Thursday, 19 July 2012

Reader Appreciation Award

On 24th July, my blog will be 1 year old. I love my blog. When I started, I had no idea how compulsive it would be or how much – and I mean really HOW MUCH – I would enjoy it. When I first started I wrote 4 posts and then a hacker got into my google account, locked me out and stamped all over my bonfire. I was gutted. We went off on our holidays, but I felt bereft.  On our return, I applied myself to regaining control over my virtual life. I managed to kick out the hacker, and with some far more secure passwords in hand, I triumphed.

My google stats tell me that this will be my 176th post. I can’t believe I’ve had that much to say (well, maybe I haven’t) but what started out as something to please myself actually appears to be enjoyed by a few other people. I’m not talking anything grand, but I can say that people who don’t know me in real life (and might therefore feel some kind of obligation to look in every now and again and give me a virtual pat on the head) are reading what I write, and enjoying it.

The purpose of telling you all this is that a few weeks ago, I was presented with a Reader Appreciation Award from Single Married Mum, who I am fairly sure I have never met in RL. More than receiving the award itself (proof that at least one other person has read my blog) is that I received it from someone whose blog I love. If you haven’t visited her, please do take the time to do so. You’ll find a warm account of her family life, her charity shop finds, her lovely photographs,  and above all, her amazing strength dealing with everything we all have to deal with, while her Husband is in Afghanistan.

The rules of the award are fairly straightforward:

1. Include the award logo on my blog:
2. Answer the 10 questions below, for fun
3. Nominate other blogs you enjoy – the recommended number is 10-12, but you can choose any number
4. Pay the love forward – provide your nominees with a link to your post, and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invite them to take part
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and link to the blogger(s) who nominated you

Favourite Colour – I had my colours ‘done’ after Blue was born. One of those days where you pay through the nose for someone to hold up lots of different coloured pieces of cloth and tell you whether you’ve got blue or yellow skin tones, and from there what your ‘season’ is. It turns out that i am ‘brown summer’ but for those of you with more important things to worry about, what it basically means is that I can’t wear yellow or black. Fortunately, it turned out that I was still allowed to wear the colours that I mostly like to wear, but I now have a handy little wallet which I can bustle off into a changing room and agonise over if I ever actually get to go shopping for clothes.  I like colour though, and my favourite colour is one that I am actually supposed to wear lots of, which is a kind of delphinium blue. I took some pictures of the delphiniums in the garden a couple            of weeks ago, but even then the rain had started to trash them. They are bent and broken now, but still a glorious blue.

Favourite Animal – I am unashamedly a dog person. I grew up with dogs, I have a dog now. A 3 legged springer spaniel called Fred. If I had a blog about something other than food it would be called something like “How to Train an Almost Untrainable Super Speedy Duck Killing But Very Loveable Idiot Dog Who Throws Himself Off Quarry Edges and Doesn’t Feel Pain”. But that would be quite a mouthful. I’m also quite fond of pigs. When we had our kitchen done a couple of years ago, I finally found a home for ‘the pig’ – a set of tiles my mum gave me for my 21st birthday and which I have been carrying round with me ever since. Guess the fact that I finally felt that I could get them grouted onto a wall means something quite profound about where I am in life.

Favourite non-alcoholic drink – This so depends on what time of day it is and what mood I’m in. I can’t function without a cup of tea in the morning, and after I’ve walked the dog and am settling down to work, only a cup of coffee will do. If the unfortunate situation arose where I was at a pub/party and was not partaking of alcoholic refreshment, it would probably be either a lime & soda water or a ginger beer. Or a tomato juice, fully pimped with Tabasco, lemon, ice etc.  

Facebook or Twitter – My short answer is that I use them for different things, and I don’t think I can choose, because they are different beasts as far as I’m concerned. Facebook is where I keep up with friends and family, although Recipe Junkie has her own facebook page now (!/RecipeJ if you were interested...) which I am enjoying. I’ve only been on Twitter for 2 or 3 months. Initially, I feared that I was passed it – it was all too sharp, too edgy, too witty for me, and I would never be able to understand how to use it, and then all of a sudden it started to make sense. There’s still lots of Twitter that I haven’t explored properly, but I get it now. And maybe I’m not really sharp enough or witty enough to be there, but it works for what I thought it might do. I have ‘met’ some really excellent people in the Twittersphere and I love dipping in and out when I can. I also love that you can sometimes be lucky enough to catch the virtual eye of someone you would never otherwise come in to contact with. Once again, Nigel Slater – you don’t know how much I bask in the memory of you re-tweeting my Rhubarb and VanillaJam.

Favourite Pattern This is a William Morris pattern that has been with me all my life. We had curtains in this material when I was a child and it re-appears at odd times in my life bringing with it a huge rush of nostalgia.

Do you prefer giving or getting presents? Well, of course I should say giving presents, but giving presents means choosing what to give and I am singularly rubbish at it. On the rare occasions I get it right, I feel a huge sense of relief more than anything else. Some people seem to be natural present buyers, but not me. I feel like I hardly ever buy with the confidene of knowing that what I have bought will give the recipient the pleasure I want ot to give. may be this is because I never EVER know what to get my father. i feel like all his life he has been waiting for something amazing to come along, and it never arrives. So he gets socks and books - although I do try hard to find him new reads. Still it's always gratifying to see the kids faces when they get a top present, and sometimes, it;s the little things that are the real 'wow' for them, and i love that.

Favourite number - I could say 4, because my little family is 4 of us, but then the children would be outraged that I hadn't included the dog or the chickens, so that would make it 10. It could be 13 because we got married on the 13th and I like to be a little controversial occasionally (well, not that choosing 13 as a favourtie number is hugely controversial or anything but you know what I mean). Or it could be 3, because the dog only has 3 legs. Yes, you've guessed it. I just do not have a favourite number. Sorry.

Favourite Day of the Week - I'm quite fond of Thursday. The start of the week is always a mad rush, and while I love the weekends, there's something about Thursday, when you can have that sense of anticipation of something good to come. Work is a little more manageable than it has been earlier in the week, and I can have some space while the kids are at school to think ahead. Thursday is also the day the house usually gets cleaned, so I usually have 20 minutes or so before the kids are home from school and before the dog has had a chance to get covered in mud, when the house is quiet, clean and tidy. It doesn't bother me that much when it's not clean and tidy, but I do enjoy that brief moment of calm and quiet.

Favourite Flower  - my favourite flower depends on many things. A couple of weeks ago it was the delphiniums in the garden, but they’ve been ravaged by the rain now. Before that it was the poppies in the fields where I walk the dog – just beautiful. I love being out of doors, and wild flowers are definitely my favourite. My Granny always had what she called ‘a little tussy mussy’ on her kitchen table – basically a little bunch of flowers she’d picked out and about.

What is your passion well that’s easy, isn’t it. Food. And my family. Feeding my family is what my blog basically has at its heart and although I like to dally with the occasional show stopper, I definitely fall into the home cook league rather than the chef league. Frankly I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

Now for nominations.

There are a couple of food blogs that I just love. The View from the Table and Crumbs - Feed Your Family. I have recently discovered, and very much enjoy reading Mamacook.

I enjoy reading Pint Sized Rants, because so often when I flail around the edges of an argument, she has got to the nub of it deftly and succinctly. I don't always agree with her, but I am in awe of her ability to make a strong and convincing argument in a few words. She has a dog too.

For something completely off the wall, I nominate Jacked in my Job .

Mouther Goutte tells amazing stories and you really should give her blog a visit. She hasn't been blogging for long, and I think she may already have been awarded this by someone else, but there - I'll heap on the accolades,

Yellowfields Camping also gets my Readers Appreciation Award because she has opened up a whole new world of campsites without me having to do the leg work. It helps that she obviously likes the same kind of camp sites that we do (campfires yes, rows, no), but I am very appreciative!


  1. Happy birthday tooooo yoooooou!

  2. Thank you RJ, that's so nice of you. Lovely post too :)

  3. Well done you - awards coming thick and fast now!

  4. Happy (nearly) first birthday to your lovely blog! I'm touched by what you said, so thank you - and your answers are fab.

    My mum puts a little mixed bunch of flowers on the table, it's something I always expect to see when I stay with her. I've never heard it called 'a little tussy mussy' before - think that's just perfect!

  5. Thanks all for your comments!

  6. Blimey! An award! That was unexpected! Thankyou!
    I am just dipping my toes into the world of twitter. Not really getting it yet. Hope I have the same moment of revelation that you have!
    Happy First Birthday - I trust you are treating yourself to some yummy cake.

    1. Cake unlikely - i will be in a field in South gloucestershire with 23 scouts :-)

  7. Happy Birthday! Hooray for you. And congratulations on a lovely blog. :)

    1. Ah thank you. I like yours too. Did you see the mess I made of the top of my swedish summer cake? I had to resort to porn to justify putting it on to the blog...


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