(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ±4: Happy, Frosty New Year.

Out with the old.  Make space for the New…

“Stop looking at the past and all the things you can’t change.  They’re done and over with.

Now is the time for you to look to the future, grasp it by the hand, and decide where you want to go.”  

‘Chasing Nikki’, Lacey Weatherford: http://catalystquotes.com/category/life/page/2/


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein


Linking with Wordless Wednesday – click on sidebar image.


A Riot… of Tulips!

‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’ 2:

4.14 Tulips white

Visiting the Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisley every Easter and Summer holiday has become a mother and daughter tradition for me…

4.14 Tulips Pink ripple dwarf

A shot in the arm for us both.  A perfect excuse to snatch and share some ‘quality time’.

4.14 Tulips pink over bench

Having been inspired by Annie’s stunning post over at http://mammasaurus.co.uk last week, I was planning to head for the monster greenhouse, to admire the orchid display.

4.14 Tulips red & yellow soft petals

But we got diverted by an absolute riot of tulips – over 1600 planted in a huge, unself-conscious mass.

Celebrating the totally wondrous variety of colour and form.

So bold and simple.  Unlike anything I have seen at Wisley before.

4.14 Tulips Purple

So my ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?‘ post this week is not exactly about my garden, but about one that I feel, in a way, is part of my inheritance…

4.14 Tulips red & white loud stripe

The joy of visiting with my mother and being inspired.

4.14 Tulips pink open

The entertainment of discovering temporary displays such as this one, and the security of re-visiting the fruit trees and checking that I’ve got the pruning in hand at home!

4.14 Tulips yellow & crisp red

So I’ll enjoy the orchids over at Mammasaurus, from the comfort of my own living room –

and savour the memory of those cheeky, bashful, outrageous tulips making such an exhibition of themselves!

4.14 Tulips black soldiers in front of gravel

Click on the ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’  pink flower in the right hand side-bar to follow the link to other HDYGG? posts.

4.14 Tulips pink & strong white strong ones

* * *

The Sunshine Award!


sunshine-award.jpg dasies

THANK YOU SO MUCH Arlene, from Arl’s world

for nominating me for the Sunshine Award – 

given to blogs that spread a little sunshine  🙂

What a wonderful feeling when someone who you admire but don’t know gives you a pat on the back…

Appreciated, Arlene.


A single mum, positive individual and creative cook, the sub-title of Arl’s blog is

Experiments of a single mom‘.

Inspired from a quote by Ralf Waldo Emerson

All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make, the better’.

For a lot of us bloggers, the blog tracks our ‘experiments’ in life – or in a specific area of our lives.


Another Emerson quote states that

Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for his competitors, for it is that which all are practising every day while they live.’  

Arl’s blog is an uplifting contribution to conversation within the blogging world.

And for visual inspiration, see her wonderful ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’ pages…

Will I ever get to know how to make the most of my camera?!?


Rules of the Sunshine award for the recipient –

1.  Include the Sunshine Award icon on their blog.

2.  Add a link to the blogger who made the nomination.

3.  Answer the 10 questions about yourself posed by the nominator.

4.  Nominate 10 other bloggers, and pose 10 questions for them to answer.


Here goes with my answers to Arl’s questions – 

1.  What is your greatest comfort food?

     Oats – Large, Whole Rolled Scottish Oats.

2.  What is your biggest accomplishment?

     My first proper job, as a teenager – working in an outside catering kitchen… I soon ended up running the kitchen/s… designing menus, ordering supplies and managing kitchen staff for parties and receptions at large functions in London’s museums, art galleries and in private homes in the home countines… an  amazing, adrenalin filled, all-consuming way of life.

3.    What is your greatest regret?

     Instinctively, I’d say not going straight to uni after school – to study politics, philosophy and Economics then law – but if I’d taken that path, I would not have entered the world of outside catering and had the incredible challenges and experiences that offered – so I’ll stick to life as it happened (keeping my answer to question 2 as it is!)  Instead in answer to this question, I will quote Emerson again (thanks for the introduction, Arl!)…

‘Be not the slave of your own past.

Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far,

so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.’

– It’s taken many years and tears to get here, but now I’d say no regrets – what purpose would they serve?!

4.   Tell me about what you consider to be your best attribute.

      The desire to listen.  It’s served me well and I have learnt a lot!

5.    Why do you blog?

        I started a blog because I wanted to learn how to set up a website.  I continue to blog because it is so interesting and uplifting – I have learnt a lot from the blogging community.  I’m not a naturally confident with technology, so that side of it is a big learning curve – and I like challenges.

6.     What is your favourite animal?

         People.  If that category is excluded, I would have to say my greyhound, Bozzy – he’s pretty perfect – and his imperfections make him even more so in my eyes.  🙂   But also the birds in the garden, the fish & frogs in the pond – and the illusive newt who lives in the compost heap. (When last seen!)

7.     What’s the most worn item in your closet?

         My black long sleeve scoop neck Uniglo tops – I’ve got lots of them and wear them just about every day in one guise or another!

8.    What’s your favourite breakfast food?

         See answer to question 1, above…  Well, we all need a bit of comfort to start the day!

9.    If you could live anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

        Right now, I’m very happy living just where I am – I love the house, having spent the last decade working on it –  and adore the garden – watching the changes through the seasons is such a blessing.  But I’d like to move to the country – still in England – in the not too distant future.  I’m excited by visiting other countries, but am always very happy to return.

10.   If you could do anything over what would it be and how would you do it differently?

         I would be more confident earlier.


Here are my nominations for the Sunshine Award –

Check out their blogs for some worthwhile reads…

1.  Gillian from Tales from a Happy Home – for the most beautifully inspirational blog – her interests are similar to mine – home, kitchen, garden and family.  Thank you, Gillian – I know many enjoy your blog.  http://www.talesfromahappyhouse.com

2.  DomesticSluttery –‘The home & lifestyle blog for women who have better things to do’ – interesting, useful, entertaining.


3.  The Double Parent – ‘One heart, Double strength!‘ for her passion and drive –


4.  Justin P Moore from The Lotus & The Artichoke for his fascinating posts about his travels and explorations into different worldwide cuisines –http://www.lotusartichoke.com

5.  Emma from Greener Mums – ‘Looking after yourself, your family and the environment that little bit better’.  Informative and relevant – Emma is a busy working mother of 2 who has a great approach to the world and her part in it as a mother & citizen.


6.  Veronica Peerless at ‘Through the Garden Gate’.  Veronica has an amazing eye and ability with her camera.  She is able to capture beauty, it seems, effortlessly and wherever she goes.  A truly uplifting blog.


7.  Dips Delectus for tips and an enjoyable digest of what’s ‘on trend’ (or necessary!) for 40+ women.  Positive, practical and beautifully designed.  http://www.dipsdelectus.com

8.  Glossologics- a fantastically unique and addictive blog about language.  An education! http://alexpolistigers.wordpress.com

9.    Green vision – for an interesting, eclectic collection of information, thoughts and great recipes.  Supported by fantastic images. I have just recently found this quirky blog, but am so pleased that I did.  http://benvitalisgreenvision.wordpress.com

10.  Sarah at ‘The Garden Deli’ for her useful and inspiring Notes and recipes from an edible garden.  Another blog that I have recently found, and look forward to enjoying.  http://thegardendeli.wordpress.com

Finally, 10 questions for my nominees to answer –

1.   What have you learnt from blogging?

2.  If you could only pass one piece of advice on to the next generation, what would it be?

3.  What is your most cherished possession?

4.  What is your favourite piece of music / song?

5.  If you’re going away, what’s the most important thing to take?

6.  If you only had one kitchen cupboard standby, what would it be?

7.  Describe your ideal Sunday.

8.  What is your favourite book / and or poem?

9.  Do you have a favourite restaurant?  If so, why do you like it so much?

10. Would you pass on one tip for taking great photos?

I look forward to reading the responses!

Now a fitting conclusion to this post –

Enjoy this track…


Happy Music!

Some things – like a warm sunny morning in early spring,

the feeling of hot sand between your toes,

an unexpected present,

or being passenger in a car with the roof down, dog on the back seat and good music playing

just makes me feel great – toe tapping, unresonably smiling.

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the music of Jools Holland and his big band.                                                                                                                Jools has to be the king of ‘happy music’. Thanks J for sharing your music.  Feeling FineI’m In a Dancing Mood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BCNtnw4QXA and Be My Guest must be amongst the most smiley, forget your troubles tunes… Here are some more suggestions – what are yours?

Louis Armstrong and all his starsAin’t misbehavin – another chaotic jazz great, although this isn’t the best quality track – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzmc0wbL8mQ

Aretha Franklin Respect http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0XAI-PFQcA

Eliza Dolittle Pack Up – this isn’t a good recording, but I defy you to listen to this and stay still… turn the volume up, and the challenge is on!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzY0-I4Gq5w

My Chemical Romance Teenagers because it reminds me of Jassi – she caused a stir in her last year at primary school when she chose this track for her class assembly – incidental lesson for the day – you can get away with anything if your smile is big enough and warm enough – and you’re good at editing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6EQAOmJrbw

Soft Cell Tainted Love – great jogging music… feels good http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEh5pWjcWCg

Eurythmics Here comes the rain again A bit slower, but confident and strong, with a flowing beat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFnYcIqj6I

Ok, so this one’s a bit embarassing, but it has to be admitted that it gets you in the mood… Abba Dancing Queen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REElUors1pQ

For a complete contrast, Barry White My First, My Last, My Everything http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REElUors1pQ

Reminds me of a particular time, so a personal smile – great song, greater video! Queen I Want to Break Free  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRdo7WXTVoM

Robbie Williams – groovy and good looking – How lucky can one guy be?  Ain’t that a kick in the head http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9KDB8XYENQ Beyond the Sea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrxgqhrNnXg

Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSD4vsh1zDA

Here’s something to remember Bob Marley  Don’t worry bout a thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo8HFVq3Wn8

Tina Turner Simply the Best http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra12L1Bl0Z4

Do share your happy songs 🙂

Thoughts on a difficult time.

‘A friend is someone who walks in when the rest of the world walks out’.  (Anon)

It’s been a difficult time – busy, big issues at home, and sadness.  Dis-illusion on different fronts.

I have been struck by the friendliness and genuine kindness of people around me –                                                                                            people who have I didn’t really know before, but have gone out of their way to offer friendship, show they care.                                                  I hope that I will hold onto the warmth that they have shown me, and be as good a friend when those around me need it.                              I hope that I will have the courage to step beyond the usual social niceties of a wide smile and happy wave when I can see that a familiar, if not well known, person, is suffering in some way.

I have taken time to reflect about life – my life, and how it has shaped me.

I guess we all snatch a moment at times every so often, to work things out and try to understand them and ourselves a little better.

I found this, from ‘Urban Monk.com’.  I did, indeed, think it was beautiful:

The Most Beautiful Heart Story

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley.
A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed. It truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, “Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.” The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. The people stared. “How can he say his heart is more beautiful?”
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed. “You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love – I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.”
“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges – giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect, young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.
They embraced and walked away side by side.
I hope that I have the courage to show others friendship and love when they need it,                                                                                                just as some have to me –
that is surely what makes our hearts, lives and the world beautiful.
“If you love someone, you must be strong enough to allow them to be.”  (Anon)
No-body is perfect,
so love – whether for a partner, child, family member or friend, is surely about the whole package…  About what we can give as much as what we  receive – and the security that one gives often helps the other to address their more difficult traits, so that each individual, and the two together, become stronger, better people, partners or friends.
But sometimes our minds get taken up with negatives, or can be tainted by destructive habits.  The focus switches to what we don’t like; the loved person  is lost behind a mental collage of their negative traits –
the focus is on those,  they appear therefore to get bigger.  Positives are not noticed –
this critical focus and judgement is sensed by the other person.
Opportunities for enjoyment are lost in a negative fog which spreads unease and envelopes both individuals.
Constructive criticism, trust and a feeling of security are no longer a possibility as insecurity breeds.
The uncertainty can sometimes turn into a reality, although that was not what was wanted on either side.
In that circumstance, when communication seems impossible, and everything is misconstrued, what is the best thing to do?
‘The greatest act of courage in life is to be and to own all of who you are –
without apology,
without excuses and without masks to cover the truth of who you are’.  
(Debbie Ford  http://www.debbieford.com)
Understanding that we can only be responsible for ourselves,
can’t change another person’s habits or train of thinking without their will…
however destructive those habits may seem to be –
and can’t work together where there is no will to do so.
Sometimes, the only thing to do seems to be to walk away –
however hard that may be to do.
Hoping, perhaps, that it will not be for long…
If only to avoid joining in with a situation of criticism and counter criticism.
An effort to break the destructive cycle of negatives, regain self confidence
and the opportunity to give and have the gift received again…
Hoping for positivity to return,
that the little piece of missing heart will be filled again.
Adel’s ‘Make you feel my love‘ puts it beautifully, I think.
see:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnn9JlqqTE4
It may be that that hope is in vain,
but it can take a long time to realise.
The heart keeps beating strongly,
but there’s a hole that will never be filled.
I remember this episode of Desert Island Discs –
I only heard a bit of it – was taking a short drive in the car, and the last third of the programme was on the radio.  It resonated, in part.