Tag Archives: bloggers

A Very Special And Heart Warming Collaboration

Behind the scenes of this year’s GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF, scores of bloggers have been helping us with a secret project. In fact, we now know that at least one hundred people have taken part in this project, and we think others (friends, family and colleagues of those we invited to take part) – making this special project a truly international collaboration.

Very soon, we are about to reveal the results of a collaboration between over a hundred men, women and children (and also dogs), the majority of whom have never met each other. The collaborators are spread all over the world, Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, even two of our colleagues in Kabul have collaborated on this project.

Some of you know exactly what we are referring to, others may be wondering what it is that we have been working on behind the scenes. Well, in an hour from now, we are going to publish what we call THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ PATCHWORK OF LOVE. It will display over a hundred replies to one question that we asked people of all ages, all backgrounds and in all parts of the globe.

The question we asked them was:

The result, the patchwork we are now thrilled to be able to present to you is something that has truly warmed our hearts.

We left everyone we asked to interpret that question however they wished. Some told us what love feels like inwardly. Some told us about how love manifests itself outwardly. Others told us what or who they love. Some gave us just a one word answer – “family” of course being by far the post popular. Others gave us a fascinating sentence. One or two, were unable to stick to the one sentence limit we asked of them. So, because what they said was so special, we decided to try to squeeze their response into the patchwork.

But the point is – there are no wrong answers. We received replies from over a hundred people in all parts of the earth telling us what love means to them. When one person told me that to them “love is money”, at first my heart sunk. But I realized, it would be wrong to leave that reply out, it has to be in the patchwork. All of the replies had to be in the patchwork.

You will see a variety of replies, which tell a story. You will see common themes. You will see that some seemed to think when we asked what love meant to them, we were asking about romance, others interpreted the question completely differently. Every single reply matters! Over one hundred strangers sharing their heart – that’s an insight into the entire human family!

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

Actually, it has become quite fascinating. They have created something very special between them, something that will make you smile, warm your heart, and in some cases provoke tears. We have been faffing around with graphics for several days now and the patchwork is finally ready!!! The result is a powerful creative piece. Take your time over it. Over a hundred people, a hundred beating hearts, worked on this project with you, and it has produced something exceptional!

I Am Hooked On Caster And Fleet!

I mentioned just over a week or so ago that I had been reading books co-authored by WordPress blogger Paula Harmon. Well, I am now hooked!

I loved Books One-Three and I could not wait to get stuck into the next three books. I checked on Amazon and there seem to be spin-offs too. I am loving these characters and their stories. I love the Victorian setting, the manners and customs of daily life. Every the two female detectives get themselves into quite a pickle, and I find myself growing anxious and the outcome.

It is so hard to put down my tablet at night, and as soon as I finish one book, I want to start the next to read of their next adventure.

Getting To Know You

I have been tagged by Nova, the creator of My Namastè 365 Online to take part in a fun challenge – the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge – as you can see from Nova’s post below:

https://mynamaste365online.blog/2019/01/27/getting-to-know-you-challenge/

Oh…and since I have been working on this post, Kristian has also nominated me:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/01/28/getting-to-know-you-some-questions-from-laura/

The GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenged is the creation of Laura Venturini as you can see from her post below:

https://lavent69.blog/2019/01/27/the-getting-to-know-you-challenge/

getting to know you

Rules:

  1. Copy and paste the rules and the questions
  2. Tag at least two people to take the challenge.
  3. Use the “Getting to Know You” pic and pingback to this post.

Questions:

Name a moment in your life when you felt you were most courageous.

Courageous? I have had to do things I found very difficult. There have been some moments in my life that called for extraordinary courage, but I find it hard to write about some of them…I think I would need to write an entire post to explain what happened.

I think being with people who were dying, watching them take their last breaths was hard, especially the very first time. I realized though, that I needed to be courageous. We were always told that hearing is the last sense that remains. I have found the words, the most wonderful words when needed. I don’t know how it happens, but it always seemed that the perfect words to say to make sure the person felt safe and treasured right to the end came into my head.

Showsec staff in the new uniformsOne day I was working as a steward at an event with around 15,000 people in attendance. We were informed that due to a package that had been identified in the area I was working in, the were going to evacuate the entire venue. I had to stand at my post as we had been trained and direct those who were sat in my section. My stomach was in nervous knots because you don’t know what is going to happen. Of course after the crowds were safely evacuated then we too were directed to depart immediately. Specially trained Showsec staff consulted with the police, the bomb disposal unit. I should write about that day…it was all quite a saga. I will say this…those 15,000 people who departed within eight minutes were wonderfully co-operative.

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)I think it was courageous in many ways to start a relationship with Goldfinch who was a total stranger to me. Every other relationship I had before was with someone I had known for some time. But I trusted Goldfinch. I am so glad I had the courage to trust him, because he has been wonderful for me and he has left me with something very special to remember him by.

If you had to choose only one breakfast cereal for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Such a hard question. I love variety – so only one cereal would be difficult. There is a cereal that I really love. I only buy it occasionally…it is too expensive to buy regularly.

It is called Scrumshus Granola (the Premium Granola – an everyday luxury made with honey and pure maple syrup) and it is yummy!

When have you felt the most scared?

There have been a number of occasions I felt very scared.

Of course what comes straight into my mind is the realization that I was in danger that night in the park. I am going to copy and paste an excerpt from another post I published last year, because I don’t want to relive that memory right now:

When I arrived in the park there were joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists.  A man sat next to me on the bench.  A complete stranger.  It was him.  I was not afraid at first, I was too caught up in my despair.  But I do remember what happened when I stood up with the sudden awareness that now it was dark and there were no joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists anywhere I looked.  I had decided I should not be there.  I said it out loud.  I actually said, “I should go home.” 

Then I was on my feet, trying to walk quickly. It was so dark and I could not make out tree roots and bushes. It felt as if I was floating. The strength of his hands on my shoulders pulling me to the ground. I have never felt so utterly powerless.

I try not to think about him. I do not think about him. What he did was terrible. But he did not get under my skin, into my head, he did not oppress my heart. It was awful, but it was momentary and it has not haunted me like Jack has. Despite what he did that night, the damage was already done. Caramel was already crushed long before that night.

Now I am going to take you forward several hours.  A security guard had found me…he had found me left in bushes with obvious injuries.  He had called an ambulance.

Yes, I felt fear in my gut like never before.

If you could sing like any musical artist, who would you choose?

I would love to sing like one of those amazing opera singers. They are all amazing to me…but I am going to chose Elīna Garanča a mezzo-soprano. This beautiful beautiful piece is “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” (the Barcarolle) from Offenbach’s “The Tales Of Hoffman”:

Aren’t they wonderful?!!!

Do you collect anything?

I don’t think I do now, unless you count fancy cleaning products.

I used to collect pictures to make collages with. I had a huge box with pictures of animals and sunsets and flowers that I used to use to decorate notebooks and make letter writing materials with. It was too expensive to keep buying pretty stationery so I started making my own with coloured paper and my picture collection.

IMG_20181125_161458

If you could live inside a TV show or movie, what would it be?

I don’t watch much television. But I do quite like the BBC show “Death In Paradise”. My sister has the DVD collection of every series since it began. I watched the series last year and the new series has started again recently on BBC One every Thursday at 9pm.

It is a detective show set in the Caribbean. But it isn’t like one of those scary, violent gory shows. It is very easy to watch and seems to follow a similar formula each episode. There is usually a death at the start and for the rest of the episode you find out all about the connections three or four suspects had with the victim whilst the detective and his team try to deduce who could have committed the crime, how and why?

I would like to be in the show…sunbathing in the background, swimming in the sea, and having nothing to do with the crime-scene. Do you think you can make a living from being an extra on a show like that?

Have you ever had a reoccurring dream? If so, what was it?

I don’t often dream because I sleep very heavily. But I have found myself dreaming about my ex-neighour Jack. The dreams are different, but in every dream I find myself frightened, embarrassed, humiliated and distraught over Jack’s behaviour towards me. I wrote about one of my dreams recently:

lion portrait on blackWhen I was very young child, I used to dream about a bright blue lion that chased us and we were all hiding with our neighbour’s children from the blue lion.  One by one the lion caught them.  The only way I escaped is by walking upside on the ceiling and then climbing out onto the roof.

But I have not had that dream since childhood.

What is my start sign?

I don’t understand this question, but I have always quite liked Orion.

I often see it when I come back to the little nest late at night.

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Well thank you Nova, I enjoyed answering the GETTING TO KNOW YOU questions!!!

So now it is my turn to tag some other bloggers for the GETTING TO KNOW YOU challenge:

Caramel Is Decorating!

You may remember that one of the surprise outcomes of me starting this blog two years and ten months ago is that I have ended up writing and publishing a bunch of books! Never expected that when I started blogging! Hardly know what came over me!

The amazing thing is, I managed to do most of the writing and editing before the Pandemic began, which was good because work has been bonkers with this virus. Work has been incredibly taxing and for every right reason, I have had to cut back on the amount of time I spent blogging and writing. But it has always been a hobby I have enjoyed whenever I had the opportunity.

Too often I don’t get a break at work, we are often just too busy. But when I am able to sit down for ten/minutes (or on the rare occasion half an hour) I have pulled out a paperback copy of one of my books and a red pen and circled corrections I needed to make. Slowly slowly I have continued to make corrections and update my manuscript. At last that process is complete! I now feel my books will not embarrass me with really silly mistakes. So I am trying to find a way to add pictures of my books with Amazon links to them to my site.

However, I have realized….I cannot do that with my current WordPress theme. So….I am dreading this….but I am going to start messing around with finding the right theme to allow me to do what I want. That is going to be a complete nightmare! I know it. I should have done it before now. But I could not face it.

There was a stage when I was on top of all the widgets and menus on my site – but I gave up about a year ago when things started getting too busy. But I know that changing my theme is going to be a momentous task – momentous! I am going to be searching for a theme that allows me to stay that blue colour I like so much and that allows me to to have a few simple widgets. I don’t want lots of them. I just want some kind of easy navigation widget (is there one?) and to be able to feature my books.

Playing about with the theme is something I am frankly terrified about. I do believe my site will be a mess for a while. But now is the time it would seem. So…while I play around until I find what I want….I do sincerely apologise for any confusion I cause. Caramel is decorating her site – yikes! This could be one of the craziest disasters ever seen on WordPress – are you ready for this?

A Walk In The Woods

CARAMEL'S CORNER

Today I am reviewing a marvellous book penned by Esther Chilton, the creator of estherchiltonblog. This beautiful story book “A Walk In The Woods” (front cover art work by talented Charlotte Newton) is a book I have admired greatly from the moment my paperback copy arrived.

As I began to read this exquisite collection of stories, my thoughts applauded what I was reading. I just kept thinking to myself, “My! Esther is such a clever writer!” Why do I say that. Well, besides the obvious quality, perfect editing and quality production than shine throughout the book, Esther’s style in her short stories is notable. Each finely crafted story has impact.

Before I started blogging, I never read flash fiction or short stories, I only ever read long dramatic epic novels. I have marvelled at the talent of so many writers who know how to craft a meaningful story in few yet precisely chosen and arranged words and phrases. Well Esther’s short stories in “A Walk In The Woods” are a model of telling a powerful tale, often with an unexpected twist or a pithy veridical conclusion.

As I would expect from Esther, “A Walk In The Woods” excellently showcases her talent as a writer and editor. Not only will readers enjoy her compilation of stories, but also admire Esther’s superb crafting. Esther Chilton really is such a very clever writer!!!

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You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.

CARAMEL’S CORNER

Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet

CARAMEL’S CORNER 2020

Well….by now you may have noticed that I have taken on the challenge of reviewing the books published by other WordPress bloggers – which was a terrifying prospect before I began, but now I am enjoying! I began publishing reviews back in August 2020 – roughly one every two weeks.

In case you want to check out some of the fabulous books – ALL WRITTEN BY WORDPRESS BLOGGERS! – featured on CARAMEL’S CORNER, I have put together a little list of the 2020 CARAMEL’S CORNER posts:

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/08/08/climbing-over-grit/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/08/22/let-love-speak/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/preposterous-tales-from-the-newbury-short-story-teller/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/09/19/managing-the-depression-puzzle/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/wish-upon-a-leaf/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/10/17/heart-songs/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/11/07/zion/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/11/21/swinging-sanity/

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/we-hide-what-we-hate-about-ourselves-2/

There is more to come in 2021 – in fact I have a long list of reviews that need to be completed in my drafts folder. There are books I have read and reviewed from Ritu Bhathal, Stephen Black, Tom Burton, Esther Chilton, Nora Edinger, Sarah Fennell, Iain Kelly, Jenna Kirkpatrick, Gabriella Marie Milton, Frank Prem, Kevin Morris, Julia Tannembaum and more!

Writer, Typewriter, Author, Blogging

If you are a WordPress blogger and you have published your own book – please free to drop by and say hello and please tell me about your book! I am always interested in coming across other bloggers who love to write (as opposed to the countless robots than seem to be following me). I do have my limits, so I won’t always be able to read your book if it is graphically violent or glorifies demons etc. But I do like to support other bloggers, just as I have been encouraged and supported by other bloggers. Please feel free to leave a comment on one of my posts.

Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet

Switching Positions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is caramels-corner.png

I am very pleased to be reviewing one of the books I have bought and loved, written by one of my very favourite bloggers, Paula Light, the creator of Light Motifs II. Today I am reviewing “Switching Positions”, her romantic comedy set amidst the build up to THE American presidential election.

My biggest enjoyment factor from “Switching Positions” was the humour and energy that started from the very first page and flowed right through to the conclusion. This is why I love Paula’s blog and her books – she has what sometimes seems like an effortless comic touch. I often read just before bedtime when I am very sleepy, but I found when I was reading Paula’s rom-com than my heart was laughing so much as I read the dialogue between characters and the inner thoughts of the main characters, I did not want to sleep – I just wanted to keep reading because it was so refreshing to read such light-hearted clever wit.

White House, Usa, United States, America

So does politics drag the storyline down? Nope, not at all. I don’t even understand American politics, but Paula very cleverly and also carefully painted some of the main political leanings in what seemed like a fair and yet very funny way. I actually found it very interesting that she referred so much to how every day Americans may perceive politics and how their own changing circumstances may perhaps prompt them to weigh up their political opinions. I did feel as if her main characters are very interesting examples of how a young person may at some point ask themselves – are their ideas based simply on that of their family and friends? Or are they using their own mind, researching for themselves and making a decision that reflects their outlook on life, people, work, values?

But I want to repeat, Paula skilfully juggles the scenes in which her characters think over or voice their political opinions so that the story never becomes weighed down. Every internal conversation, and every passage of dialogue gives you a wonderful opportunity to laugh. After watching the media reports of the 2020 election, I think it is an extraordinary feat for Paula to have tackled a political setting and pulled it off in a way that makes this book so joyously playful to read.

I grew very fond of the two main characters quickly and could happily have read another twenty chapters of their developing relationship. Paula captures all the excitement, nerves, uncertainty, and wonder of a couple falling for each other and thought there are some very sweet moments, the humour is always right behind.

2020 has been depressing at times – so if you want a refreshingly playful, genuinely romantic tale, full of clever comedy and a well rounded view of the different political views that people hold in the USA (but all within that light hearted comic framework) – I would heartily recommend “Switching Positions”.

It is a delicious read and great fun! We all need more fun in 2021!

__________

You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.

CARAMEL’S CORNER

Relax, Read, Silhouette, Woman, Dog, Hang, Tree, Pet

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!

THE BLOGGERS WHO BECAME VLOGGERS DURING 2020!

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?

THE BLOGGERS WHO BAKED IN 2020!

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…

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2020/07/20/thank-you-for-a-perfect-day/

…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?

THE BLOGGERS WHO SUPPORTED MY BOOKS!

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.

THANK YOU FOR MAKING WRITING SUCH A JOY!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO MAKE WORDPRESS A GREAT PLATFORM TO BE BLOGGING ON! THANK YOU FOR HELPING US GET THROUGH 2020!

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!!!!!!!!