Eva Talks About...

New Term, New Starts…

So, my life has changed in the last few weeks…in fact, for all of our family. We have welcomed a beautiful baby girl who has, by all intents and purposes rocked our world. Becoming a grandmother at fifty-one has been an experience, a feeling, that even as a writer, I find it difficult to put into words. When you become a parent, you’re in awe of the tiny poop making machine cradled in your arms and now I’m in awe of the baby I brought into this world who has now brought a life in of her own. My baby girl has had a baby girl.

I haven’t held a newborn in fourteen years, and admittedly, as my daughter passed her baby to me, I was overwhelmed at how tiny this brand new milk-drunk miracle that she and her other-half have created. I knew from that moment on, life would never be the same again. We have become grandparents and are besotted. Just as when you become a parent and your instinct is to protect your child, history has come full circle and this time, it’s our grandchild. We feel the need to love, guide and protect her. Our granddaughter is a brand new human being and it’s our job to support the new parents in every way from here on in, give and take some spoiling and acclimatisation to the chaos and craziness that is her family. Just like becoming a parent is a privilege and a blessing, so is becoming a grandparent, and I for one, take this role very seriously.

In all of this, August has most definitely been a time for new starts and new experiences. As the adage goes, “when one door closes, another one opens”. My middle child is embarking on a new chapter in her education. After spending most of her summer working to earn her own dough, she has been exposed to the grim reality of human nature; for all the wonderful people she’s served at the hotel she’s employed at, she’s also come across total ass-hats…mostly females. Sadly, or maybe it’s not, depends on how you see it (me, I see it as a plus) she’s realised that not all women are as supportive as these motivational memes that flood the internet, drone on about…not all women will fix your crown if it slips. No, sireeee. They’d sooner stamp on it. As a result, these experiences have been a good lesson to prepare for her next stage of life. This summer I’ve seen my daughter transition from a school kid to a young woman who earns her own money and quite frankly has her shit together. College life awaits, as do new adventures with fabulous likeminded friends.

My boy is now turning into a young man; this summer he has grown in stature and this was tested at a time where daughter number two who towered over him is now just below his maximum height and strength. She tried to push him. he barely moved. Since that day, all pushing and shoving has ceased. His voice has also broken…that was weird when I first heard it. It still is. I hear a guy talking and I’m wondering who’s in the house. Oh, oh yeah, just my son growing into a young man. Whaaaa!? Now he’s embarking on the final two years of school life. Ever seen Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry? This is life chez Lauder. It’s a barrage of huffing out lots of hot air through flared nostrils, gasps of frustration and arm flapping…and that’s just me. I joke. It’s a tumultuous combination of hormonal teens and mother.

This summer has proven to be memorable in so many ways, and in all honesty, I can’t wait for the next couple of months….oh, and I’m about to publish my second book and the third is well under way, which I’m having a lot of fun with. Life is good, when you go with the flow.

Take care, Eva x

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Moving On

It feels like a lifetime since I last wrote a blog and in a sense, a lifetime has passed. Do I have a reason? Yes, yes I do. I have been busy writing and working on my second book with a view to publish soon AND I’ve been writing the third book, which I’m having a lot of fun with. Although I love writing contemporary romance—we all need a little escapism in this crazy world, right? I’m venturing into comedy/observational humour for my next project.

I have also been dealing with teenage angst of GCSEs, proms and all the politics that surrounds the rollercoaster life of teenage life. My teen and her friends who have now officially left school, have been documenting their days leading to their final goodbye to school life and enjoying their summer so far (which has now come to a grinding halt thanks to the weather). Showing me their montages of kids having a blast, unadulterated fun, had me a little glassy-eyed. These youngsters are moving onto their next chapter into young adulthood and I find myself thinking how time passes us by at the blink of an eye. We get so wrapped up in the daily grind of day to day living that we don’t stop to take notice of the simple things, and it’s these that matter.

This morning I was toddling along with the aid of my two walking canes and a gentleman approached me. ‘Oh, my, you look like you’ve been in the wars,’ he smiled at me with a an enquiring sympathy that I felt compelled to explain. With a smile on my face, I informed him that I have MS, and not only was he taken aback by my reply but he was endeared by the smile behind my statement. To him, “it’s a pig” and I agreed. I can’t do anything but agree. Driving back home had me thinking how things really do move on, and, although it’s a double edged sword, we have no control of time and the perpetual cycle of evolution. Moving on can be a positive facet to our lives but it can also be negative, depending on the situation.

In all of the events over the last year, things have moved on in the right direction and I’m grateful for the people who have joined me on my writing journey and for those who’ve been a constant source of support in my personal life.

Take care,

Eva x ©️

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We know the adage, but how many of us live by it?

A word that conjures so many connotations. A misspent youth, a misspent childhood, a misspent talent. So much can be misspent. But what about life? Lots of things sadden me, and misspending your life is one of them. At this time of year, we think of loved ones who have passed on. We miss them. We long to speak to them once again, to hold them.

Now, I may or may not step on a few toes here, but my intentions are not to offend: I have grieved the loss of too many people in recent years. Some (in fact most) were too young. Nobody is below the age of forty-seven. A couple have been teenagers. That’s no age. They had so much to give in this world. I live my life as fulfilled as I can. You know, to live life to the fullest, doesn’t mean you have to give up your day job and start a YouTube vlog of your adventures around the world (although I wouldn’t say no), and it doesn’t mean that you have to become a mountaineer. It means that you live the life you want. Whatever that entails, it’s your call. If I die tomorrow, which I hope I don’t because I’m still querying for representation, my friends and loved ones know that I left this world, happy.

When my grandfather was dying, he told me; ‘Eva, I may not have millions in the bank, but I’ve lived my life the way I want to, and have no regrets.’ Those words left a lasting impression on me. Now, conversely, I know of folk who live with the attitude of their glass half empty. They don’t want to get in the car and drive three hundred miles to a place they’ve never been to, before (yes I am that person who made the drive), or experience life’s rich tapestries.When I ask if they are happy, they shrug and say ‘no not really’. They are merely existing. They can’t bring themselves to try and live their lives, in whichever way, that would make them happy. It’s sad. Is it fear of the unknown? Is it lack of confidence? It’s a life misspent. What saddens me, is, that these are people I know. I have major health issues that can not only be problematic, but darn well depressing, but I’ll be damned if I don’t do what I want. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Right? As a result, my kids see, that life is for living and that, mum doesn’t let anything get in the way. This, has set the bar for them, and I know that they will embrace any opportunity that comes their way, at being happy. ‘If mum can do it, so can we, AND she’ll navigate us through it.’

Me, being me, and quite direct, I often try to encourage them to go and do what they’ve always wanted to. You want to get a degree in history? Do it. You want to travel around the Greek islands? Then go. Don’t waste your life yearning for something. Don’t waste the privilege of life.

Wishing you all, happiness and a peaceful 2022.

Take care, Eva x

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TikTok BookTok, whatever you want to call it…

…it’s all Greek to me! in fact, anything out of my comfort zone is a mission to grapple. I’m not the most tech savvy person known to the human race, but being an indie author, you have to work these things out on your own. Established authors share their wisdom and experience, making it look easy. Blimey, all these writing groups herald the success of their sales thanks to social media. Great. And they get time to complete three books in less than six months. Great, I’m happy for them if not in awe of this shining example of brilliance.

As with anything in modern life, the buck doesn’t stop at writers. It’s across the board. We read and see the amazing achievements of everyone and anyone but rarely of those struggling to keep up. Me, personally, when I screw up, I hold my hands up and admit it. I don’t shy away from my cock-ups— so much so, that I announce it publicly and do the same when I’ve learned from it. Nobody is without fault and certainly nobody is perfect. And that is the issue. Nobody is beyond making mistakes but sadly, many feel the need to keep up the bravado of “living their best life” and inadvertently making those who are struggling, question themselves to the detriment of their mental well-being. No ta. I choose peace of mind.

So, you see, this is exactly the attitude I have installed in my kids since they were little. They’ve grown up watching their mum punching through even when she’s crawling on the floor because MS decides to smack her with a bad episode. What my kids always see, however, is their mother’s determination and devil-my-care attitude, to get back up and brush herself down. I showed them an example of this “not everything you see is real” one day. I was flat out on the lawn. My body decided (again) that I wasn’t going to get up and get my drink. So, I took a photo of my legs and newly manicured toenails and posted it on Instagram #summervibes #lovinglife. My kids knew when they had seen the image what I was really going through and yet viewers were loving the post. I was a woman enjoying the sunshine and taking some much needed ‘me time’. See? It’s all about show. Today’s society hasn’t actually moved on from keeping up with the Joneses. It’s actually just changed medium. We’re not looking over neatly trimmed privet bushes, we’re looking at people’s lives through a screen. We haven’t evolved that much, contrary to what folk would like to think.

Stay true to yourself, because for the person you may envy, they may be wishing that they could take a break and be like you before they burn out.

Take care, © Eva x

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Regrets Vs Life Lessons

The two are closely associated, often misunderstood and at times hang around our necks like an albatross until we accept what has happened, what has shaped us into the people we are and then we can let it go and set ourselves free.

Sounds pretty obvious, right? Wrong. Wronger than putting ketchup with a 3 Michelin star meal. Wronger than french fries dipped in milkshake (yes it is a thing and yes it does taste strangely nice even though it shouldn’t— my posh chef daughter would sooner say she doesn’t like Johnny Depp before accepting either culinary sins).

Where was I? So, regrets versus life lessons. I was talking with an old friend of mine— old as in we’ve known each other years, not because she’s about to join the ranks of my grandma and her crew. Lessons have to be felt before we learn. We have to feel the pain, the hurt and the stress that culminates into a hodgepodge of drama, tears and at times entering the darkness that we can find ourselves getting deeper into and harder to climb out of. When we reach those depths, that then becomes the turning point of climbing out and shoving that experience where the sun don’t shine and learn, never to make the same mistake again. Only, however, if you have taken from the experience and you can pop it in the “Been there, done it, got the proverbial tee-shirt” section in your Book of Life. Like the acknowledgements section at the back of a great book like Being Ines by Eva Lauder (see what I did there? Yaas it’s cheeky, I know. Allow it🤪).

However, it’s not easy to do this. Yes, you know it’s screwed and the pain was just too much, but some folk continue living this perpetual cycle of making the same mistake, going cold turkey, feeling great and then doing it again. And again. And again, until you really are in no position to comment on other people’s bad situations, because why? Because you didn’t remove that damned albatross around your neck and show no signs of doing so. Life passes you by at a rate of knots, and before you know it, you’re old(er) and still travelling on that same vein that’s been coursing round and round all your life.

That is when, I believe, that regret steps in and slaps you round the face like a football on a winter’s morning. It stings. The realisation that your life has passed you by and you changed nothing. You regret not doing the stuff you’ve always wanted to do and living the life you aspired to as a youngster, who thought that they were invincible.

I’ve been there, and I’ve lived that life. So, I’m talking from experience not out of self-righteous bottom burps. Some folk get the wake-up call and choose to take the re-routed direction of life’s offers, and others invariably continue on the route they’re familiar with, out of the lack of believing that they deserve a better deal, that the cards that fate has turned its hand to is gospel. No more and no less.

Our experiences shapes our psyche but it’s also up to us to break that mould and live life enough to look back and think ‘phew that was close’. If we don’t, that’s when regret kicks in. We regret not being stronger or more ballsy. It’s never too late to cut that chain around your neck and free yourself. There’s always an alternative route, even if we can’t see it clearly, trust in better things.

Take care, Eva x ©

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So, I turned 50…now what?

Last month I became a semi-centennial. I’ ve been asked, ’how does it feel to be fifty?’ No different to being 49 actually. However, what I will say is that in reference to my blog about nearing that milestone, many ladies have emailed me/sent me messages about how relatable the blog was, so it got me thinking (no snide comments please 😁) about a recent funny I posted about menopause belly. It’s real and boy don’t the algorithms know it. For the last year, my social media has been inundating me with adverts for diets/exercise for menopause belly, accompanied with images of 50 somethings with bikini bodies. Marvellous. Anyone of a delicate disposition/insecurities or even has an unsupportive other-half could make themselves ill over it. It’s like the pressure that young women and girls are put under, to look a certain way, but for older ladies. Admittedly, there have been times that I look at said pictures, read what they do (work out 4 times a week for two hours a session) and eat healthily. Great. That’s that then, problem solved— not however in my world. You see, I’m by no means overweight or even voluptuous but I do have a tummy and I do enjoy eating what the hell I like (mainly chocolate). I admire these ladies and their dedication, but I can’t be those women, I’m afraid. If I embarked on these regimes, I would invariably fall off the bandwagon and go back to eating what I enjoy. Surely, in an era where mental health is prevalent, making women feel inadequate and shitty about themselves is counterintuitive, no?

Which brings me to the subject of men. How is it, a man’s paunch is deemed an endearing sight and accepted as a “dad bod” yet we are under pressure to look amazing even if inside we feel like poop? It’s gone on throughout history…if it’s not wrinkles/lips and lines, it’s our bodies….and in the 21st century we’re still yielding to the hallowed tips to look twenty years younger. Obviously, it’s a personal subject and every person has their hang-ups who then decide how far to take it. I’m still baffled as I write this, as to how it’s cute for a guy to have a gut and yet it’s unappealing for a woman…although, to be fair, some guys don’t care about a woman’s physiological changes that she has to go through and finds it as sensual to look at just as if she looked like a washboard. Then there’s the actual menopause— blimey, womanhood is the gift that keeps on giving. No matter, as with everything in a woman’s life, we take it on the chin and keep marching forward, whether we like it or not.

Approaching middle-age really has been an epiphany for me. Liberating, in fact. As a woman, I feel that I’m at the helm of my life (finally) and I have a confidence that I never knew I had. I’m not talking about my appearance but I am talking about not being a people pleaser. I’m at the stage where I think, ‘ok, if you want to do/don’t do/say this, then knock yourself out.’ Those who matter won’t mind and those who are affronted by it, well, that’s okay too. This comes with experience and age. I am however, determined to guide my kids into this confidence at an earlier time in their young lives. We make mistakes, yes, and to feel the mistake is a lesson learned, but the main thing is to share those pearls of wisdom in a way that will help them through life’s peaks and valleys.

Take care,

© Eva x

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If I Had To Think…

…of a a sound that encapsulated my life so far, it would be that of the sea. Cheesy? Maybe, but it’s apt. For me, anyway. Recently, I’ve been given cause to reflect on my life. It made me think of the peaks and valleys of my journey— worry not, I won’t bore you with the details. This is a blog, not a biography.

So, why is the sea the soundtrack to my life? Tis easy when I break it down. That super-massive body of water is dictated by elements we have no control over, just like life. Most certainly mine. Life’s waves give me the highs and lows— no sooner do I think I’m riding the crest of a wave of positivity, that I then find myself fighting to keep myself from being dragged under by a series of waves that Kelly Slater would gladly take his surfboard to (FYI Mr Slater is a rather talented surfer who also happens to have been first in the queue when Mother Nature was handing out good-looking genes.) Yaaas. *sigh*

Then, if it’s not a wave that threatens my ability to keep myself from going under, it’s those pesky regular tides that rise and fall and with it, so do I. Sheesh. This is life…and in particular, mine. I’ve come close to drowning a few times but somehow I rediscover the use of my Advanced Swimmer gold award and start swimming to the surface once again (those grim Saturday morning walks to lessons came in handy eventually).

But, it’s cool. Obviously, I’d rather not have so many challenges, but hey ho. Some wise-guy told me that the universe lobs challenges to people according to strength of character…what we can cope with. I suppose this has formed the rich tapestry to my life, and actually, I like it. It’s colourful, embellished with a smattering of glitter and I have gained so much experience and knowledge which I am able to pass on to my kids and anyone that seeks my help. Yes, I am shamelessly tooting my own trumpet. So, whatever your tune, be proud, it’s for you, after all.

Have a good week. Take care, Eva ©

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My Biggest Hurdle Has Been Overcome…

Where do I begin? Yes, I know, from the beginning…but blimey it’s been a bonkers busy few weeks since my last blog. Speaking of bonkers, what’s with the weather in Blighty? Blighty by name, blighted by umm nature? For two glorious weeks the heating was off (Ha! Take that, energy suppliers), waxing appointements were made, summer clothes were donned and bedlinen was reduced from umpteen million throws over a 12 tog duvet to just a 10 tog duvet (I’m getting old and feel the cold, allow it). And now? Well, the heating is back on as is my favourite hoodie and ONE throw. Welcome to Britain, where the weather goes from one end of the scale to the other, like Newton’s Cradle.

So, May 6 saw the launch of my ebook; Being Ines— succeeded straight after by the paperback. Getting there was a long but enjoyable journey. I have made many great friends from the #writingcommunity along the way who have been invaluable to the writing world. In January, I decided that I would query for three months and then look into being an indie author. I’m an indie music lover, so it seemed fitting. People have asked me why I didn’t pursue the traditional route. Honestly? I believe in the book, it’s a great story (in Jay-Z’s words- ‘If I do say so myself’) but I looked into the pros and cons, and although, yes, traditional publishing has the contacts and can help you get your book out there (which is great) I wanted to be in control of my debut novel. This is a book that’s so personal to me, that to then lose the rights, even partially, on my manuscript would have made me feel as though I’d sold my soul.

I made some faux-pas, even post publishing, which I have since amended, but again, learned valuable lessons. I’m working on book 2 as a sequel to Being Ines and this time, I know what I’m doing, should I decide to continue down the indie author route.

In all of this, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome, was to go public about my having Multiple Sclerosis. Very few people on my social media platforms know about it and so, not only writing about the condition in my novel, but writing about it in the ’About The Author’ section was huge. I felt that people would change their view of me and see a disabled person and feel sorry for me. I’ve often thought about talking openly about it on a scale as large as this but couldn’t. Then I thought, ’well it’s not like I’ve got ‘the clap’, so what’s there to be ashamed of?’ However, it took numerous lectures from my best friends to convince me that I really should do it, particularly because the content of Being Ines is so descriptive where physical symptoms and the effects of a diagnosis are concerned. If anyone’s qualified in it, it’s a veteran to MS of twenty-five years, right?

So, here I am. Officially an author who happens to have a crazy and calamitous life, a family that keeps me on my precariously balanced toes and the most wonderful friends…oh and MS. It feels great.

Take care, Eva x ©

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Learning To Let Go (again)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog. On a few occasions during this hiatus, readers have sent me messages asking when I’m going to write my next one. Days became weeks and before I knew it, a couple of months. In that time the spammers have had a field day and I’ve spent the first half-hour deleting in bulk. Thanks, but no, I’m not interested in watching home porn, finding a husband on your portals promising me millionaires looking for women like me nor do I want to buy the best Vape.

The kids came home with Covid. Great. They’d escaped it for two and a half years, only to catch it whilst at school. No matter, they got through the virus within a few days, and then yours truly fell prey to the ‘Rona’. ‘But you’re vaxxed!’ My unvaccinated people would cry out, leaving me with no other choice but to reciprocate their statement with such diplomatic eloquence, that even Kofi Annan would have been impressed. ‘Umm, being vaccinated isn’t the same as an immunisation.’

Because I’m immunocompromised, Covid hit me hard. I do not want it again. Bloody awful experience and not something I will forget easily. So, when I was strong enough, my little family and I headed across the English Channel, to see ‘la famille Française’. An opportunity to rehabilitate and for the kids to see their French cousins, too.

Now, we’re all big enough and ugly enough to know about sneaking out at night while the adults are sleeping. What the two older ones don’t realise, is that we were aware of their Great Escapades. What lengths they went to, to perform these antics however is impressive. If anyone needs two nimble cat-burglars, feel free to contact me (I joke). The line and our patience as parents was crossed when the girls had snuck out with barely any phone battery the night before we were heading back for England. True, when we snuck out, mobile phones didn’t exist and there was no way of tracking us down, so we were free to roam, like farmyard chickens. But now, in an era of paranoia, even the most chilled-out folk become sucked into this need for having information about everything, at their fingertips. Trackers for kids are good in some respects but then do we need to stalk our kids? Let hem have fun and experience youth without the fear of the parents calling to tell them that they shouldn’t be where they’re currently at; that’s also when the little cherubs switch off their location and ghost their parents. It’s at this point, I, personally know it’s time to start letting go.

I’m going through that again. I surprised myself with how relaxed I was with my eldest. She was truthful with me AND I didn’t have a tracker for her, yet she was in London a lot. People asked if I wasn’t worried. Dumb question. Of course, I worried, but I also knew that she was sensible and took my advice. The same applied to her first boyfriend. I knew him and his background. He was a lovely young man. It was time for me to let go. Now I’m at the same place with daughter #2. She has a boyfriend, I have met the mother and I can safely say we were all nervous about the first meeting in equal measure. Once again, I find that the perpetual cycle of the parent and young adult relationship has resumed and daughter #2 confides in me, I trust her and trust in her. She’s happy, I’m happy and that’s how I can let go a lot easier.

I don’t want my kids to be afraid of life. Yes, it’s shitty at times, but they have to learn to fly on their own. We can all breathe easy. Two kids down, one to go….(watch this space).

Have a great week, Eva x ©

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Gratitude Comes in all Guises

Half-term. A time I look forward to purely for lay-in purposes and peace and quiet. I don’t see my kids at the best of times, but there’s something about the school holidays that turns them feral— you know, they come home scavenging for food or to change their outfits then leave…if I’m lucky they’ll clean their own litter-trays too. (The last sentence was a joke by the way, in case Social Services are reading this).

So, I had my week planned out; reading, transferring money on request in exchange for doing jobs around the house, a visit from my eldest and a drive to London to visit family. Lovely. But wait. No. What’s that? Sod’s Law is yelling from the top of the heavens, ‘Ha! Naaw. You wish!’ The result? Two sick kids which in turn meant my eldest couldn’t visit, traumatic news involving teens I know and adore, and Storm Eunice ruining my potted peonies, lavender and geraniums.

In all this chaos, I’ve had time to reflect on everything in my life and came to the conclusion that gratitude and appreciation is worth more than gold/bitcoin (the choice is yours) when the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan. The small gestures or words that people say and do, these acts of inadvertent kindness make a huge difference to someone. Take me, for example (note the necessary comma after “me”…that could otherwise take on a completely different angle). In the last ten days, friendships and bonds I have formed thanks to the writing community, my good friends I’ve known a lifetime and family members, have all, unbeknownst to them, brightened my days. There’s been laughter and banter, all of which I thrive on.

On Sunday, it was the Super Bowl. I used to enjoy watching the Cincinnati Bengals as a young teen and even had the football shirt, whilst my best friend wore the Miami Dolphins. We got into it because a) it was cool b) it impressed the boys (although if we were honest, we didn’t really understand the game). It brought back memories of an era when life really was so much simpler and innocent (ish). Happy days filled with passing love notes, stealing cream doughnuts from the school kitchen and lazing amongst the bluebells in the woodland. So, whilst I appreciate the spirit of the game, for me, it opened the floodgates of wonderful memories of my youth as an awkward teenager trying to find her place in the ‘80s community.

Furthermore, the Super Bowl half-time show was the cherry on top. It presented itself with Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg— the giants of hip-hop and rap from another bygone era. An era in the ‘90s when music was still innovative and clubbing remained for those who wanted to dance the night away, and not feeling the need to film themselves having a good time. Call it fatigue, but I did get emotional. The buzz I used to feel, came flooding back in droves as I watched it. At that moment, I yearned to be back in that time.

All these memories and experiences from past and present, make me grateful. Grateful to all those who have been, and, are an integral part of my own book of life. Enjoy the little moments, they’re the ones that matter.

Take care, Eva x