Tribute to Nick Millar – 20/09/58 – 17/11/18


A tribute to a dear friend from the formative years of my early to mid twenties, by one of his daughters, of whom he was immensely proud.

Journalist portfolio

Since my dad passed away three weeks ago, I’ve been trying to find ways to begin a tribute. A straightforward obituary would feel impersonal, one step removed from a Wikipedia entry. At the other end of the spectrum, writing about my own grief would be impossible at this stage. So much has been shattered and I’m not sure how the pieces will settle.

This being the case, I’m going to attempt something midway between the two, exploring something about who he was and the nature of our relationship. I can’t pretend that what follows will do him justice. But maybe I can capture some of my immediate thoughts about him, at a time when little else is on my mind.

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My dad, Nick Millar, was born on 20th September 1958 and died on 17th November 2018. His death (a cardiac arrest) was sudden and unexpected, and occurred while…

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I don’t want to say that having ME/CFS is exciting – it isn’t.  But during the process of being diagnosed and finding the best course of treatment that suited me, there is quite a lot going on.  Since the start of the year, I have established a great relationship with my GP who is so supportive and understands me and ME/CFS with such clarity and empathy.  My medication, although not entirely sorted, is getting there and I am more comfortable than I have been previously.  I have been discharged from Physio as I found my baseline activity level from which I can pace myself.  I have spoken to a Counsellor on the advice of my work Occupational Health Department and they are content I am as in as good a state of mind as I can be given the circumstances.  I have applied for all the benefits and help I…

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Why Do Adults Enjoy Reading Children’s Books?


You are never too old to read children’s books. Here are some thoughts on why that’s true.

A Library Lady

I no longer “need” to read children’s books and yet I still do. As a primary school librarian for more than seventeen years, in order to do my job properly, I read a broad range of books so that I could recommend and suggest titles to the children who visited the library. As I am no longer working in school libraries at present you might imagine that I would relish the time now available and pack away the picture books and the middle grade titles and delve into the adult best seller lists. To tell the truth I have a little but I’m also still enjoying books intended for people much, much younger than me.

My Twitter timeline is full of primary school teachers who know that being a #readingteacher, a teacher who reads children’s books, will help them create and encourage young readers. But that, I think, is not…

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Blue flower.


“The sun is getting stronger but rain is needed.” There’s a whole life lesson in this post. Profound and lovely.

Oosterman Treats Blog

IMG_0095A Star

This pretty blue flower is from a bulb. We bought a packet of mixed bulbs a few years ago and planted them in a dish. Without fail, they reward us each spring. They pop up mid-winter. Nothing happens much except for grass-like greenery to spill over the edges. Come mid August and the first flower arrives and delights us no end. It came by stealth during the night in full moon’s light. It wasn’t there the day before!

Perhaps it is a snow-flower or star flower. My father used to delight in a small plant that he grew indoors when still living in The Hague, Holland. I can still see him peering at it. It was called, ‘Star of Bethlehem’. The apartment we lived in was on the third floor and had no garden. Dad made an indoor garden and the lounge room had many plants growing on all the window sills…

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Writing as a Second Career: Seven Middle-Life Authors Share Their Experiences


Phew!!!! I’ve rarely been as glad to get this sort of advice and encouragement.

MG Book Village

One of the interesting things about middle grade fiction is how many authors begin writing for children after working in other careers for many years.  So many, in fact, that those of us who’ve made the leap to writing for children suspect there are many more aspiring authors out there who are second-guessing whether or not to take the leap themselves. Seven authors — Kristin L. Gray, Wendy McLeod MacKnight, Sally J. Pla, Jonathan Rosen, Melissa Roske, Corabel Shofner, and Rob Vlock — have pulled back the curtain to share their own experiences, and perhaps encourage others that it’s never too late to chase their dream.

. . .

Kristin L. Gray — Author of Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books,2017

Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 7.14.47 AMWhat was your previous career? 

Pediatric RN, Stay-at-Home Mom of five

Why did you change? 

My youngest began school, and I’d let my RN license…

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A heart-touching reflection on World Suicide Day from Sarah.

Hope Whispers

Today is world suicide prevention day. It’s a day when we’re encouraged to talk about an issue that is too often shrouded in secrecy and shame. It’s a day to acknowledge that it’s okay to be not okay. And to speak words of hope into the darkness of pain.

Perhaps this year we have talked more about suicide than most. This year we have had the controversial series ’13 Reasons Why’ attempting to throw a spot light on suicide. Suicide has made the headlines when celebrities including Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell lost their battles. And last month the rapper Logic gave a moving performance of a song named after the US suicide prevention hotline, and was joined on the stage by dozens of survivors of suicide.

But as I sat down to write this I wonder whether this kind of publicity is really making a difference on the ground…

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My bike and M.E – am I a cheat, a fraud or reckless?!


An insight into the cost of doing something you love, when living with ME.

Sarah at Saje

I don’t think I’m unusual in wanting to celebrate the good things in life. I don’t think I’m unusual in preferring to showcase the things I can do on social media rather than what I can’t. Tuesday 29th August 2017 was a perfect example. It was our silver wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a second honeymoon earlier in the summer, but we wanted to mark our actual day with the family and doing something significant.

I guess a bike ride in the Peak District wouldn’t be most people’s way of celebrating 25 years of marriage! However, my husband and I always enjoyed the outdoors, sport and physical exercise. Most of our recreational time together would always involve one of these by choice – until that choice was removed when I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). It’s 4 years since I had my full relapse, and by listening carefully to…

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