Jeanne Has Nominated Me For The Real Neat Blog Award

I have been nominated for an award I have never heard of before! Jeanne, the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen has nominated me for THE REAL NEAT BLOG AWARD as you can see in her wonderful post below:

neat blog award.jpg

The rules of Real Neat Blog Award are:

  •  Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog – THANK YOU JEANNE! SORRY FOR THE LONG WAIT!
  • Nominate any number of people, linking to their blogs and let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blogs.
  • Come up with 7 questions for the people you nominated.

Jeanne’s Seven Questions

What brings you happiness?

Oh lots of things, here are a few that spring to mind, and I know this list might look familiar to you, but nothing has changed:

  • made up.jpgMy family
  • Lovely friends
  • A sense of purpose
  • Work that feels as if I am making a difference to someone’s life
  • A clean conscience
  • Great food
  • Hiking and swimming
  • Music
  • Starry skies, rainbows and stunning sunsets
  • Flowers, forests, lakes, rivers
  • Mountains, beaches and meadows
  • Animals of all sizes and shapes
  • and last on this list, but most certainly not least is Goldfinch – who made me happy every day I was in Australia – happy in ways that are hard to explain. Happiness that seemed to touch internal parts of me I sometimes forget even exist, and every inch of the outside of me. Happiness that raged like a river that has burst it’s banks. Happiness that invaded my mind and heart and pushed out any sad memories.

Where is your favourite place to travel to?

Well, my favourite journey is usually the one on the way home from work! (I am talking about paid employment, not the voluntary work I do.)

I have loved all the places I have travelled to, but Adelaide, Australia is special because of this wonderful man known to you as Goldfinch!

suitcase1But Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and USA have all had their impact on me in so many ways. Some of the countries I have visited I don’t mention because they were assignments, not holidays, and not even my friends know I was there.

I loved many parts of Scotland, England, and Wales too (I have never been over to the North or South of Ireland). I adore the Lake District, but I grew up an hour’s drive away so I sometimes take it for granted, but it is my favourite part of England.

I do love travel – but it is annoyingly expensive! However, I intend to do a lot more travelling in the future.

What is your favourite food?

I love variety, so I don’t really have one favourite. I would tire of having the same food all the time. But if I was going to indulge myself, I love garlicky, mushroom or cheesy (not to much cheesy) lovely-ness. A really yummy vegetarian lasagne or cannelloni with a green salad and a big hunk of garlic bread would bring a huge smile to my face.

The problem is I am sensitive to dairy…(it makes me quite ill) and as for mushrooms, well they usually end up pretty greasy don’t they. So it really is once in a blue moon I would have some cheesey garlicky mushroomy yumminess. But if a man wanted to impress me…take me to one of those pub restaurants and order me cheesy garlic bread and garlic mushrooms and a martini and lemonade (WHAT A CLASSY GAL I HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE!)…and if he can still respect me after watching me devour such an indulgent feast, we will have a second date – I promise. (I can imagine there will be no kissing on the first date after all that uber-greasy garlic yumminess!)

rob and annie kiss.gifThis is an unrelated detail, but the night I had my first kiss with Goldfinch, I had a rum and coke, and also a margarita. We kissed about an hour later, at which point I had a diet coke next to me. I can’t remember what I had eaten before. But I wasn’t expecting to be kissing him, so there may have been garlic involved! Oh…I am tingling thinking about my first kiss with Goldfinch!

When you blog, who is your audience?

I think for the most part, a core group of bloggers who I consider a very friendly supportive blogging community. I find it fascinating that we are clearly from a variety of different lands and also have different outlooks on the world we live in – and yet, there is a great camaraderie and an encouraging atmosphere even when the differences in our views are manifest. I also enjoy seeing new bloggers from time to time, which is always nice. I would really hope that as a blogging community we are attractive to new bloggers and offer support and encouragement. Unless any new bloggers are obnoxiously rude – then perhaps it would not be surprising if we grew a bit weary of them,


I don’t have any friends or family following my blog at the moment. Even my friend who helped me set up my blog has long since lost his own interest in blogging. However I write with my family in mind, because I hope to share this blog with them in the future.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life?

I was one of a very small number of single women to be assigned as a full-time international volunteer. They say it’s tougher than joining the marines.

I longed to become a full-time international volunteer. I had met many who were, men mostly. But I was given a very realistic description of the challenges that are involved in that role. The accommodation is very basic and modest – well small, very small. There is a a strict schedule and volunteers are often required to work “over-time”. There can be challenges when sharing kitchen and bathroom areas with other volunteers who come from different backgrounds and cultures. You can be sent anywhere in the world there is a need. You may go for long periods living without basic amenities. The physical and emotional demands and difficulties in the various challenging assignments can be exhausting. And for everything you do, you receive food and lodgings but no wages. I am pretty sure the marines are paid some kind of salary.

construction clothesFor many reasons, the number of single men vastly outweighs the number of single women. There are many many part-time roles for women, but the role of a full-time international volunteer is so tough, that it is normally only men who are invited to take up this role. The physical, emotional, mental tests they put you under are designed to reveal if you really can take on a self-sacrificing role and if you really can be sent anywhere in the world and adapt to any way of living. Many men cannot hack it. Yet in general, they are more likely to endure and remain in this role for longer.

It was astonishing when I finally was invited, after almost fourteen years of giving on average twenty hours every week to voluntary projects all over the country.

What is your favourite type of blog to follow?

I can’t help but notice that I follow a lot of foodie blogs and a lot of travel blogs. What can I say? I love their photos and they fill me with ideas and excitement.

I also follow a large number of bloggers who write creatively – wonderful poetry and fiction. I feel I have learnt a lot from them, and they have encouraged me to experiment with my own writing.

What motivates you each day?

I have copied my answer to this question from another of my posts:

restaurantA happy mix of healthy emotions. I thrive on all my interactions with people. My family, friends and others. People make me tick. Life is not fulfilling if you are isolated. But fill your life with good people (and yes they are imperfect so there will be some stress at times with working out occasional misunderstandings and overcoming challenges that occur due to imperfection), and you seem to have tremendous energy and always an invitation to go here, there and everywhere.

I gain enormous pleasure from nature. What I see in creation fills me with gladness to be alive and excitement about the future. It makes life sparkle for me. I have forever in my heart. I would love to travel everywhere on earth. But I am starting to feel I don’t want to go anywhere unless I can share it with Goldfinch.

Seven Questions For My Nominees

  1. What kind of bread do you like to eat?
  2. Are there any recipes your parents or grandparents passed on to you that you love making?
  3. Are there any celebrity chefs, cooks or bakers that you like to watch or whose books you enjoy?
  4. Do you have a dream/fantasy cake? You might never have made it or tasted it, but if you could make or try a cake made with any ingredients – what would it be?
  5. Have you learnt any useful tips from other foodie bloggers? Or tried the recipe another blogger recommended and thought “YUMMY!”
  6. Have you ever worked professionally as a cook or baker?
  7. Do you find it stressful when you have to cook for guests (especialy those who are not family)?

My Nominees

31 thoughts on “Jeanne Has Nominated Me For The Real Neat Blog Award”

    1. Thank you Tanya, you are very kind 🙂

      …I must admit, every moment I have spent as a volunteer felt like something meaningful and kind of magnificent. Everything else pails into insignificance.


      1. But you have had health issues as I gathered from some of your posts.
        How did you manage with the strenuous volunteer work?
        It is truly amazing and inspiring.

        Wish you lots of fulfillment and happiness in life. You are the kind of person who truly deserves it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks again Tanya. ❤

          I was always quite strong growing up. I think the swimming gave us enormous stamina and I was very active. I first had health problems around the age of 24. I think there were several factors that I had not realized were effecting my health detrimentally. For years I had lead a very hectic schedule, not eating properly and not sleeping enough and constantly pushing myself were starting to take their toll. I think I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect for my boyfriend, so I was always trying to be slimmer. Plus I wanted to prove I could qualify for the role of an international volunteer, so I went to extremes with exercise. When for years you push push push your body, eventually it says "enough is enough".

          It was a huge turning point for me. I was very ill for eighteen months, with several surgical operations and countless infections (my immune system was shattered). I learnt so much about balance, taking care of my body properly, making time for rest, eating properly, enjoying life and not making it all work and no play. It was a period when I thought a lot about why I was doing what I was doing and why it was so important to me to be a full-time volunteer. From then on I was a happier person, my health improved, I was able to do more than ever volunteer work, but this time, I knew how to look after myself.

          I think eventually that is what helped me to qualify as a full-time volunteer, that I could thrive in that kind of life.

          We all deserve fulfilment and happiness – I think some of us just wast time looking in the wrong places 🙂


          1. Thank you for that reply. It is so inspirational that you should turn it into a post.
            I think when we realise about balamce and limitations that is when we really grow up.
            Things that seemed terribly important when I was youmger have shifted into their proper place now.


    1. Thank you ❤

      I keep asking him this same question! The plan was for the end of August, but he has so much at work that is up in the air. Had a lovely e-mail from him last night. I was teasing him in my reply – can't wait to see how he reacts!

      Liked by 1 person

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