Friday Fictioneers: Broke Down






Broke Down


We would break down in the middle of the road, wouldn’t we?

It was typical of my experiences with my birth mother. She always got her way. She wanted to have a talk after ten+ years living away from me and Dad. The car obeyed. Shocker.

Where the hell was that mechanics person?

‘At the time, things were different son. I felt suffocated. Your father and I married very young.’

This is the fifth excuse I’ve heard. 

‘Let me level with you Ann, I’m not interested in excuses. I want the truth.’

And to know you feel bad about it. 


My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:


For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:


Friday Fictioneers: Invasion







Year 2035


Last month the aliens landed. It was quite the episode. Doors were boarded up. Food was almost sold out in the shop in anticipation of the invasion. Some tape is still up from the situation. We have been warned they may try again.

You hear so many stories about their weird-looking faces and their strange suits. Rumours are abound that they wear even stranger clothing down on their planet.

They used to send these robotic things. Citizens? Now there’s a new type coming …

It’s quite hard living on Mars with all these strange creatures coming from Earth.



My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:


For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

Friday Fictioneers: Different

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal






Before Emma married Jack, he had been sweet. The perfect gentleman. Type you take home to Mama.


Then a switch seemed to occur in his brain …


He had been mentally and physically abusing her for just over two years. Today she needed to get out. His obsession with strange, inaccurate representation of bi women in porn and mainstream media and his violent tendencies had killed a love that could have been good.


She picked up all the inspirational notes that kept her going for two years. Felt her stomach.


My sweet baby, from now on things will be different.


The inspiration for this story came from reading about how bi women are more vulnerable when it comes to domestic abuse than other women and people of other genders and sexualities. I’m not bisexual but I am pansexual and I think this applies to any woman whose sexuality falls somewhere in the middle or who doesn’t label their sexuality but who can have feelings for more than one gender. So I found it very sad and actually could make me a bit nervous if I let it. Please do try to remember that we all are human with feelings who want to be loved, not hurt. I don’t think most people are cruel like this but unfortunately there is a lot out there. So I wanted to write this story to highlight something I found very unsettling and in a slight way give a voice to those afraid to say something of the horrific abuse they’ve received out of the fear of the reaction or for anyone in general who has faced this pain and who is scared to speak out for whatever reason.



My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:



For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

The Rescuer By Eric Huffbind Review!

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The Rescuer (2017) by Eric Huffbind is a wonderfully romantic and very beautiful novel.


The novel, which is the debut novel by the author, follows the story of Christopter Parker and Jason Calhoun. Christopher books into Watermeadow Rehabilitation Center and at this time he is at his lowest ebb trying to recreate a future for himself after getting hooked on alcohol in a midst of figures in his life letting him down and depression setting in in his life. There he meets Jason who is his social worker and feelings begin to simmer beneath the surface while they both maintain the professional agreement between them both.


In a way they become each other’s rescuer throughout the book. Although Jason is Christopher’s official rescuer from his depths of his despair and he expresses how he has often being attracted to the role of rescuer, it seems to me as a reader that they rescued each other from loneliness and a lack of trust in men and finding their perfect prince. Oh, it’s so gorgeously romantic!


This book touches on so many important issues. Depression is so close to my heart as people I have loved dearly have been affected by it and I commend the author for tackling this issue in such an authentic and compassionate way. Although I have never experienced depression from a first person perspective, I felt Christopher’s story and how he felt resembled very closely the feelings of pain and hopelessness that people who experience depression feel. The writer didn’t go for either the ‘Christopher can handle this completely’ or the ‘Christopher couldn’t handle it at all’ approach and somewhere in that gray place from my outside place is the truth of someone suffering from depression. He could get through but he needed Jason to not judge and to believe in him and his progress. Another very important topic dealt with in this book is the area of people selling themselves and their bodies to get on and make their lives better. There is often so much judgement in this aspect. Look being straight with you all, I don’t agree with it. Maybe I’m a bit old school that way. But judging a person for selling their body and saying I wouldn’t do it is two different things. I do understand that we are all different and we respond to situations where someone else is in power in very different ways. Christopher sold his body in this book to Sam Barron who is quite a nasty piece of work. Possibly by the end, he has a heart but I don’t want to give too much away. But in the early stages he did use his power and it contributes, among other things, to the situation Christopher finds himself in when he arrives at Watermeadow. I found myself as a reader quite protective of Christopher. I know that countless people have found themselves in situations where they feel their bodies are the only currency to offer even though they have so much more to offer the world. And yes, it warmed my heart greatly that Jason could see he had so many qualities to offer and encouraged him to do that. Just as a last word on that topic, I think it is someone’s free will to sell their body if they want to. It’s their body to do what they wish with. And it’s also their free will to not like doing so and feel guilt about doing so which I equally respect. The part which affected me, in a thought-provoking way, was the way the power games were at play. The fact that Christopher felt pressurised into this by so many aspects of his life and especially by Sam. How many people, especially younger people, feel this in so many different situations?


Without giving too much away this book also deals with suicide. There is a situation in Christopher’s past which brings this topic up. Obviously it’s a topic which many people face and is often, like the situation in the book shows, brought on by the perception other  people have and pure fear one has about what people will think and what will happen from there. If you are out there and you read this, no matter what, you are valued and please, please keep strong.


The book also deals with prejudice and highlights many of the issues faced in and out of work people face for being a sexuality other than straight. Being pansexual, I could totally understand the strain put on people who don’t conform to the straight narrative. One thing that is highlighted is that assumptive nature of assuming someone is straight before you know. I think the author highlighted very well the heteronormativity and heterosexism at play in our society. Susan, while sweet in many aspects, I didn’t like because she seemed happy enough to display this kind of prejudice and felt nothing about it. Mr. Branson did display it but he apologised. Christopher was recovering from his own self-confidence issues so I think the scene where he admits to Mr. Branson that he has a boyfriend is written very realistically. He hasn’t quite got to the stage where he can accept the man is apologising for reacting in a prejudiced asshole way. We all have things we aren’t proud of and I hoped Christopher would let the man ease his mind of his guilt about his cruelness. My hope for Christopher is that further along his journey he could say ‘That’s cool. Thanks for your apology. Much appreciated.’ instead of pampering and saying it was understandable. But I understood he wasn’t quite there yet and he was still thinking of straight as superior. As him an and Jason are around my age I just can’t see him responding the way he did without feeling like that. Can happen as we’re all different but it’s rare. And if someone usually does, they don’t usually in our generation believe what they are saying. But he seemed to so I think it was because he still had a few issues he had to resolve. And I was like babe, be yourself. Don’t be scared to be honest. Go further on your journey. You have come so far.


Now, this book hits on so many important things but it also has so much romance, so much backstory for the main characters, so many fun. I loved George. I could relate a lot to Nurse Judy and in parts to both the main characters. I found myself very much rooting for Christopher and Jason which is always a great sign for a romance. They seemed so well suited and what each other needed. I loved that Jason wasn’t this totally together social worker and that he had his own issues in his life. I lost my father at 18 and Jason lost his father at 17 in the story. My Dad died of heart trouble so the circumstances are tremendously different but what I could relate to was the feeling of losing your Dad so young and the effect it has on your life and when I read it, I will say it made me almost quite emotional. Not too often do you read in fiction about someone losing their Dad around that age. It’s often as a child or older than your teens and I give kudos to the author for addressing the feelings of losing your Dad at a point in your life when you are transferring from teen years to adulthood. I give kudos also for not making Jason into a caricature that he is perfect with no hurt in his life as social worker or not, we all do.


I think this is a stunning book with so much heart. The two main characters drive on a gorgeous story of love and the fight to be with the person you love. The writer is extremely talented. There is a bit of everything in this book. And a message that love is the most important thing in the world. I loved it. A must read.


To purchase The Rescuer by Eric Huffbind go to:


For more information about Eric Huffbind and his work go to:

Beauty On A Budget: Soft New Year’s Look Tutorial

Hello again everyone and welcome to the latest Beauty On A Budget make-up tutorial. For this tutorial I am going to be creating a very soft casual New Year’s look. Hope you all like it. To you and yours I wish you all a very happy New Year. May 2019 be all you all wish for and more! 🙂


As always make-up throughout is inexpensive and comes from Dealz, Euro Saver and Euro Giant.

So without further ado let’s get to this …


First off here is me before the tutorial:





Step 1






Using Miss Beauty London Perfect Face Primer and Make Up Gallery Make Up Sponges 24 Pack, cover your face and neck and rub the primer in. The smaller triangle sponges are great for any blending of the primer under your eyes. Using Manhattan Fresher Skin Foundation – Classic Ivory and Make Up Gallery Make Up Sponges 24 Pack, cover your face and neck and rub the foundation in. The smaller triangle sponges are great for any blending of the foundation under your eyes. Using Max & More Make-Up Concealer Liquid – Medium dot under the eyes, just in the middle of the forehead leading off from the nose area, lightly around the face and on any blemishes. Rub in well with Make Up Gallery Make Up Sponges 24 Pack. Again the little triangle is great for under eyes.




Step 2




Using the smaller brush from Make Up Gallery Cosmetic Brushes, place the light cream/beige shade ( shades in on the left in the above photograph) on your eyelids from Max & More Nude Look Palette and and put the gold shade next to it in the corners of your eyes for a little extra shimmer. Using Miss Beauty London Waterproof Mascara – Black place on the top and bottom of your top lids and the tops of your bottom lids. Us brush lightly for a soft effect. Using Make Up Gallery eyebrow brush, the bigger one, from Make Up Gallery Cosmetic Brushes, brush your eyebrows with the thin teeth side first and then with the fuzzy side. Using Miss Beauty London Eye Brow Kit, put on the black side of the palette using the brush provided and brush through your eyebrows.



Step 3




Using the two brushes above from Make Up Gallery Cosmetic Brushes. first with the bigger brush highlight your cheeks with the second colour in the top of the Max & More Conceal, Highlight and Contour Cream Palette on the shown above and also with the colour in the bottom left corner. Then with the smaller brush, do under your eyes with the colour in the top left corner and any redness with the green shade.





Step 4



Using Miss Beauty London High Shine Lip Gloss – Cappuccino coat your lips. Apply Miss Beauty London Lipstick Sealer to keep the lip gloss on for longer. Set make-up with Max & More Makeup Setting Spray.



Step 5



Using Make Up Gallery Time To Shine nail varnish – Vintage Pink, paint your nails to complete the overall look.




Hope that helps! 🙂

All products in this tutorial were purchased from three shops: Dealz, Euro Saver and Euro Giant:

  1. Miss Beauty London Perfect Face Primer: €1.50
  2. Make Up Gallery Make Up Sponges 24 Pack: €1.50
  3. Manhattan Fresher Skin Foundation – Classic Ivory: €1.50
  4. Make Up Gallery Cosmetic Brushes: €1.50
  5. Max & More Make-Up Concealer Liquid – Medium: €1.50
  6. Miss Beauty London Waterproof Mascara – Black: €1.50
  7. Max & More Conceal, Highlight and Contour Cream Palette: €3.00
  8. Max & More Nude Look Palette: €1.50 
  9. Miss Beauty London Eye Brow Kit: €1.50
  10. Miss Beauty London Lipstick Sealer: €1.50
  11. Make Up Gallery Time To Shine nail varnish – Vintage Pink: €1.50
  12. Miss Beauty London High Shine Lip Gloss – Cappuccino: €1.50
  13. Max & More Makeup Setting Spray: €1.50


See you all next time! 🙂


Banter – A Non-Malicious Two-Way Street

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You probably hear the word banter bandied around often and in so many cases that you lose count of, it doesn’t seem to be banter. Banter is a non-malicious two-way street. Often we see this isn’t incorporated into situations where one friend is in a particular minority group and the other friend is from a particular majority group. This blog post is not about people who have a non-pc, close to the bone sense of humour and banter. It’s about people who make jokes about a certain aspect of someone and that aspect of themselves they can’t take the piss out of. For example if a girl and a guy are mates it is banter and meant in a fun, non-malicious way when the guy says, ‘The woman’s place is in the home and with all life’s gentle stuff’ if they can equally joke about themself being a ‘guy who works because being a man I’m emotionally repressed.’ And if she is joking about herself as a woman and him as a man then it’s humour. It’s not humour if it’s a one-way street under any circumstances. Ever.


I have heard both sides of this debate and I fall more in the middle with my thoughts on it. Sometimes I have a bit of non-pc humour and then certain relationships you have kind of demand you to step it up in that regard because the other person would have that humour. But for the most part it isn’t really a huge part of my humour or my banter. I’d be more a mimic but I don’t mind mimicing myself either or others mimicing me. It’s all in fun. But on one side of this debate, you have people who say under no circumstances should certain things be joked about. I disagree with that because if it’s genuinely meant in humour, it’s not meant to hurt anybody. It also shows up the stupidness of the comments themselves. Kind of like good satire. And also when someone takes the piss out of you a lot, it’s generally because they like you and they feel comfortable with you. The other side of the debate is that people are too sensitive and don’t know how to take a joke. I also disagree with this. This is very often said by people in majority groups who don’t like jokes being made in that aspect about themselves. They may or may not mind people making jokes about them in other aspects but they think that aspect of themselves is protected from the humour mill. Like for example two mates going to a gay bar, one straight lad, one gay lad. The straight lad says, ‘I’ll have to watch my arse with all you gay lads here tonight.’ and the gay lad says, ‘All the lesbians will have to watch their arses with you around.’ and the straight lad replies with no hint of a smile, ‘I’m not a pervert.’ Now in a situation like that, one would have to wonder if the straight lad meant his own first sentence as a joke which was apparently a joke in the first place. If the straight lad takes the gay lad’s joke as a joke then it’s all mutual banter between the two of them.


I think that is the problem at the heart of all this. It’s not necessarily the things that are said but the intention behind them. But the intention becomes questionable when someone gets defensive about a joke being made the opposite way around.


Obviously there are exceptions to this with non-pc jokes or any jokes really. If someone has had a bad experience with certain words or situations such as being bullied in the past about who they were in whatever aspect it is, a good friend won’t open that wound in a person. After all, however hard they try they might not see the person saying it now but the person or people who said these things in the past and who said them from a very different perspective. Often it is people who are in minority groups who have had bad experiences like this but it can occasionally happen the other way as well. A good friend would respect this and would know a joke isn’t worth bringing up very hurtful memories to a person over. We all have scars and if someone isn’t comfortable with you scratching at those scars, it’s not really cool to do so.



Poem: Plans For 2019

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2019 …


I have got plans

to stand up for what I believe in

against the ‘poor me’ machine,

to finish all those books I planned

on writing one of these days,

to listen to the albums I haven’t

put on yet,

read the books I haven’t read yet,

to finish my ECDL,

make something of myself,

help those in need,

be there as usual for the family

who are always there for me,

maybe fall in love

or have a bit of a fling

but can you plan such things?

Make some new friends,

what’s not to like?

Hehe, got to be confident I suppose.

Live each day,

take it one day at a time,

write my blog,

make myself more wiser,

more understanding,

continue being compassionate.



Sometimes life has so much fear,

gotta try to let go of that shit,

so what if I ain’t liked by some,

sure that’s always the way,

you nearly 30 girl,

work it out you know.

Listen to those with more life experience

but ignore the older who patronise you,

listen to those younger who have still that zest

but don’t let them make you feel old,

raise a glass with the sister,

give the mother a kiss on the cheek,

remember your wonderful late dad and dog

and your sister’s dog and all those late loved ones

and be you girl

because you ain’t perfect

but you’re alright

and alright ain’t so bad,

sure isn’t that what we all are?



2019 has arrived! Happy New Year to you all and your loved ones! May all of the dreams and hopes that you and your loved ones desire come through in 2019. After all we are all trying our best and we got to wish each other the best. As we start this new year I want to take a moment to thank you all for supporting Culture Vulture Express in whatever way you have done so since it began. I can never put into words how much I appreciate your support. To some people their blog is their blog, to me like many others it’s it’s their baby. I love writing and I love the beauty of expressing the things as an introvert I can’t do fantastically in everyday life and by your support you make my dreams come true every day as I get to do what I love and people actually like it, relate to it and connect to it and for a writer/blogger there is no better gift for New Year or anytime so thank you so very much. Be happy, be safe and be filled with peace. Enjoy your early part of the New Year and I will be back with a new post very much. Thank you so so much to each and every one of you. 🙂