I know it’s a little late, but I hope you’ve had a wonderful welcome to 2023 🙂
Our festive season was so lovely – although, I’m not sure all of our furry babies were too impressed with their outfits… Haha!
Although I’m just getting over a horrible bought of the flu, which doesn’t help matters, I reckon January felt approximately 476 days long! While I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy riding the horses, and Cai’s walks have mostly been on the pavements instead of fields as it’s so muddy, I’m looking forward to lots of adventures – with both the horses and Cai – as soon as the weather has improved and nights are lighter 🙂
In the interest of transparency, I feel it’s important to shine a light on darkness as well as the brighter times. I’ve been struggling with high levels of anxiety for a few months – which has made the winter weather seem all the darker, at times.
I’m beyond grateful for my fabulous family and friends (including my gorgeous animal family!), because they support me through everything; and I take at least a moment to be thankful for all the beauty I’m fortunate to have in my life, every day. However, sometimes, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life can become overwhelming – especially when emetophobia is involved.
Having been held hostage by emetophobia, and its associated anxieties, for over quarter of a century, I felt enough was enough and finally dusted off ‘The Thrive Programme’ textbook I’ve had in the bookcase for eighteen months and made a start on the course. So far it’s been slow progress, but that’s because I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I should be – though after having a setback while I had the flu, during which I had a terrible panic attack, I’m determined to push through and get on with the course.
Mental health should definitely be as highly regarded as physical health, and I’m done putting myself last all the time. I’ve had it pointed out to me by loved ones that I need to start considering myself and taking care of myself first – so, I am more determined than ever to get ‘The Thrive Programme’ done and dusted; it’s about time I took away the control emetophobia has over my quality of life 🙂
I watched the impressive buzzard in the below photograph effortlessly lift themselves up and out of the fog encompassing them… Nature is on our side, if we take the time to learn how to harness our own power through being calm. Which is why, alongside vanquishing my demons, I’m going to do more of what I love (e.g. spend more time with my husband/family/friends, take Cai on more adventures, ride my horses more often, revel in my own literary creations, read more fantastic books, take up photography again, etc.) – since that’s the reason I work so damn hard constantly. So, please take this as your sign to do the same – life is too short not to relish the wonderfulness in your life; striving to reach a goal isn’t worthwhile if it costs you your health.
And, on an even more positive note, I finally have a plan for my own writing. This year, I’m focused on moving forwards with my literary endeavours; most namely, completing my YA series and its accompanying dyslexia-friendly versions. I also have sooo many other story ideas and endless scribbled notes that could prove to be the kindling that sparks my next novel or series of short stories. So, please ‘watch this space’!
In the meantime, I’ve edited typos in “Larry” and “Animals’ Guide to the Human Race” for the final time (I mean it! Haha) and they’re available in eBook format, as well as paperback and hardcover 🙂
When I get the opportunity, I’m also hoping to update The Emet. Review website and Instagram page – I’ve just been a little too busy to do so for a while, for which I apologise! Though in case you’d like to pay The Emet. Review a visit, here’s the website address: https://emetreview.wordpress.com/
Anyways, I’m going to stop typing now and spend some quality time with Gareth and Cai 🙂
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…
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.
I’ve ordered a saddle for Eira that should be arriving tomorrow, so *fingers crossed* it fits because it’d be fab to finally return to ridden work after a month-and-a-half of lunging!
Anyways, I hope you’ll look forward to the next instalment of the Eira Diaries 🙂
So, I’ve reached the big ‘three-ohh’ :O And I felt it pertinent that I share with you those invaluable pearls of wisdom I wish I’d been privy to before turning 30…
First, however, I’ll just say that my 30th birthday was made so special by loved ones – for which I am eternally grateful! Not only have I received the loveliest birthday wishes, cards, and gifts, but I have been reminded how very fortunate I am to be loved by so many wonderful people (and animals!) – I cannot thank the universe enough 🙂
Here are a few photos from yesterday, when I: ate a marvellous chocolate cupcake for breakfast (because, you know, I’m officially an adult now, so I’m allowed to do that sort of thing); walked through an autumnal landscape on the cusp of transformation with my lovely dog; spent some rare quality time writing for my own literary projects; rode my beautiful pony for the first time in forever, and didn’t fall off when she bucked into canter (#winning); went for a deliciously indulgent meal with my wonderful fiancé, during which time I polished off an entire glass of wine (those who know me know it usually takes me so long to get through an alcoholic beverage, that I rarely have time to finish them!) – then almost fell over on the walk home… 😛
Anyways, to the task at hand…
Please note: these ‘life lessons’ are not in order of importance, though I hope at least one of them will be of value to you 🙂
1.) Love is a life force – never take it for granted.
Whatever form love takes – whether from family, friends, your romantic partner, or your dog – cherish it. I am incredibly fortunate to never have known life without love, though after some pretty devastating experiences in my 30 years on this planet, I have come to realise that love is enough to keep you going when times are tough, and it should never be taken for granted. Tell the ones you love how infinitely you love them every day, make time to spend with the people (and animals) who let you know how important you are to them, and be thankful; you never know what’s lurking just around the corner.
2.) Trust your instincts.
I don’t mean fleeting thoughts or impulsive feelings, I’m referring to those innate, soulful vibes that indicate from somewhere, deep down, whether or not a situation is right. Trusting your instincts requires a significant amount of soul searching, and it doesn’t always lead to pleasing those around you. I’ve made the dreadful mistake of failing to trust my instincts, of ignoring the indicators that something wasn’t quite right, and landing in situations that have not only cost me my sanity, but my sense of self-worth, too.
It can take years to escape a situation if you’re tricked into believing it’s as life is supposed to be, or that your happiness is worth less than the acceptance of people surrounding you at the time. This is your sign to respect the gift nature has bestowed upon you through your instincts – from my own experiences I can tell you wholeheartedly that if something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.
Likewise, listening to that inner voice can lead to true contentment, if you let it. Sometimes, the right path is not the path forced upon us. Trusting your instincts can be difficult, and can make you feel a cacophony of mixed emotions, but, ultimately, there’ll come a day you sit back and realise that trusting yourself was the best thing you’ve ever done.
3.) Kindness is key – in moderation.
Generations of my family have been documented as having lost everything in pursuit of kindness. I’ve been taught to sacrifice consideration of myself in favour of caring for others. Kindness has brought me so much joy, but it has also led to mistreatment and disrespect.
I implore everyone to treat others with kindness; you never know what someone else is going through. Kindness keeps the world turning, and saves lives every second of every day. However, showering people with kindness, respect, and affection does not necessarily guarantee that you will enjoy such treatment in return. Every aspect of my being has been taken advantage of in the past, which is the reason I recommend that it’s vital to be kind -though it is just as essential to be cautious of whom you help, and how.
4.) Perfection is subjective.
I have wasted countless hours of my life comparing myself to others, worrying about how others perceive me, and fussing over my appearance – yet yielding no confidence as a result.
Life is precious. It may sound cliché, but every moment truly is a gift – yet it’s easy to forget that our bodies are a gift, too. Alright, sometimes our bodies don’t work the way we want them to (I lived with recurring bouts of tonsillitis for 16 years before having my tonsils removed, a hand injury changed the course of my life drastically, my skin is super sensitive so often looks blemished, and suffering with emetophobia can wreak havoc on my perception of my body), but the fact we’re able to continue living despite physical challenges proves just how incredibly resilient we are – and that deserves to be celebrated!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet perfectionism steals that acknowledgement from us when we perceive ourselves as anything less than perfection. But do you know what? You are perfect. At this very moment, you are perfect, just as you are. Your unique experiences tell a story through your body, so comparing your story to someone else’s is utterly futile.
Please don’t waste a minute that could be spent feeling good about yourself on making yourself feel unworthy. I admit, I still have some body image issues to overcome, though with the incredible support system surrounding me – in conjunction with a lot of effort on my behalf to change how I see myself – I’m improving every day; so can you.
All the issues I possess surrounding my appearance, alongside my lack of body confidence, stem from various sources – such as being bullied in school, being cheated on, being subject to sexual/coercive abuse, and years of bombardment of photoshopped/heavily edited imagery through all media/social media outlets designed to instil self-loathing that funds the conglomerate gluttony of the ‘beauty’ industry which eats away at our sense of self-worth. My point is, there are so many reasons to feel bad about ourselves and to put ourselves down, but at the end of the day, there are infinitely more reasons to feel good about ourselves; a primary one being that perfection is unattainable. Why are we wasting our time and energy in pursuit of a state that doesn’t actually exist?
Each of us has a unique vision of what we believe perfection is. The only aspect of your life stopping you from being perfect, from feeling perfect, is you.
Practice plenty of self-love, take care of your body and nurture your mind – it helps.
And even if you never feel perfect yourself, I promise there is someone out there who truly knows you to fit their perception of perfection 🙂
5.) Talking is tonic – and animals are the best counsellors!
Communicating your deepest, darkest fears can feel intimidating – not least because we’ve been conditioned to believe that vulnerability equals weakness. As someone who spent years hiding away from the reality of a situation, and failing to tell anyone what I was suffering, I am in a qualified position to say that talking is vital – not only for maintaining your mental health, but in many ways for the good of your physical health, too.
The toll of secrecy devours your soul until there’s not much of yourself left to salvage. Fear held me captive for such a long time that I almost had no route for escape.
If you are going through something, whether it feels harrowing or humdrum, talking about it to a trusted loved one – or even to a professional listener, such as a psychologist or GP – can make all the difference in strengthening your resolve to endure it.
There are sooo many services out there you can reach out to for help, support, and advice; please don’t ever feel weak for talking about your worries – instead, realise just how strong you are for having the courage to share.
I cannot stress enough how wonderful animals are in any healing process. By sharing your innermost concerns, memories, and regrets with a listener whose judgement will never be anything but positive, you’ll feel far better. So, whether it’s a cwtch with a cat, adventuring with a dog, chatting to a budgerigar, or exploring glorious countryside with a horse, connecting with animals can provide a purpose beyond ourselves that can help us realise that there’s incredible beauty to be discovered in every realm of life, if we just learn to let go of our self-limiting inhibitions.
I am writing this blog post to document our magical holiday in Edinburgh…
We travelled to Scotland anticipating a tiresome, lengthy drive and sooo many restrictions, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the drive was pleasant and offered sweeping views of incredible landscapes, and the main restrictions included booking restaurants before eating there and having to book visits to places such as Edinburgh Castle. Despite being unable to book a visit to Edinburgh Castle, we couldn’t help but admire the stunning architecture as we wandered through the streets of Scotland’s iconic capital city.
We arrived at the hotel to a friendly welcome, and settled into our room before freshening-up, booking somewhere to eat, then making our way to the hotel bar to enjoy a drink before walking to the restaurant. It was our first evening in Edinburgh; I had no idea it’d end in euphoria! Gareth and I enjoyed our meal, though it started tipping down as we left the restaurant and we’d forgotten our coats – so we raced through the winding Scottish streets back to our hotel room, where Gareth claimed to have left something in the room’s safe. For those of you aware of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Gareth had joked earlier in the evening that he wanted to put his sandwiches in the safe like Captain Holt did, so, naturally, I expected to open the safe to find sandwiches, socks, or something equally silly. However, Gareth had changed the code on the safe to the date we first met, and, as I opened the door I was presented with a delicate, sparkling engagement ring! I turned around, in shock, and almost tripped over as Gareth was down on one knee. I may be a writer, but there are simply no words to explain how amazing that moment was; I didn’t have to think twice about saying “Yes!” to the most wonderful man in the universe 🙂
The euphoric haze in which we were cocooned was enhanced by the awesome food, glorious architecture, and breath-taking sights spanning Edinburgh’s spectacular skyline.
Gareth and I strolled through the glorious park and historic streets as we soaked in the atmosphere, relishing every moment of our dream engagement without the pressures and expectations of everyday life. We couldn’t have wished for a more magical beginning to our future together 🙂
After the disappointments, the struggles, the betrayal, and the tragedies we’ve both experienced, we realise how incredibly lucky we are to have found one another. Gareth is my other half, just as I am his. We’re excited to be planning our future together, and we are beyond thankful for the chance to do so <3
error: Copying is Impermissible. Content is Protected!