WordPress Family Award


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.


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?


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


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.


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.


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?


Six word Saturday


Technology may have defeated me- again!


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?


The Booker Award

This has to be the scariest award I have ever received.  There is so much potential here to fall flat on my face.  Not that it’d be the first time, but I only have to look at the other recipients to tremble in my boots.  Madhu, whose work I revere, has nominated me, alongside The Wanderlust Gene and Jo Bryant.  How intimidating is that?  Or maybe I mean inspiring?

Reading the small print, “for those who refuse to live in the real world”- well,  I can certainly relate to that.  Such a cruel and heartless world it can be.  There’s every reason to escape into fantasy.  The nightly news horrifies me.  Why can we not live in peace and harmony?  Our minds are capable of so much that is amazing.  Why then are we so prone to destruction?  Naive I know, but I don’t understand it.

I couldn’t, hand on heart, describe my childhood as a happy one, and books were always my preferred means of escape.  The difficulty I find as I grow older is that my powers of recollection struggle.  Even books that make an enormous impression on me are hazy in the detail just a few weeks after reading.  So this award filled me with both joy and dread.

My solution?  Like Alice, I’m off to a fantasy world. I could so easily be the White Rabbit, scurrying along with never enough time.  I’m sure many of the nuances of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” were lost on me, but it is the ultimate in escapism.

Croquet on the village green

Oh my ears and whiskers, I’m late!

Growing up, I loved Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows”, of course, and Louisa Alcott’s “Little Women”. Graham Greene and Hemingway found me next.  Loving travel as I do, it’ll come as no surprise to find that I’m drawn to books with exotic backgrounds.  Thus it was that I found myself in Afghanistan with Khaled Hussein’s “The Kite Runner”.  I was swept along with Amir, on his quest for redemption, in a world of which I had no conception.  I guess that what I look for most in a book is an insight into, and hopefully a little understanding of, another world.  It’s not always a happy journey.  I found Dave Boling’s brilliant “Guernica” harrowing, no less so for its being based on real life events.  Escapism doesn’t always work out well.

Markus Zusak, however, held me enthralled with “The Book Thief”.  Making Death a narrator, sympathetic to humankind, was pure genius in my view. It seemed so appropriate in book burning, hatred filled Nazi Germany. The book is a real celebration of both the power of the written word, and the human spirit. I loved it.

“Some like it Hot”, iconic 50 years after her death- Monroe courtesy of Wikipedia

When I discovered Joyce Carol Oates I was stopped in my tracks by her formidable writing talent.  To me a great writer expresses things I would want to say, but don’t have the means.  Joyce Carol Oates has this in abundance.  I cannot conceive of writing a book such as “Blonde”, however drawn I am to the legend that was Marilyn Monroe.  Neither could I envisage penning “The Gravedigger’s Daughter”.

How am I doing?  I had to list my five favourite books for this award.  Not so easy, is it?  I’m going with the ones in bold, and that still leaves me one to choose.  I am an unashamed romantic, and “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”,  by Louis de Bernieres, gets my last vote.

Rugged Kefallonia

“What is left when the passion is gone” is how Pelagia’s father describes love.  It certainly has a lot to endure in the case of the Captain and his lady.  I saw the film before I ever read the book, and was quite happy to picture Nicolas Cage as my hero.  As always happens with a great book, it was better than the film, and truer to life.

If you followed the link to Madhu, you’ll be aware that I’m about to pass the Booker Award on to five more readers.

Just Add Attitude  As blog names go, this is a nice one, and I’ve enjoyed finding out about B’s love of London, Paris and Dublin (her native city).  Now to find out which books she likes?

Writing between the Lines Naomi is an inspiring writer and photographer whose warmth and affectionate nature shines through between those lines.

Colline’s Blog is “a potpourri of thoughts and experiences”, in her own words.  I’d like to hear more.

Travel with Kat  A true world traveller is Kat, with an interesting past and an absorbing present.  I hope she can find the time to accept this.

Read Me If you look at Patti’s blog it will immediately become obvious that she’s another Alice fan (and I don’t mean Cooper).  We both have two children with a huge gap between them.  I wonder what else we might have in common?

Thank you Madhu, for sharing this with me, though like your friend Rommel, I have my doubts.

Six word Saturday

Somebody out there likes my blog!

It’s been a “heart it” sort of week, if you know what I mean?  My last post, H is for Happy Heart, seemed to make quite a few people smile, myself included.  Smiles are always welcome, so I thought we’d share another heart or two today.  The city of Guimaraes in Portugal was full of them.

I seem to’ve been blessed with a bundle of blog love lately, and I’d like to pass some of it on today, if you’ll indulge me just a little.

Who doesn’t need a bit of sunshine at this time of year?  Autumn in Bruges (isn’t that a lovey name, and very appropriate right now) was kind enough to nominate me for the Sunshine Award.

Izabela Benisz suggested I was a Beautiful Blogger.  I usually scurry past mirrors these days, but it’s a lovely thought!

Deepali passed on the baton for the Adventurous Blogger Award.  I’m still trying to shake my head clear of Portugal so I haven’t started plotting my next adventure yet, but it’ll come!

I’m going to put these bright new jewels in my sidebar and on my Awards page.  Please spend a little time with each of the bloggers.  They’re all very deserving recipients and I’ve enjoyed reading many of their posts.

Never short of an idea or three, Alyson Sheldrake, painter extraordinaire and the authoress of the Algarve Blog and The Thought Palette (another blog name I really love) has initiated a new award, Blog of the Year, 2012.

Here I quote Aly:

The ‘rules’ for the award are simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserves the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

~ 2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

~ 3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award  and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

~ 4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

~ 5 You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook page and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

~ 6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

There are a total of 6 stars to collect. You begin with the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

Thanks Aly for your nomination, and also to Julie Dawn Fox, who was kind enough to nominate me too.  I’ve since collected stars from The Travelbunny and Francine in Retirement, so that makes four!

I find it very hard to select from the blogs I regularly read.  They all have something to offer, and they all are giving of themselves.  When I look in my Reader, certain blogs almost always command my attention and so I will focus on those.

The Travelbunny  Suzanne has travelled to more places than I will ever reach, some of them exotic locations that I truly covet.

On the Luce  Likewise Lucy, who always seems to find hidden gems and great tips wherever she goes.

Jakesprinter regularly knocks me out with his Sunday Post.  How he achieves his amazing graphics is completely beyond me.

Just a Smidgeon is one of the most beautifully crafted blogs I have ever seen.  I’m no cook so it’s a measure of her talents that Barbara always induces me to read her posts,  although I’ve never yet baked anything.

This man’s Journey  Island Traveller is a man of enormous compassion and love for his fellow beings.  He makes me feel humble.

Third Eye Mom  Nicole has the most amazingly generous heart, coupled with a love of adventure and the great outdoors.  The photos alone make me drool.

Once again I have presumed on Cate’s good nature, and have stretched my “six words” to the very limit.  I may have to resign from this challenge!  Please check out Show My Face and you’ll get an idea of what I’m supposed to be doing.

Thank you for all the kindness and “likes” we share.

Six word Saturday

Sparkling sea, clouds, boats and adventure?

The seafront at Hartlepool

A bright, clear day like this one always propels me to the sea shore.  On the horizon the chimneys of industry and the Power Station pump smoke into the atmosphere.  But on a day like this the sparkling water captures the eye and just won’t let go.

The sea is kept at bay by a defensive wall of rocks

It’s not the prettiest seafront.  The concrete defences are a sad necessity these days.  The local tip is just across the road, behind a low fence.  Sea coal often coats the beach- gritty reality.  Still the sun and the waves have the power to transport me beyond the merely physical.

Heading back to the harbour, the distant Headland peaks over the sea wall

The lock gates open to embrace the sea

Boat repairs and the sales office live side by side with the Coastguard

And then you’re into the marina proper

And every variety of boat is there

Mostly they’re white

If you’re lucky, the water goes on sparkling

And the adventure?  How could the high seas not offer adventure?  But my adventure is of a different nature this week and it’s time I paid tribute to Life is a Journey.  Reena has honoured me with the Adventurous Blogger Award.  I am constantly amazed at how far and wide my readers range these days.  Reena hails from the Philippines and is a relative newcomer to blogging.  If her photos of Rome by night are any indication of her talents, we have some treats in store.

In accepting the award I need to answer a few simple questions:

1. Where would you like your next adventure to be?

I’ve mostly only adventured in Europe and I have a serious hankering after the Far East.  All those temples and pagodas hold me in totally in thrall.  One day…one day.  Anyone out there want to offer me an assignment? (I know- get in line!)

2. Where would you recommend for an adventurous time?

Strange though it might sound, the island of Madeira.  There are many more exotic locations, but the landscape of Madeira is spectacular and very accessible.  You can go canyonning and levada walking in quite challenging terrain, and be surrounded by natural beauty.

3. What do you regard as the most interesting culture?

There are many oriental cultures I would love to experience.  Japan I would really love to visit, and newly opened Burma looks incredible.

4. What is your favourite holiday activity?

Exploring, exploring and more exploring.  I hate to miss anything. (nosey, my husband says)

5. What is the most dangerous activity you’ve undertaken?

The donkey ride from the harbour up to the cliff tops in Santorini.  I’m a bit of a scaredy cat and looking down a donkey’s nose into the caldera way below was more than enough excitement for me.  I much preferred the cable car ride back down.

6. What is your favourite quotation?

Not strictly a quote, but my mother always used to say “never let the sun set on your anger” and I agree one hundred percent.

7. Happiness is?

For me, simply a sunny day.

There, I’m all done.  Six Word Saturday, huh?  I do go on a bit!

I’m not going to nominate specific people to receive this award.  You adventurous types all know who you are and are very welcome to take up the award and run with it.  A previous 6WS page explains it better.  Please do go and visit Reena and make her as welcome to the blogging world as you’ve made me.

Just remains to say thanks to Cate at Show My Face.  See you all later today as I check out what you’ve done with your week?  The button below links to my previous Six Word Saturdays.

Six word Saturday

Help me with my awards dilemma?

On 2nd June, I received the Illuminating Blogger Award from Two Black Doggies.  Isn’t it beautiful? You don’t have to be a dog lover to follow this excellent blog.  There are some wonderful travel features and photographs, which are right up my street.  Many, many thanks for considering me in this category, Sam.

On 8th June, I received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award from Megtravelling.  As the name indicates, Meg enjoys her travels, maybe even as much as I do, and I’ve spent many happy hours looking over her shoulder.  This award is very much appreciated, Meg.  Thank you!

On 10th June, I was pretty in pink with One Lovely Blog Award.  I’m fairly new to Grandmother Musings and very impressed with the humorous but practical approach to life that she brings to her blog.  Many thanks for nominating me, and I look forward to getting to know you better.

Do you have a time thief?  I suspect many of you do.  As a retired lady with “time to spare” I am full of admiration for those bloggers who are parents and work for a living, yet still find time to blog.  It’s a good job I came to blogging late, as I know I’d never have kept up.

I started blogging to enable me to do something that I love to do- write, with a little humour, about my travel experiences.  It has been wonderful, so far.  The warmth and support of the blogging community far exceeded my expectations.  I’ve learnt a lot (and forgotten much of it again) and made so many new friends.  Every day brings new and fascinating posts to read.

Do you see where this is heading, in relation to my six words?  When I received my first award, I was ecstatic!  Somebody out there loved me! Too strong?  “Liked my writing” is probably a better description, but I’m very much someone who needs approval.  Despite thinking I’m a bit of a free spirit, I’m often guilty of trying too hard to be liked.  So it is with trepidation that I say that the awards system gives me a bit of a problem. I understand and applaud the premise behind it.  It is a wonderful way of encouraging new bloggers and extending their network of followers and friends.

The difficulties arise in fulfilling the tasks imposed by the awards, and even more so, for me, in finding people to pass the award on to.  Very many of the bloggers I follow deservedly have every conceivable award in the book.  But it isn’t always easy to see who holds which award, and I’ve spent lots of time searching through blogs trying to find out.  Additionally there are those people who are averse to the awards system, some of whom display “award free blog” logos.  I respect that, and at least you know where you stand, then.  I find it quite embarrassing to pass on an award whilst not knowing if the recipient will be delighted, or not.

So where does this leave me?  Well, I intend to produce an Awards page for my blog, so that it’s obvious to anyone which awards I have collected.  But I don’t want to bore you all senseless with facts about me, when I’d so much rather spend the time on other things.  If anyone is kind enough, in the future, to nominate me for an award, I will receive it with hugs and kisses, and do my utmost to show appreciation.  What I don’t want to do is donate the time to finding candidates to pass it on to.  I would very happily share any of my awards with all of my followers.  Believe me, I am very appreciative of you all.  A nicer bunch of people I have yet to meet.  So if you’re reading my blog and find an award that appeals to you, I’d be delighted for you to take it up.  Please check out the blogs that have given me these amazing awards by following their links.  You won’t be disappointed.

I’m hoping that you’ll humour me with this, and not shun my future posts.  I did say that I need to be loved, didn’t I?  But that time thief is lurking.

Many thanks to Cath of Show My Face for enabling me to have this conversation with you.  I’ll be back next Saturday, when I shall be more succinct, I promise.

P.S Oh dear- already published and I’ve realised I’m remiss!  I was intended to include a link to the originating blog for the Illuminating Blogger Award.  Not good at this, am I?  Here it is:-