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

Wish Upon A Leaf

CARAMEL'S CORNER

This week I am reviewing one of my favourite books written by Teresa Grabs, who many of us know as The Haunted Wordsmith, but has now created The Word Cubby. I own five of Teresa’s books and I have shared a couple of them with the younger ones in my family. I like all of Teresa’s stories, but especially her young reader books.

Wish Upon A Leaf” is ideal for readers aged 9-12 years old. But I loved it. It is a truly heartwarming story. Very early on in the book, I became very fond of the three children, Timothy, Sarah and Edward, who are the main characters in this book, and the more their character were developed the more I wished for them to have a happy ending.

I love the way Teresa builds a vivid picture of the world surrounding the children. I also grew to like the adult characters in the story who were are concerned for the children’s welfare.

Person, Human, Child, Girl, Hat, Book

Even though it is a long time since I was a 9-12 years of age, I found the story held my attention from start to finish and firmly tugged on my heart strings. My nieces and nephews absolutely loved this story.

My own parents were concerned with the content of the books I read, so I think that authors seeking to craft a book that will appeal to children, they ought to be aware that responsible parents/guardians may wish to vet books before their children read them.

I think Teresa has done a fantastic job of crafting a delightful story which will touch young hearts and leave them with an uplifting message. I would be very happy to recommend the story to any of my friends who have children as I think they will fall in love with Timothy, Sarah and Edward, just as I did.

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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

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Permission To Promote

ready for rhtaLittle by little I have been scrutinising and correcting the three novels in my LEARNERS AT LOVE series. I have lost track of how many times I have updated the manuscripts of each book. I am so pleased with them. I loved carefully reading Annabelle’s story again. I read part of the third book on the train journey up north, and Jack laughed at me when he saw tears trickling down my face. But it is emotional! I love the way Book Three developed.

Now that I am happier with the three books, I am going to start promoting them more. I have told my family that now I am happier with them, they can tell their friends about them. I am going to get some Vista-cards printed advertising them and I am going to visit local independent book shops and local libraries. Jack has given me lots of ideas. He also now has permission to promote them,, but subtly. I don’t want them on his social media pages, but I said he can mention the books to people he knows, but only when it is appropriate.

He said people might want to buy the books as gifts in coming months. I must say, I do find that exciting. We have so many friends who love reading and the thought of them reading Annabelle’s story sends flutters into my heart.

Books Block

I love the characters, I have been living with them in my head for eighteen months already. I love Annabelle, but I also love Chris, Dean and Robin. I love Burt and Pearl. I love Gina. I love Ralph. I love Stephen and Fiona. I love Maggie and Angharad. All of my friends who have read the books so far come back to me and tell me who their favourite characters were (most love Dean Mathers!) and what they thought of twists and turns in the storyline. I love receiving feedback. It makes something that was very personal something I can share with people I love.

Managing The Depression Puzzle

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Today I am going to review one of the most impressive books written by a blogger whom I respect immensely. Of all the books written by WordPress bloggers that I have bought and read, “Managing The Depression Puzzle” written by Ashley Peterson, the creator of Mental Health @ Home, is one of the most useful and valuable.

I have to read a lot of health related material in connection with my role within the NHS. As well as having relatives and friends with mental health challenges I also have had a taste of trauma, despair and intense emotions after some of my own experiences. Here is a quote from the World Health Organisation on the subject of mental health:

“Mental disorders afflict hundreds of millions of people in every part of the world and impact on the lives of their loved ones. One in four people will be affected by mental disorder at some point in their lives.

Depression is the single largest contributor to worldwide disability. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are among the most severe and disabling disorders.

Although huge numbers of people are affected, mental disorders remain hidden, neglected and discriminated against.”

World Health Organization (WHO).

It is my belief that some people are still frightened about the subject of our mental health, even though all people, people of all ages and cultures, should be aware of what can impact both their physical, emotional and mental health. The value of a health professional like Ashley Peterson writing articles on WordPress about mental health and producing comprehensive books is highly appreciated.

Ashley has already published three books and I bought and read all three in fascination. I am reviewing “Managing The Depression Puzzle” because it is so fresh in my mind.

The most important thing I wanted to mention to you is that right from the start I love the tone of this book. I felt as if Ashley was an experienced guide and was holding my hand and reassuring me, as she explained all sorts of facets of a mental health diagnosis and the array of potential treatments to aid recovery. As I mentioned above, there is still so much fear as well as stigma about mental health. So to read this book and to feel as if I was not on my own, but Ashley’s calm and wise voice was going over things step by step, and at a pace that was comfortable to read was very helpful.

Student, Typing, Keyboard, Text, Startup

Ashley clearly knows her subject. Her professional experience shines through from start to finish. She has been careful to cite her resources which makes her work even more authoritative and authentic. But if you know anything about Ashley, you will know she has been there, and she has the T-Shirt! Yes, one of the most significant factors in reducing fear and providing reassurance is the way Ashley candidly mentions her own experience throughout her book.

I mentioned earlier that I have had some challenges myself, and at times it was irritating when people told me what I should do to “get-over” it and move on with life. I have started reading some mental health resources and given up quickly because they were so unrelatable and frankly provoking.

But I did not feel this way at all when I read Ashley’s “Managing The Depression Puzzle“. I never felt patronised or pressured towards one treatment option. Ashley dignifies her readers in presenting clear information and allowing them to determine how useful it is to them. I especially appreciated that, because decisions on medications, therapies and matters like spirituality may be deeply personal. Whoever you are, whatever makes you “you”, Ashley communicates a respect for you being the one who is equipped to make decisions.

Communicate, Brainstorm, Logo, Face

She is careful not to endorse on the basis of what has worked for her, explaining how different we all are, and that what may work for one person may not work for another. But in providing information on a wide range of treatment options, from medications and therapies, from physical factors such as nutrition, exercise and sleep to perhaps more emotional factors such as pleasurable activity, creativity and spirituality, Ashley looks holistically at all of the aspects that can add up to make a significant difference to any of us who are aware we need to address mental health challenges that are impacting negatively on our enjoyment and satisfaction in life.

This book is excellent for anyone who has experienced any form of depression or another diagnosed mental health condition. I think it a great aid for those working within a medical field. However, even if you have not (or perhaps we should say not yet) had to avail yourself of professional assistance to support your mental health, a very large section of Ashley’s book still of great benefit. I say this because all of us have good days and bad days, all of us find it hard to maintain balance. So in the process of detailing and discussing all of the factors that can make a difference to our mental health, Ashley has shone light on how all of us can be aware of how becoming unbalanced, or neglecting some of the factors that make you “you” and me “me” overtime, can be detrimental to us.

We live in a world that is changing rapidly. Perhaps so far, your life has been relatively calm. But what if your stress levels began to increase and your mental health began to suffer? The last few chapters of “Managing The Depression Puzzle” deal with some of the frightening challenges that may come along with a mental health crisis. Yet again, Ashley provides tremendously reassuring practical suggestions that indicate that even if your darkest fears came descended before you, there is so much help available.

One of the most helpful aids to managing your own depression puzzle or mental health challenges is somebody who knows what they are talking about. Not only have they studied the subject inside and out, but they have also experienced what it is like to go through a mental health crisis and to try different treatment options to aid their recovery.

Ashley Peterson is an absolute treasure! Through her writing she is making an invaluable contribution to mental health resources. I am sure that not only will you be impressed by her in-depth knowledge, but also you will find that in candidly sharing so much of herself, she provided reassurance and that feeling that you are not alone in the sometimes frightening field of mental health.

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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

Let.Love.Speak – Book 2

CARAMEL'S CORNER

I have purchased several poetry books written by WordPress bloggers, including one by Maria Velazco, the creator of Let.Love.Speak. This review is of “Let.Love.Speak. – Book 2“, although I believe that there is also a Book 1 and a Book 3 also available on Amazon.

When I look at my WordPress Reader, I see other bloggers publishing poetry regularly, some of them publish a haiku or a poem every day. Different poets have different styles and use varying themes for inspiration. But reading a collection of poems by one writer is a more personal experience. As I read the poems in Maria’s compilation, I began to wonder more about the poet. Each poem feels like a little glimpse into the heart.

What I have learnt from reading poetry books, is that I cannot read the whole book from cover to cover in one sitting. That would be like sitting down to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one sitting.

Camera, Book, Candle, Read, Cozy, BedSo instead, with the poetry books I have bought, I have developed the habit of reading one or two poems before I drift off to sleep at night. Some of Maria’s poems were a very pleasant way to end a day, sending my mind twirling, whirling around her verses and weaving them into memories they brought back to my mind. Some of her poems seem like earnest prayers, and having them dance around my mind was a sweet way to fall asleep.

Reading Maria’s slightly longer poems was a lovely experience. I wanted to languish in the romance of many of them. Poems which pack in so much feeling, so much yearning, cannot fail to stir in the reader memories of the marks on their own heart, past and present.

I like that a considerable number of the poems in this book are short yet complete. Each with a different beat or rhythm. There is no unneccessary fussing. Each short poem captures a delicate bubble before it bursts. Each verse catches the wave just before it crashes. What I am trying to say is that the shorter poems pique your interest as they register with you…but Maria does not force a conclusion. She has an enigmatic tendency to leave you as the reader feeling that after picking up the refrain, you could then add the finishing line.

I enjoyed Maria’s poems. I enjoyed the themes she wrote about. I found it an absolute pleasure to take my time over her delightful poetry. I look forward to her new posts arriving in my WordPress Reader and I am very glad I bought a compilation of her poems.

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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

Climbing Over Grit

 

Today, I am going to share with you my proper first book review. (Yikes!) I am reviewing books written by WordPress bloggers, which I have bought and read. The first book I have chosen to write a review of is one that many of you will recognise. “Climbing Over Grit” is a book that I discovered because I was following the posts by Laleh Chini, the creator of A Voice from Iran.

It’s been some time since I read this deeply moving account based on the real life experiences of Laleh Chini’s own mother. Laleh wrote “Climbing Over Grit” along with her own daughter Abnoos, and in many ways I am glad they could work on it together. It must have been a very emotional process to record this harrowing real life tale.

The first few chapters were rich in details, presented through the eyes of a child, that helped to paint a fascinating picture of the world Najma (Laleh’s mother) grows up in. Despite having the natural love a child has for their parents, Najma is candid about the aspects of their characters which would have caused challenges to the young children. As an adult reader, I found the tendency to judge was easily provoked in me. I wanted to scoop up Najma and her siblings and for them to be a part of my own family, especially as I knew what was coming.

But then came the moment I had been dreading reading about. I knew beforehand that the story features the real life accounts of child brides in forced marriages. Many of my friends and relatives have worked out in lands where they have been distressed at seeing young girls married at a very young age, often by their parents seeking economic survival. So reading about Najma’s experiences left me with tears trickling down my face. This is why so many organisations are trying to empower women in various lands so they can access education and they are not subjected to abuse.

However, the more I read, the strength and resilience of clearly a remarkable woman shone through. I don’t want to risk dropping any spoilers because this is so definitely a book I recommend, but anybody with a heart who reads “Climbing Over Grit” is going to be deeply moved by this story, especially when you realize how incredibly personal it is to the authors. There are are real life characters that you will want to be able to protect and fight for. In fact I wanted to know more about what became of some of the characters I was anxious about.

sarjytWhy would I recommend “Climbing Over Grit“? For a start, it is an education in itself. If you have grown up in a land where you were guaranteed an education that likely lasted into your late teens and were allowed to choose your own romantic interests, and decide who to marry, it may seem hard to grasp the very different world that Najma grows up in. This real life story shows the reality of what many child brides endure even now. I also think that a stark light is shone on abuse in general, and how it is allowed to be perpetuated for so long.

In many ways I hope that after reading this story, you will care more than ever about the welfare of young women in lands where forced marriages occur and the right to education is not protected.

I also think this story is a profound example of how a human can endure and grow stronger despite crushing circumstances. As much as I was weeping to think of what Najma experienced, I also fell a swell of pride with each of her personal victories. I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but I will say to be prepared (preferably with Kleenex and plenty of chocolate) for an emotional rollercoaster.

As well as employing vivid descriptions to help readers envision Najma’s world, Laleh Chini and her daughter Abnoos have very courageously provided an unsettling personal account that highlights astonishing endurance but also shows how a damaging cycle was perpetuated. The record they have published is a great asset providing insight into why many millions of women around the world need better protection.

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This is the first of my book reviews. I have more scheduled to be published.

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

 

Why We Read

Take, The Book, Girls, The Study

We read because sometimes this world stifles our ability to dream. So we pick up books and allow the writer to teach us what it is to dream, to imagine, to conjure up scenes where anything is possible and nothing is predictable. We read because we hunger for a break from the monotony, we long for dramatic twists and an inspirational ending. We read because we know that the hum drum is not what we were made for. We were made to live with gusto, to thrive and to exhilarate. We read for the sake of the reminder that the grey crusty routine is temporary and that all mankind are craving that day when real life becomes those repressed dreams.

Until then…we read.

We read to dream.

 

 

 

 

 

And…sometimes we read because we have a ton of NHS guidelines to wade through on the one day off we have each week.

What Has Caramel Been Reading?

Well, I don’t usually write about the books I am reading or plan to read, but I will today in order to be able to respond to the lovely writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore.

These three are next on my list:

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Two of them are books created by bloggers within our fabulous blogging community.

The book in the middle Skelly’s Square (Part of The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles) was written by “Stephen Black”, the main man behind Fractured Faith Blog. I am really looking forward to reading Stephen’s book.

My most recent purchase was “Zion”, written by Ash Digest, who you might recognize by her blogging name rue202, the creator of Racheal’s Novels. I love reading her creative posts published on WordPress and I am very excited to have a copy of her book.

plodding.jpgAs for the other book on the left hand side of the photo, it is one of five books I picked up when I was out in Australia. Goldfinch and I went to an art sale at a local high school. I picked up five books from the book sale they had in one of the classrooms. They were five books that I didn’t expect I was going to enjoy. When it comes to fiction, I usually only read books written at least one hundred years ago. Probably 80-90% of my reading material is non-fiction. I love to learn about history, physics, and I am fascinated by travel books, especially from those who have lived in different countries, not just hopped off a cruise ship. I used to read a lot of medical related material, but I have had a year long break from anything health related. I hardly look at modern novels. But since I have bought the books written by other bloggers I have started to become more willing to try modern novels. I am a bit picky.

These three I have already read since I came back from Australia:

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Now, I don’t want to turn into a book critic. At the moment I am working on my first long fictional story and it is so much harder than I imagined, even though I am enjoying it. So I would hate to knock anther writer after all the effort they have put into their work.

I will say this though. I ended up loving the middle book “The Things We Do For Love” by Roisin Meaney. She weaved together the lives of so many characters and gradually the mist clears and you see the connections. I thought it was so clever. I reached the end of the book and just wanted it to carry on for another ten chapters. By that stage, I had become so engrossed with her style that I think I would have been happy for Roisin Meaney to grace my life every day!

reads.jpgThe other two books have one female who is the main character in the story. Both books felt like a Cameron Diaz movie. Now I will admit I did not warm to the main character in “Cure For The Common Break Up” by Beth Hendrick. It was a fun book. But it didn’t touch me, not at all. Even when a few layers are peeled back and you learn more about the main character, I still did not become fond of her. However, I did like the main male character. He actually sounded pretty perfect. I will say this though: after reading Beth Hendrick’s book, I thought to myself, I could write this kind of stuff. But now I know, it is not an easy task at all. Beth’s writing is really fun to read, I just did not feel any connection to the main character in this particular story.

curled upWhereas I was surprised at what happened to me while reading “Abby Road” by Ophelia London. For the first few chapters I was convinced I was not going to like the book, because I could not warm to the main character again. However, something changed, just past halfway point. She really grew on me. The more I understood her, the more I wanted her to have a happy ending. In fact I was so worried about her that I had to read the last chapter three times to convince myself that it was alright to put the book down and move on to my next book. So although, I almost gave up after the first few chapters, I ended up really really enjoying the book overall.

These are some of the other books I have already read this year, all from bloggers who you are probably familiar with:

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The three top books were all written by Teresa Grabs, I had another of her books, but I think I lent to a friend, so I don’t have a photo of it. Teresa has been known to us as The Haunted Wordsmith, but sadly she closed down her WordPress account after the plagiarising scandal involving Tygress recently. I was really grieved because Teresa has been a massive support and encouragement for so long, and she is a very talented and productive writer. Well, although she might not be blogging on WordPress at the moment, I am hoping very much that she continues writing. I will be buying her books whenever she releases them.

I loved “Climbing Over Grit”, a very moving story based on the real life of the mother of beautiful Laleh Chini, the creator of A Voice from Iran. I think the success Laleh has had with her book is testament to her writing and this account really grabbed my attention and touched me deeply.

Newbury2I used to live near a town named Newbury out in Berkshire. The writer of “Preposterous Tales From The Newbury Short Story Teller” is Martin Strike, creator of The Newbury Short Story Teller. Martin has published a brilliant book with tales of the peculiar kind of folk you might cross paths with if you spent time in Newbury. I loved it because it took me back to my life in Newbury. I found myself having lots of chuckles and a good amount of belly-rumbling outbursts of laughter. Great book. Great characters. Such fun!

I have recently purchased a paperback copy of:

Psych Meds Made Simple: How & Why They Do What They Do

“Psych Meds Made Simple” by Ashley Peterson, the creator of Mental Health @ Home, is a book I am planning to take to work with me, because..I have made a few changes in my life recently so that I can spend more time in Wales. One of those changes means that I will be doing bank work. I will be able to say yes or no to work offered to me by agencies. Yes, I am dipping my feet back into healthcare after a whole year away from it. I ordered Ashley’s book through Amazon, but I am still waiting for it to arrive.

Now, if you are a writer, and you are wondering why I have not yet bought your book, it is probably for one of two reasons:

  • either I don’t know anything about your book(s), it has escaped my notice that you have published something we can buy, or
  • your book is not (yet) available in paperback. I can’t figure out how to read Kindle versions on my lap-top. It has been explained to me but I am a technophobe, and I read when I am trekking all over London, so I need paperbacks I am afraid.

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This was my post in response to the writing prompt from

Writing Prompt #33

The Glittering Cadie Mclendon Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I know this might sound a bit daft, but I was so impressed the first time I flew in an aeroplane and realized that above the thick grey clouds the sun was shining!

So it is with moi – currently a thick cloud of sadness about Goldfinch is hovering…but I promise you the sunshine is still there.

Cadie Mclendon the creator of Cadie’s Corner has nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award. You might not think I am particularly sunshiny at the moment – well, I am not, I am gloomy. A heavy cloud has lingered on my heart. But Cadie kindly nominated me before I started publishing heaps of posts about my sad goodbye with Goldfinch as you can see in her post below:

Sunshine Blogger Award

A reminder of the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them – THANK YOU CADIE!
  • 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 on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Cadie’s Questions For Her Nominees:

How old are you?

Next summer I will turn 2,179 years old. Only a baby really!  I have to say for my age, I look amazing!

I think it’s due to the amazing genes from my parents, being vegetarian, and doing a jiggy kind of work-out (all of my own design) each afternoon.

What are you currently reading?

I am very glad you asked!

I have bought a few books that were written by some of my favourite bloggers during the past few months. I think it is a great way to support the talented writers amongst the blogging community.

I wrote about this recently in fact:

One of my favourites is Teresa Grabs aka The Haunted Wordsmith who has recently published a novel named “Reflected Echo”.

I have enjoyed her previous books which were full of shorter flash fiction pieces. But, it is great to be reading Teresa’s full length story.

What is your biggest turn off?

I am guessing you mean with regards to men? A couple of my friends like the BBC show “The Apprentice”. When I have watched it with them, I see exactly the kind of man that would make me cringe. The behaviour in that show is horrid to witness. It’s like watching the a nightmare result of “the education system”, oh yes, that’s the system I rejected so that I could become a volunteer. The contestants are all: money money money…profit profit profit! It makes me feel sick.

I can’t bear a man who wants to be Sir Alan Sugar’s next business partner and talks about how brilliant he is (himself, not Sir Alan Sugar) and talks about wasting money on parties and flash cars. A man who tells me how expensive his watch is and how much it cost to have his suits made and his luxury holidays in exclusive holiday resorts.

It makes me feel sick, because I have spent most of my life working on an unpaid basis for charities. I like someone with a good work ethic, but not to enrich himself and win glory for himself. The kind of man that wastes money on bling and pampering himself is the complete polar opposite to the kind of man I would adore and respect.

window cleanerI love humble, honest and hard-working – and down to earth. I love a man who is kind and mild. A man who is reliable and responsible and is willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them. I love a man who is noble and gregarious.

Oh – I have just described my Dad!

Which do you prefer: chocolate or fruit flavoured candies?

I love fruit, especially in the summer, but I don’t always enjoy artificial fruit flavourings as much as I would hope to. So I am going to say chocolate…dark chocolate. But I like my chocolate to come with something, peanut-butter, raspberries, ginger, chilli…

However I do prefer caramel to chocolate – everyone knew that though didn’t they???

Who is your favourite person?

I always feel a bit bad picking favourites.

I love my family so much – every single member!

But I have a special affinity to my youngest sister Milly. I have always been extremely fond of her. We shared a bedroom and I used to help her with her reading and cheer her up whenever she was anxious. She learnt sign language from watching me and other interpreters, and has gone on to be an excellent interpreter. When she married her husband, she became incredibly practical and dynamic. I am so proud of her since she has become a mother. She is wonderful:

IMG_20180812_130703 (2)Outside of my family, Goldfinch is my favourite person on the planet!

But I have some very wonderful and inspirational friends. As I said, it is really hard to pick favourites!

What is your favourite blog post that you’ve written and why?

My favourite post is:

RiverSimply because I am not very good at poetry. I wrote this poem twenty years ago and I have been fond of it ever since. It expressed something deep inside of me that needed to escape. I am so thrilled that I expressed it in the form of a poem!

I don’t think I will ever be able to express my feelings in poetry again like that. So I am glad I did it once.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hmm. A question that stirs my thoughts I will admit.

I want to go back to my home and career. But that goal seems like climbing Mount Everest. Well, climbing it for the second time, because it took me years to qualify originally. I need to have virtually perfect health to qualify to be an international volunteer again. They have been very patient with me. But my head injuries are still causing me problems. But other than that – I do not have any goal. There is nothing else I want for myself. There are lots of things I would want for other people. But for myself, I don’t have a wish-list.

I don’t dwell on the thought…but I don’t take it for granted that I will be alive in ten years time. I don’t have an agenda. I just try to make sure everyday counts. I live my life the way I would if I was going to live forever. I try to make sure I contribute to what I want for this earth and my fellow human family. Be kind, be good, be loving. Don’t have any regrets and don’t have any enemies (that’s why I need to sort things out with Jack).

What is your favourite meal?

I love variety. I can never pick one favourite. I love food. I have been called a foodie by many of my friends, but I am not sure I am deserving of that epitaph.

Probably, my “go-to” meal of sure pleasure is a vegetarian lasagne or cannelloni – with salad and garlic bread.

I enjoy a bit of everything…sometimes traditional dishes, from a vegetarian roast dinner to a baked potato. I also love Persian, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Thai dishes…I love something completely new to my taste-buds. One of my favourite discoveries from Ghana was peanut butter soup – wow! And I can’t resist a yummy pudding!

What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?

I have just had to google “Myers-Briggs” because I was not sure what it was. I have no idea. Looking at the descriptions…I think I might possibly be ESFJ or ESFP??? The description for both sound familiar. I do remember vaguely a friend getting me to answer a long list of questions, and after totting up the results, she told me I am an entertainer…crossed with something else?

The description of an ESFJ here is interesting…I will say this, I don’t feel any kinship to the Pope, Whitney, Elton or Barbara Walters! Yikes! But I have had all the jobs listed. The characteristics are true of me too.

But looking at the description of an ESPF, there are many things that tick the “me” boxes in this description also.

I think the big difference is the rules thing. I don’t mind rules. I don’t mind an established set of values, standards, ethics. I think without rules, things get really crazy, with everyone setting their own standards. It is a big security factor for me.

Hmm…I think I am one of the above, but I am not sure which. On other personality tests I have done over the years, I am always on the scale around helping or giving to other people / entertaining other people. Apparently, I like to make sure everyone is alright, and I also tend to perform and make sure everyone is enjoying things along the way. I like to keep people happy. However, I am not necessarily a people-pleaser, because I stick to my principles and don’t follow the crowd. I stay within the realms of what I feel is right and avoid offending people. After all, I love people.

I know I am not a leader, I am a supporter. If someone has an idea, I am good at working hard to make it happen. Goldfinch says I am a bear – as in a worker. I am also a very big communicator – probably too much. I like feedback – I thrive on someone saying “Well done! Good girl!” and when my conscience tells me that, I glow with joy!

How many pets do you have, what are they and what are their names?

IMG_20181114_165943In my current tenancy agreement, I am not allowed any pets. However, the lady upstairs has goldfish and I feed them whenever she is away. The only little critter who is allowed in my little nest is my glass frog.

When I grew up, we had cats, and over the years I have cared for lots of animals for clients – dogs, ponies, chickens, sheep, cows, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters.

How do you plan what you will write about?

The ideas come rather randomly. But they are normally based on people and events in my life. I am not very good at flash fiction or anything creative like a poem.

Whenever I have an idea for a post, I usually start it and then I work on it little by little when I have chance. Some posts I try to complete quickly as they are from writing prompts. But others might linger in my drafts folder for some time before I manage to bulk them out and polish them over.

I have to work long hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so I have started to schedule posts for those days in advance, and on those days I just try to read other blogger’s posts.

At the moment I am writing a lot about Goldfinch – I think everyone understands why. In the future, I need to write more about Jack – as that is key to the theme of my site “CRUSHED Caramel”. I want to expand the “CUP OF TEA” series which is all about Jack. I want to arrange my site differently too so it is easier to find posts about Jack, posts about Goldfinch and then other subjects.

I want to write a lot more about my family. There are many more special people I want to write about too. I want to write about my teenage sweetheart. I want to write more about the places I have travelled to: Ghana, Texas, France, Belgium, Romania, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Sweden and the experiences we had in those places. I also want to write more about more about England and Wales and especially life in London. I should be taking more photos and telling you more stories about the events I am going to and the projects I work on right here. I want to write more about what I think is really wonderful about life and this planet.

My Eleven Questions For My Nominees:

  1. Do you have any blogging achievements you are pleased with…or a particular post you are really proud of?
  2. Do you like parties?
  3. What are your next door neighbours like? Do you get on with them?
  4. What would be some of the features of your dream wedding? (if not your own then the wedding of a beloved family member or friend perhaps)
  5. What is your favourite food “on toast”?
  6. Do you have any bad driving habits?
  7. What’s the most romantic thing that someone has done for you?
  8. Have you ever been harassed at work?
  9. What kind of food / snacks would you take with you on a picnic?
  10. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
  11. If you were a tourist in England, where would you like to visit?

My Eleven Nominees:

Eleven bursts of sunshine in the blogging world:

Winnie Winnie – Musings