Tag Archives: writing

Blogging Interactions

How do you address those who read the posts you publish on your blog? Some of them may know you in real life, others may be complete strangers. Some of them perhaps randomly stumble across your blog and never return, others stick with you as you stick with them and friendly feelings grow as you share your thoughts/feelings, your creativity and all sorts of other interesting things.

I don’t think I start any of my posts with an adress of any kind. I just start writing, I have seen others start a post with expressions like “Good Morning Friends”…or “Dear Fellow Bloggers”…or “Hello World”. None of these bother me, and in a way they are quite sweet. But the other day, I was tired, and hot and sweaty, and a little grumpy because Jack had left for his flight….and I read a post from a blogger I was following who had started their post with the following:

“Hello Fans”

Photo by Vinu00edcius Caricatte on Pexels.com

…and it really irritated me. Perhaps that is because I have such a massive dislike of “celebrity culture”. Anyway…in my opinion, that is no way to start a blog post.

Not Naturally A Planner

Like many of you, I really enjoy the questions posed in the daily Cyranny’s Quickie posts. Recently, one question caused me quite a lot of reflection about how much I have changed:

Since I was a child I have heard the phrase “have a schedule”, and perhaps I heard it too much, because I came to hate it. For a long long time, I resisted this notion, wanting to be more of a free spirit perhaps.

Yet, I have learnt two things:

  • having some form of schedule is a very wise idea because it helps you to make better use of time (“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.” – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN)
  • be purposeful – which includes being flexible and reasonable as it is often difficult to keep to a rigid schedule when all sorts of things can crop up, but being purposeful means you can adjust to unexpected challenges (“The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft astray.” – ROBERT BURNS)
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Which brings me to my point….I absolutely love the SCHEDULE feature that WordPress offers. It has been something I have depended on for the past few years. I don’t have time on a daily basis to write, so when I do have an hour to myself, I can write five or six posts and schedule them to be published. I also have plenty in my drafts folder than can be scheduled when I am really short on time.

But sometimes, things seem to go wrong with my WordPress SCHEDULE. I tend to publish my posts at the same time each day….only because experienced bloggers have recommended consistency. The time I have chosen is about 90 minutes before my alarm clock goes off. It means than when I turn my alarm clock off, I can have a quick peak at the BBC News headlines, and check on the post that was published on my WordPress site. Normally, 90 minutes after it goes live, there are a handful of “likes” which is always encouraging.

This morning, I had a SCHEDULE failure. The post I had scheduled for today was nowhere to be seen. It turned out to be my fault. There is a big difference between AM and PM – a whole twelve hours! So, I tweaked it and now it will be published tomorrow instead.

How Do They Find The Energy?

My morning commute was rather entertaining this week. Bizarrely, every morning a family with small children boarded the same train as I did and sat in the seats on the other side of the central aisle.

My goodness – children are hilarious aren’t they! I mean – you could not pay for that kind of comedy act. Mum looking harassed, reminding a laidback Dad of where he needed to be, at what time, and at which side of the building….all at the same time as she tried to read a story to her little ones – and she was such a great story reader, packing expression and drama into every sentence.

However, it was the children who stole the show. Their non-stop chatter, perfect comic timing, brutal observations – oh my – it was brilliant.


Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

When I reached the office after my first journey with them, I wrote down some of what I heard. So my delight at seeing them a second and a third time, and being able to listen to the family banter and note down some of the genius remarks from the children – oh it was a little treasure trove of inspiration and I am sure I will be using it in future writing.

But truly, I have no idea how those parents find the energy to accompany those children. I was shattered after a half-hour journey with them.

Could I Have That In Writing Please?

Is it just me – or is it becoming more difficult to communicate through written means? I don’t have any issues with writing….but I seem to find others having difficulty understanding.

There could be so many reasons for that, and I appreciate that if somebody finds reading challenging, then a lengthy email might dismay them.

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

But recently, I have found repeated occasions when somebody has either misread, misunderstood or reacted badly. I sent a very polite and warm email to somebody who worked for a different company asking them to provide some information we needed. The reaction I received was slightly frightening. Maybe that person was just having a bad day.

Hmm…

I guess the challenge for me is that the reading and writing are my preferred method of communicating. I find it easier to make sure the information I convey is accurate. Likewise, I find it much easier to read as a means to learning. Sometimes, when people say something to me, it does not make any sense. If I can read it…I can compensate for any language difficulties.

Hmm…

Times have changed. Half of internal communications seem to be made up of emojis and gifs. I think there is a lot less effort put into written forms of communication – and although there may be some valid reasons for that change – I am actually finding it quite challenging.

The Dog Ate My Homework Sir

I woke up this morning and realized there was no post on my blog. The truth is I had forgotten. There were all sorts of reasons I forgot:

  • It has been another busy weekend
  • I was tired after three exhausting days at paid work
  • I typed out what was supposed to be a quick email but became a very long email last night
  • My period started last night and I started having tummy cramps
  • My sister called me just before I was about to go to sleep
  • Jack wanted to talk about something – something deep

Yes, I know it sounds like I am offering excuses as to why I did not turn in my homework on time. I feel like a rebel at school.

Photo by Almighty Shilref on Pexels.com

I didn’t mind there not being a post on my site, although I generally keep to a daily post nowadays. I was a little annoyed with myself because I have scores of drafts all ready to be published on days when I don’t have time or inspiration to write.

Still let’s relax – here in the UK, it is a Bank Holiday Monday – we are working. But I am happy about that – we are doing what we love. Now it is time for breakfast and coffee, and then we are heading out.

Enjoy your day!

Where Does The Time Go?

I was sort of aware that we were coming to that time…but here we are! The little notification popped up….yes…it is true…

….it is the 4 year anniversary for…

CARAMEL (Learner At love)

How did that happen???

What a journey it has been! In four years there have been so many highlights, including:

  • Lots of SHARE YOUR WORLD posts
  • Lots of those BLOGGING AWARD posts
  • Lots of posts in response to the amazing A GUY CALLED BLOKE’s (Rory) challenges
  • Lots and lots and lots of SONG LYRIC SUNDAY posts
  • Posts in response to picture prompts, word prompts, provocative question prompts and so many other prompts which amazing bloggers host
  • I helped to co-host three GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFFS
  • I published three novels and one poetry book on Amazon – which I never ever ever imagined when I started blogging

…and so much more!

The highlight of blogging has always been the comments, and I feel sad that as demands have multiplied on my time, I have found it harder and harder to respond to the lovely comments from other bloggers.

But what a personal journey this past four years have been. I just want to remind you that this blog started out as CRUSHED CARAMEL. When I started out writing, I was estranged from Jack. We had not spoken for years. Four years later, I am engaged to marry him.

lol – how did that happen?

And of course, I do not want to forget my beloved Goldfinch. I started writing at a time I was head over heels in love with him. The truth is I always will be. But some of you may recall….2019 was an eventful year for me. My trip to Australia….and then the sudden crossing paths with Jack.

WHAT AN INCREDIBLE FOUR YEARS!!!

THANK YOU FOR SHARING THEM WITH ME!!!

Perfecting Annabelle

When I wrote Annabelle’s story, I was not worried about making her perfect, because the whole point of her voyage was that she was a mess, a beautiful mess, and was trying to repair some of the damage in her past before she could press forward with her future.

To begin with, I wrote from my own experiences, but over time, I drew inspiration from the stories and experiences of close friends. Annabelle emerged as a fictional character who embodied real life women, both myself and three of my closest friends.

I am so sad that one of my friends who is very much a part of Annabelle has recently passed away, and I am heart broken. I have been feeling quite lost and useless the past couple of days, but last night I stayed up really late going over the passages in my books which had parts inspired by my lovely friend. I felt that I had to urgently improve and perfect those parts of her story.

At the same time, I had to remind myself not to overdo it. Annabelle is fictional, but the real women behind her, none of us were perfect. We all faced challenges and had to voyage through storms. The whole point of Annabelle is that we LEARNT. The series became the LEARNERS AT LOVE series, because love was such a fundamental part of our journeys.

I know this might sound stupid…but that feeling of helplessness….that I could not protect my friend from illness and death….I suddenly felt as if I had to protect Annabelle, I had to wipe away anything that might make someone critical of her, judgmental of her. But loving someone with their weaknesses, their failings, their disappointments, their efforts, their struggles, their endurance, their courage, their victories – journeying, travelling, voyaging through life and in love with someone…I cannot take that away from Annabelle. She deserves all the authenticity that is the very real life inspiration that made her.

I Am No Good At Goodbyes

I really struggle with parting from people. Saying”goodbye” face to face is just too daunting for me. I bottle it. I am so much better with writing the words down – how I feel, how much they mean to me, and trying to make sure that they know I am not leaving because of them, I am leaving because of a challenge I cannot overcome, or because of an opportunity that I cannot turn down.

Like many other bloggers and writers, my love of writing began with letters to friends and relatives. In some ways, everything I write is a letter. I don’t always know who it is addressed to….but it is from the heart and I am hoping that whoever reads it will understand and relate to it, perhaps even treasure it.

Child, Girl, Writing, Student, Kid

I have some pretty cards….and I am going to write messages in them for some of my colleagues who I will miss immensely when I leave at the end of this week.

Can you believe how quickly this is all happening? Next week, I start my new job. Crazy hey!! It does not seem long ago when I was convinced that I had completely embarrassed myself during the interview process.

Now I am preparing by sorting out my wardrobe – no more uniform – and making sure I revise on the kind of work I will be doing in my new role.

But it is very important to me to write these goodbye messages. I would not be able to forgive myself if I did not do this.

There’s A Party Going On

We’re all slightly confuzzled about recent guidance about parties – the direction is about as clear as mud this past week. But there is one thing we know – BLOGGING PARTIES ARE THE BEST!!!

Fireworks, People, Festival, Night, Wallpaper

This weekend THE BLOGGING PARTY you really need to drop into is on the fantastic blog LIFE’S SO COMPLICATED:

If you have never been to a blogging party, this is the perfect opportunity for you – introduce yourself in the comments and please do leave a link to one of your posts so that other bloggers can visit your site. It’s a fabulous chance to meet other fantastic bloggers.

Here in London it is 11:08pm – perfect time to be partying!!!

With A Glow Of Hope In Her Heart

When you have a dream and your blood boils with determination, it is hard to foresee the number of hurdles you will face on the course ahead. Hope is such a dynamic force. Like a ship opening up it’s sails with confidence, a naive young woman can unwittingly sail into fierce storms she never imagined.

When Luciana Ranallo boarded her flight at Bucharest, all she saw was a dazzling future. Her father believed in her. His email to her at Christmas breathed even more confidence and conviction that she could do anything she dreamt of, she could conquer the world. Her mother was not quite as enthusiastic about little her Lucia departing from her home. It was clear that Dorota was full of anxiety about her twenty-one year old daughter, who was as stubborn and strong-willed as her Italian father Marco, who had only been in the same room as his daughter nine times in her life. But Dorota Luciana would never settle until she left Brașov and went to explore the world for herself, starting with London.

Light, Light Bulb, Electric Bulb, Bulb, Electricity

For her sake I am glad that Luciana’s hopes were so vibrant that when arrived at the block of flats in Dalston where a friend of her father’s lived, she hardly noticed the yellow stained walls and ceiling, overflowing ashtrays and recycling boxes full of beer cans and empty sardine tins, and the obnoxious stench floating out of the bathroom.

Luciana was thrilled that she had made it. Tommaso spoke to her in Italian at a pace she was unable to comprehend. She had grown up hearing Romanian and Hungarian, and although she could understand her father’s mother tongue, she missed half of what Tommaso was telling her. She did catch that he was going out and would be back later. He had pushed a pile of takeaway menus in front of her before departing. Luciana was not hungry. She had left her home over eighteen hours earlier, and now all she wanted to do was close her eyes and sleep.

She sent a text message to her sister asking to tell her mama that she had arrived in London and would call her the next morning. Ten minutes later, she was fast asleep. She slept through the music blaring from the flat above. She slept through the screaming from across the road. She slept through Tommaso slamming the front door when he returned home at half past one in the morning. Sirens from police cars and ambulances did not wake her. Her first night in London was a peaceful one. She slumbered obliviously to the frantic buzz of one of the cities in this world that is never really asleep.