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Monday 7 December 2015

Ellen Dean's Role Model Nomination - The Ultimate Planet Awards - Recognising The Passion Behind The Scene

I am delighted to be shortlisted for the
in the Positive Women Theme 

To cast your vote for me please follow this link Ultimate Planet Awards

Ultimate Planet created the Ultimate Planet Awards to recognise, thank and promote the hard work from dedicated grass roots event organisers and community businesses who are committed to improving the lesbian, bi and queer scene. They are delighted to be able to show the love to all the women who work tirelessly to create a fun, safe, special scene and community for lesbian, bi and queer women in London, Brighton and beyond.

for voting for me ❤️ x

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

Thursday 11 June 2015

MdDS, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Visual Stress and Me

In the past few months I have been diagnosed with Anxiety/panic disorder MdDS/Vestibular disorder and Visual Stress when I look at patterns or anything white. 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 and anxious 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, and anxious, 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 learned from my GP that the condition causes anxiety and panic disorder. 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.

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

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