Blogger awards!

It’s always lovely to know people are enjoying your blog, so it was a great honour to be nominated for The Liebster Award by Annie-Jay who blogs at  It’s so important I think to build on the caring and sharing relationship that exists between all of us who put so much time, energy and love into writing, so do pop over and check out her fun and thought-provoking take on the world!

If you haven’t come across this award before, it’s intended as a form of recognition given by bloggers to other new bloggers whose content they’ve enjoyed.  I’ve discovered some great new blogs this way, and it’s a lovely positive way of encouraging and supporting other writers.  So here’s how it works:

  1. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator has asked you
  2. Nominate 11 other bloggers (with under 200 followers)
  3. Ask your nominees 11 questions
  4. Let them know that you have nominated them

These are the questions Annie-Jay asked me; hopefully by the time you’ve read my answers you’ll have got to know me a bit better!

  1. What inspired you to begin blogging?

I started mainly because I felt I wanted some kind of creative outlet and wasn’t sure what to do to satisfy that urge.  I’ve made several (mostly abortive) attempts at writing over the years but without much of a plan or sense of purpose, and I thought a blog was a good way to start writing within a structure that would help me stick with it.  A couple of years down the line and I’m so glad I tried it.

      2. One word to describe yourself?


     3. What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you today?

This is such a good question I’m disappointed that I don’t have an interesting answer for it! I’m going to say being nominated for this award – although I’ve had some lovely, kind comments on my blog it’s still always a bit surreal to think that people all over the world are reading what you write and enjoying it.

    4. What are you most looking forward to this week?

My next day off – I’m going to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie with one of my besties.

    5. What book are you reading at the moment?

As per usual I have a few on the go.  I’m still reading Paul Auster’s “4 3 2 1”, which I’m loving although it’s taking me a while as it’s a bit long to say the least!  For light relief I’m reading “A Conspiracy of Violence” by Susanna Gregory – I do love my historical fiction.  I also got some book-post today, which is always exciting: a crime novel by Amer Anwar, which the author very kindly sent me to try.

    6. Which band were you really in to as a teenager (that you now feel a bit embarrassed to admit to having liked)

I can’t think of anyone I was into as a teenager that I’m ashamed to have liked; I’m more embarrassed by some of the people I’ve come to like in my slightly older age!  I used to be massively into all the indie and Britpop bands of the 90s – Pulp were my absolute favourite.

     7. Where is your favourite place to be?

Very boring, but probably home.  I love taking myself off to explore new places, but I also love to have a permanent sanctuary.

    8. When is the last time you stopped to feel the Earth under your bare feet?

Haha, I can’t step outside in bare feet as I have a huge issue with feeling anything on my bare skin that isn’t carpet!!  Seeing people walking across their lawns or worse, on the pavement, in no shoes makes me shudder.  I don’t even like walking on a sandy beach without flip-flops.

    9. What shapes do you see in the clouds above you right now?

I love the fact that I’ve been asked this question as it’s made me get up and lean out of the window to have a proper look at the outside world.  It’s such a gorgeous evening as well; it’s starting to smell and sound like summer for the first time.  As for the clouds, well, the ones that are out there are pretty flat and indistinct, but there’s one in the far distance with a spilt at one end that makes it look like an elongated crocodile’s mouth.

    10. How do you feel about your birthday?

I don’t think too much about it anymore; I’m usually at work on the day itself anyway!  And it’s only a couple of weeks before Christmas too so by that point other, much more exciting festive things are happening.  I’ve never liked to be the centre of attention, so large parties aren’t for me.  I usually celebrate by having a meal or something like that with my close friends.

    11. Do you prefer beach, mountains, bush, city or suburbia?

Honestly, I can’t choose – I need a bit of everything!  I’ve lived by the sea almost all my life though so I’d definitely miss that the most if it wasn’t there.  I don’t wait for summer to go to the beach; I love it when it’s stormy, when it’s sunny and when it’s a bleak day and there’s not a soul down there.  It can make you feel serene or exhilarated – it’s such a powerful driver of emotion.

These were great questions and a hard act to follow, but here are the 11 questions for my nominees.

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  2. What is the one book you read over and over again?
  3. What has surprised you most about taking up blogging?
  4. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  5. Would you describe yourself as a pessimist or an optimist?
  6. You have a free day with no work and no obligations – how are you most likely to spend it?
  7. Which song makes you want to get up and dance?
  8. Would you volunteer to be on the first mission to Mars and why/why not?
  9. Are you a summer or a winter person?
  10. Which period of history do you find most interesting?
  11. What do you love most about yourself?

And here are my nominees!  I had trouble finding 11 that had less than 200 followers, so most of these do but they’re all blogs I love and would love others to discover too.  I understand not everyone may want to take part in the award though and that’s absolutely fine by me – no pressure!


The Liebster Award – May 2016


First off, a huge thank you to Bronte’s Page Turners for nominating me for this award.  If you haven’t discovered her blog yet then do check it out – she’s an incredibly talented and witty writer.

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the Liebster Award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note: the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer the questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 5 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers.
6. Create a new list of questions for your nominee bloggers to answer (if you want to).
7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!) or list these rules in your post (you can copy and paste from here).

So here goes with my answers to the questions from Bronte’s Page Turners – she asked some brilliant ones!

To paraphrase the poet Ronan Keating, is life a rollercoaster and must we ride it?

I’m going to be honest, there’s something about the irritatingly cheery way Ronan sings these words that makes me want to run to the top of a very tall building and hurl myself off, probably tearing chunks of my hair out at the same time.  But you know what, that loveable chap is right!  I’ve had more peaks and troughs throughout my life than, well, a rollercoaster, but I’ve reached the point now where I know that no matter how deep the troughs go I will always manage to climb out the other side eventually.

What made you start blogging?

I started blogging on a bit of a whim actually, without any real idea of how it worked or what was involved.  All I knew was that I was getting up, going to work, coming home again and sleeping and wasn’t producing anything of any visible worth.  I’m not saying that by starting to blog I’ve bestowed some wondrous gift upon the world or that my writing is anywhere near creative genius, but nevertheless I feel so much better in myself knowing I’m finally putting effort into producing something I can share with others, and getting involved with a community of people who hold the same passions I do.

Did you take photographs of your bookcase as a 9 year old, or were you a reasonably adjusted child?

I wouldn’t say I was a well-adjusted child (or particularly well-adjusted adult come to that) but there were no photos of bookcases in my youthful, pre-Instagram days!  The earliest memory I have of my own photographic endeavours is of “borrowing” my parents’ camera, when I was about 9, going along to the farm just up the road and using up a whole film on mostly out-of-focus pictures of goats.  Parents were not best pleased.  I still adore goats.

I buy most of my books from charity shops.  Does that make me a fiend for not more fully supporting independent bookshops, or am I just one of Thatcher’s children, always chasing the cheapest price?

I love browsing charity shops for books – nothing mean about buying a book from somewhere that’s going to donate your money to a good cause!  I always use high street retailers – whether that’s charity shops, independent bookshops or chain bookshops – to buy books though, as the thought that one day the internet may be our only book-buying option is a hideous one.  The bricks-and-mortar bookseller is vital to our reading culture in my eyes, and if we don’t use them we’ll lose them.  Charity shops are definitely a great place to go if you want to take a bit of a risk on an author or title you’re not sure you’ll like; if you pick up a terrible book for 50p you’re probably not going to feel overly aggrieved!

Television book clubs (eg Richard and Judy’s in the UK, Oprah’s in the US and any others elsewhere around the world that I’m not cosmopolitan enough to be aware of): a good or bad thing? (Respondees must try not to be swayed by the boyish good looks of Richard Madeley)

I tend to be of the opinion that anything that gets people reading and talking about books is a good thing, so I’m hugely pro the media book club!  Richard and Judy in particular have picked some really enjoyable reads over the years.  (And yes, Richard Madeley – does that man not age??)

Have you ever inherited any books from a relative and if so, did you come across any interesting finds? 

It was interesting that you asked this questions, as only a couple of weeks ago I started writing a blog post about the books I remember from my late grandmother’s house.  In the end I abandoned it as it was too personal and therefore of no interest to anyone but me; but it got me thinking back to all the lovely books that had enthralled me as a child.  Most of them are unfortunately not in the possession of my branch of the family, but there’s one my grandmother gave to me because it had been my favourite when I was very young.  It’s an enormous coffee table book on English cathedrals, and in a way it’s quite an odd one for a small child to gravitate towards, but I was mesmerised by the photographs of vaulted ceilings and gothic stonework.  I’d make a beeline for it every time we visited, and looking at it today still brings back all those memories from a time inlife when you see wonder in almost everything.

5 random facts about me:

  1. My party trick is getting my whole fist in my mouth. Stopped doing said trick after a terrifying moment one night in a bar when I couldn’t get it out again.
  2. I anthropomorphise everything. No, really, EVERYTHING.  I use bookmarks, mugs, shampoos etc in rotation so that none of them feel left out.
  3. When I was younger I found Robin Hood from the Disney cartoon movie disturbingly attractive. Yes, I know he was a fox.  But apparently, following very honest conversations with friends, I’m not the only person who thought this!
  4. I love cake so much. I could give up chocolate if I had to, but never cake.  I can’t pick an all-time favourite as I’m obsessed with so many, but at the moment it’s ginger and cinnamon.
  5. I’ve always wanted to be a brunette. I’ve tried dying and tinting but my complexion is so fair it looks ridiculous, which is heart-breaking because in my dreams I’d look something like Penelope Cruz…

So now it’s time to nominate some other lovely people whose blogs I love and think you should visit…

My burning questions are:

  1. Has there ever been a time in your life when you fell out of love with reading?
  2. How easily do you part with your books?  Are you a sharer or a hoarder?
  3. What was the last book that moved you to tears?
  4. Do you have a talent that may come as a surprise to people?
  5. If you could choose only one book to pass on to the next generation what would it be and why?
  6. What’s the perfect edible accompaniment to a good book?

Hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a little bit more about me, and thanks again to Bronte’s Page Turners for nominating me to join in!





The Liebster Award!

First off I’d like to thank Curiouser and Curiouser and All my love, LJ for both nominating me for the Liebster award.  Apologies for the time it’s taken me to post my responses, I’ve been struggling with a dodgy laptop all week and have been snatching clandestine moments at the work computer!

liebster2.png (200×199)

This award looks like a fun new way to find new blogs and get to know a little bit more about blogs you follow!  Here are the rules:

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominated blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them they have been nominated
  • Write a post containing these questions
  • Include these rules in the post

Since I’ve had the honour of being nominated by two lovely bloggers I have 20 questions to answer, so here goes!

First, my 10 questions from Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser.

1. What is your all time favourite book?  Why?

Such a hard one to start off with!  Normally I’d say I can’t possibly choose, but in the spirit of the Liebster award I’m going to stick my neck out and go for “A Suitable Boy”.  It’s just so immense; when you get to the end you feel as if you really have seen all you could possibly see about human life and love.

2. Do you like cooking/baking?  If so, what’s your favourite thing to cook/bake?

Cooking – not really.  I grudgingly make dinner every night simply because I have to eat!  Baking, however – yes!  I’m not the most adventurous baker in the world by any means but I do make a pretty fine chocolate and jam sponge, if I do say so myself…

3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I’ve only been blogging for a few months but it’s been brilliant to discover just how many people there are out there who are interested in the same things as me – and who also want to talk about them!

4.  If you could travel to one country in the world, where would it be and why?

I’m not as well traveled as I’d like to be so there are lots of places I’d like to visit, but I’ve always had a particular fancy for Scandinavia.  I’m not at my best in the heat and sun, so somewhere slightly more on the chilly side definitely appeals!

5. Do you like young adult novels?

It’s not my favourite type of book to read, but there have been some that I thought were amazing.  I think Jenny Valentine is a fabulous author, and I was really surprised at just how much I loved The Hunger Games trilogy as I hadn’t expected it to be my thing at all.

6. What is your favourite genre of music and why?

Now that’s something where I can’t even begin to pin down a favourite.  I love all sorts of music, from Muse to Paloma Faith to Thomas Tallis!

7. If you could only keep 5 possessions what would they be?

All my books count as one possession, right?!  So, my books, number one.  Two, my memory box, made for me years ago by a really great friend and which contains reminders of special people and moments in my life.  Three, my phone – sorry, but I’m lost without it!  Four, my photo albums; I’m one of those dinosaurs who still likes to print out all my pictures and keep physical copies – I much prefer to look at them that way.  Five, my stash of decaf teabags.  I do actually have one in my handbag at all times in case I find myself in a place without tea.

8. If you could meet any author who would it be?  Why?

Vikram Seth – I’d ask him why he’s not getting more of a move on with “A Suitable Girl”!

9. What languages do you speak?  Are there any you want to learn?

French, not bad.  German passable.  What I’d really like to learn is BSL – I think that’s perhaps the language that would be of most use.

10. Which book character do you most identify with?

Without doubt I believe Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice to be the historical version of me! We are incredibly alike, and I think we’d get on very well!

And here are my 10 questions from All my love, LJ.

1. Do you have a book that made you fall in love with reading? What is it, and why do you love it so much?

I don’t think I can pin my love of reading down to any one particular book; I’ve just loved books for as long as I can remember.  It didn’t take one amazing book to switch me on to reading, I guess I was pretty much born that way!

2. What are your favourite genres to read?  Why do you like them so much?

Historical fiction is my favourite genre without a doubt.  For me, it’s because travelling to another time is a form of escapism, an absolute break from the everyday.

3. If you could save 5 books from a fire, which ones would they be?

Such a hard choice!  But I’m going to go with: “The Meaning of Night”, “Seasons in Fern Hollow” (a childhood favourite), my lovely HB edition of “Winnie the Pooh”, the very well-thumbed Riverside Chaucer and my complete works of Shakespeare.

4. Do you believe in magic?

I believe true magic is to be found in the little miracles of the everyday.

5. What are your other passions/interests?

Wow, lots of things!  I’ll name a few that spring to mind: shopping (I’m very good at that!), cinema-going, yoga and I love visiting old buildings, castles and the like.

6. What are your most/least favourite book to movie adaptations?

My favourite has to be Lord of the Rings.  I found the books a real slog and managed to get through them only so as not to offend the person who eagerly lent them to me!  The films, on the other hand, are some of my top films – I think they capture the magic and wonder of the book’s world without all the, erm, dull bits!  Least favourite… that’s a bit harder as I prefer the book to the film 9 times out of 10.  Actually thinking about it, I was immensely disappointed by the version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley; I was expecting to love it but I just didn’t think the casting was right at all.

7. What 5 books would you say everyone should read before they die?

“A Suitable Boy” – the epitome of epic.  “The Secret History” – I walked around with it for two days and it never left my side; pure brilliance.  “The Meaning of Night” – an atmospheric historical novel that’s also a cracking revenge story; if you like Wilkie Collins you’ll love this.  “All the light we cannot see” – a very recent book but one that has already made its way onto my all-time favourite reads list.  “Rebecca” – a masterclass in menace.

8. If you could have a single superpower what would you choose?

Invisibility – I want to be able to go to places I’m not supposed to be, and to see and hear things I’m not supposed to see or hear!

9. If you could live in another period of time, when/where would you choose?

I love my history, but I think the best time to be alive is right now; I wouldn’t change that even if I had the choice.

10. Tell me something random about yourself.

I have a fear of eating sandwiches made by other people.  Nothing else, just sandwiches.

Thank you both for the questions, they really got me thinking.  So now here are my 10 questions for some of my fellow bloggers.

1. Which book would you take to a desert island?

2. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve ever visited?

3. If you could live in any novel, which would it be?

4. E-readers or physical books – which do you prefer and why?

5. Where are you at your happiest?

6. Do you have a hidden talent?  If so, what is it?

7. Which modern book do you think people will still be reading in fifty years’ time?

8. Have you ever read a book you didn’t expect to like but ended up loving it?  If so, which one was it?

9. Do you have a favourite animal?

10. What is the one thing about yourself you’d like everyone reading your blog to know?

It’s been pretty hard to find enough blogs with the right number of followers to take part, but my nominations are:

Standing up for Shakespeare

My mind reels through film

Bring my books

Brittany Lee

and anyone else who’d like to join in!

Thank you again to the two lovely bloggers who nominated me 🙂