The Versatile Blogger Award

I want to say a big thank you to Shannon at Simply Shan for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m really honoured, thank you!  Shannon lives in the UK (can’t wait to go back there next year) and posts on a variety of topics.  She calls herself boring, but I find her quite interesting!  Her posts always seem well thought out, and she has a way of writing that comes across as bubbly and friendly, inviting you to join her in whatever she has planned for the day.

The name of the game here is to nominate fifteen bloggers who I think produce quality content, and share them with you.  That gives you the opportunity to explore some new content that you might find worthy of following.  Then I share seven fun or interesting facts about myself, and give you a glimpse at the girl behind the screen.  Or something like that.  Ha ha!  Right, here we go! In no particular order…

1. Amy at The Life of Amy N – a very versatile blogger, with DIY crafts, uplifting motivational posts, recipes, product reviews, travel, etc. There’s surely something for everyone! I know I’m biased, but I think you should check out her post NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL ROUTE.

2. The Feisty Pauper – a seemingly random collection of posts, that are often fascinating. You have to check out her post Don’t Fear the Reaper Or How a total coincidence made my kid think I’m insane. So funny.

3. KalifornicationX – self-described as ‘words of an unadulterated cesspool nature of disgust and sometimes amusing truths and observations’. I say irreverent and hilarious. If you’re wondering if you can call yourself a writer or not, the answer is in A Hooker’s Ambition & Depressed Millennials.

4. Rowena at made things – beautiful, poetic (but not always poems) observations of life. My favourite post is imaginary dramas because it speaks to a truth I know all too well, but you should also check out my xmas revelation for an insight to the way Rowena perceives the world and why her observations are so powerful and intriguing.

5. Rachel at The Writer In Me… – poetry, short stories, music and personal reflections. Some are humorous, some are heartbreaking. A recent poem of hers that I love is Reflections From A Coffee Shop.

6. Jess from Jess of Earth – her blog is full of positivity and encouragement. I guess you’d call it a lifestyle blog, with fashion, exercise, meditation, etc. She’s mad for yoga. Her New Year, New You: Vision Board Tour will give you insight into who she is and what she’s working on in her life.

7. Nic Starr – music, books and guest posts. Nic is a published author, so definitely keen an eye out for her publications. For an insight into one of Nic’s books, check out this post about Patrick’s Savior.

8. Abbey from An anonymous escape from life – she writes prose, poetry and personal blog entries. She provides a great intro to herself and her blog in this post – Opening up about my blogging journey.

9. Tiny Rubies – personal posts, poetry, photographs and … are there any other p words I’ve missed? I love this post about anonymous blogging.

10. Parichita Singh – she writes about writing and books, and her personal journey with both. In 2017 she did a series where she wrote an alphabet’s worth of posts about writing, then she rounded it off with this post about what she learned by doing the challenge.

11. Thompson Crowley – music, poetry, and musings… Dammit, I needed another m word for poetry! I enjoyed gaining some insight into Thompson when he discussed his influences.

12. Books and Opinions – obviously there are book reviews, but also personal posts, guest posts, and a general love of books that overflows on this blog. The books vary enormously, and I even stumbled across this review of a poetry book – Magic Realized: and Other Poems on the Human Spirit – Louis Alan Swartz.

13. R A Douglas – poetry and personal posts. I particularly love this entry about bullying – What would you do, when your kids are bullied?

14.  Sionna from Books In Her Eyes. Honest book reviews, reading challenges, and other book or reading related posts. Lots of variety in reading material, with a lean toward sci fi/fantasy/paranormal. If you check out her Monthly Wrap-Up: January, that’ll show you the kind of books she’s reading.

15. Lia from Lost In A Story. What makes her blog different from other blogs about books is that she shares a lot of guidance for other bloggers, in addition to the book reviews, tags and other content you’d expect. She’s got a great series on ARCs which starts with Emailing publishers, and I thought her discussion on negative reviews, authors, bloggers, and the book community was a really interesting post. See what you think.

Okay, so I think we’re up to seven facts about me.  Hmmm….

  1.   I have a pretty decent cookbook collection and I enjoy watching cooking shows.  My favourite chef is Gordon Ramsay.  I also love Nigella Lawson (who is not a chef).  I’ll watch anything with either of them in it.  I have several cookbooks by each.   I’ve met Gordon Ramsay once, and ate at one of his restaurants in London, but have not had the pleasure of meeting Nigella yet.  On the flip side, I can’t stand Jamie Oliver, although we do use a few of his recipes.
  2. Speaking of collecting, I can’t help myself.  As soon as I have a few of anything, it becomes a collection.  *FacePalm*  My oldest collection is my bookmarks.  I added substantially to this collection when we went to the UK in 2014, as I collected a souvenir leather bookmark from every historical place we visited.
  3. I don’t watch much TV or go to the movies often.  I find that I tend to miss details on the screen, and therefore I am often turning to my husband and saying ‘Wait, what did I miss?  Why is that happening?’  *Rolleyes*  It’s frustrating for both of us.  I prefer books, because if I do happen to miss something (and it’s pretty rare), I can just go back and re-read the pertinent section, then keep going.  My husband is the opposite and prefers to watch something on the screen rather than read it, although he does both.
  4. I played netball in primary school, then cricket and soccer in high school.  I continued to play soccer until I was pregnant with my son.  My favourite forms of exercise though are swimming and bush walking.
  5. I’m not a fan of American muscle cars.  I prefer sleek European cars.  In truth though, although I am comfortable driving (and yes, I can drive a stick-shift or a manual as they’re called here), I’d rather be the passenger.  So long as a car is reasonably comfortable to sit in, and it gets me from A to B, that’s all I really care about.  If it’s easy to park, even better.  Oh, and I can’t parallel park. Never learned how.
  6. I gave up caffeine a few years ago.  I used to drink a LOT of Coke Zero, and I always said that the caffeine never affected me.  I could have a glass before I went to bed, or not, it didn’t make any difference to me.  But my husband had some health issues related to stress and anxiety, and he was told to give up caffeine by the doctor.  He did, and so I did too.  I’ve never been a tea or coffee drinker, so Coke Zero was my one big weakness.  I haven’t had more than a mouthful or two in the last three or so years.  My sleeping habits changed considerably, to my surprise.  And interestingly, I went from never dreaming (or remembering my dreams at least) to dreaming often.  Weird.  I tried to switch to water, but I don’t find it as satisfying.  Now though, I drink water during my work day, five days a week, whereas I didn’t drink any water at all before.  When I’m at home, I now drink Sprite Zero.  My drink of choice if I’m out is a lemon, lime and bitters, which is a non-alcoholic cocktail that originated in Australia I think.  It’s lime cordial, lemonade and Angostura bitters.  Has to be freshly made though, not bottled.
  7. For years, my favourite chocolate was Cadbury Dairy Milk.  But Cadbury have changed the recipe for their Dairy Milk chocolate, I think, and I don’t like it anymore.  They have recently brought back Caramilk though (not a caramel filled chocolate like the bar of the same name in other parts of the world, but a caramelised white chocolate) and I really love that.  Which is weird, because I don’t like white chocolate.  *Rolleyes*  I don’t like dark chocolate either.  Just milk chocolate.

Anyway, I hope this has been somewhat interesting.  I know that these little blog awards are more just for us small-time bloggers, and not the hardcore bloggers with thousands of followers.  I guess that’s partly because the point of them is to network and interact, and that’s something that’s crucial when you’re still a small fry.  For that reason, I tried not to nominate anyone with thousands of followers, but I think at least one has more than 1,000.  I tried to keep it to smaller blogs that showed variety in what they posted.

Okay, that’s all from me today.  Did you check out any of the blogs?  Find a new favourite blogger to follow?  Did any of my facts about myself interest you?  Let me know!

THE LIEBSTER AWARD

Thank you so much to Rachel Peck for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  This is my very first such nomination, so I’m pretty happy with her.  Ha ha!  You should check out Rachel’s blog, she’s an amazing writer.  I actually interviewed her a while back – An interview with author Rachel Peck.  I met Rachel on Writing.com and she is an amazing poet.  She writes with such passion and emotion, it’s no surprise she’s been published. She’s pretty new to WordPress, so go and check out her blog and give her some love.

Random Facts About Me . . . 

    • I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand.  It was a beef farm, about 330 acres.  Apart from 18 months when my parents did a working holiday in UK, I’ve lived my whole life in New Zealand.
    • I grew up with a lot of British humour in my life, partly because New Zealand as a country has a very strong British heritage, and partly because my parents are both English.  As a result, I tend more toward the British sense of humour than the American.  And yes, I think there’s a difference.  😉
    • I love making homemade gifts.
    • I love rollercoasters.  Am hoping to go on at least one REALLY big one when we go to the UK next year.  There are no really big rollercoasters in New Zealand.
    • I don’t drink alcohol very often, but I have a pretty decent alcohol collection.  The whisky belongs to my husband, and the vodka and port are mine.  At the moment, I have toffee vodka, feijoa vodka and the very cool Royal Dragon vodka, both the Elite and Imperial.  I’ve just found out there’s also an Emperor version of the Royal Dragon vodka.  #want!  My favourite port is Taylor’s tawny port, but I also like Sea Red, a red dessert wine from Clearview Estate Winery in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay.  I like to try/collect weird and unusual alcohols too, so I always have a bottle of Purple Death in the cupboard. It’s delicious over vanilla ice cream.
    • I’m not afraid of public speaking.  I was a precocious child, and did debating in high school and joined a public speaking group in my teens.  I wouldn’t say I enjoy public speaking, but I’m comfortable enough with it.
    • My oldest online friend is Kris.  We met online in 1997, and have never met.  He lives in Belgium.  I’m also still in contact with friends I met on Livejournal in 2001 when I first started blogging.  Haven’t met them either since they live in America.
    • I get more enjoyment out of starting a project than completing one.  Which explains why I have so many unfinished one, right?
    • I read on an iphone (nope, not a Kindle, just the Kindle app) and write on a Gigabyte laptop.  I did have a Mac laptop previously but I grew up with Windows and would get frustrated with the differences between Macs and Windows.
    • I use a lot of Kiwi slang when I talk.  Some of it comes through in my writing, but it’s more prolific when I talk.

I would like to nominate the following wonderful blogs:
Mtnbeachmama’s Blog. This blog is full of beautifully worded observations, of both nature and people. Rivers is a good example post to check out, I think. I love the photos as well as the descriptions.

The Feisty Pauper. You gotta love it just from the name, right? 😛 Another good example of her humour can be found in this post. I’ve never read anyone else saying that they need glucosamine and good sneakers to survive the zombie apocalypse! Ha ha!

Stories for Strength. Observations from a real woman facing real life and encouraging us all to laugh at ourselves, empathise and unite. I love this post – Dinner: Why must they eat it every night?. As a mother, this was the one that won me over. If you have any life hacks to offer Rachael, please do share them with her!

Enchanted by Books. If you like books, you have to check out this blog. Book reviews, book tags, everything book-related you could ask for. Everything from The Art of War to Harry Potter. 🙂

made things. Poetry, musings, gratitude, and insight. I love this poem – castle of my imagination.  There is loads more to love too, go and check it out.

My answers to Rachel’s questions:

  • Most importantly. What type of chocolate do you prefer? Dark, milk, or white?
    Milk.  Definitely milk.  I’m not a fan of dark or white chocolate.  I have recently discovered caramelised white chocolate though, specifically Cadbury Caramilk, and I think I’m in love.  Ha ha!
  • Is there a time of day you are most creative?
    No, I don’t think so.  But I do find I get more ideas when I’m driving than at any other time.
  • Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
    I like to listen to classical music when I’m writing stories, and rock or classic rock when I’m writing poetry.  Nothing in particular when I’m blogging.
  • When did you know you were a writer? Have you always known?
    I started keeping a journal when I was 14, and I probably started writing poetry then too.  I remember writing and sharing  poems while on Scout camps, and that was between ages 14-16 I think.  I suppose I considered myself a writer from then on.  I knew that most people my age weren’t writing poetry at that time, so I was different – a writer.
  • Who has had the most influence on your writing?
    The people at Writing.com.  Through their feedback, examples and inspiration, they’ve helped me grow more as a writer than anyone.   I could name names, and there are two in particular that come to mind (one for poetry and one for stories) but it’s a cumulative thing, you know?  A combination of a variety of feedback and inspiration and then taking what works for me, and leaving what doesn’t.
  • How do you promote your own work?
    Hmm…   Posting it on social media (here, G+, Twitter, Tumblr) is the extent of my promotion.  And it’s kind of a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of promotion.  I don’t put a lot of thought into convincing people to read or like.  If they do, they do.  If they don’t, they don’t.
  • What is your all-time favourite film?
    Hmm, that’s a hard one.  I’m more of a reader than a watcher.  Before I had kids, I never watched cartoons or animated movies, but now I find some of them quite brilliant.  Ice Age was just hilarious.  I liked the X-Men series and the Die Hard series.  Despite that, I do tend towards chick flicks.  Honestly I don’t know about a favourite though.  Tough question!
  • What authors did you love to read as a child?
    Ooh, another tough question.  I went to a very small primary (elementary) school.  There were only 60 kids there, and it was a little country school, with a library to match.  I read every book in that library.  We always had books at home, but it was a relatively small, static collection.  I didn’t belong to a public library because we lived in the middle of nowhere and the nearest public library wasn’t convenient to our house.  My mother teases me that I was so desperate for reading material that I would read cereal boxes, or the newspaper used to insulate the house walls.  I didn’t really develop a ‘favourite author’ as a child because I didn’t have the luxury of that I guess. The first author I can remember considering a ”favourite’ was Anne McCaffrey, and that was in high school.  High school came with a whole new library of books to read!  Ha ha!  So yeah, Anne McCaffrey was my first favourite author, probably followed by Jean M Auel and her Earth’s Children series.
  • Do you belong to any writing or critiquing groups? How important do you think that is?
    Only Writing.com.  None in real life.  But Writing.com has been vitally important in my development as a writer, and also in my perseverance as a writer.  I had a break from Writing.com for a few years when my children were very small (and money was very tight) and I wrote very little (apart from blogging/journaling, no poems or short stories) and my writing didn’t develop or grow.  So yeah, I think that feedback, inspiration and encouragement is very important.  It is to me, anyway.
  • Who is your favourite author? Do you write in the same genre as them?
    Um…  Right now, my favourite author is probably Jaime Reese, followed by Maya Banks.  They both write romance.  I write…whatever I’m inspired to write.  I think I probably write more children’s fantasy than anything, but some romance.  I think I’m slowly starting to veer more towards romance, as I gain confidence in writing in that genre.

My questions for my nominees

  • What’s the first indulgence you’d buy yourself if you won the lottery?
  • What’s your favourite comfort food?
  • Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?
  • What kind(s) of music do you like to listen to?
  • What’s the most important thing on your bucket list?
  • What’s one thing about blogging or blogs that annoys you?
  • In your personal opinion, what is the most annoying sound in the world?
  • What time is bedtime for you?
  • Do you have a ‘signature dish’ that you make for dinner guests or when it’s your turn to cook?  Tell us about it!  (Bonus points if you share the recipe! Ha ha!)
  • Have you ever fallen in love with a place through a book or photo?  Have you been there in real life, and if so, how did it compare?  If not, do you plan to go?
  • Which of your personality traits would make you hard to live with?

Rules Rules Rules. Here is what to do, once you’ve been nominated.

      1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
      2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
      3. For the 2017 Liebster Award, I will be shaking things up! Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
      4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
      5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
      6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post). Once you have written and published it, you then have to 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 or the original one if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).

I found it interesting that the posts don’t seem to actually be following the rules.  The questions and answers aren’t noted in the rules, but are mentioned on the original page.  Possibly a leftover from previous years, but clearly people enjoy learning about others through the questions.  I did, so I’ve included them. 🙂  And I’m not sure I have one favourite blog to babble about, but I’ve tried to share why I’ve nominated the blogs that I have, and you should definitely check them out.  They deserve to have more than 200 followers!