A Very Different Year In London

Christmas, London, Christmas Ornament

Back to the big choky smoke. Back to work. Back to the concrete jungle.

London has been different this year. More people out walking and running. More people in the green parks (when they were open). Parts of London like ghost towns. Not as much hustle and bustle. Cafes, restaurants, pubs either closed or quieter than ever before.

The difference in London skies dramatic – no noise and chemtrails from planes. Hearing ecstatic birdsong all over London. Less crowding on public transport. A calm and unusual patience as people queued patiently outside supermarkets waiting for their turn to shop for groceries. Bizarre conversations about the search for toilet paper and paracetamol and alcohol gel – and there was a stage when nobody could get hold of facemasks, whereas now they are littered on every pavement.

People have asked all year – why would we ever go back to the crazy pace of life that we operated at before? Why would we ever do that? The answer for some people is simply – money. Money has been driving us at a horrid frenzied stressful pace. Now, will we be content with less?

2021 is likely to be crunch time financially. I expect governments to do some pretty drastic things. We will have to wait and see exactly what they do. But some of you know what they are going to do already. You have read the book hey!

The Bloggers Who Smashed 2020!!!

New Year'S Day, New Year'S Eve

It struck me a few days ago – am I supposed to do one of these HIGHTLIGHTS OF 2020 posts I have seen floating around? Deep breath. Let me say that again…the “highlights of 2020” – aaaaah sigh! Should we laugh or should we cry?

At least there has been one part of 2020 that has never failed to delight us – WordPress bloggers have been amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!! So my 2020 round-up is dedicated to the bloggers who have made this year on WordPress one to remember!


While many of us were tested to the limit of our patience just trying to figure out how on earth to use the new block editor, some bloggers have ventured into the realm of videos to bring something extra special to their blogs. Here are two of my favourite bloggers who have delighted us with video productions:

Jeanne the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen has been recording videos of her culinary creations and they are just brilliant.

And to my absolute delight Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, has been recording songs and broadcasting them on both his YouTube channel and on his blog. I cannot tell you how much Kristian’s videos have lifted my spirits throughout 2020!

What an inspiration these talented bloggers are! What are you planning for your WordPress blog in 2021? Will you venture into video productions too?


One of the highlights of 2020 on WordPress for me was “THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF SUMMER PICNIC” – an entire weekend of baking and picnic creations from our magnificent international blogging community and a huge shout of support from so many WordPress bloggers who joined the party!

It was a pure joy to open up my inbox day after day and see more and more photos sent in from other bloggers. The response was tremendous! I am so grateful to all of the fantastic bloggers who were a part of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC – whether you were baking or cheering on all of those who baked. It was just so joyful!!!

I am so glad to both Gary, the creator of A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent, who had the idea originally of a BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF and who injected so much fun and unforgettable baking creations (and please accept our sincere apologies over the soufflé – it has been dealt with by special security forces and is in a nuclear containment facility until it can be safely destroyed) and our marvellous baking guru Jeanne the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen, who is the most superb judge!

If I had to pick my personal favourite, I should pick Jack of course, however, as he got to see his family last week, and I did not, I am going to pick another blogger who I was just overjoyed with. You may remember that in the 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF, Amanda Cade baked a chocolate cake that although clearly delicious had some issues with gravity! But Amanda was not going to give up easily! In 2020, she smashed THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF producing not just one but an array of sensational cheesecakes.

Back in July I published a thank you post…


…but I cannot thank you all enough! What a perfect weekend that was – a real highlight of 2020 for me without doubt! I always choke up when I hear the line of this song “you just keep me hanging on”.

As you may know 2020 for me has meant a lot of work. The NHS like other health services has been put to the test. So many times I have come home from work feeling exhausted and deflated. But it has always been a delight to see the heart-warming and uplifting posts of bloggers on WordPress.

I know many of you have had a very tough year. I know some of you also work for health services or are key-workers in other vital sectors. I know you have had to deal with an increase of stress and frustration from customers as well as adapting to adjusted working practices. I know some of you lost loved ones during this year. I know some of you lost your jobs. I also know that many of you have found it hard to be separated from your nearest and dearest for long periods.

But I also know that the vast majority of you have been brilliant! You have been a positive influence on others. You have kept our spirits up! You have encouraged people to take the warnings seriously, to be diligent in applying the safety guidance issues – YOU HAVE BLOGGED ABOUT WASHING YOUR HANDS, WEARING FACE-MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE MANY SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE TO PROTECT OTHERS.

That is special!

2020 has been a year where unselfish love has been shown on an enormous scale!

During 2021, please keep up the positive influence. We are an international team who can make a difference. We can support and encourage others. That might involve being honest about what we are finding challenging, but also commending others for all of their unselfish sacrifices.

Please remember that some are overwhelmed with their challenges – A LITTLE KINDNESS CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE to a person. Even though you are often interacting with strangers, the power of your words in your posts and in your comment can be constructive or it can be damaging. Please CHOOSE KINDNESS. Do not crush others at a time they may feel as if their whole world is falling apart around them.

What will you do with your blog to encourage and inspire others during 2021?


Something that was new to me and also very exciting for me during 2020 was seeing three novels and one poetry book leave my WordPress blog and be transformed into real Kindle and Paperback publications available on Amazon.

What started as a short story written in response to a blogging prompt became a series of over one hundred posts. But the story of Annabelle Riley became a three part novel series: LEARNERS AT LOVE.

Back in the spring of 2019, I published a series of little ditties – poetic verses that were expressing the range of feelings I experienced on losing the tiny life growing within me. Well as I wanted a permanent record of such a momentous event in my life, we turned my little ditties into a poetry book.

So many bloggers have been encouraging throughout my journey in starting out with writing fiction to finally holding paperback copies of my books and seeing my friends reading them and hearing their feedback (everyone seems to love rock star bad boy Dean Mathers!)

I am especially grateful to the bloggers who very kindly reviewed my books! Ashley, the creator or Mental Health @ Home who has read and reviewed all of my books has been such a phenomenal support and encouragement. It is so touching to receive that level of support! But she is not the only one. I am also deeply grateful to Iain Kelly and Paula Light, who also read and reviewed my work.

As I am sure anyone else would agree, publishing your writing is a personally rewarding process. I know this is something I would probably never have done without the inspiration, support and encouragement from other WordPress bloggers.



With You

Winter, Toy, Vintage, Creative, Play, Color, Christmas

If I was going to be snowed in, stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no choice but to huddle up and try to keep warm until the snow melted and we could carry on our journey….

…I would hope that I would be with you.

You keep me warm on the coldest nights. When you are here, the fading spark within becomes a roaring fire and glows joyfully. I could be marooned anywhere with you and not be afraid.

Focusing On The Wonderful

Jack has made me happier than I would have ever imagined. This time last year, I thought 2020 was going to be wonderful…and I know that technically it has not been particularly a great year in general…but, it has been marvellous for Jack and I, as far as our relationship in concerned.

Now….we are starting 2021 with a lot to look forward to.

No matter what happens…and please don’t think I take anything for granted, I am at peace with Jack, and almost at peace with the past. Despite all obstacles, my life partner, Jack, is on the same page as I am. We are working towards a clean earth, full of thriving creatures. No matter what governments do, no matter what agencies they use, no matter how pervasive propaganda becomes, we are going to keep our eyes focused on the wonderful!

Who Would Have Known How Bittersweet This Would Taste?

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: Odor/Scent/Smell/Taste

I am going to choose a song that might be an obvious choice – I don’t know. This is a song that I have always found very beautiful, very special, very emotional and very dramatic. It is a much loved song for it captures something very poignant. How many of us have felt the way this song portrays heartbreak?

But I will confess something to you: there was a time when it was too painful to hear this song. Jack used to play it from his apartment (where I had lived formerly) when I moved out. I was living a floor below and he was playing this song out of his window. It was truly torture. Maybe you have also been through a stage that made lyrics like these torture for you. That is something I made sure Jack realized when we were in the process of making peace last year.

Couple, Love, Romance, Relationship

Do you know – I used to dread the day I heard that Jack was dating someone else, or that he was getting married! I would have been devastated! But it never happened. He never did find someone else. He has been out with other women, but only on one-offs and he tells me nothing happened between them. Whether “anything” happened or not is irrelevant. He did not find anyone he could fall in love with.

Now that Jack and I have made peace (and then some!) – well this song can go back onto the list of one of my all-time favourites (in the modern area) and I think it will be for a long time. It is a stunning song that most of us can relate to. Her voice is perfect for these lyrics! I take my hat off to Adele – she took her own pain and made something outstanding – and we absolutely love her for it.

I heard that you’re settled down
That you found a girl and you’re married now.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you.

Old friend, why are you so shy?
Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I’ll remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”

You know how the time flies
Only yesterday was the time of our lives
We were born and raised
In a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
I’d hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
That for me it isn’t over.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I’ll remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.”

Nothing compares
No worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes
They are memories made.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you
Don’t forget me, I beg
I’ll remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg
I’ll remember you said,
“Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.”

Written by: Adele Adkins and Daniel Dodd Wilson

The BBC Have Rescued The Weekend!!!

I have just made the most wonderful discovery. I don’t know how it escaped my notice before now. I went out for a walk earlier and came home and was very pleased to find an old movie called “Baby Boom” starring Diane Keaton. Then I started flicking through the scheduling to see if there is anything else worth watching this weekend.


Well…to my absolute delight, it was up there on the screen. At 3:45pm tomorrow – that is Sunday 27th December – BBC1 will be broadcasting the greatest film ever made – ever! Ever ever!

The film with the biggest heart lifting, heart warming, heart singing factor. The movie that captures spunk, courage, conviction in the most challenging of situations but sets it to one of the best musical scores of all time.

If you have plans for tomorrow afternoon – cancel them. Make yourself comfy on the sofa, get yourself some snacks and drinks (it’s the BBC remember so there will be no commercial breaks for three hours!) Prepare to be not just entertained, but to be inspired. Prepare to have your spirits soaring – and to find an uncontrollable urge to want to sing out and possibly even stand up and twirl during the epic “Do-Re-Mi”.

I know it’s been a tough year, and the weekend has been a disappointment to many – but now all that will be forgotten for three hours. The sensational Julie Andrews is on hand to give you the best possible finale to the weekend. 3:45pm Sunday BBC1 – “The Sound Of Music” – how big is the smile on my face right now!!! Thank you so much Beeb!!!

Don’t even try to call me Jack – my phone will be on silent!

Is It Right To Block Your Fiancé’s Number?

I was up late last night. I kept on wanting to crawl to bed, but then I had an email from Goldfinch and I wanted to reply, and then Jack called and it was way past one o’clock in the morning when I finally drifted to sleep.

Then at half past six this morning, Jack called again to check how I was doing – sigh. He is so lovely, but…well, I was so enjoying my sleep! Bless his cute little dimples!

Well, I struggled to muster any appetite yesterday. I am not sure why. But this morning, my appetite was back to normal. So I used more of the fresh produce in my fridge – why did I buy so much spinach?

Toasted bagel, vegan cheese, poached egg which burst as you can see, sautéed mushrooms and onions and wilted spinach.

Now I am going for a walk! Storm is rolling in tonight! Want to get out there while the weather is still fair!

“Grease” the musical is on the box this evening – I am going to put my phone on silent for that! I do love my darling Jack, but I am almost thinking of blocking his number! Hopelessly devoted….!!!

Did You Feel It Too?

Willow, Tree, Winter, Light, Color, Sky, Clouds, Snow

I took a walk out in the cold evening air. I had no direction in mind, I just wanted to be alone for a few minutes. I wanted to think of you. I called your phone but there was no reply. You were probably busy with your family. I just could not stop thinking of you.

Me in London, you in the Lake District, but really, is there anywhere I could ever go on earth without you being present within me? I survived five years of estrangement from you – five years when we did not speak, we did not see each other, we were disconnected – yet you were always present within. I am not sure there was day that passed when I did not think of you. How could I forget you? After the dramatic affect you had on my life?

I walked on alone and came to a field with a willow tree. It was there that something wonderful happened. I knew you were thinking of me. I knew you were loving me. Deep within a effervescent glow began to emanate and everything around me turned to a wild celebration of joy. I knew that there is nowhere I can ever be without you thrilling my heart and lighting up the world around me.

Thank you for making peace with me.

Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for asking me to be your wife.

Dancing With A Desperado!

Since learning that I would not be allowed to see family, I have tried to think about the kind of food that I enjoy the most. It is always hard for me to pick favourites because I love variety. I knew I would not be able to face a lot of cooking and washing up though.

I have been picking up bits and bobs all week – vegan cheese and crackers, veggies to make a curry with and vegetarian treats. I also thought about what to drink during the holidays. Most of today I have been drinking coffee and tea and water. But I deliberately picked up a pack of Desperados this week. Beer flavoured with tequila – don’t ask me why but the combination works so well. I am not really a beer drinker – but my friends know that I am partial to a Desperado!

Around this time of the evening my family and I would be having a dance. It is so much fun the see three or sometimes four generations boogying together. Not this year! But I suppose there is no reason why I cannot dance here on my own!!!!!!!!

Another Cheesy Post For You

I have woken up without any appetite at all. So today I have just had coffee. I am sure a brisk walk out in the cold crisp air will help. I am looking forward to snacking on vegan cheeses and goats cheese with crackers. I am vegetarian (not vegan) but have a dairy intolerance. Goat’s cheese does not disagree with me, but cow’s cheese is a baddie.

My sister Milly was originally going to be hosting us in Snowdonia. She had bought vegan cheeses for me. Then, Wales changed their restrictions to only allow two households to meet today rather than three. So Milly and her family were going to travel up to England to allow three households to meet. And then….Tier 4 was put into restrictions meaning we were not allowed to mix with any other households or travel outside of this area.

So….as I was so excited about the prospect of vegan cheeses and crackers, I went out and bought myself some to cheer myself up. And it will cheer me up – when I am hungry!

In the meantime, I love all the comments and videos and links that have been left on my CARAMEL’S COCKTAIL CLUB post!!!!!!!!! It has already been great fun and I am sure there is lots more in store for today!

I have been curled up on the sofa, drinking coffee and watching “Singing In The Rain” I am happy. I am really looking forward to chatting with my family and friends. (Jack has already called three times to make sure I am ok! I keep telling him I am fine!!!) I am sure there will be a lot of cheese consumed today! I am very pleased with my vegan cheese!