Awards

Lazy Poet’s Winter Garden

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Hellebore, my friend,

Tilting up your Winter smile.

Stay with me, till Spring?

Hellebore

Use your imagination, said Jude.  I really didn’t need to.  They were just waiting for me to notice them, so I could enter the  Winter Garden challenge this week.  My Lazy Poet friend Gilly found some too.  We now have a chorus of hellebore!

Six word Saturday

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This is my last Awards post.

Why, you might ask?  I may never receive another and then the problem won’t arise.  But the fact is that I write a travel blog, and truly love doing it. When I began my blogging adventure, the concept of Awards was an amazement to me.  Then it did what it was supposed to do and introduced me to some wonderful people.  LOTS of wonderful people.

It is a point of pride with me that I respond to and visit every single person who places a like or a comment on my blog.   I will always do this.  And it will lead me to more wonderful people. Trouble is, it has a kind of snowball effect, though I hate to mention that word after the winter some of us have had! So I will wear my Awards with pride, and I will maintain an Awards page to thank those lovely people who have heaped honours on me.  Thank you all so much.  But I won’t be posting any awards acceptance posts after today.

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Got to end with killer shoes!  This Seven Awards in One was passed on to me by Sherri Matthews. Talk about go out with a bang!  Sherri is a lovely lady who stays positive and full of warmth despite the difficulties presented by her daughter’s Asperger’s Syndrome.  I’ve learned a lot and laughed a lot alongside Sherri.  She is a pleasure to know.

Shelley at Living with Shadows was kind enough to bestow the Dragons Loyalty Award on me too. Nothing like a bit of fire on a winter’s morning, or even a chilly Spring one.  Shelley has her own health issues, but escapes into fantasy when she can.  If you can find the time, and haven’t met them, please go and say hello.

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I couldn’t leave without a few Spring flowers by way of apology.  Enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to share six words with Cate at Show My Face. My word count says 340.  I must have gone wrong somewhere!

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The Award Fairy is simply worn out!

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I have to admit it.  I have been so naughty this year, I really don’t think Santa will be coming to call.  What should I do to make amends?  I could start by acknowledging a few kind people who have bestowed awards on ungrateful me.

Women's skirt awardA good place to start, don’t you think?  It made me smile and pretty well sums up my attitude to writing.  Sandcastles in Portugal– isn’t that a lovely image? Alicia loves crafting so I’m sure many of you will enjoy her blog.

Whilst on the subject of Portugal, I’m long overdue a visit, and delighted to say that I’ll be back there on 2nd January, in time for Epiphany.  Alyson Sheldrake of Algarve Blog is a powerhouse of activity, and the creator of the Blog of the Year 2013 award.  If I don’t speed it up I’ll be just in time for 2014!  Aly’s artwork is legendary in the Algarve and you can visit her at either of her blogs.

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Now you might wonder why I have awarded myself one of the six stars that go with this award.  Pure laziness is the answer!  I did warn you that Santa had crossed me off his list, didn’t I?  Michelle at Kidazzleink shone on me twice, giving me a star and the WordPress Family award too.

Like this cute snow fox

Do you like this cute snow fox?

I’m sure you all know Cee!  She is an amazing lady who illustrates Cee’s Photography with a rainbow of colour, and produces challenge upon challenge.  I owe sincere thanks for being included in her Sisterhood.  And Valentina, a fashion concious lady at  Low Rise, High Hopes kindly gave me the Best Moment Award.

And his companions

Cuddly snow bunny companions

In the true spirit of naughtiness I have no intention of fulfilling all the rules in the above awards.  Why should I bore you when you’d rather see another photo or two from Chatsworth House?  But if you follow all the links you can introduce yourself to the people you don’t know, and surely that’s the point?

All quite happy together!

Happy together, like the blogging family

My awards all appear in my sidebar, or on my Awards page.  Thank you very much to all concerned, and I do hope I haven’t missed anybody out.  So now that poor old Award Fairy can have a nice rest.  She must have earned some time off for Christmas!

Lumiere 2013 : Durham

IMG_1252Last night I had a fantastical journey around the city of Durham.  It isn’t every day that you find an elephant trumpeting and snorting in a city centre, but this was definitely one of the highlights of Lumiere 2013.  Where do people find the imagination and “know-how” to produce light installations like this?  I have no idea, but I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.

From the other side of the bridge, he shakes his tusks at me!

From the other side of the bridge, he shakes his tusks at me!

I thought I was going to be in for a disappointment, because the Park and Ride was already full when I arrived in Durham at 16.30.  No right-minded person attempts to drive beyond the outskirts when an event such as this is taking place.   But not being in your right mind sometimes pays off, and with a bit of frustrating driving and a hike at the end, a suitable slot was found for the car.

Was it worth it?  Of course!  The sight of the Lindisfarne Gospels marching across the face of the Cathedral to rousing music can compensate for a lot!  It was the only feature to be repeated from Lumiere 2011, and in a year when the Gospels had been on a summertime visit to the city, they were wholely appropriate.

My favourite part?  I could have loitered in the Cathedral cloisters endlessly (in fact, I did, and lost my husband for a little while).  Did you ever see anything more magical?

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

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I was spellbound!  The setting was perfect, the colours enchanting!  The night was bitter but for a while I didn’t notice.  Overall I think that Lumiere 2011 was more spectacular, but as I ended that occasion with a black eye, I was more than happy to celebrate light with Durham in 2013.

The event runs biennially and the organisers seem to have learnt since 2011, when the crush around the Cathedral was sometimes frightening.  This year there is restricted access to the city centre between 16.30 and 19.30, when you need a ticket to get beyond the barriers.  There is plenty to see elsewhere and maps are provided online, or handed out at the event itself.  (having printed one off, I forgot to take it, but the programme guides were readily available)  I suspect they will run out over the four day festival.

Some brisk walking took place around the city, passing excited groups and families with smiling faces.  There are lots of nice places to eat in Durham and after a meal in Bistro Italiano, it was time to enter the city centre for the finale.

I'll leave you dancing!

I’ll leave you dancing! (courtesy of Michael- his shot is better than mine)

Do visit if you can.  I’ve included links to the programme and the interactive site is full of suggestions for a good time.  It won’t be repeated till 2015!

Six word Saturday

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In the blink of an eye!

I haven’t been very mobile this week- a combination of injured foot and the dreariest of weather.  So there was real joy in my stride as I set off, on a glorious sunny morning, to meet an old friend in Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Normally we bundle into the nearest coffee shop and just talk, but it was much too lovely to be indoors.  I suggested we walk down to The Quay and the vibrant riverside.  We arrived just as the siren was sounding at The Eye, otherwise known as the Gateshead Millenium Bridge.  At midday the bridge tilts open, or blinks.  What a wonderful sight!

Click on a photo to see the bridge in action.

We sat outside The Pitcher and Piano with a perfect view, but some of the time we barely noticed it.  The important thing was our friendship and just being there together.

You all know that I love a good walk, but I’ve never mastered the art of bicycling.  Someone who has is The Cycling Scot.  Colin is a gifted travel writer with a great fondness for cake.  He’s written some great stuff over the years but his blog is fairly new.  I’m sure he’d appreciate a few visitors, so please do say hello.  He recently received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, which he has kindly passed on.

As usual, I’ve far exceeded my six words.  Perhaps I really should abandon this challenge.  Next Saturday I won’t be here as I’ll  be visiting my lovely daughter in Nottingham.  Thanks Cate, for all your tolerance, and for being my hostess at Show My Face.

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Fulfilling a promise

Team Member Award

Team Member Award

What can you say about Viveka?  The best thing to come out of Sweden since Abba?  Well, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

Who else could induce me to pass on an award within days of receiving it? (with a gracious curtsey)  The lady is simply irresistible, so if I want to remain a member of her team (and I do!), I simply have to fulfill a promise.  Thank you, Viveka, for awarding me the Wonderful Team Member Award.  May I present you, in turn, a small bouquet of Spring flowers from my garden.

I hope that you will always be one of my guilty pleasures.

I don’t feel the need to pass this on to individuals.  There are a number of people who always comment on my posts, as I delight in reading and commenting on theirs.  If you are reading this you are almost certainly one of that much cherished group.  Please accept my grateful thanks and feel free to pass this on if you so wish.  Viveka has kindly provided the rules and regulations in her post.

I hope that your week has been full of promise too.

Best Moment Award

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Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the experience of quality time.

I am absolutely determined (well, a little bit anyway) to clear all my “unfinished business” before I go to Poland.  What do I find, loitering in my Inbox, but a Best Moment Award.  It’s a pleasing shape, isn’t it?  Reminds me just a bit of Rafa’s Barcelona Trophy, but not quite so heavy.

No, I wasn't there! I very naughtily pinched this image from Zee News. Hope I'm forgiven.

No, I wasn’t there! I very naughtily pinched this image from Zee News. Apologies.

Moment Matters were kind enough to bequeath me this award, and then, just the other day, lovely Letizia of Dutch goes Italian nominated me again.

I misunderstood initially.  I didn’t read the verse properly and had it fixed in my head that this was about a “best moment”.  How to choose?  So many best moments!  And maybe, if I’m lucky, some best moments still to come.

Those incredible blue doors always bring back a magic moment

Those incredible blue doors always bring back a magic moment

This one conjures a blogging friendship and a freezing day

This one conjures a blogging friendship and a freezing day

How many times have I looked back at this wonderful moment

How many times have I looked back at this wonderful moment

Golden moments in Warsaw's Stare Miasto

Shared golden moments in Warsaw’s Stare Miasto

A truly amazing moment at the Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar

And a truly amazing moment at the Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar

Haven't we shared some beautiful moments, at home and abroad?

Haven’t we shared some beautiful moments, at home and abroad?

A very special wedding

A very special wedding

And some wonderful sunsets

And some wonderful sunsets

We've danced and we've sang

We’ve danced and we’ve sang

And made wonderful memories

And made wonderful memories

But now it's time to return to Poland

But now it’s time to return to Poland

Where I hope to be making more beautiful moments to share.  Thank you for indulging me.  I’m going to pass on this award to some folk who have shared best moments with me.

The world according to Dina

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Writing between the lines

Photography of Nia

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I’ll be back in a week or so, but then I’m going to the Algarve, so all will be peaceful for a while.  Enjoy!

WordPress Family Award

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The sun is sparkling. the cherry blossom has finally arrived and once again I’ve received a big hug from my lovely world of bloggers.  Doesn’t that sound to you like the perfect day?

If I dip back into my blogging past, I will find countless kind and heartwarming comments from Sonel, and that’s really what this award is all about.  Simply extending the hand of friendship. Sonel loves the natural world and her superb photography reflects this.  May I simply say thank you Sonel, for this award and for your friendship, with a small gallery of Spring flowers?

You’ll be glad to know that there are no complicated rules to accepting the award, which makes it quick and easy to pass on.  I don’t even have to tell you how I can stand on one leg while playing the piano and juggling eggs at the same time. (but I will, if you want)

All I do is nominate 10 people who’ve made my blogging world a delight, link back to them of course, and don’t forget to tell them.

Dear Bliary 

There isn’t a kinder heart in the blogging world than Gemma’s, so many thanks Gem.

My guilty pleasures

I can hardly imagine life without Viveka- can you?

Francine in Retirement

Appreciation, of all things in life gifted from God, is this lady’s middle name.

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Nicole wanders the world trying to do her very best to make it a better place.

The Urge to Wander

Warmth, encouragement, and understanding, coupled with gifted photography and prose- Madhu doesn’t stint on any of these.

Lost in Translation

I was awfully slow to realise what this lady does for a living, but Paula simply smiled, and acknowledged the friendship. 

The world is a book

Amy is yet another warm, encouraging lady, who puts enormous thought and effort into her blog.

Another day in paradise

Ad, Sylvia that is, makes me laugh.  What can be better than that?

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Christine has a dream of a kinder world.  Her posts are always gentle and nurturing.

This man’s journey

Is there a more hard-working, inspirational man in the blogging world?  If there is, I don’t know him.

Lorna’s Tearoom Delights

Lorna, I don’t like to cook, hate tea, and food I can take or leave (within reason) but you’ve been a constant source of pleasure.

A Nomad in the land of Nizwa (Catbird in Oman)

Cath is here, there and everywhere, determined to live life to its very fullest.  I respect and admire her efforts.

I don’t think I can count, and as usual, now that I’ve started I could go on and on….  The full “rules” are on Sonel’s Corner.  I’d better set about complying.  Have a good weekend all.

Six word Saturday

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I was so proud and happy

Downton Abbey frock

I have already completed 2 posts full of wedding photos, but failed to exhibit the Downton Abbey frock, with yours truly inside.  So, with humble apologies, here I am.  For those of you I meet here on Saturdays, who’ve probably missed all the good photos, here is the link for To the Manor Born.  Lisa and Leo will be back from their Venice honeymoon by the time you read this, but I haven’t yet disturbed them.  Let their bubble last just a little bit longer.

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Proud and happy are also good descriptions for how I felt when I received the above award from GallivanceTHE SHINE ON AWARD highlights bloggers who are shining stars in the vast array of available blogs.  Wow!  Isn’t that just the best of compliments?  And here I am, dressed for the ceremony.  If you follow the link you will be introduced to a feast of talent.

In accepting this award, I’m tasked with sharing seven facts about myself :

1.  I rate pretty highly on the “World’s clumsiest people” list.  I even managed to collide with one of the antique chairs at the wedding reception. (ssh! I didn’t hurt it)  A limp and a purple knee are all the damage.

2.  I love sunrises and am awake to witness them probably more often than I would like. (a very pretty one is appearing over my shoulder as I type this)

3.  I fizz and enthuse absolutely to the point of “no further” on occasion.  That warning look appears in my husband’s eye, and I’ve learnt to “put a lid on it”. (well, almost)

4.  That sunrise really IS lovely.  I had to stop typing and grab the camera.

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5.  As well as the travel bug, I am becoming increasingly obsessed with photography.  I can barely leave the house without a camera, and if I do, am constantly aware of superb photo opportunities everywhere.

6.  I’ve stopped again because I’m bathed in a golden glow from this sunrise.  Sadly it’s too bright to capture.  I’ve got sunspots before my eyes from the attempt.  My skill level in no way matches my enthusiasm.

7.  I am desperately heavy on shoes, so it’s a good job I like going barefoot.

That’s too much about me, isn’t it?  So, I’ve shared a link to Gallivance, listed my 7, and it’s time to pass on the award.  I follow so many inspirational bloggers, but I’ve narrowed it down to these 5.  I expect you already know some of them, but do spare the time to drop in.  You’ll be in for a treat.

A Nomad in the land of Nizwa–  I love Cath’s constant exploration of the world around her, and of herself.

Another day in Paradise–  You just know you’re going to have a smile on your face when you finish reading one of Sylvia’s posts.  And the photography- fabulous!

Jakesprinter–  I first got drawn into the photo challenges thanks to the talents of this remarkable guy.  I have absolutely no conception of how he achieves his graphics, but I am in awe.

The Urge to Wander–  Madhu already has a trophy cabinet full of awards, and deservedly so, but if I’m talking about shining stars in the blogging world, I can’t possibly leave her out.

First and Fabulous–  blogs about nothing, if you take Gemma at her word, but it’s often a very thought provoking nothing, and there’s a warm heart to this lady.

As usual, I’ve used and abused Cate’s 6WS, so go and see her to cheer her up at Show My Face.  The header or the link will take you there.  My previous posts are on my Six word Saturday page or the button below.  See you next week?

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Six word Saturday

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Technology may have defeated me- again!

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I’m battered and bruised today!  Don’t be fooled by Mrs. Sparkly, though I am indeed grateful to Elisa of Autumn in Bruges for nominating me.  Truth is, I really need a bit of glitter to cheer me up.

In the main I’m very grateful to WordPress for hosting my blog.  I don’t know if it would ever have happened without them, as I am one of life’s technologically challenged.  This week I seem to have thrown a spanner in the works.  My photos all want to appear in thumbnail size, no matter how hard I try to resize them!  I have petitioned WordPress for help- I mean, where’s the joy in a thumbnail sized photo?  In the meantime, I’m limping through my Six word Saturday, “sans photos”.

What do I have to do to earn my sparkles?  Quite simply, answer ten questions.

1. Describe yourself in seven words:

Restless, discontented, inadequate, sunloving, hopeful, enthusiastic, moody

2. What keeps you up at night?

Worry, and WordPress- not necessarily in that order.

3. Whom do you aspire to be like?

Anyone who travels, for a living or for fun

4. What scares you?

Me, in the mirror on a morning!  And those awful dreams I have, thankfully rarely, where something terrible has happened involving a loved one.  I wake up in a cold, black fear and can’t shake it for hours.

5. What are the best and worst things about blogging?

Don’t get me started!  You lot, of course- my lovely friends across the world, and the doors that open that I maybe never dreamt of before.  You know the worst thing, don’t you?  Hmm- starts with the letter t and ends in ology!

6. What was the last website you looked at?

Never a dull day in Poland -one of the winners in the Expat Awards 2012, and a cracking blog I’ve since subscribed to.

7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My discontented nature.

8. Slankets, yes or no?

Not really bothered.  My daughter bought me a lovely kimono one year.  I seldom wear it but it’s a bit like a slanket, I suppose.

9. What are you wearing now?

Jamas, but any minute now I’ll have to sprint for the stairs and get dressed or I’ll be late for zumba (again!)

10. Tell us something about the person who nominated you :

Elisa is another restless soul, like myself.  She is London based at present, and hasn’t quite yet worked out her future.  I know how that feels!  Do have a look at her Travels.

I’m passing a little sparkle on to :

Tay in Europe

Travel with Laughter

Simply Captured

All are joyful and beautiful blogs so do please have a look.  I’m off to fight with my photos again, but not before I give thanks to Cate at Show My Face, who has allowed me to whinge my way through this week’s Six word Saturday.  Click on the header or links to find out more about the challenge.  If you want to cheer me up you can click on the button below and visit some of my previous 6WS’s, which DID contain photographs.  See you next week?

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