing to you sooner, life has been pretty hectic!
(Although I’m not apologising for the ‘Bridgerton’ vibes, because I felt very ‘Bridgerton-esque’ in my wedding dress with my hair and make-up professionally styled :D)
I hope you’re well and enjoying the countdown to Christmas 🙂
My husband (:D) and I got married in early September, and we couldn’t have wished for a more magical day…
Here’s what I wrote on Facebook in celebration of the best day of our lives:
“My husband (😁) and I are incredibly grateful to all who worked tirelessly to make our magical wedding so perfect 👰♀️🤵♂️🍾🥂
Our family and friends are beyond awesome, and there isn’t a moment we aren’t thankful for their support – you are wonderful, and both of us know how lucky we are to have you as part of our next, exciting chapter 💝
We’re also thankful for our amazing guests, who made sure our wedding was the fantastic celebration it turned out to be – we are so glad to have been able to share our wonderful wedding with you, and we hope you enjoyed it too 🌷🍰🏩🥳
Infinite thanks for the fabulous wishes from everyone sending messages, texts, cards, and gifts as well – we’re eternally grateful for your kindness and support 🎁🎊
After all the trials and tribulations of our respective pasts, Gareth and I know how truly fortunate we are and we couldn’t be happier… 🥰🎉
Thank you all for your continued support 😁
Lots of Love, Mr & Mrs Johnson ❤”
While Gareth stayed at our house with his best man, I stayed at our wedding venue with my mum. The hotel room was gorgeous – straight out of Beauty & the Beast!
In fact, the entire venue was lovely – we certainly made the right choice. The staff were absolutely fantastic and we couldn’t thank them enough 🙂
The excitement of marrying the man of my dreams far outweighed the nerves of having a hundred pairs of eyes watching me walk down the aisle – that was, until it was actually time to walk down the aisle. With the corset of my wedding dress pulled so tightly to keep it from slipping (it was still too big), the lengthy wait to be called, the heat, the dizzying striped carpet, and everyone talking to me at once, I very nearly fainted! However, while I was trying to keep it together, Gareth was pacing nervously in front of all our guests – so I imagine we were feeling about the same. Thankfully, the moment the doors were opened and I walked onto that aisle, I focused on the ground so as not to trip over or make awkward eye contact with anyone, and I didn’t feel so faint anymore. Then, I saw him. I saw Gareth and my nerves melted away; I was finally safe.
It was an incredible feeling, standing with the man I love as we made our vows to one another in front of family and friends. I can honestly say that marrying Gareth fulfilled a long-awaited happiness I’ve never felt before. Our wedding day was the most magical of our entire lives, and I couldn’t be more grateful than to have married my best friend in the whole entire universe ❤
Once the ceremony was over (in the blink of an eye!), photos had been taken, and speeches had been absolutely smashed out of the park, the party started – and what an amazing party it was! Those of our invited guests who gifted their time to support us, as we embark on the next exciting chapter of our lives, were treated to the most wonderful night of music, dancing, laughter, and joy as we all celebrated the power and the magic of love – thank you, all 😀
I’m hoping to write a full account of mine and Gareth’s wedding one day (when I can find the time to), although I’m always so busy it’s taken 4 months to write this blog post, and it still feels half-written! Haha. I hope you’ve enjoyed this account of the best day of our lives anyways 🙂
Thank you for supporting my journey, literary and otherwise!
It has been exceedingly busy here at ‘D.E. Kendall HQ’ over the last few months!
However, this post isn’t about a general update (hoping to write an update sometime in the next month), it is to celebrate the (FINAL) new editions of Larry and Animals’ Guide to the Human Race being republished 🙂
The road to this point has been exceedingly long and winding, so it’s an enormous relief that two of my original books are finally finished…
So, I started writing Larry when I was 15 years old, and it has seen several versions in various states of quality/readability to reach its current edition – and I am delighted to have completed the journey, at long last! While I realise my perfectionism may not ever allow me to feel 100% proud of my work, because – as with every aspect of my life – I always perceive facets of myself through a highly critical lens (though I wish I didn’t!), I hope I have done the adaptation of Larry’s story justice.
After a close call with a vanity publisher in 2014-2015, Larry has been self-published, traditionally published, and has now been self-published once again for the final time. I’m tempted to craft a more in-depth blog post in future, to write about each phase Larry has endured to get here – please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading 🙂
For now, if Larry can inspire even one person to treat animals with more kindness and compassion, 15 years of hard work will have been worthwhile. There has been a considerable amount of research and editorial work poured into Larry, and I hope you’ll gain something positive from reading it…
Larry: A Rescue Pony’s Story
by D.E. Kendall
This third edition of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race has been completely transformed from its previous editions, thanks to my improved writing and editorial skills owing to four years of a creative writing degree and over two years of ghostwriting experience. Therefore, I hope Animals’ Guide will provide readers with some much-needed positivity, in a world obsessed with everything that’s wrong instead of celebrating the little joys in life. For those of you who are familiar with Animals’ Guide, please rest assured that this version is almost unrecognisable from previous editions; it’s actually readable now (I hope)!
The purpose for Animals’ Guide is to be read in small snippets as opposed to being read cover to cover as a novel. Therefore, Animals’ Guide has been designed to inspire positivity and laughter, no-matter where you are or whatever’s happening in your life – I hope Animals’ Guide becomes a form of comfort to readers, somewhere nice to turn when life gets overwhelming. Also, previous editions of Animals’ Guide have proven especially popular for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to reading, so it would be amazing if it appeals to an even wider audience moving forwards 🙂
Please let me know what you think of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race – I’d love to know that it has made you laugh and/or brightened your day by even a teeny tiny amount…
Hellooo! Welcome to the second post in the ‘Eira Diaries’ series 🙂
So, it has been waaayyy over a month since I last wrote about the adventures of my beautiful pony, and the reason for that is our distinct lack of adventure over the last few weeks. But I’ll get to that in a minute…
At long last, I discovered a gorgeous saddle that fits Eira perfectly. She’s so comfortable in the saddle, that we were actually able to enjoy hacking without napping! And we managed to go for a ride out with Kara for the first time ever, which reminded me why I work so hard and go without a heck of a lot to pay for Eira’s lavish lifestyle; I realised how much I’ve missed being in the saddle, and Eira was delighted to be getting out and about again 🙂
Our schooling sessions were going superbly as well, and Eira finally seemed to feel comfortable as she worked in a lovely outline, showing off her floaty paces and seamless upward transitions.
Then, the weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, and switched from sunshine to rain and back again several times a day for a couple of weeks.
One especially sunny morning, I brought Eira in from the field and noticed that she was slightly uncomfortable on her right foreleg. I checked for a digital pulse (a tell-tale signal of laminitis), but couldn’t find one – and Eira was still able to put weight on her sore hoof without rocking back onto her heels, so I assumed it was an abscess.
Since Eira didn’t seem too uncomfortable at that point, I allowed her a couple of hours’ turnout the day after I noticed her minor discomfort – she seemed to improve slightly as I was leading her in. However, the following day, something definitely wasn’t right and both her hooves seemed uncomfortable. So, even though she was still putting weight on her hooves and there was no sign of a digital pulse in any of her legs, I created poultices and wrapped Eira’s hooves in vet wrap. We gave her a thick, fluffy, shavings bed while awaiting the farrier’s response to my attempts to contact him over the weekend.
By Monday, Eira hadn’t improved. The farrier visited and removed Eira’s shoes, which instantly caused her to portray ‘that’ stance. There was no denying that Eira had laminitis – a word dreaded by horse owners the world over. Despite our best efforts to avoid it, and the seeming lack of grass in her field, laminitis reared its ugly head for the second time in Eira’s life 🙁
Eira was stuck in on complete box rest, until the farrier gave his permission for Eira to be walked in hand for a few minutes a day in her hoof boots (which protect the sensitive soles of her hooves from stony grounden route to the soft, spongy arena). Poor Eira hasn’t been able to enjoy much of the glorious sunshine we’ve been having, and hates that she’s now on a severely restricted diet of soaked hay. We’ve tried to brighten up her box rest experience by providing mini haynets dotted around the stable (which also prevents her from standing in one place all day) though she can’t enjoy her usual boredom-breaking toys, such as her Bizzy Bites toy, Likit, and Decahedron treat balls – and the poor girl can’t even enjoy apples and carrots in her haynet anymore. Eira is getting plenty of cuddles and lots of attention from everyone, however. And she’s enjoyed time out of her stable, being brushed and pampered on the rubber matting of the wash bay next to her barn. Though she’s not so keen on having a bath, it is the longest I’ve ever managed to keep her tied up!
We hope to update the Eira Diaries with exciting adventures in the very near future…
Though until Eira has recovered, we won’t be getting up to much unfortunately. I do, however, hope to write some product reviews at some point, so please check back soon 🙂
Why the ‘Eira Diaries’? Not only does the title sound poetic, but both words contain ‘Eira’ – which, I think, earns extra ‘writer points’ 😉
This series of blog posts will feature not only my beautiful pony, Eira, but also our family’s handsome horse, Tân, and, from time to time, my sister’s gorgeous horse, Kara.
The reason I’ve decided to create a blog post series is to document the journey Eira and I are taking to get fitter and healthier, after many years of struggling to get moving with our adventures.
Throughout this series, I hope to include stories of both mine and Eira’s past experiences, alongside the tales of our – inevitably winding – road to fitness. I also hope to include some useful product reviews 🙂
So, this first post of the series will focus on the beautiful pony herself…
I rescued Eira when she was 11 months old, in the summer of 2013. Destined for the meat market, Eira was bought at auction by landowners who were inexperienced in caring for horses, but longed to save horses from slaughter. Eira was turned out in a huge field with countless other horses who had been rescued from various auctions. The people who’d bought Eira thought it was a great idea to leave the mismatch herd of horses and ponies (from huge cobs to teeny tiny miniature Shetlands) fight over crates of bananas left in their field!
Perhaps naively, I purchased Eira without being able to get anywhere near her. There were several horses and ponies available to choose from, though even from a distance, I fell in love with Eira’s scruffy chestnut foal coat and near-white flaxen mane. The next day, it took us hours to get her into a trailer. When we arrived at her new, temporary home, she was so terrified of us that she hid in the corner and trembled whenever we tried to approach her.
It only took a couple of days for Eira to realise that we weren’t going to hurt her, and, once she’d learned how to eat from a bucket, she decided she was happy to let us near – after all, someone who feeds you three times a day can’t be that bad, right?
By the end of her first week with me, I’d managed to remove the scraggly foal coat still clinging on since winter (it was June), and I couldn’t believe how beautiful my new pony was underneath all that grime and dust!
I chose the name ‘Eirawen’ for her because it means ‘snow white’ in Welsh, and at the time her mane and tail were so bright they looked almost white. Plus, it was clear from the get-go that Eirawen believed she was a princess, so the name suited her. It didn’t take long for her name to be shortened to ‘Eira’ – the name ‘Eirawen’ only resurfaces when she’s acting like a diva, or decides to stand on my foot.
Prior to Eira’s first vet visit, it was obvious she had conformational issues. As the years have passed, she’s developed a plethora of health problems that have meant her insurance costs are ridiculously expensive (#cry). Aside from having wonky legs that require specialist front shoes, Eira has very sensitive skin that turns into sweet itch over the summer, she had laminitis around 4 years ago so is now prone to that, she has cysts on her ovaries, a few small sarcoids, dodgy teeth that require 6-monthly check-ups, a flat back that makes it really challenging to find saddles to fit her, and she can’t seem to keep more than half of her mane at any given time. (Oh, and she likes to sit down in the field, like a dog!) So, all things considered, she looks pretty darn good for a pony with all those issues, if I do say so myself 🙂
Eira has a naughty streak and can be stubborn when she wants to be – she also loves a buck when asked to canter, whether under saddle or on the lunge, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with discomfort or imbalance and everything to do with overexcitement. For all her cheekiness, Eira is the most gentle pony – no more so than when she’s with my niece, whom Eira adores. Of our family’s horses, Eira is the one we introduce visitors to, because she’s the only one who can be trusted not to accidentally headbutt, nip, or squish them! We may not be flying around show-jumping courses or dazzling in the dressage arena, though I am incredibly proud to have produced such a kind, willing – if a little stubborn at times – pony whose fate could’ve been totally different if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith 9 years ago…
Due to a hand injury 7 years ago (that still isn’t better 3 surgeries later) and having such a hectic life since Eira was old enough to ride, my poor girl is still extremely green under saddle – through no fault of her own. My parents and sister help take care of Eira when I’m unable to due to my ridiculously long work hours and when my hand is too painful to move, for which I am eternally grateful.
I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix her health issues, fix my hand, and add a few extra hours into every day, but for now, we’ll just have to settle for trying our best under our given circumstances.