Following the dark, often stormy, winter there couldn’t have been a better time to bring in some light! During the past few weeks I’ve seen several bloggers receive an award that brightens our days as well as theirs. Imagine the surprise, honour and delight when, within a few days, I received the double accolade of The Sunshine Blogger Award!

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a peer appreciation award given to bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

Thank you so much to the two bloggers for thinking of me for this award. I deeply respect them and I always savour their posts, learning along the way, sharing their enjoyment of life, travels and books and I’m overjoyed for them and their publishing success! If you haven’t visited their blogs before, I highly recommend you head over … you’re in for a treat!

Darlene Foster

Darlene at Darlene Foster’s Blog mentioned me first. She is the author of numerous children’s books based around the central character of Amanda and she has also had several short story wins and some published in anthologies. She blogs about her books, writing, travels, family. She divides her time between Spain and Canada.

Brigid P. Gallagher

A few days later Brigid at Watching The Daisies also kindly nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award. Brigid’s posts resonate with wisdom and calmness, attributes reflected in her hugely successful book Watching The Daisies which is an Amazon no. 1 Inspirational Irish Memoir. On her blog Brigid shares news about her book, as well as articles on travel, health, book reviews, nature, gardening, recipes and healing. 

Rules for the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate (at least) 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Here are the questions I received and my answers:

What was the driving force behind the creation of your blog?

First and foremost I wanted to share my experience of writing my first novel!

What was your vision for your future in blogging/writing when you first started this blog? How has that vision evolved?

Within a couple of weeks I realised that this this single-minded focus for my blog was untenable. My blog would quickly become dull and dry. Also there was so much more I wanted to share so I happily started writing about books, travels, nature, traditions, my short stories.  Later I shared the journey of the publication of my first book, a collection of short stories, entitled The Storyteller Speaks

What age were you when you realized you loved writing?

I was at primary school in a small Yorkshire village and think I was about nine-years-old.

Yorkshire Dales

How has your life changed as a result of the electronic age? Is it better/worse/the same?

On many levels electronic devices has made life so much easier. As a gadget-nerd I’ve always enjoyed using the latest devices and remember my mother with one of the earliest Apple computers at work, as well as seeing the magic of a fax machine! The internet, although filled with so much dark material, is still a positive force and how many of us don’t ‘google’ something everyday. As soon as I saw the iPad I longed for one and had to wait for prices to fall … it is my go-to device, for news, blogging, reading, writing (with aid of Bluetooth keyboard).

What was the very last website you visited today?

I love the eclectic nature of the blogs I follow and just as I was writing this a I received a notification that GP Cox at Pacific Paratrooper had put on a new post. 

If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

I was dreadfully unhappy in one school (an all-girls) for two years when eleven and twelve-years-old … one day I finally broke down and told my mother just how utterly miserable and depressed I was there and I never returned. I flourished at my next school and am still in touch with my friends from then.

How would your life be different today if that one thing from your past were to change?

To be honest, probably not too much as the warmth and love from home meant I recovered quickly and could see the problem wasn’t with me. It did steer me away from single-sex schools for life and I didn’t want that for my son either.

If you have children, tell me…how did your parenting change from the time you had your first child until the time you had your last?

As I only have one child I can’t really answer this one. I always used to joke that I would be far more relaxed and not so anxious with a second child – but I doubt this would have been the case! What I can say is that being a parent changed me absolutely and I could never imagine my life without my son. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I am so lucky and it is real!

Tell me about the funniest experience you’ve had in the past month.

Ever since I was a baby I have approached new foods with trepidation … and this is still the case much to the amusement of my family and friends.

Thinking it might be a good idea to go ‘healthy’ I decided to try Benecol and one Sunday morning the little bottle stood eagerly on my placemat. I looked on fearfully, my husband gulping his down enthusiastically, showing me how to do it! 

Bottle of Benecol

Hmm… I sniffed the white liquid anxiously and still wasn’t convinced. I then went into my default mode and called my mother and told her I had a ‘scary prospect’ ahead of me! Concerned she asked what it involved and when all was revealed she just laughed and said, ‘That’s my daughter’. ‘Could I put it on my cereal,’ I queried? She wasn’t sure. I stared at the bottle and it glared back. The stand-off continued!

A while later I took a minuscule sip – it was delicious!! I now look forward to my new morning addition!

What do you have planned for the upcoming holiday season?

My husband and I are soon celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary (where did those years go???) and are travelling a few days to the beautiful island of Jersey. The hotel is just on the beach, overlooking the bay and I am already giddy with excitement! 

Finally, to the nominations!

I am aware that some of you might have received this award before or have an award-free blog, in that case please view this award as a compliment. There is no obligation whatsoever to respond. 

My questions are the same as those posed to me.

My nominees of bloggers who spread sunshine and inspiration are:

Why Only Eleven?


Last week I was kindly nominated by Janice at Ontheland – Caring About Our World; Reflecting About Life for the Liebster Award. If you haven’t visited her blog before, you have missed a treat.  Janice is a gifted poet and her poetry and accompanying photographs are always thoughtful and delightful. Also she’s passionate about the environment and blogs about this and believes that we all can make a difference to the world we live in.

The Liebster Award seems to be centred on the number 11 and I’m happy to answer 11 questions posed by Janice, as well as thinking of 11 random facts about myself. Finally I have written 11 questions for my 11 nominees.

The award is aimed at blogs  with a certain number of followers – in this case followers of nominees should be between 200-3000.

Without further ado. Let’s begin:

Janice’s Questions:

  1. Why do you blog? Isn’t it interesting to see how the reasons why you started blogging become so different from the reasons you continue? I started, as many other writers, hoping to achieve a platform for myself as a writer and I wanted to share my writing journey of my first book whilst learning from others along the way. Quickly I realised that facts about my writing alone would not take my readers or myself far and I quickly diversified to an eclectic range of topics.
  2. gardeningWhat are your favourite hobbies? Among my cerebral interests are reading, writing, current affairs and obviously blogging. Outside I enjoy walking and gardening (in warmer weather). Overall I love organising, be it work, trips, family…
  3. What  is one of your pet peeves?  What really bugs me is people texting or glancing at their phone/tablet whilst out eating with others. It’s just not polite. My irritation is doubled when it’s a young child being ignored.
  4. What is a favourite food or meal?  My all-time favourite food is anything with pasta. As I was still a fussy eater when getting married I had a pasta dish at my wedding – much to the amusement of my friends and family.
  5. Ginseng-Tea-PicturesDo you prefer coffee or tea or neither?  Although I love the smell of coffee I don’t drink it, preferring herbal teas. Peppermint for the morning, ginger tea to take me through the day and a camomile tea in the evening.
  6. snowgarden2Name a favourite something  (eg. book, singer, band, author, poem).   My current favourite writer is Rachel Joyce.I loved her previous three books (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect & The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy). Her latest book, ‘A Snow Garden’ is sublime, magical, poetic and humorous. It’s wonderful to see a short story collection becoming such a popular success.
  7. Are you a morning person? After the first hour in the morning, I turn into a friendly human being; ready to work, talk, take part in this world. Before then, I enjoy the quiet ethereal peace twixt sleep and wake.
  8. What sports do you enjoy, if any?   At the moment, apart from losing massively in football or tennis against my son, I enjoy pilates and yoga. The latter maybe less so following my recent slipped discs suffered after a particularly gruelling session. Ouch!
  9. googleWhat is a reference source that you use frequently? Was there life before Google?! Seriously, I use Google or such search engines many times during the day and can’t imagine what I did in pre-internet days. Oh yes, dictionary, encyclopaedia, thesaurus…Occasionally I will still use my Oxford English Dictionary when truly stuck.
  10. What quality do you value most in a friend?  Steadfastness.
  11. kennedy-space-centre4What is a favourite journey, either travelled or planned for the future?   This summer we are hoping to visit Florida so I’m very excited about this possibility. As a space fan a visit to the  Kennedy Space Centre is a must!



Random Facts about Myself:

cinnamon1. I struggle to say the word ‘cinnamon’ properly – and people who know me wouldn’t want it any other way!
2. I tried my first pizza aged 26.

3. midnight-sunAt nursery I orchestrated The Great Escape for myself and an group of friends, slipping through an unlocked gate after lunchtime break, heading towards the forest nearby. Alas we were spotted, kindly halted in our tracks and returned to the nursery.

4. Aged four I hunted out a packet of cigarettes and ate one but have never touched any since! In my mother’s defence she had hidden them in the highest and most inaccessible cupboard in the kitchen but I was a resourceful child – a real little monkey.

5.breaking bad I’m a secret (oops!) Netflix addict. In the past years I’ve gorged on: Breaking Bad, Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Orange is the Next Black, House of Cards, Call The Midwife, The Good Wife, Better Call Saul…


6. I believe I suffer from Prosopagnosia where people have difficulty recognising others. I am hopeless at recognising people; it is a real struggle and I even panicked when picking up my son from school in the first days in case I couldn’t find him amongst the mass of children (don’t worry, I did find him – or more likely vice versa!)

l-plates7. When learning to drive my first attempt nearly ended up in the stone wall up on the moors as I proudly copied the drivers off the movies, swinging the steering wheel back and forth. My poor mother only just saved us!

8. Whilst my husband proposed at the romantic lakeside location in Sweden a group of mad manic looking sheep in the field nearby stared unnervingly at  us.

cleaning9. When sad or angry I become a demon cleaner. Want your house to sparkle? Just catch me on one of my off days!


10. astronaut3When young I dreamed of becoming an astronaut or tightrope walker – I practiced lots for the latter on our garden fence!


11.bag I’m a bag lady! In the lucky sense of the word  – I love bags and can’t pass a bag shop without popping by for a quick look.  What can I say – I’m addicted!


Questions to My Nominees:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. How do you deal with a setback at work/rejection letter etc?
  3. How do you celebrate a success?
  4. What’s the one crazy activity/thing you wish you’d tried but never dared?
  5. Which of your posts has got the most views? Can you post a link to it
  6.  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?
  7.  What advice would you give your younger self?
  8. What is one of your most embarrassing moment?
  9. What’s your favourite drink? (Alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
  10. If you could travel into the past, which era would you go to and why?
  11. What is your most favourite (clean) joke?

Finally, to my nominations for this Liebster Award. It has been very difficult to choose as there are so many wonderful blogs out there and I have become friends with so many of you. I apologise if any of you have a no award policy which I failed to spot!  Also I had trouble finding out the number of followers for some, so if some are not quite matching the ‘rules’, please forgive me.


If you wish to participate further in the Liebster awards, here are the ‘Rules’.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.

2. Nominate 11 other bloggers to Liebster Awards 2016.

3. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you (see below)

4. Tell your readers 11 random facts about yourself.

5. Give your candidates 11 questions to answer on their blog when they publish their appointment.

Finally, it is Mothering Sunday tomorrow in the UK and I want to wish all mothers out there a very special day filled with warmth and joy.



img_0657-0 As I have only been blogging for a few months I was most pleasantly surprised and honoured to be nominated for this award.


My warm thanks to Marge of Kyrosmagica for nominating me.

She can be found at and I highly recommend you visit her interesting blog. Marge is now working on her second novel and is currently seeking a publisher for her first middle grade/YA book. She writes about ‘books, crystals, laughter and much much more…’  I love her passion for life, books, writing and travel. On my first visit to her site I was struck by the series of beautiful quotes on her about page. Go and take a look!

Thunder?! thunder

Hmm..I feel I’m less thunder with my blogs but more of a ripple in a large large lake. I have one in mind.

Over thirty kilometres in length stretching towards the massive waterfall that feeds it. On the eastern slope fir trees cling precariously onto the steep side, at times horizontal to the water below.

A long winding road is found to the west of the lake, at times so close to the waters edge it is as if you could reach out of the open window and skim your hands across the calm surface. Watching the ripples gently vibrate out and away. ripple

That’s how I feel when I started this blog. My first post caused a tiny ripple of water that soon stopped. Then with time the impact of the posts spread slightly further and soon intermingled with other ripples, crossing, recrossing each other, interweaving, interconnecting.

Enough of the whimsical reflections…back to the award.

‘Thunder creates a powerful addition to the blog as an awesome blog award. Raymond, founder, was bestowed upon a thunder medallion by the great nature so he can create a powerful spell Encouraging Thunder to grant powerful protection to other bloggers. It’s a special spell that only bloggers who has true purpose in their life can master it.’

‘As other bloggers are granted the power of thunder, he or she has the permission to post the power of thunder on their blogs as well as sharing the award with other bloggers.’

With the Encourage Thunder award you can

  • Post it on your blog
  • Grant other blogs

The dos and donts of the award are:

Do not

  • Abuse or misuse the logo
  • Claim that it is your own handmade logo


  • Enjoy the award
  • At least give thanks via comments and likes and or mentioning the blogger who gives the award.

Without further ado, I nominate the following blogs. Please take them in the spirit they are given, recognition and enjoyment by myself of your posts.

Sarah at

Dorne at

Jacqui  at

Lydia at

Viveka at

Kristi at

Peter at

Mrs N.  at

Annette at

“Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself”

Richard Bach