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This year I baked a Christmas cake for the first time. When I was younger, my parents made the cake together - my mum measured everything while my dad did the stirring. They always had an argument over whether to make my mum's recipe (a dark, brown sugary cake) or my dad's mum's recipe (much lighter in colour, and written by her hand in a very old black book). When I was very little I didn't like Christmas cake, but I do now.

My mum still makes a cake but this year I decided to make my own, even though Lee doesn't eat it. We're away at New Year with my family who I know will like this cake.

I got the recipe from BBC Good Food here. We made the cake a few weeks ago and I have fed it twice with the brandy left over. I decorated it in the few days just before Christmas with a layer of marzipan, then icing. I bought the snowman but I made the trees and Santa.

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And the verdict on the cake? It's very nice - really moist and with a strong alcohol taste. My mum says I've got myself a job for life!

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1001

I’m currently doing my MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam, and my novel is a Young Adult novel. The person who taught me the Writing for Children module was supposed to be my supervisor for the whole MA, but he had to leave suddenly at the end of March.

He’s been replaced by an author who I’ve met, and liked, and who has written a lot of realism-based YA novels which is great as that’s what mine is too. I’m meeting her on Wednesday to discuss my novel. I bought a few of her books and I’ve started to read one.

And, well, I feel like I am at least as good a writer as her, and maybe even a better one? I know that sounds up myself, but her prose is littered with cliches and some of the dialogue and internal monologue is awful. I’m a bit weirded out by it!

1000

This is my 1000th entry. I've had my LJ since January 2005 although my first entry wasn't until May, just a month before I got married. This month, Lee and I will have been married for nine years.

I used to post a lot. LJ was different then, wasn't it? There were communities and comment threads and fics galore. I was still posting on Xanga, too, although that died as LJ was more immediate. And now LJ has only a few people still sailing the good ship. It's not as fast or as easy as Tumblr, which I love for those reasons.

Lots of things change in 9 years, both personally, socially, and in wider society. The main one for me is my dad's death, of course. It's a watershed, I was a different person before to who I am now. Friends come and go - some you miss and some you're better off without. Some friends I made on here are still friends and have turned into in-real-life friends. That's not weird anymore, is it, not like it used to be.

Who do I write for, now? I'm not sure. I still keep a paper journal although I'm increasingly unsure why, but I started that habit in November 2005 and have rarely stopped. I had one year where I wrote in a day diary instead, but I'm journalling a lot recently. But why? Who for? I dug out a couple of old journals recently because I wanted to check a fact/date, and they just made me sad. Tonight, reading old LJ entries has the same effect.

Nothing turns out like you want it to.

Apr. 25th, 2014

I'm reading Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, of my own volition. I'm going to read the third one too then give up. I like it - I like the ordinariness of the stuff they do, not just the magic/massive threat which will come at the end.

I've got a new supervisor for my MA as my other had to leave really quickly. She's an author called Sherry Ashworth and she writes adult and YA novels. Her YA stuff is very much like mine - very realism based, quite gritty. I haven't met her yet but will probably next month.

I got a new tattoo yesterday:

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It's from the Manics song From Despair to Where. The full lyric is "Words are never enough, just cheap tarnished glitter". I thought that was a bit of an essay so shortened it. It's on my left wrist because I'm left-handed and I write my words with that hand, if you see what I mean.

The blue shadow is the carbon stencil left over on my skin, it hasn't come off yet but it will. It's painful at the moment. For those of you playing along at home this is my 5th tattoo, all on my arms - I pay for them so I want to see them!

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This journal will be nine years old on Thursday.

Just - where did that time go?

I'm 30 now, ffs
Lee's sister has just messaged us on Facebook to say that their dad's shop in Tow Law has burnt down :/

He has two shops, one is in the village Lee is from and has been the family business off and on for years (when Lee's grandad [who we hate] sold it he made a lot of money). Lee's dad bought it back a few years ago and then also bought this one in Tow Law. His now-wife Mary is the manager there while he runs the main shop, but obviously he is there all the time too. I was in that shop in September!

This is the main story I can find about it. The pictures are just awful, absolutely devastating. Obviously Lee's dad will have insurance, and I hope the couple in the flat do too, but still, what a horrible horrible thing.

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