I worked on this post over several days, in my leisure time…something that will make sense by the end of this post 🙂
I have had a busy week, with Jack and then a lot of work to catch up with. But I really wanted to work on a post in response to the questions from Dr Tanya, the creator of Salted Caramel, who has asked some more great questions about blogging. Take a look at Dr Tanya’s original post below:
Generally, I would use my leisure time to socialize with friends. One of the reasons I wanted to be back in London is the social life outside of work. I have many dear friends here in London. Of course, recently a special someone has snapped up most of my leisure time.
When I am back in the little nest on my own, and have finished my house-work etc, I can choose how to relax before it’s time to go to sleep. There isn’t much on television I would enjoy, so normally I would turn on my lap-top and check my e-mails and write to family and friends, or phone someone I wanted to chat with.
I often use time in the evening to read other posts from other bloggers. But I have found there are so many posts there, I can’t get through them if I only check my WP Reader once a day. So I also check my Reader in the morning when I am eating breakfast and drinking coffee, and also when I am having a lunch break.
Writing posts is a whole different matter. Two days a week, I only work in the afternoon, So I usually am at home in the morning doing housework. So after I have done what I need to do, I sit down and write posts – numerous posts. During those two mornings I will write several shorter posts and work on longer posts (like award posts, or parts of my Annabelle Riley story). I then schedule those posts to be published at other times. Occasionally I find myself with other leisure time at other times in the week and can type up a short post.
Because I have such a huge catalogue of content in the e-mails I have sent to friends and family, it speeds things up massively that I can copy and paste and then edit my post to make it suitable for blogging. It speeds up writing enormously.
Worse still, does it distract you from your work/studies?
Nope. Work, both unpaid and paid, is more important than blogging. I have been trained that work is work. You give work your best.
I work around forty – fifty hours a week on average, although my hours vary…some work for money, to pay my rent etc and some work on a voluntary basis in connection with the charities I work with. All the work I do receives my full attention. I don’t use phones or laptops for any personal use (with the exception of when I am cooking – it is nice to listen to music when I am cooking, and when things are in the oven, I might be able to do other things, such as reading posts on WordPress).
Is it taking a toll on your personal relationships?
My family and friends are very important to me. I spend time with them, or communicating with them, frequently and regularly. Often it is the e-mails I have sent to family and friends that form the basis for posts I publish on CRUSHED CARAMEL.
Blogging is something I do when I am on my own. The reading I do before bedtime. The writing I do those two mornings when I wouldn’t be out socialising.
Has your health suffered?
Since I received head injuries (when I was the victim of a crime some years ago) I have not been able to spend my leisure time the same way as I used to.
In the past I played basketball, went to a boot-camp, ran at least three times a week (one eight mile run and two four mile runs) and I did a huge amount of socialising. I was travelling all over London and beyond to parties and live music events. I was going away almost every weekend to stay with friends, and trying to squeeze in lots of hiking and cycling and anything active and outdoorsy – climbing trees, wild swimming, sports days – I loved anything energetic.
I miss that lifestyle. Having to rest could easily drive me crazy. I need things to keep my mind busy.
But I am not able to do what I used to. I still have a healthy social life. I like to make sure I spend two or three evenings (or other times) out with friends (or indoors with friends). But I need more rest than I used to. I have crazy headaches at times, and I also have black-outs and difficulties breathing at times.
So, I needed restful things to do in my leisure time. My life-long habit is writing letters and e-mails. I have a lot of material in my e-mail accounts that I can adapt to posts for my blog. I also have been writing a book for my little niece. Blogging is something I can do while I am resting. I have found it very enjoyable.
Have you gained weight?
Since I stopped doing all the sport I used to I have gained some weight. But that is not due to blogging.
I have gained some weight because since I was attacked, I have not been able to maintain the level of activity I did before. That’s because of the head injuries I received. The problem I have had is my brain not always telling my heart to beat faster. I am fine with walking, and swimming. But when I tried running (I used to love running!), I kept blacking out.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
The challenges to my writing are not so much ideas, it is more the effect of headaches. When I wake up my head is a brute! It can take me a while to be able to function properly. But the wonderful combination of ibuprofen and coffee normally aid my writing capabilities.
Well…some mornings I might not necessarily have any fresh ideas. But my drafts folder has posts that I have previously started when I had an idea but not time to develop it. So if I am ever short of ideas, it’s great to just peruse my drafts folder and pick something to work on.
Have you ever suffered from blog related stress or blogger burn out?
Hardly any. I accept that there is a limit to how much time I have (as do we all). Blogging should be enjoyable. If I cannot get through every single post that appears in my WP Reader…so be it. I hope I will live to read more another day!
We all have different circumstances and situations. We all juggle different responsibilities and obligations. Blogging should be something recreational (unless you are making a business out of it, or secretly trying to take over the world). So if it ever feels like a burden, maybe it is time to make a slight adjustment or be more reasonable about your limitations.
I respect all bloggers are doing what they want, what they can, what they enjoy. I would hope they are prioritising on spending time with family, friends, their work and their health. I would not want anyone to suffer because of losing balance. I especially look out for the posts that appear from bloggers who publish infrequently. It’s always quite exciting to see their posts. I think I make more effort to comment as well on their posts to encourage them.
I try to read almost everything from the bloggers I follow, because I appreciate their support. But it is clearly something I just would not enjoy at all, I might skip it. As with any other area of entertainment, I am selective. My mind is not a sewer. I won’t let just anything flow through it!
Blogging should be fun! Don’t let it be stressful! To keep it fun, never forget what really matters in life! Family, friends, work, your health!! Your life should be many shades of wonderful…and if you have some spare time, sit down write a gorgeous post and share it with us! Forget about your worries and strife over blogging – look after the bear necessities and enjoy! Have fun!!!
One of our fellow bloggers is brightening up the weekend with a great feature that will help us meet more fabulous bloggers. As autumn and winter grip the northern hemisphere there is no shortage of colour in the blogging world, all thanks to Suzi, the creator of My Colourful Life!
Well…you may have already seen it…but I received a SATURDAY SHOUT OUT from Suzi, the creator of My Colourful Life, as you can see from her fabulous post below:
Don’t you love the graphics! Suzi seems to be very clever when it comes to eye-catching graphics. Thank you for featuring me Suzi. I was so pleased that some bloggers I had never come across before popped by to say hello!
Well…have you received a SATURDAY SHOUT OUT yet from the talented Suzi? Send Suzi a message to ask her to include you on the hit list! It’s really easy. Read Suzi’s post below to find out what you need to do:
Now I have not asked her permission, so I am not going to do the whole re-blog thing. I just wanted to mention that I am falling in love with the poetry I read from a blogger I recently started to follow. This is was the poem I read in my WP Reader this morning:
Please drop by and take a look at Ena’s work. I am sure you will fall in love with her poetry too.
I am hopeless at poetry myself…but I read the work of other bloggers everyday and am so impressed. It’s such an evocative medium. I love the effect that reading a well constructed and inspiring poem has on me. It’s like looking out at a spectacular view that catches your breath.
So to all poets who are publishing their fabulous creations, I say thank you for sharing so much beautiful from your mind and heart with the rest of us.
I came back from Australia with all these wonderful things I want to tell you about my trip there and my time with Goldfinch, and yet for some strange reason I still have not really sat down to write about what was one of the highlights of my life! I was sooooooo happy there with him!!! It’s all stored up in my mind and heart and I am sure it will eventually leak out into my posts. I think I have selfishly been enjoying the euphoria and contentment he breathed into me, before I share it with the WordPress world. Perhaps in someways in my head, I am still over there with him 🙂
Instead something else has been occupying my attention. You may have noticed that I responded to a writing prompt from Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life. When I first saw Kim’s prompt, I had just a little seed of an idea. I sat down and began what I thought would be a short flash fiction post. You probably know I usually write much more about my personal life than fiction, so it’s always a bit of an experiment.
Well….I now have published over thirty-five parts (I did count accurately yesterday, but I had a really late night and I have forgotten exactly how many posts there are)! The story of Annabelle has a habit of entangling itself with elements of my own personal life. But I have been trying to make her a fictional character as much as possible.
I have not published anything for the last few days because I really wanted to make sure I concentrated on how to finish this story. I have grown to care so much about that happens to Annabelle. She is not going to have a Disney princess ending, I promise you that. But I am going to finish her story on a positive. Why on earth would we want to read anything with a miserable ending? I now know how it’s going to go! It feels great to know what is going to happen. I have three more posts scheduled for next week. Then I am going to give my attention to the grand finale!
I cannot believe how satisfying it has been to work on a longer fictional project! I know it needs a lot of editing to make it more interesting to a reader who is looking at it with completely fresh eyes and knows nothing about the personal life of Caramel that has inspired much of Annabelle’s tale. I have promised myself that editing my little novelette will be a great project during the cold winter months.
I was very nervous about a long project. Personally I think blogging on WordPress is more suited to shorter posts, entertaining or interesting or just plain delightful posts. I didn’t think anyone would have an interest in me focusing attention a long story about a fictional character. But it turns out that’s what most of us have been reading for donkey’s years!
I had huge encouragement to keep working at it from numerous bloggers, and found the comments from the following bloggers especially encouraging:
…and I have lost track of how many lovely comments I have received encouraging me to keep on developing Annabelle’s story! But thank you so much to everyone who has given me the impetus to continue. It’s one of the most satisfying things I have done since I started blogging. I am looking forward to tweaking the last few parts so that they nicely tie up the story lines for Annabelle and the other characters in her story.
I am afraid that I might be upsetting a few of the bloggers who have kindly supported my posts. Perhaps I am coming across as neglectful or indifferent about other wonderful bloggers. So this post is to ask anyone who thinks I am overlooking them and not being courteous as a blogger to drop me a message to tell me. (lol – I may live to regret it! I am not asking for those messages where you demand that I follow your blog!!!) I am feeling as if I have totally fallen behind with all aspects of blogging due to my trip to Australia. Now, that is not something I worry about too much, because frankly, blogging is supposed to be fun. I am not going to beat myself up too much.
But I can see a considerable number of likes and follows from bloggers I do not recognise at all. So I wanted to say right now that I am a not a great blogger at all, I admit. I like to work on posts, some in response to prompts and some just about putting my own thoughts into words, but I am not in this for numbers or statistics. I don’t have any ambitions whatsoever regarding my blogging or writing in general.
However, I don’t want to appear rude or ungrateful for the support I have received and all of the lovely interaction with other bloggers which has made it so enjoyable. I have been following some bloggers for a long time, mainly because I like them, sometimes I like them more than I like the content of their posts in truth. I also follow a huge number of foodie bloggers because I love seeking out new recipes and I follow travel bloggers because of their beautiful photos and their accounts of places I would love to see for myself one day.
If you are new to Crushed Caramel, I am publishing a mix of posts about my life, family, friends, the man I love (Goldfinch) and the occasional works of fiction or even bad poetry. I try to keep things positive, light-hearted and family friendly.
I have been away in Australia recently (look out for Australia posts in the near future) and I have fallen behind in all aspects of blogging If you have liked or followed my posts in the last few weeks and you think I am being discourteous in not returning the support, please let me know, because I am finding it hard to keep up at the moment. Just say “Oy Caramel” and drop a link to one of your posts or something.
I certainly do not automatically follow everyone who likes or follows my posts. My WP Reader would be a nightmare if I did. And if I can see that you publish twenty posts everyday there is no way I am going to follow you. But I like bloggers who are nice people and I like to see posts that are happy, positive, interesting, fun, creative, thought-provoking, beautiful etc. So if you are one of those lovely types who wants to contribute to a friendly blogging community and who writes posts that make readers feel good about being alive, then oh definitely do drop me a link to your posts.
Today is my one day of rest in this busy fortnight where I am working thirteen out of fourteen days 😦 and yet somehow I have managed to promise I will run errands for my landlady and make hummus and crudites for her. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time chopping up carrots, peppers, celery and cucumber. Well, I have promised, so I will keep my word.
Thank goodness I have so many almost completed posts in my drafts folder at the moment. It is great to spend the little time I have polishing them up ready for you. I have really enjoyed preparing this post.
I have been nominated for The Liebster Awarrd by the inspiring Glen McKenzie, creator of justabitfurther where we find posts that encourage all of us to “get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself”. Have a look at Glen’s own fabulous Liebster Award post:
Acknowledge the blogger that gave it to you and display the award – Thank you Glen!
Answer 8 questions that the blogger gave you
Give 8 random thoughts about yourself
Nominate 8 other bloggers and notify them of their nomination
Ask your nominees 8 questions
Questions From Glen
How did you pick your blog’s name?
It was a rather random choice as a result of brainstorming with a friend. I think my blog-name may have caused confusion because the first dozen bloggers who followed my site were foodie bloggers. But I do like caramel very much.
CARAMEL is the protagonist on my site, who is me…CRUSHED because I was crushed by an extraordinary situation that developed with my ex-flatmate, and at my lowest point when I was struggling the most, I stayed out later than I should and ended up sitting tearfully on a park bench. That night … well, I have written about it in other posts. Something terrible happened to me.
My friend helped me set up the blog site back at the end of April 2018. Initially, he wanted me to post some of the personal accounts I had shared with him in e-mails. He loved the embarrassing stories I told him about from my early twenties. I knew there were a lot of other subjects I wanted to write about, including the events that crushed me.
We had a bit of a laugh brain storming over different names, but he suggested Caramel, because sometimes he has used that as a pet name for me. Actually he tends to call me Caramel Betty. He always said he could never understand how Jack could have been so careless with someone so sweet and who is such a softie.
That was it. I remember looking at him and saying CRUSHEDCARAMEL, because I was crushed by what happened to me and that was one of the subjects I knew needed to escape from inside me, but I wanted the site to be light-hearted and fun – I hope that is the overall feel of the site. I want joy to dominate, but every now and then I need to write about what crushed me and in a way still does.
What advice can you give someone who is just starting out in the blogging world?
Enjoy writing and creating posts.
Read the posts from other successful bloggers and think about what makes their posts appealing and attractive. Learn from them.
Be a positive, encouraging breath of fresh air.
Be persistent. Try to publish a little something on a regular basis.
Get involved with commenting on other bloggers sites, and participating in challenges. We all like to know there is friendly human being behind the blog-site. Be safe and security conscious, but do share a bit of your personality.
Be patient – your statistics might be rather discouraging for a long time. So enjoy your writing and the interaction with other bloggers while you wait for more readers.
When you are new to blogging, the blogging world can be a bit like turning up at a party where everyone else seems to know each other and you don’t know them. So be polite, be personable, be appealing. There are bound to be other bloggers who will warm to you when you make an effort to interact. Back that up with creating your own great posts, so that when they check out your posts they want to keep coming back.
Enjoy the party!
If you are ever struggling – it’s ok to ask a blogger for help and advice. Other bloggers are human. It’s endearing when a new blogger is a little lost and asks for advice.
What is your perfect comfort food?
I find a lot of food comforting. I love food and would happily write about it all day. I follow a lot of foodie bloggers who all make me very hungry with the photos they post of their creations!
Years ago I had to walk home from high school (which was about four miles from our home) when we had a snow storm and the school buses could not run because of the roads. (That’s what happens in England when it snows – we are a bit pathetic!)
I did not even have a coat – just my school uniform. I was not properly dressed for the cold at all! It was dark, cold and I was shivering. But I remember passing a girl who was a couple of years younger than me who did not have her school blazer. So she was walking home in a thin blouse and a skirt, which was rather on the short side and a pair of flimsy ballet shoes. She was in tears. I was really worried about her. I gave her my blazer (so now I was the one in the thin blouse!) and told her to walk with me. I knew I was stronger physically than she was. I kept her morale up and because she had an even longer journey to her home on the other side of town, I took her home to our house. The poor little thing.
Mum told her to wait in our house until Dad came home from work and then he would make sure she reached home safely and in the meantime my mum telephoned her mum. Then Mum made us some delicious veggie soup and hot toast lathered with melting butter. I always remember how it felt to have that meal after we had been so bitterly cold.
Who is your favourite blogging person you follow? And why?
Ooooh – are we allowed to choose favourites Glen?
I will mention one blogger though, Teresa Grabs, who is the creator of one of my favourite sites:
I started blogging back at the very end of April…so many bloggers that were around then don’t seem to be around now…that could be for many reasons. But she is one blogger who has been around all that time and has been consistent in producing wonderful pieces of fiction herself and in supporting the blogging community by providing writing prompts, fun questions challenges and a lot of open dialogue about the challenges in writing.
I have found Teresa extremely encouraging and a source of great practical advice. To me she is an exemplary blogger. The quality of Teresa’s own writing is superb, but also for the huge contribution she has made to other bloggers – I think she is top of the list of super-bloggers for me.
There are many other bloggers whom I follow and I love the variety of personalities that shine through. The different styles and outlooks and senses of humour. I love the wonderful diversity of posts and bloggers. It’s a party that never gets boring.
Describe yourself in three words.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I try really hard not to buy them, but every now and then a bag of Tyrell’s Vegetable Crisps seems to fall from the supermarket shelves into my shopping basket!
I love them, my sister Milly loves them too! They are so delicious!
What is your most prized possession?
I try not to get too attached to possessions.
But something I have been very pleased with is the one litre water bottle I have had since the spring time. It is a Super Sparrow Sports Water Bottle. It is a kind of teal colour. NO more buying bottled water. Now I fill up my own reusable water bottle. It has become my constant companion and I am rather attached to it now!
I keep wondering whether I should perhaps buy a smaller one. There are times when a one litre bottle is a bit big.
What single quality do you most appreciate in people?.
Kindness / Unselfishness
I know that is two…but sometimes people are kind for selfish reasons.
Kindness is a beautiful trait. My parents have instilled in me a huge love for kindness. Especially today when we might have no idea how much pain another human is carrying around inside, how close they are to breaking point – we should be generous with words and deeds of kindness.
What do you love most about blogging?
The human element. I am a people person. I love the other people who are blogging. The wonderful personalities and the different points of view, pastimes, passions reflected by the many bloggers out there.
I have really warmed to the personalities of many bloggers. It’s a pleasure to read their posts.
The interaction is a real bonus of blogging. I did not expect it when I started blogging. Some days I come home after a long day and I find the post I scheduled to be published early that morning has had some lovely feedback from other bloggers. It is so encouraging!
What’s the favourite post that you’ve published? (Link, please!)
There are a lot of posts on my site that I have really enjoyed putting together. Some of them I like to look back at and I really enjoy reading about the members of family or friends or special experiences I have had.
I also love all of the posts about Goldfinch. I have looked over a lot of them recently and they cheer me up enormously! This is one that celebrates the joy and excited he has stirred within me:
My voice used to be heard by shoppers visiting a popular retail chain. I did a series of recorded promotions along the lines of: “Good morning ladies and gentleman and welcome to (THE NAME OF THE STORE). Our winter sale is now on and you can save up to 50% on all clothing ranges. Find winter essentials for the whole family. Thank you for shopping at…” The recordings were played every fifteen – twenty minutes at stores in the UK.
Lots of people say they like my voice but have difficulty placing my accent. There is a little of the Liverpool accent (and sometimes I use expressions that seem to be only used in Liverpool) and a little of the broader Lancashire accent and a twang of Australian (my mum’s family are Australian) but I speak in a very clear English style. The tone of my voice is fairly soft and rhythmic. Many tell me to speak up because they cannot hear me when I speak at my natural volume. Some of my friends say they could listen to my voice droning all day because it calms them down. That has really helped when I have had to deal with aggressive patients while working in healthcare. I seem to calm them down just by speaking even if I am just talking about the weather, they seem distracted by my voice.
I love ironing (almost as much as karaoke!)
I have fallen off three buses in my life, once off the school bus when I was fourteen, ended up with a back-slab on for weeks and had to use crutches. And twice on packed London buses.
My primary school was burnt down to the ground when I was seven years of age. For years our whole primary school had to be transported on double-decker buses to a high school on the opposite side of our town that had some spare classrooms.
Candles scare me. In the town I grew up in there were a lot of deadly house fires due to accidents with candles or cigarette stubs that had not been extinguished properly. The houses on the council estate I grew up on would burn up like cardboard. Whole families have been lost in some of the fires that occurred. Very upsetting. Whenever anyone gives me candles as a gift, I give them away to someone else, normally a charity shop.
Eight Questions For My Nominees
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING FOR?
FANCY DRESS PARTIES – WHAT HAVE YOU DRESSED UP AS?
WHICH SONGS WOULD YOU SING IN THE SHOWER WHEN YOU THINK NOBODY CAN HEAR?
IS ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR FAMILY A BLOGGER OR VLOGGER?
DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED ABOUT BLOGGING? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?
WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MEMORY OR EXPERIENCE?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TV DETECTIVE?
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE PERFECT DAY – WHERE WOULD IT BE? WHO WOULD YOU BE WITH? WHAT WOULD YOU EAT? (That is several questions rolled into one – but we would love to know what would make a perfect day to you.
As you can see from Tom’s post, The Sunshine Blogger Award has some rules:
Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them. -THANK YOU AGAIN TOM!
Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
Tom’s Questions For his Nominees:
Where are you from?
I am originally from the North of England. I grew up on the outskirts of Liverpool. We were actually almost equal distance between Liverpool and Manchester. But it was Liverpool people that lived there. Our family home was on a council estate. It almost felt like a giant Butlins camp – poor quality housing and loads of kids running round. There were lots of families in the town, because it was built in the 1960/70s as an overflow for Liverpool. Lots of families moved in as the houses were so much more affordable.
The North-West of England has a lot of industrial towns and I used to feel overwhelmed with the urban industrial scenes I saw regularly. Some parts of our town were dilapidated, some vandalized and littered. I always wished I lived somewhere that felt more picturesque and cleaner. However, our town was surrounded by beautiful countryside and farms. I started to explore the countryside around our town in my late teens, and realized how very beautiful it was. Just a few minutes walk from our family home was almost like paradise.
When I left home, I moved into a very rural area, right out in the sticks, on the outskirts of Newbury. I lived on a very grand country estate, which was very picturesque and had been around for hundreds of years. The countryside around was as beautiful as the Lancashire countryside.
Currently I live in London. I have lived in several different parts of London. I live in an area now that feels fairly safe. There is a large green park at the end of my road. I could not survive in London if it were not for the green parks that are dotted around. Around the corner from my little nest, there are many restaurants and shops. It can be very busy here, especially at the weekend. But it is very quiet for me down here in my little abode.
Do you think of yourself more as an early bird or night owl?
Neither really, not now. I used to be a morning person before I received severe head injuries.
Since my head injuries – mornings are horrible! HORRIBLE! Until my pain-killers kick in, I am a wreck. I mentioned in another post that for a long time I have been able to just take pain killers once a day, first thing in the morning, which I am pleased about.
I do try to set an alarm to get up in the morning and get myself vertical so that the pain eases off. Once I am vertical my brain seems a lot happier.
However, neither am I a night owl. I am normally pretty shattered by the time I reach the little nest after a busy day out and about in London. I long to be in bed of an evening. I love the feeling of slipping into bed and drifting away into sleep.
The only problem is that during the night the pain in my head starts to build up and then I have to face the morning pain again.
So I guess afternoons are my best time now. I probably get the most done during the afternoon whether I am at home or at work. I am pain free and I feel more awake and energetic.
What is your birthstone?
What is a birthstone?
Ooooo-er I am not sure how to answer this as I am not sure what the question means. You are going to have to help me out with this one. I have just read another blogger’s post where they said their birthstone was a ruby. However, they did not explain what that meant. I do like sapphires and diamonds. But that is mainly because I like blue…and sapphires look amazing with diamonds.
Well, I have never given birth…so if we are talking about some kind of milestone for mothers, I don’t qualify for that question.
What’s your favourite season of the year and why?
I love summer because I am very much an outdoors person. So I live more in the summer. I love summer flavours. I love being out in the fresh air in the countryside, soaking up the colours. I love blue skies and lush green foliage and a rainbow of flowers.
What’s a favourite quote that’s really inspired you?
I am a big believer that love should be not just an internal sentiment, but an action!
If you could choose one fantasy world to visit for a day, which one would it be?
I don’t watch or read much fantasy. I enjoy fictional stories, but i like them set in the real world, rather than a fantasy world.
But I mentioned in another post recently that as a child I thought it would be nice to visit the inside of Willy Wanka’s chocolate factory. I thought it would be fun if everything was a delicious sweet to eat.
Nowadays, if I could go anywhere, it would be a part of this amazing planet we live on, which I think is probably far better than anything we could imagine ourselves. I find this planet makes me incredibly excited and inspires within me a huge desire to explore.
I dream of exploring the ocean. I have always been fascinated by the oceans and would love to be able to study the ocean, especially whales. A day would not be enough, rather, I would need many years out at sea.
I am also fascinated by caves. Have you heard of the Chandelier Ballroom in Lechugilla? That would be extraordinary to visit for a day.
How do you like to wind down after a busy day?
If I am on my own, then I just make a snack to eat. I don’t normally cook when it is just me. But my fridge always has salad, home-made hummus, pesto, fresh pasta and home made veggie soups. I always have a variety of different crispbreads in the cupboard. I have avocados too. So it is easy and quick to rustle up a snack for myself. I don’t like having a heavy meal in the evening.
Then I have a shower and head for bed. Often the phone rings and I have to climb out of bed. But it is normally a very welcome call from a friend or family member.
What would your dream job be?
I have always loved working on construction sites. I find ground-works hard going now though. You have to be strong for all the heavy work. When I was younger I loved digging trenches and helping to prepare the footings for a concrete foundation. But just the thought of that right now makes me feel tired! I love roof tiling and plaster-boarding. I love all the work painting and decorating too.
I love working outdoors. I have worked as a gardener and I loved it, but I needed a lot of supervision because I didn’t have much knowledge. I became quite the expert with the drive-on lawn mower. But I would love to have proper training as a gardener, so that I had more confidence.
What I think I would love to do as a job / way of life is mix of caring for animals, cultivating various vegetables and fruit, cleaning, all the aspects of laundry, property maintenance, making my own furniture, cooking and baking with the produce of the harvest and just anything that needed doing. Practical tasks are so satisfying and rewarding. But I would not want to work for a profit, not from a business motive. I would love to play my part in looking after the part of the planet I dwell in, making everything beautiful and caring for it.
Why did you start blogging?
I have been writing long letters and e-mails to friends since I can remember. So I think that letter writing, with a personal touch to people I care about, is a life-long habit.
But it was Stuart who kept on saying I should start blogging. I didn’t know what blogging was at that point. Stuart helped me a lot. More than I think he realizes. This may sound strange, but I moved to this part of London to be nearer to Stuart, but it did not work out. I think timing had a lot to do with it. I still was struggling with men after being attacked. I feel bad, but at the end of the day, I was not the one who pulled out, Stuart was. I wanted it to be him that made me happy to be a woman. But I think at the time it was too much pressure for both of us.
Some time later a friend, who has been blogging for a long time, helped me to set up this site on WordPress. He suggested publishing some of the stories I had of how I have embarrassed myself over the years. He thought “lessons in life” could be the main theme of my site. I think from the start I knew I wanted to write about the events that had crushed me in previous years. But I also felt strongly that it would be exhausting for me and readers if every post was about challenges. I didn’t want anyone to think of Crushed Caramel as depressing, negative laments. I wanted to enjoy blogging and I really wanted others to enjoy what I came up with.
I am really thrilled that the writing prompts and challenges created by other bloggers have given me many opportunities to produce light-hearted fun posts that balance out my site. I feel better about having the occasional post about some of the things that have made me heavy-hearted at times.
What have you enjoyed most about blogging so far?
I think I feel the same as many other bloggers. The support and encouragement from other bloggers has been an unexpected and wonderful surprise. It makes blogging so enjoyable!
Which of your own blog posts would you recommend to new readers first?
My own favourite post is a poem I wrote twenty years ago:
There is a post in my drafts folder that I intend to finish at some point on why everyone says I am a mix between Maria Von Trapp and Bridget Jones.
Although if you have been reading my posts for a while, you may have already figured that out!
My Eleven Questions For My Nominees:
IF YOU AND I WERE GOING TO DANCE TOGETHER – WHAT SONG WOULD IT BE TO?
HAVE YOU MADE ANY CONFESSIONS IN YOUR BLOGGING POSTS ABOUT MOMENTS OF MADNESS IN YOUR LIFE OR TIMES YOU WERE ALMOST IN TROUBLE WITH THE AUTHORITIES? (I know that some of my nominees have shared a long list of their confessions already, so please do pick the most outrageous!)
WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL OR MEMORABLE DISH YOU HAVE EVER EATEN?
ARE THERE CHARACTERS FROM ANY MOVIES OR NOVELS THAT YOUR FRIENDS COMPARE YOU TO?
ARE THERE ANY QUALITIES YOU ADMIRE IN OTHER PEOPLE AND WISH YOU HAD TO A GREATER EXTENT?
HAVE YOU ANY EXPERIENCE OF ACTING, SPEAKING, SINGING OR DANCING ON A STAGE?
APART FROM REMOVING ANY PARTICULAR POLITICIANS, IS THERE ANY ISSUE OR PROBLEM IN THIS WORLD THAT YOU FEEL PASSIONATELY YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE?
IF I WERE TO MAKE YOU YOUR DREAM CAKE – WHAT WOULD THAT CAKE BE?
WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPERS TOMORROW MORNING? (other than than any particular politician being abducted by aliens)
HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN INTERNET ROMANCE OR AN INTERNET CRUSH YOU WERE TO SHY TO CONFESS?
YOU ARE ON MY LIST OF NOMINEES BECAUSE YOU CONSISTENTLY MAKE YOUR POSTS INTERESTING, YOU ARE FULL OF PERSONALITY AND YOU SUPPORT THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY SO MUCH – BUT TELL ME, ARE YOU LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE?
Oh no!!!! That is eleven already! There are more bloggers who should be on my list. I would love to include all the wonderful bloggers who not only produce wonderful posts themselves but also make an enormous contribution to other bloggers by creating writing prompts, challenges and by reading and commenting on the work of so many other bloggers.
Thank you so much all of you. You make blogging an absolute delight!
I have been renominated for another Liebster Award. I am not sure if this is allowed according to the rules…however, it is all fun. So, I am going to gratefully accept the second nomination.
I have copied and pasted the rules outlined in other Liebster Award posts:
Acknowledge the blog who nominated you.
Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked.
Nominate 11 other bloggers.
Ask them 11 questions.
Let them know you have nominated them
So these are the questions anexpatshome raised to all nominees and my answers:
1. If you could invite any 5 people or things to a dinner, who would that be ? And Why (If you feel like answering)
Oooooh five people or things to a dinner. That is difficult….because ideally I would want six places for my parents and my younger sisters and their husbands…we are all very close and they make the best company over dinner. Oh and we would also be needing a high-chair for my niece.
If I am restricted to five…well I was showing Goldfinch a commercial advert for Warburton’s Giant Crumpets the other day…it has the Muppets doing a musical extravaganza. So so funny. Can you imagine having dinner with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Animal?!!! That would be the experience of a life-time! I can imagine the conversation being extremely memorable! Although I really would not want to sit next to Animal.
2. One noble deed that you have done ?
Don’t get me started! Opportunities have thrown themselves at me over the years due to being involved in voluntary projects. Noble is normal for many volunteers. But still some days stand out in my mind…they were just a bit more challenging than a typical day.
I had trained ten young men to be able to work as care assistants working with an older gentleman who had Parkinson’s and associated dementia. He and his wife really wanted a male care assistant. So for six months I provided training and prepared all the paper-work required for his care plan. We had handed his care onto the team of male care assistants who would be co-ordinated by a supervisor.
I was caring for a friend of mine I had known for twenty years. She had cancer pretty much everywhere you can imagine. I stayed with her the night before she died and then passed over to a couple of great care assistants who would be there during daylight hours with her. I came back that night. She took her last breaths while we were with her. After the doctor came to issue the death certificate, we washed her and combed her hair and put on the dress she had asked us to. Her husband was distraught, so we did our best to support him. It had happened very quickly. She had been working full-time six weeks before, and the diagnosis has been a big shock.
Then I received a phone-call to say that not one of the ten young men I had trained had come into work. Either they were ill, or their supervisor could not even get hold of them. They were not answering their phones. So after being awake all night and seeing my friend die and trying to be strong for her devastated husband…I had to leave, go and wash thoroughly and go straight to the home of the older gentleman, who was still sitting in his pyjamas when I arrived with his frail wife now very distressed as to why nobody had turned up.
Aaaah sigh! Lots of people do this as part of their job daily. I was not paid a penny though.
3. Which crazy thing that you want to do but you know you can never do it ?
As a teenager I went through a year or two of making my parents nervous. Especially when I had a job working for a record company. I was mixing with some people who were rather bad for me. But the desire to do anything too crazy left me pretty quickly. From the moment I stepped onto a construction site and worked as a volunteer for the first time, all my thoughts were being useful.
I have had fun, I am a shameless karaoke singer, and that has taken me to some interesting places. Wooooh! That will be a future post.
I have loved singing and pretending to be a pop star from an early age…this is me as a little one with my rock-star sunglasses and leather jacket! Any visitors to our family home would receive a performance from me singing at the top of my voice and prancing around the living room. It is something I have not ever really grown out of. The word KARAOKE is something that captures my attention and fills me with enthusiasm and I have ended up singing in front of hundreds of holiday makers who were cheering me on and calling for more. (Or them cheering me on may have been in my head…!)
Don’t misunderstand…it’s not that I can actually sing…I just love the fun of it…having no nerves is a great asset when it comes to karaoke…you don’t actually need to be able to hold a tune. Just go for it! Shamelessly! People love a karaoke singer who cannot really sing – you know like Cameron Diaz in that film…I forget which film it was…but you get the idea.
Other than that…something crazy that I can never actually do? I could say “fly”…so many of us would love to have the sensation of flying on our own through the clouds. Or wouldn’t it be great to fly just to be able to beat traffic!
4. Your Favourite top 3 movies ?
If you came round to our home when my family and I were watching “The Sound Of Music”…you might end up quite traumatised. We all know the lyrics to the entire score off by heart and would be belting the songs out at the top of our voices!
I make no apologies for my choice of movies!
5. If you could have your own start-up business, what would that be ?
If I was going to be starting up a business I would have to have a partner. You see I have no extraordinary talents myself, except for admin skills and accounts skills. I am bit of a “jack of all trades, master at none”…so I would need someone who had a real talent, or skill, or USP.
Meanwhile I would look after all of the paper work and everything office related. I am hyper-organized. If anything stays still for more than two minutes, I either file it, or just put it into numerical or alphabetical order. I don’t procrastinate, I plough through heaps of administrative tasks.
But on my own, there is nothing I could make a business out of. Perhaps cleaning.
6. Music Lover or Food Lover or both?
Both I guess. Both can be very wonderful aspects of life. But both I limit my indulgence with.
Years ago, when I worked for the record company, I became a bit obsessive about music – it was Britpop back then. I bought many albums, I saw many bands play live, I listened to their music for hour upon hour…even at night, I would go to sleep with headphones on listening to music.
Not healthy! Now my music tastes are varied, and I still enjoy music. But I would never let my enjoyment of music take over like it did when I was a teenager. I don’t really become a fan of one artist or band. I can like their song, but often the moment they open their mouths at an interview, I feel disappointed in them.
Food – yes I love it without doubt, but again…I am trying to keep my love of food at bay. I am trying to eat smaller portions and go for healthier options. But I enjoy food very much…I love trying new dishes. I love having dinner with friends and family. For some reason I don’t feel as close to the friends I have not eaten with. It’s strange isn’t it. For some reason, eating together forges bonds.
But I keep telling myself: “Once On The Lips…Forever On The Hips”!
7. One habit that you would love to get rid of ? OR One habit that you would like to develop ?
Hmm…my sisters and I were competitive swimmers for years. I love swimming. Being in a pool feels wonderful to me…peace, calm, happy place…and then as I swim up and down for an hour or two I feel adrenaline and power rushing through my limbs. I am finding it hard with my current schedule to go regularly though. The habit I would like to make a regular feature of my life is to go swimming at least once a week.
8. What would you prefer? Going back in time and changing something or going ahead in time and exploring your future?
In my case, definitely going back in time. I would never have gone to the park on my own that night.
But I think I would have gone back further in time. I still remember the first time I really came into contact with the man who would later become my flat-mate, the man who crushed Caramel. He joined me and a group of friends for breakfast. He sat opposite me. If I could go back to that moment, I think I would have swapped seats with someone, or just walked out so that he did not have chance to dwell on me.
9. Dream Vacation ?
After we have finished building a boat, Goldfinch and I set sail away into the deep blue. We would travel to every port and harbour and we would meet the people who lived locally, taste their cuisine, dance to their music, and explore their culture. We would visit every land on the planet. There would also be plenty of swimming and diving when we were out a sea. We would walk hand in hand along many beaches watching the magnificent sunsets. There would be no such thing as passports and visas. Just love!!!
10. Favourite songs (Top 3) ?
Oh that is hard!!! I am loving classical music at the moment. I don’t think I could ever tire of some of the pieces on my classical playlist…I like lots of different styles of music, but you cannot really compare. So I will tell you my three favourite classical arias followed by my three favourite songs from more popular genres:
The three classical arias above are beyond comparison with my other favourites. They need no introduction or explanation…they are utterly gorgeous! I am ready to hold my hands up and admit, there is music…and then there is MUSIC. I love variety though. If I listened to classical music all day it would drive me crazy!
So these are my three favourite songs from more popular music genres:
Sleeper – What Do I Do Now? (This is my go-to song for rainy days…when I have a little heart-break and I need a bit of light rock music to diffuse my distress.) If rock is not your thing, don’t worry, but the lyrics of this song still make me smile (“Tore up all your photos, didn’t feel too clever, spent the whole of Sunday, sticking you together” – favourite lines!)
The quality of this video is really poor…I found a better one, but it would not let me copy the link. There must be better quality videos out there?
The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody (You might be rolling your eyes at me! The thing is, this song is one of the first songs I remember hearing as a child and being really moved by…I fell deeply in love with the words and the music. It has been over-played, and even I have to make sure I only listen to it every now and then. But it still moves me to tears! I can’t post a version of The Righteous Brothers singing it…even though I love every single second of their recording. We will have to be content with the Sam Cooke.
Cyndi Lauper – I Drove All Night (This brings back many memories of working with an amazing group of house-keepers. Sometimes there would be a little singing and dancing during a lunch-break. I remember this song because all the girls loved it and we have all been singing together with fake microphones. So much fun! Happy memories!!!)
DON’T WORRY – I AM NOT PLANNING ON STARTING A MUSIC BLOG – I KNOW HOW MUCH MUSIC TASTES DIFFER…I MAY HAVE SERIOUSLY LOST YOUR RESPECT AT THIS POINT…IF YOU WERE NOT ALREADY HORRIFIED BY MY TASTE IN MOVIES!
11. Have you ever been on a vacation, alone ?
Once I turned up at a campsite with my huge back pack and tent. I had caught the train because there is a direct train all the way from London to the area we were visiting. The friends who were supposed to be meeting me there for a weekend of camping and BBQ were nowhere to be seen. I didn’t have any mobile phone signal. I pitched up my tent and just hoped they would arrive. It was such a weird feeling, and I was a bit frightened. Anyway I just sunbathed and read a book and slept and then showered and sunbathed some more and read some more and then went home.
As soon as I was within signal range, I saw all these text messages arrive in my inbox. They had been stuck in a nightmare traffic-jam on the motorway. They were less than twenty minutes from home when the traffic came to a standstill, because of a massive pile-up ahead. They were stuck there for eight hours! They had been trying to contact me but without signal, I was completely unaware of what was going on. Once they were finally able to exit the motorway, they decided it was best to go home rather than drive for several hours and arrive at the campsite in the middle of the night. They made the right call, to be sure. But it was too weird camping all on my own wondering what had happened to my friends.
Most of my vacations have been with a gang of friends. The last family holiday we had, when I was 17, there were more than forty of us who went together.
Since then I tend to go on holiday with a group of around ten friends. I have had some very interesting holidays, I will relate some of the opportunities we have had…look out for my post about our holiday in Sweden. I had more fun there than anywhere else I have visited.
Which brings me to my eleven nominees. I had previously nominated eleven bloggers I had recently discovered. I now feel that if I have been nominated twice within a couple of days, I am not worried about nominating bloggers who are clearly more experienced than I and may have been nominated for a Liebster on previous occasions:
My eleven nominees I have chosen because right from the start they were there in the Daily Post Provisions, Community Pool and First Fridays – supporting newbie bloggers and giving out great tips. I was so very glad and grateful for the advice and encouragement I read in their comments (sometimes to other bloggers). I think I would have given up long ago if it was not for that positive feedback and some help in how to make my site a bit more appealing.
They all have fantastic posts on their own sites, so you are very wise to take a look at what they have published.
My questions to my eleven nominees are:
HOW MANY LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK? AND WHICH LANGUAGES?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TIPPLE?
DID YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL (IF YOU ARE HISTORIANRUBY – DID YOU HAVE A SECOND FAVOURITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL?)
DO YOU EVER FEEL DISCOURAGED ABOUT BLOGGING? WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?
WHAT IS YOUR OWN FAVOURITE POST FROM YOUR SITE OR THE ONE YOU WOULD RECOMMEND READERS CHECK OUT FIRST?
DO YOU ENJOY CAMPING OUT IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS?
DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING OR WATCHING SPORT? IF SO, WHICH SPORTS?
DO YOUR FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOG SITE?
WHAT IS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MEMORY OR EXPERIENCE?
WILL BLOGGING EVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT THE DAILY POST PROVISIONS?
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE PERFECT DAY – WHERE WOULD IT BE? WHO WOULD YOU BE WITH? WHAT WOULD YOU EAT? (That is several questions rolled into one – but we would love to know what would make a perfect day to you.
If you have already been nominated for this award many times before or don’t have time to take it up…do not you worry. This is my way of saying, I love your posts, and appreciate the support, advice and encouragement you have given to me.
Hope you have fun with this…I think that is what it is supposed to be…a bit of fun and encouragement to other bloggers.
I wish you all every success with your own blogging and I hope you can have fun with the Liebster Award.