Notebook, Pen & Coffee

Don’t you just have a split reaction to interviews? Slightly daunted to start with but excited at the prospect?

On my recent visit to Esmé’s at Esmé Salon ‘Share, Care & Inspire’, I couldn’t wait to partake in her ever popular 20 + 1 Interview Questions and the questions flowed with ease through both my blogging and personal life. … no need at all to be apprehensive!

  • What blogging achievement are you most proud of?
  • Do you have any wisdom or tips regarding blogging to share with us?
  • Do you wish to be 20-something or the age you are now and why?
  • What makes your day a good and happy one?

Above are just a few questions she put to me … the answers to these and the other 17 questions can be found here. See you there!

Comments have been turned off for this post as I look forward to discussion Esmé’s blog.

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.




Once again I sat curled up in bed, my iPad resting on a pillow and with lightening speed I clicked through the blogs. A post idea ignited in my brain and I switched to my own page and my fingers tapped away frantically. Beneath the pillow I felt the heat of the iPad burning and my fingers became scorched as I touched the keys. Repeatedly I tried to stop but my compulsion to finish my post was relentless. Just then I saw it – the top right corner of my iPad smouldering into searing molten plastic. I tugged at it gently and part of my tablet peeled away between my fingers.

With a scream I woke myself and in panic looked for my disintegrated iPad. Quickly realising it was all a nightmare I lay back on my pillow and wondered. Might I be enjoying this blogging experience a little too much?

No way!

DSC00148I started this blog as a way to share my novel writing journey. Quickly it became much more; providing a chance not only to share the ups and downs of my writing but also an opportunity to relate my own private musings as well as exchanging interesting information, book reviews and anecdotes as well as inspirational ideas.

The writing of the posts is invigorating – such a welcome relief from my novel as well as being so versatile and variable. However, writing and posting my own blogs is only a small part of the blogging experience.

Reading, liking and commenting on other blogs has become an integral and important part of my day. Not only is my isolation as a writer eradicated, the wide range of other posts are often not only informative but often stimulating. Many are accompanied with stunning photographs that cannot fail to brighten the greyest of days.

From around the world come uplifting stories, spiritual ones, funny humorous  blogs accompanied with hilarious images and captions. In contrast there are highly interesting literary ‘essays’ as well as educational posts. I read the numerous book reviews with relish, enjoying their diverse styles and learning so much more about new books available.

Whilst I am following a wide range of bloggers my main cohort is drawn from the writing community and I am eager to learn from my fellow writers.

Self-publishing is an extremely popular topic and I devour and often save the advice and hints offered. Who knows, one day I might need to brush up on these skills! Furthermore there are many posts on practical writing issues such as editing and grammar; always a useful nudge to pay attention. On the creative front I value the many and varied writing prompts posted, at times a phrase or image kick-starting a sentence or idea.

DSC00149It’s always a joy to read about other people’s success; to see their books, to read the interviews of their writing ventures, as well as learning about their woes and difficulties with self-promotion. New phrases are bounded around with cult enthusiasm and I am now proud to understand what ‘Thunderclap’ and the like are all about.

Finally there are many profound thoughtful blogs created which focus on difficulties of life, illness and loss. What gains my attention and admiration is that they all eschew victimhood and rather take a positive control of their lives in an artistically inspirational manner.

What all the posts have in common is the ability to touch people intellectually, emotionally and/or spiritually. This is something I strive to achieve through my blog – for my words to truly touch my readers. To raise a smile on someone’s face, to teach someone something new and interesting that day, to reaffirm someone’s idea or belief.

As I reached for my iPad today it is in the safe knowledge it will not burn out, melt apart in my hands. Rather it is, as always, a most useful tool for sharing and communicating. With a satisfactory safe click I will join you all out there. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Until then; Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for sharing your posts.

‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’

Mahatma Ghandi

Current Word Count of First Draft: 68,363