Does Anybody Know?

Do you know what “” means? Is it something I should be worried about?

emailsNow…I rarely check the statistics page that WordPress provide. I find it unhelpful when it comes to me just enjoying what I am doing. But I was working on one of these nomination posts just now, and one of the questions the blogger had asked of me, required me to look at my statistics page to find things out about my blog.

Anyway…I became distracted seeing that two of the referrers to my site were crushedcaramel-wordpress-com.cdn.ampproject….(I could not see the rest because it wouldn’t fit on the page).

Anyway, I clicked it to see where it went. It took me to a white page that is not my WordPress Reader, neither is it my blog (which happens to be a kind of royal blue background. It says Crushed Caramel. It certainly is one of my posts. But it seems to be in a format I have never seen before.

statsI know nothing about technology and the internet…but I wondered if anyone else knows what or why or how this “” is linked to my WordPress post? Have you seen this before? Are any of your referrers similar? Maybe this means nothing to you, or maybe you are one of those techno-genius types and could explain this mysterious anomaly to me.

This is the link / page I clicked on. It has a very different address to the rest of my WordPress posts. And I don’t know…it makes me a little nervous. I am going to bed now…but if anyone does have any helpful explanations, I would be so grateful to you for advising me.


Those Who Hide What They Are

DISGUISES. I was thinking about this theme for a post and I was not sure exactly which direction to go in. So, I thought I would think a little bit about internet security.

When I checked the definition of disguise – it was along the following lines:

“to alter one’s appearance or conceal one’s identity”

incognitoI was thinking about how important anonymity has been to me while I have been blogging on WordPress. I have written about lots of people and events in my personal life. But I do all sorts to maintain my privacy. I change names. I am very obscure about locations. There are all sorts of things I would never share on my blog for security reasons.

In addition, I only feel comfortable talking about my personal life, within the privacy that being incognito brings. That is important to me, and I also seek to protect Jack’s identity.

In a way, I conceal my identity with a disguise. I do so with a clean conscience. I am very security conscious. I have absolutely no intention to mislead of deceive others for sinister reasons.

But that made me think of everything I have read about internet security. There are people who disguise who they are for malicious, sinister reasons. I think that most bloggers are sensible and have that sense of caution with regards to personal information. But I am very conscious that there are some very young bloggers and others who perhaps are a little too trusting.

incognitoI don’t to be gloomy here, or frighten anyone, but I would appeal to anyone blogging and sharing information from their personal life to be careful! Be cautious! There are people, perhaps bloggers, who are disguising themselves, not for security reasons, but for sinister reasons.

It is so easy to find yourself drawn to bloggers who are friendly. Most of that interaction is fine. But please please be careful. The internet can be like a big city. There are lots of people, most of them just enjoying themselves. But others with ill intent. And those who do have sinister motives are usually very very clever at disguising themselves. They might be men pretending to be teenage girls. Or people pretending to be all sorts of things they are not, in order to get your attention and try to win your trust.

caution.pngSomeone might have a sad story and be asking you for money to help them with their problems. They might ask you for personal photographs, or lots of personal questions. They might say they are lonely and that they feel especially drawn to you, that you seem very special.

In fact…maybe I am a tad suspicious, but any stranger who starts telling me I am “special” or giving me an unreasonable amount of flattery – my alarm sensors immediately trigger.

careful3.jpgDisguises are not always bad in themselves. People wear disguises for fun like at fancy dress parties. They wear disguises to remain incognito to protect their privacy. They may seek to maintain their anonymity because they are security conscious. Here on WordPress there are many bloggers who prefer to remain anonymous for all sorts of reasons. They may want to express their creativity or their feelings without others from their “real life” identifying them.

But the worst disguises are those worn by those who pretend to be something they are not in order to deceive, degrade and damage. Some disguises are worn by those with very harmful sinister motives. Some cleverly hide what they are, presenting themselves as something entirely innocent, when the reality is, they are seeking an opportunity to take advantage of someone trusting and vulnerable.

There are some lovely bloggers out there. They are usually very sensible and cautious themselves and are unlikely to ever compromise your security. But please remember that there are some internet users who are basically predators.

Enjoy blogging – but be cautious. Be safe! Remember there are some out there who are very clever at disguising their true motives.



This post was my response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore

Writing Prompt #42

If You Could See My Schedule

bloggging6When I was connected to wifi again after a couple of days out of the loop, I looked at some of the comments I had received on my posts. Comments are on the whole great. I am sure you feel the same way that the vast majority of comments in between bloggers are a huge boost and incentive to keep on writing.

But every now and then, there are “weird” comments. I don’t mean spam – spam is an entirely different kettle of fish. I mean bloggers who you recognise, who seem to have misunderstood the post you have just written and leave a message that indicates they don’t appear to have read it. Or they have read in between the lines and jumped to conclusions perhaps.

bloggingOccasionally I will try to tactfully explain the post. If a reader has no idea of the history behind a post, I can understand that isolated, it could be misunderstood. But other times, I wonder if I am detecting the reader just trying to be a little provocative in their message. I am not going to start feuding with complete strangers. Blogging is supposed to be fun.

One thing that I think is often misunderstood is just how many posts I write well in advance, and then schedule to be published later. I have posts scheduled a month ahead at the moment. I am already thinking scheduling posts for Christmas, when I won’t be around at all, and for some of the other dates when I will be away.

Woman hands typing on laptop keyboard on abstract blurred bokeh of city night light background. Focus in the foreground.In fact I think the majority of posts (perhaps 95%) are written and scheduled. I rarely hit the “PUBLISH” button. Instead, I schedule. This is for a number of reasons. Sometimes, I only have a small window each week, to do any writing at all. I will write between three to ten posts within a two or three hour period. I am very quick nowadays. Some posts take longer. Award posts take ages (I work on them little by little) and so does fiction. But all my personal posts…they are very quick.

Scheduling has other advantages. Because I schedule most of them in advance, I can always go back and check them, editing them before they are launched into the big wide world. Sometimes, I don’t spot grammar gaffes, but I am normally checking that the post was going somewhere and wasn’t pure waffle.

read.pngAlmost everyday, I spend time reading other bloggers work, but I can’t write everyday. I don’t always have the mental energy or peace and quiet to write. But I usually have one or two posts ready to be scheduled, because of the routine that has been working for me for some time now.

My recent posts about me and my ex-flatmate…most of them are written and then scheduled to be published a very short time after I have written them. But some I have written just after he has dropped me home, when I have been bursting with thoughts and feelings, and then I scheduled them to be published a few days later. So, I am sorry if it is all a bit confusing.

Last weekend. I wrote a post while I was waiting for him to pick me up…forgetting the fact that the very next day there was a post scheduled to be published which I had written some days before. I also wrote a post when I reached a wi-fi connection about something that happened the night before. Looking back, I can see how it looks a bit jumbled.

bloggingI think what I am trying to say is, I love scheduling. I am not going to stop using this extremely helpful WordPress function. So if you are confused about timings, if you read a post and think, I thought she was here or there, please stop worrying.

Most of my posts are scheduled to be published at 5.58am, when I am usually still asleep. Lots of posts are published when I am out at work or with friends. I like it that way. I wake up, or arrive home, and see that already my posts have had views, and likes and lovely comments. I don’t expect to see a comment indicating the reader is confused about my exact whereabouts and activities at the time the post is published.

surprisedI will just add this, I am not going to be drawn into anything unpleasant. If someone is leaving increasingly acrid comments on my site, there is only one obvious solution: “goodbye”. There are some marvellous WordPress features that allow me to block comments from readers who seem to have their knickers in a twist for some strange reason. Are we all on the same page now?

Jack and I…we are going to be living. I might write about “stuff”. Some of my posts will be scheduled, some might not be – do not stress about the order of my posts being a bit odd – I DON’T! Why should you?



A Bit More About Blogging

former.pngI 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:

Cost of Blogging — Questions

Does it infringe upon your leisure time?

such funErm…well, I wouldn’t say “infringe”.

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.

relaz.jpgWhen 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.

bloggingWriting 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?

helping arnoldNope. 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?

pjsMy 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?

former.pngSince 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.

curled up on sofaBut 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?

Woman jogging and listening musicSince 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?

annie drinking coffeeThe 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?

weekend nearly overHardly 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.

enjoy.jpgI 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!!!

Suzi’s Saturday Shout Out

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:

Saturday Shout Out – Crushed Caramel

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!

Thank you

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:

Saturday Shout Out

Have fun! Help to brighten up our weekends by making sure your blog is featured in Suzi’s SATURDAY SHOUT OUTS during the grey months ahead!

A Bit About Blogging

Young woman in wellies walk her dogWell, I am with a family member of mine who has been very ill…only they are sleepy tired after a treatment in hospital. I had planned to go for a walk in this beautiful area, but I haven’t brought the right clothes to face the abysmal weather. It was such a snap decision for “him” to drive me up to just north of the midlands and spend a little time with me before bundling me onto a train bound for Wales, I did not pack very well. Both me and the dog are itching to stretch our legs, but dubious about getting a good soaking.

bring.jpgI thought I would spend a little time completing training for work – but I quickly became bored with that. So WordPress has saved me from an afternoon of boredom while my beloved relative sleeps. I am going to have to brave the weather and nip to the shops to make some dinner for everyone later.

I think it was last night when I was trying to read all the posts from other bloggers that I had missed over the weekend (couldn’t read all of them, there were sooooooooooo many!) that I noticed Dr Tanya, the creator of Salted Caramel, had an interesting list of questions in one of her posts. Well, I found them interesting anyway. You can check them out in her post below:

Do you blog to promote your business?

business.jpgThe answer to that question is no.

However, now that we are on the subject, although I also work through employers, I am registered as self-employed. Which I wouldn’t describe as having a business as such. I have experience in painting/decorating, office work, proof-reading, accounts, event-organizing, basic gardening, cooking, laundry and ironing, all aspects of house-keeping, animal care (not child care – kids are scary)…and other kinds of work.

Or is your blog a launching pad for your social life?

The answer to that is definitely no.

blackwood gossipsI have an anonymous blog. Very few of my friends know anything about it, and as for all the people I socialise with, I would be ribbed mercilessly if they saw my blog! Not going to happen!

There is a social aspect to blogging, and it is very pleasant. We are all human (except the robots of course) and it is the people side of blogging that makes it compelling – anyway, that’s what I find.

Does it exist only to complement your Instagram account?

I no longer do Instagram. I used to have an account. I have no interest in ever returning to Instagram. There are only about fifteen photographs on there anyway…flowers, scenic views, cakes I had baked.

Keep SmilingThe last photo I posted, not long before I was attacked, was a yellow rose in Queen Mary’s Garden in Regents Park. That strain of rose is called “Keep Smiling”.

I took that photo around a time when I was swallowed up with despair. But people who loved me were not letting me be negative. They kept on trying to cheer me up. “Keep smiling” were the words I kept on hearing. Since I was a little one I have been told I have a beautiful smile. People kept seeing a tearful me. They were not comfortable with it. They kept on telling me to smile. But I don’t think they realized that putting a brave face on, hiding my despair, was actually quite harmful.

I have been checking “his” Instagram account recently, only to make sure “he” has not posted any of the photos “he” has taken of me, or the two of us together. I have made my feelings very clear about that being an absolute no at the moment.

Is your blog making you real money (if so please let me into your secret)?

No, not a single penny.

readAnd neither am I interested in making money out of this. It’s a hobby, pure and simply. A useful one that helps me to unwind, to process thoughts and feelings and explore a much neglected creative aspect to my personality.

When I started the blog, I knew it was going to be an opportunity for me to write about some tough stuff – hence the name CRUSHED CARAMEL. I had not spoken out properly about what had crushed me. I needed some sort of outlet. This one has been extremely helpful to me.

annie worryingBut I always wanted to make sure there was a balance to my posts. Lots of light-hearted, fun posts and the occasional post about something I found challenging. Because that is life…lots of wonderful, occasional challenges. You don’t have to keep smiling all the time. It is ok to have a few tears and to speak up when you are experiencing hardship. If people don’t allow you that, there is something immature about their emotional health. But balance is something that is it takes some people a very long time to learn.

I enjoy it blogging. It is delightful to be in touch with so many other pleasant bloggers. All the reward is in that friendly interaction. I have learnt a lot from other bloggers about their experiences, how they dealt with their own challenges and I admire that they too are determined to keep balanced. Some of the most honest and courageous mental health bloggers have lots of very positive and fun posts, as well as the occasional really hard to read post.

Are you blogging because you are so adept at this craft that you want to teach it to others?

I have no such noble motives. I am still bumbling along, learning about blogging and formatting, and just trying to keep up with the pace. I wouldn’t deem to teach others, but I have passed on tiny nuggets of advice to others in some of those award posts. Basically my advice is ENJOY THE PARTY. DON’T STRESS ABOUT STATISTICS. BE NICE.

Or are you like me : blogging just due to the urge to write?

I have been writing letters and e-mails since I was a little one. I wouldn’t describe it as an urge, just a life-long habit. It is very natural for me to sit down and write about what I have been thinking, feeling or doing.

Woman hands typing on laptop keyboard on abstract blurred bokeh of city night light background. Focus in the foreground.When I started blogging, a friend helped me post a poem and some short stories (real life experiences of mine) that he thought were funny. But since then I have found I have enjoyed writing and sharing all sorts of other “stuff”. I am pleased I have made a few attempts at fiction too, and some bad poetry.

I am blogging because I am enjoying it. I am enjoying the party. I don’t let it stress me out. And so far 99.9% of bloggers are really nice, so I have continued. If it changes…if a nasty atmosphere developed, or if I wasn’t enjoying the party anymore, I would probably just vanish.

What are your reasons why you put the proverbial blood sweat tears into your blog posts?

carefulI don’t think I do as such. It is natural for me to write personal accounts on the whole. Some of my posts did take enormous effort at the time. When I wrote about what happened with Jack, the events that literally CRUSHED CARAMEL, that was very hard. But that was because I had not yet managed to tell anyone else how I felt about that situation. It was exhausting. But I am so glad I did it! Those posts need editing, they are full of spelling mistakes and terrible grammar, but I feel exhausted at the idea of reading them again.

Sometimes bloggers ask fascinating questions on deep subjects. You may have seen some of the thought provoking questions from Fandango in FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS or from Melanie in SHARE-YOUR-WORLD. I take those questions seriously and the result is often a very long waffley post where I contemplate the question at hand. I like to feel I have “done it justice” so to speak. They do take a lot of effort at times, but I enjoy the chance to contemplate, it’s not a burden.


amazedI hope you can see from my answers to Dr Tanya’s questions that I am blogging simply because I enjoy it. It has not been a burden, neither do I intend to let it become so. I have no great ambitions for my blog.

I don’t know if I will always be able to find time to write and read as much as I have been able to so far. Life is full of twists and turns, circumstances change. But whatever happens, I will say so far blogging has been an absolute pleasure! I had no idea when I started the CRUSHED CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) blog that it would be so much fun.

So thanks a million for making it so much fun! The idea is that Caramel is a sweet addition to the blogging world. So I do hope you enjoy her being around 🙂


I Think I Am Falling In Love

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: