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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Creative Shyness and How to Overcome It by Guest Blogger author and writing tutor Irene Rosenfeld

I hope you enjoy reading Irene's interesting and informative piece.
It's a fascinating topic that I'm sure many of us identify with.

Irene Rosenfeld

Creative Shyness and How to Overcome it.  

Creative Shyness: What is it? 
Shyness with a small s: you love being creative but put it off; you don’t make time for yourself; you’re always too busy; dissatisfied, you draft and redraft endlessly; or don’t finish work; when you do, you avoid showing it to others; feedback is painful and once you’ve received it you hate implementing it; if you submit work and it’s rejected, you give up: a story of avoidance, procrastination, perfectionism, and resignation.

Shyness with a capital S: you won’t admit that you are creative. You might be a high-powered academic, a business woman/man, or an enabler (teacher, literary agent, fiction editor, supportive spouse of someone creative).  Your creativity may be more powerful than that of those you support. But you pretend to everyone, yourself included, that you are uncreative.

Mine is the small ‘s’ shyness. I’ve known that I’m creative, from age five. But I’ve spent years hiding it. I still do! Thankfully, just by writing my blog ‘Creativity and Us’ ( I started to ‘come out’ creatively, becoming less interested in hiding and more willing to share my expertise and fiction. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Psychotherapeutic writings (‘Transformative Learning ’ by Celia Hunt 2013, ‘The Mind’ Tershakovec 2007 and further back, ‘Art and Artist’ by Otto Rank, 1932) will explain that we need to challenge our guiding beliefs and step out of the box.  Difficulties stem from parental expectations that go back to childhood; perfectionism; and what therapists call ‘loss of contact with the core self’.  But if we love being creative though never finish or share our work, we need to challenge our self-defeating conditioning.

The French have a compliment for someone is inherently attractive: ‘Elle est bien dans sa peau’.  My French is dodgy, but I’ve always loved that: ‘peau’= ‘skin’ so this literally means ‘she’s well in her skin, comfortable with who she is, confident, at ease with herself; no angst, discomfort or dissatisfaction; a person in contact with the core self: body, mind, spirit all in one place. How good is that!

I think that creative shyness is the psychic equivalent of being the opposite:  insecure, uncomfortable with who we are and what we have to give to the world. So we shy away from our creativity. If we are writers, we get blocked. If we are not, we can’t see a starting point. We over- edit. When we finish something and finally send it off, a rejection feels like a bereavement.

How do you fight back? For starters, you can commit to doing a minimum of ten minutes automatic writing.

Starting with just ten minutes per week, the advice is to set this slot aside as ‘me’ time. You use it to respond to a specific question in writing. Find a spot or go to a cafĂ©. Listen to music if it helps you focus. For ten minutes, tell yourself that you are not writing for anyone else and give yourself permission to say anything you want to. 

If you feel like writing ‘this is just a load of old rubbish and I wish I could eat a hamburger instead’ then put that down. But keep writing, examining why you wrote something and what you meant by it.  Slowly, you get into the deeper self, that magic area where you re-acquaint yourself with yourself.  This is both challenging and artistically therapeutic.

The purpose of such writing is to create space for the psyche to integrate with the mind and body.  Poor psyche! Our world is so fast, so full of sound and fury! When does the psyche have a chance to peep out of its little shell and really be You? When can this integration between body, mind and psyche happen, so you, too, can feel creatively ‘bien dans sa peau’?

It takes willingness, devotion, a regular practice and faith that you can find that authentic voice, deep within, and be happy with your work. 

My blog gives you a chance to overcome Creative Shyness in small steps. If you would like to try it, visit at least once a week. Read the static pages. Start with post 1 and work through it.  Use it like a once-a-week workbook.  If possible, establish a support group.  It’s more fun that way.

If you prefer to buy a book with a therapeutic approach to writing aiming to help you overcome creative blockages, I reccommend ‘Writing the Mind Alive’ by Linda Metcalf (an English prof. who discovered a great automatic writing technique).

For some, writing in order to integrate mind body and psyche might be frustrating and difficult. For others it can make them feel like impostors – that’s ok, just fake it and keep going anyway. Sometimes it may be downright scary; it can, and does tend to upset one’s psychic applecart. You may cry or laugh. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re fighting both Medusa and the Minotaur with a wooden spoon.  But be brave and persist. Good things will happen.

And remember: how many agony aunts does it take to change a light bulb? Only one; but the lightbulb must want to change.

I. Rosenfeld is an author and writing tutor living in London. Her Creativity and Us blog can be found at  Her new adventure novel for children is Geo Says No and more information can be found at

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Bertie does Strictly with the Orange Bucket

Our Labrador Bertie has been watching too much Strictly Come Dancing. Now he's invented his own dance with a very original partner.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Glastonbury Festival June 2015

It's that time of year again and Glastonbury Festival 2015 is already under way.

For nearly twenty five years Glastonbury Festival has supported Green Peace, Oxfam and WaterAid.

The line-up this year includes Florence + The Machine, The Who and Lionel Richie. And, for the first time actor and director Faye Morrison is managing the Banjo Stage right at the heart of the Green Futures Field.

Faye Morrison left with Aniela Zaba
He's behind you...

Wind Power performing Banjo Stage

Antipoet taking the Banjo Stage by storm

Looks like it's going to be a fabulous festival. I for one am looking forward to watching it on BBC tv.

Ellen Dean Recommends

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Book Review - Eating From The Cherry Tree - Vivien Ella Walden



EATING FROM THE CHERRY TREE is a dynamic, unique and totally revealing memoir of one of the most notorious and successful 'madams' the UK has seen in recent years. The book is inspired by Vivien Ella Walden's unique life experiences. Within a short time she becomes famous for her skills and able to afford whatever she desires within a world of scandal and naughtiness, corruption and suffering, sadness and exhilarating happiness. Images of a complex girl emerge from this incredibly frank account. 

An account of a girl raised in a loving working class Jewish family who ran from her heritage, bared her perfectly formed derriere and partied with the elite and famous.  She takes on many guises and titles, while mixing with gangsters, politicians, film stars, musicians and artists. They all knew of her industry, it was not unlike theirs. Being a stripper, call girl, hooker, or madam, you have to know how to dance to the music, be a good actress, stand up to the toughest, deal with the law and paint your own picture for all to see. 
The names of the rich and famous sprinkle this book, while telling a story of prostitution that has never been told in such explicit detail before. It will reach inside the heart of all those who admire absolute honesty on a subject many consider taboo.

'Eating From The Cherry Tree' is available from Amazon

About the Author:
Vivien Ella Walden’s main intention when writing her memoir was to help the cause towards legalising prostitution in the UK within the confines of established correctly run brothels.
Retiring from ‘show business’ in the sex industry to a quiet solitude. Vivien narrates her book in a dry-witted somewhat eloquent style. Observing the world that has been around her, mildly dismissive of her past, but not disdainful of it.  She recounts in colourful style the heady days of celebrity and the sordid behind the scenes cruelties, including bouts of unexpected violence as she muses on the nature of selling your body and the many pitfalls which entrap the worshipper as much as the worshipped.
Vivien will take the reader on a roller-coaster journey from her childhood as the only child of a mother whose burning ambition was for her to become a star to reflections at 65 on the choices made in an unconventional incredible life that she has literally laid bare in her compelling new memoir.


I have to admire Vivien Ella Walden for writing this amazingly honest book about her life as a 'Madam'. I very much enjoyed the read and would advise anyone who has any misconceptions about prostitution, being a working girl, call girl, whatever you would like to call it, to read this book. Of course there is sex between the pages, but there is also humour and sadness.  However, this is not just a story about sex, although there are many ups and downs, it is a memoir that delivers what it promises and is a unique and dynamic read.

Eating From The Cherry Tree

Ellen Dean Recommends

Thursday, 11 June 2015

MdDS, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Visual Stress and Me

In the past few months I have been diagnosed with MdDS and Visual Stress. Now, where do I start?

Okay, here we go...when I was seven years old I fell off my bicycle and split my head open on a cement slab. I remember being rushed to the doctors and it was fixed. What wasn't known then is that the bump on my head had knocked out my centre of gravity, this was picked up April 2015 by an Ophthalmologist called Ruth Perrott BSc FBCO, of VisionCare Optometry, York. You could say that things became more clear (pardon the pun) to me after my tests and I received the diagnosis. Ruth also tested for Visual Stress/Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. And, yes, it was clear I had this too.

The weird thing is I went through school many years ago with these symptoms and it was never picked up. At the time Visual Stress hadn't been researched. Today, my GP, who is very good and knows all about Visual Stress - and MdDS - said I'd be surprised how many people in the military have it. Sometimes both conditions.

All of my life I've wondered why I had problems with reading a book, or writing in a book that had white pages. The white glares, the print distorts and it affects my eyes, causing eye strain and making my eyes sore and red. Same with a computer screen. It affects my concentration, and I become fatigued very easily. Although, I can read in bed using a lamp because it's a different light. I started studying with the Open University in January of this year and this was all picked up by their assessor who thought I might be Dyslexic. I was tested for Dyslexia and I'm not Dyslexic. However, sometimes the two are confused because the symptoms can be very similar. So, if you have children who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia maybe have them tested for Visual Stress. It seems that lots of people don't know they have this condition until they start higher education. I certainly didn't know. The reason being, I had studied before and passed many exams including qualifying to become a nurse.

If you follow the links above, and here, read the information it will explain all the symptoms of both Visual Stress and MdDS.

Having Visual Stress means you can't follow routes properly, and you get mixed up with appointments. My family laugh when I turn up to birthday parties a week early, or take the wrong turning when going to visit and end up miles away. I find it hard shopping in supermarkets because the lights affect my eyes. Dull weather makes my eyes blurry. Snow is an absolute pain, but for some reason I can wear shades when out in the snow, where when it's sunny shades don't help. I wear a hat to avoid the sun. When I look at some things i.e. gutters on houses, certain patterns, or a book shelf, they move and become distorted. 

You become fidgety because your eyes aren't giving your brain the correct information to process. Having these symptoms along with MdDS symptoms means you are in double trouble. I always wondered why I felt as though I was off balance when I stepped of an escalator or stepped out of a lift. I was fine when I travelled on rough seas, or in an aeroplane, it was when I disembarked I felt as though I was still moving. I have the same symptoms when I get out of a car, or when I walk too quickly. I'm fine until the motion stops. The MdDS (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome) started when I went on a school cruise at the age of fourteen to Iceland and Noway. Most of the other children were seasick, not me. I was fine. Then the ship docked, we disembarked, and I felt nauseous. It didn't stop, and to this day the same thing happens. 

It's been really awkward having to decline invitations due to having these symptoms and you begin to think you are going mad. You do get some respite, but then it comes back with a vengeance. In the past my GPs thought I was having panic attacks, and I was, because I didn't know what was happening to me. If you are in the middle of nowhere and you have the feeling you are walking on a trampoline, you start to panic. Now I know what the problem is, I try not to panic but it's not that easy. I knew I had a balance problem a few years ago and bought some Fit Flop (not to be confused with Flip Flops) boots and sandals because I thought they would help, and they did. But now, when I wear ordinary shoes, I'm off balance again.

I went on another cruise in the 1990s to the Mediterranean. We sailed across the bay of Biscay in a force seven gale. Yes, I was fine, but many of the passengers and crew had major problems and were so seasick they had to have injections. Our first port of call was Gibraltar; we had been at sea for three days. The moment I stepped ashore, I started to feel seasick. The captain told me it happens to sailers a lot when they have been at sea for a while. He said 'that's why they walk with their legs apart, to keep their balance.'

I thought writing this blog might make people aware of these debilitating conditions. I intend to write a book about both Visual Stress and MdDS in the hope it will help other people. If you, or anyone you know has these symptoms please get in touch with me via email because I'd love to hear your story, and perhaps add it to my book. If you would like to remain anonymous, that's fine.

I believe that a lot of children may have been diagnosed as having Dyslexia, but they may have Visual Stress along with it. Also, a lot of children may have been diagnosed with ADHD something psychologists are now saying doesn't exist, and can be down to vision/ear problems. Plus, the psychologist Leon Eisenberg, admitted before he died that ADHD is a fictitious disease and was intended to generate more profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

Apparently all I need for the Visual Stress is tinted lenses, my colour is turquoise/green. The good thing out of all this is I finally know what is causing my symptoms after all these years. If I hadn't started with OU I might never have known.

Another thing...I wish they would bring back blackboards in colleges because the white board gives me hell. When I look at it I have to cover my eyes, a bit like a vampire lol!

Ellen Dean

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Book Review - The Cryptic Lines - Richard Storry


United Kingdom – While everyone secretly dreams of inheriting a vast fortune, one of the protagonists in Richard Storry’s new novel is living that reality. There’s just one problem, his father is going to make him work harder for it than anything else in his life.
‘The Cryptic Lines’ straddles numerous genres as it takes readers young and old into a world where nothing is granted, yet everything is to play for.

Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. 
After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem - the cryptic lines. If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred's Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears...
“Matthew could be about to inherit a sprawling gothic mansion, its contents, the surrounding land and his father’s rather substantial monetary fortune – but it’s going to be far from easy,” explains the author, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. “Matthew doesn’t take the news well, igniting something of a bold feud, all while forgetting that simply solving the puzzles would put an end to all of his problems.”
Continuing, “Readers will explore hidden rooms in the house, underground caverns and discover maps leading them to the most unbelievable of places. The final denouement is both a complete surprise and a nerve-shredding climax. What will happen? You’ll need to buy the book to find out!”
With the novel appealing to a wide range of ages and with its popularity rapidly increasing, interested readers are urged to purchase their copies without delay.

‘The Cryptic Lines’ is available now:
Visit the author’s official website:

About the Author:
Although Richard had long cherished the idea of wanting to write fiction, his training was in a different field: He studied at the Royal Academy of Music for five years, between 1984 - 89, graduating with high honours and a recital diploma - the only guitarist in eight years to be awarded such an honour - and winning the Julian Bream prize. As Richard neared the end of his studies in London, he helped to found the TETRA Guitar Quartet - an ensemble with which he remained for over thirteen years, giving concerts all over the world and releasing four CDs to great critical acclaim.

In his own right, he has appeared on television and radio many times and his many solo performances include playing before Princess Anne at St James' Palace. He has also played for the English National Opera, in addition to acting as coach and musical consultant on a number of plays and musicals in London's West End.

He composed the incidental music to Chekhov's Three Sisters, recently seen in London's West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television, and his music for Rumplestiltskin received over 300 performances in its first year alone. Another of his musical productions, Kennedy, was three times nominated for the RUTAC Drama Awards. He has also recently completed a five-volume set of pieces for solo classical guitar.

In addition, to being in constant demand as a teacher and adjudicator of musical festivals, Richard has also branched out internationally, writing for the Chinese Orchestra of Hong Kong. To date, two commissions have been premiered there: "The Fiery Phoenix" and a concerto for xylophone entitled "The Rise of the Dragon Prince". In 2008, Richard was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) and he travels globally as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

His musical adaptation of "The Brothers Lionheart" premiered at London's Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival. Future projects include an adaptation of "The Selfish Giant", by Oscar Wilde, besides a number of other chamber compositions. Richard's first novel, "The Cryptic Lines" has now been adapted for the stage; and his song "Until You're Safely Home" was recently premiered by the Military Wives Choir.

A native of the Lake District, Richard now lives in a leafy suburb of South London, where he is working on his next novel, “Order of Merit”, but he still relishes the occasional opportunity to ascend some of the more remote Cumbrian Mountains!


Excellent! One of the best books I've ever read. 

This book will keep you guessing all the way through with mind boggling twists, and a brilliant ending. I can't wait to read Richard's next novel Order of Merit.

Ellen Dean most definitely recommends

‘The Cryptic Lines’ is available now: 

Visit the author’s official website:

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Press Release - Gunned Down - Cannes Film Festival 2015

Mem Ferda Stars In Crime Flick Set To Thrill At 2015 Cannes Film Festival

British action star Mem Ferda is set to captivate Cannes Film Festival goers as he squares up against fellow hard man Craig Fairbrass in ultra-violent silver screen production, Gunned Down. Directed by the legendary Mark McQueen, the highly anticipated film is slick, confronting and guaranteed to have viewers gripped from start to finish.

The high adrenalin action thriller is underpinned by themes of morality and honour, which put it on par with genre greats such as Heat, Point Blank and Sexy Beast. Its classic British crime meets hard hitting cinematic swagger in a film that’s sure to have Cannes critics on the edge of their seats.Ferda says, “I’m so excited for Gunned Down to be unveiled at the most prestigious film festival in the world. The silver screen is no stranger to action movies however a lot of the newer productions seem contrived and lacking depth. For me, Gunned Down is a gritty representation of the very real lives of violence that underworld figures lead. Craig has penned a powerful and provoking screenplay that grips audiences and relentlessly keeps interest in every second of screen time.”The film unfolds in two key locations – Southern Spain’s debauched and sun kissed city of Marbella, and the shadowy streets of London’s notoriously dark underworld.  When career criminal Jack Cregan (Fairbrass) embarks on a vendetta to solve the mystery of his father’s murder and reclaim a stash of stolen heist money, he quickly finds himself in collateral danger. Soon Cregan, his cousin Sammy and fellow gang members Eddie and Frank start to suspect that there is more to the mystery than originally thought. As Cregan starts to dig he must face the fact that his life is changed forever.  Brains, brawn and firearms collide as the men take on a gritty world of gangland criminals, corrupt police and vindictive cover ups.

Ferda fronts the ‘baddies’ pack as notorious East-end gangster and infamous London lap dancing club owner, Lenny Moore. Lawless, ruthless and willing to do whatever it takes to protect his underground empire, Moore is a serious hurdle for Cregan and his truth seeking crusade.    While Ferda’s performance is nothing short of brilliant, his aptitude for the role is to some degree attributed to his personal experiences. Like his character, Ferda also holds a dark past that undoubtedly enhances his portrayal of Lenny Moore. As a child he watched his father narrowly escape an assassination attempt, as a student he was detained by Serbian border police as a suspected drug smuggler and as an adult, he’s come face to face with armed gunmen in the alleys of Istanbul. While some may have let these experiences weaken their character, Ferda has used them to pull off utterly magnetic ‘hard man’ roles. 

Ferda said, “As soon as I read the script the character of Lenny Moore cried out to me. His authenticity and complexity has me riveted, and I knew I had to bring him to life.”As well as starring alongside Fairbrass, Ferda is backed up by a talented cast of well-known names. Co-stars include James Cosmo (Game of Thrones), Steven Berkoff (Octopussy), Nick Moran (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), and Nathalie Cox (Kingdom of Heaven).

To find out more about Gunned Down go to: find out more about Mem Ferda, go to: IMDB -  Twitter:

AboutMem Ferda was born in South West London in 1963, and started acting from a young age. This led to graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Classical Acting from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He went on to carve himself a successful career, landing a myriad of TV roles, commercials and films. Over the years he has taken on a notable list of ‘baddies’ roles, including Dusan (The Crew), Hakeem (The Veteran), Vladimir (ill Manors), Kamel Hannah (The Devils Double) and Ilir Duka (Dirty Money). His most recent role is Lenny Moore in Gunned Down, debuting at Cannes 2015.ContactTel US: 917-720-3025Dakota Digital for Mem FerdaContact: Jade CaytonEmail: UK: 01623 428996

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer - Book Review

Press Release 

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer
By Laxmi Hariharan
In Bombay today dystopia is reality

The hugely popular bestselling Indian YA thriller arrives in the UK
Behind the Bollywood gloss, Bombay right now is a living dystopia – contradictory, crowded, uncaring, violent and intense. The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer starts with the reality of the sprawling city and sees it destroyed and transformed into its ancient seven islands.
Driven by rage, Ruby Iyer is a compelling young woman – strong, kickass and hell-bent on revenge, but she also makes mistakes and certainly is not perfect.
The #1 Hot New Release on Amazon Asian. The prequel The Ruby Iyer Diaries was featured on Wattpad hitting 36000 views within a single month. 

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer, is a fast paced, gritty, thriller-fantasy, with a kickass protagonist. A white-knuckle-ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.
When Ruby Iyer's best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the mysterious Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram? 

Says Laxmi, "Growing up in Bombay, I dreaded the daily commute by local train, to university.
Invariably I would be felt up, brushed against or commented on by almost every man who crossed
my path. I was helpless. Ruby Iyer is not. She follows her instincts... And pays the price for making
the wrong choices too." 

About the AuthorLaxmi Hariharan Is a television executive and former journalist. She lives in North London and blogs for the Huffington Post, among others. Her first novel The Destiny of Shatian, won gold at the global eLIt awards and went to #2 on Amazon Epic Fantasy. London is where she writes. Bombay fires her imagination. Reach her @laxmi or

Find Ruby Iyer on Twitter @RubyIyer and Facebook 

Book Review

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer might be classed as young adult fiction, but I really enjoyed the read. Not that I'm saying I'm old you!
When I received this novel to review I was impressed by the cover and couldn't wait to open the book. I read it in a few days. 
This is a fast paced story with a brilliant lead character, teenager Ruby Iyer. Set in Bombay, it's so descriptive you can imagine yourself being there, involved in all of the action. And, the end? Well! I didn't see that twist coming, that's for sure. Couldn't believe I hadn't worked it out. 
Emotion runs high throughout the book, and friendship is tested to the limit when a friend of Ruby's is kidnapped. Can Ruby save her friend? Detective Vikram springs onto the scene and you don't know if he is good or bad. Very well written. I loved it!

Ellen Dean Recommends

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Albert Kennedy Trust/Outpost - Celebration Evening at The Vermont Hotel November 2014

Date: Thursday 13th November 2013.    
Venue: The Vermont Hotel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


PROUD to be a Patron of AKT/Outpost

As Patron I was invited to present an award at a fabulous event to celebrate '25 years of the Albert Kennedy Trust'  and the hard work of our young people, volunteers, donors, supporters, and staff.

This year AKT celebrates its 25thanniversary. Since 1989 AKT has supported lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people aged 25 and under who are homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Cath Hall, a foster carer based in Manchester, was already aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family homes and was spurred to action following the tragic death of Albert Kennedy on Sunday 30th April 1989.

Albert was 16 years when he tragically fell to his death from a multi-story car park in what is widely regarded as a homophobic hate crime. Albert was very much loved by his family, but whilst spending some time in a children’s home he experienced rejection and homophobia from other residents, and sought solace in Manchester’s gay village. Albert’s mum, Mary, is a very proud supporter of AKT’s work.

Cath decided to set up a trust in Albert’s name to provide safe homes for LGBT young people who had faced rejection from their families and from society at large. Initially providing safe spaces with volunteer carers in Manchester, the Trust now works in three cities (London, Manchester and Newcastle) providing mentoring, advocacy and training as well as safe homes with carers and within our own Purple Door project.

On the Trust reaching its 25th Anniversary Cath said: “I had a vision, a passionate vision, that no young LGBT young person should live in fear at home. Like a baton, that vision had to be passed on.

“Over 25 years passionate and dedicated LGBT men and women have taken up the baton to ensure that thousands of young people have been touched by that dream and could live in safety, or with guidance, into adulthood."

The event was due to start at 7pm with a buffet, followed by the Alberts Award Ceremony at 8pm. The young people decided to create a colourful carnival experience, so the theme of the evening was Circus/Fairground with hook the duck and various side stalls. As many of know I love to get dressed up I wore quite an eye-catching Ringmistress outfit. 

Amy Addison and Patron Ellen Dean arriving at the event

Of course, when I'm OUT and About there is always a little detour that isn't planned, but usually ends up being fun. Tonight was no exception.

I set off in plenty of time knowing there was roadworks along a great length of the A1. I was to meet my niece, Amy Addison, at our cousins house in Chester-Le-Street. Amy would leave her car there and travel to and from The Vermont Hotel with me. However, I missed the turn off to Chester-Le-Street and ended up almost in Washington. After a frantic phone call we arranged to meet at Birtley Services (yes, the one mentioned in Beautiful Strangers, but no sign of Dr. Hyacinth Dickinson). 
I arrived with Amy's words 'You plonker!' ringing in my ears! We met. A new arrangement was needed: I would follow Amy into Newcastle because she has Sat Nav. Yay! My cousin Catherine had advised us to travel over the Tyne Bridge, so off we went. But, Amy didn't turn off at the junction we were supposed to, so we ended up going over the Redheugh Bridge instead. To cap it all, some roads were closed so we ended up at St James Park. 
Of course, I was panicking. But, thanks to Amy's trusty Sat Nav we were soon heading towards The Vermont Hotel. We arrived safely and luckily we didn't miss anything even though we were a tad late. Thinking back we probably looked like a cross between Thelma and Louise and a scene from the film The Italian Job. 

It was great to catch up with all of the wonderful people who are connected with the Albert Kennedy Trust. I had a lovely chat with Lady Margaret Shipley, wife of Lord John Shipley, about social media, in particular Twitter and Facebook.

Lord John and Lady Margaret Shipley

MC for the event was Jonathan Miles Radio Presenter at BBC Newcastle who did a magnificent job. 

Jonathan Miles

Tim Sigsworth Chief Executive and Wendy Hodgson Deputy Chief Executive of The Albert Kennedy Trust explained what the charity offers, and how it supports Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless people (aged 16-25) in crisis and thanked their amazing sponsors, partners, staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication.  It's heartwarming to know how some of the young people the charity has helped keep in touch and sometimes come back as volunteers. To me that speaks volumes.

Wendy Hodgson and Tim Sigsworth

I was proud to present AKT's Community Partner Award in Newcastle to Helen Hindhaugh of Teenage Kicks 

A proud Patron making my speech

Presenting the Community Partner Award to Helen Hindhaugh of Teenage Kicks

Well done to Wendy and the AKT/Outpost team for putting on such a grand event. And, I love the way everyone integrates within AKT, even though it's a charity for LGBT a lot of the staff and volunteers are not LGBT. The whole evening was absolutely fabulous.

Ellen Dean and Wendy Hodgson
AKT Trustee Jim McElderry

Steph Edusei CEO Healthwatch, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Terry Stacy MBE AKT Chairman with Ellen Dean and Amy Addison
AKT Ambassador Steven Moore BBC TV Antiques Roadshow
with Jonathan Miles




All fab photographs copyright Steve Brock Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Friday, 24 October 2014

Sister Act - Darlington Operatic Society

There's usually a story to tell when we go out for the evening, and, last night was no exception. We set off in plenty of time to go and see Sister Act, however, thanks to some road closures that we didn't know about in Aiskew blocking access to the A1, we had an enforced detour. It would have been nice  to see a road closed warning (Bedale) and a detour sign, but no - there weren't any. Then the A1 had roadworks. Then low and behold when we got to Darlington...roadworks again! We were five minutes late for the start of the performance, but managed to creep in without causing a disturbance. The show definitely made up for the awful journey. 

Photo copyright Darlington Operatic Society

Well, the Sisters were certainly having a great time last night at Darlington Civic Theatre, and so were the audience. What a spectacular performance of Sister Act by Darlington Operatic Society. If Whoopi Goldberg had been there she would have been well impressed with Deloris (I think last night was played by Rhiannon Williams) she is apparently sharing the role (alternate performances) with her sister Claire Willmer. The dancing, the singing, the music and the acting, absolutely brilliant. Every one of the cast exceptional. You felt as if you were on the stage with them.

Photo copyright Darlington Operatic Society

And, I've heard through the grapevine (their Facebook page) that the society has received over fifty applications for their next set of New Member auditions. I'm not surprised, if I could sing I'd be auditioning :-)

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Plus, a huge thank you to our good friend Kathy Boyer of KB Equine Therapy for animal sitting :-)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Planet of the Books: Author Profile: Ellen Dean

Planet of the Books: Author Profile: Ellen Dean: Ellen Dean takes the plunge with the Planet London author profiles... find out how the Famous Five influenced this author... What’s your ...

Monday, 14 July 2014

Beyond Midnight - Hyacinth Dickinson Series - Book two

Beyond Midnight, from best-selling author Ellen Dean, is the second book in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Two years on from a tragic helicopter crash charismatic Dr. Hyacinth Dickinson, world renowned gynaecologist/obstetrician and Mistress of the Amethyst Coven, is out for revenge.

Those who betrayed her must pay, including the beautiful Sofia Roberto-Sabatini, who is in line to be a Mafia Don.

Sofia has a rare blue diamond, knowledge that is supposed to be secret. But, secrets have a way of leaking. Hyacinth is determined to possess that diamond by fair means or foul. If magic needs to be used, then so be it.

But things don't always go according to plan. Hyacinth has enemies who want the diamond as badly as she does, and so the chase begins. The two women end up running for their lives. 
Will they survive? Will love conquer all?

Publishing date 24th July 2014
Available to pre-order

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Albert Kennedy Trust - Press Release

I am proud to be a Patron of this amazing charity and thrilled to be able to share this press release with you all.
Ellen Dean

Remembering Albert - 25 Years On

Later on this year, on 7th July, The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) celebrates its 25th anniversary. Since 1989 AKT has supported lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people aged 25 and under who are homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Cath Hall, a foster carer based in Manchester, was already aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family homes and was spurred to action following the tragic death of Albert Kennedy on Sunday 30th April 1989.

Albert was 16 years when he tragically fell to his death from a multi-story car park in what is widely regarded as a homophobic hate crime. Albert was very much loved by his family, but whilst spending some time in a children’s home he experienced rejection and homophobia from other residents, and sought solace in Manchester’s gay village. Albert’s mum, Mary, is a very proud supporter of AKT’s work.

Cath decided to set up a trust in Albert’s name to provide safe homes for LGBT young people who had faced rejection from their families and from society at large. Initially providing safe spaces with volunteer carers in Manchester, the Trust now works in three cities (London, Manchester and Newcastle) providing mentoring, advocacy and training as well as safe homes with carers and within our own Purple Door project.

On the Trust reaching its 25th Anniversary Cath said: “I had a vision, a passionate vision, that no young LGBT young person should live in fear at home. Like a baton, that vision had to be passed on.

“Over 25 years passionate and dedicated LGBT men and women have taken up the baton to ensure that thousands of young people have been touched by that dream and could live in safety, or with guidance, into adulthood.

In order to commemorate Albert’s life and the work being undertaken in his name we are asking users across social media to use the hash tag #rememberingalbert on this 25th anniversary of his death.

Supporters can also send the special text giving code "ALBT25 £10" to 70070 to give the Albert Kennedy Trust £10, and help them continue their work helping young people made homeless purely for being brave enough to come out.

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary the Trust has commissioned a new logo to highlight the milestone which, from today (30th April), will be used across the website, social media and promotional material throughout the 25th Anniversary year.

A number of special events will also take place including a Lord Mayor’s Reception in July, the AKT Party which will give the opportunity for supporters to host their own fundraising event in September and the Young Person’s Question Time in July which will give young people the opportunity to ask questions to housing ministers and shadow ministers.

Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive of The Albert Kennedy Trust, said: “My hope for the next 25 years is that AKT will no longer be needed. I hope that society will reach a level of equality and fairness where young people are accepted by their families and mainstream provision truly recognises and meets their needs. Until then AKT intends to grow to meet need nationally.”

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Beyond Midnight - Book Trailer

Sequel to Beautiful Strangers. Dr Hyacinth Dickinson has scores to settle. Falling in love is not on the agenda.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Fore Play

A screenplay by Ellen Dean
Cheeky Monkey Productions

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Monday, 7 April 2014

Top Quality Equestrian Transport

March 2014 and my niece Amy's horse Honey (thoroughbred mare) had to travel to the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital  at the University of Liverpool.

It's a big deal, transporting precious horses, finding the right people. Who can we get to take us? Amy worried. Her friend Rowan was quick to recommend DEFRA approved A and L Grant Horse Transport from Bramley Grange, Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire and so arrangements were made.

Amy says, 'Thanks to Rowan we had a great transporter. Andy was really good with Honey when she was slightly reluctant to load. He's a very patient guy who knows exactly what he's doing with horses. He's travelled the world transporting them. He's a horseman, as well as an experienced and accomplished driver. I was very happy with the way he handled Honey and way he drove us. Andy drives to suit the horse.'

Honey looking relaxed in her quarters.

The horse box is top spec. Andy designed it himself with the comfort and safety of the horse in mind. The transporter holds three horses of around 550kgs, or two mares with foals, or four yearlings. 

Andy leading Honey out of the transporter.

If any of us are looking to use horse transport in the future this is the company we would definitely call. Andy is punctual, friendly and, in the words of Amy, 'highly amusing' :-) It's good to know your precious cargo is in such safe hands.

A & L Grant contact details are:
Tel: 01765 658783
Mobile: 07760 545770
Mobile: 07710 825836

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