#SoCS Nov. 26, 2022 – Plates

Linda’s SoCS prompt.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “on your/my plate.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

What do you have on your plate?

I don’t mean food. Rather, do you have patterned plates and matching crockery?

I remember that for my mum, Corningware was the thing.

We had that set that I think most Indian families outside of India had at some point, called Spice of Life, but it was just the casserole dishes at that time.

Then mum discovered the whole sets and we were blessed with a beautiful Shadow Iris set. But we rarely ate from it. It was saved for when guests came over!

When I got married, Mum bought me the whole Callaway Ivy set.

And when I mean the whole set, I am talking EVERYTHING!

I have the dinner plates and side plates, cereal bowls, small bowls, large bowls, oval dinner plates, serving dishes, casserole dishes of several sizes, a teapot, teacups/mugs and saucers, milk jug, sugar pot, salt and pepper shakers, as well as matching table mats!

There is probably more, but I can’t remember. I am as bad as my mum, and have these all stored away for special occasions!

The thing is, I always loved the Shadow Iris set.

So a couple of years back, before COVID struck, my mum decided to take the set she had stored safely and decided that the mismatched crockery I was using needed to be replced by something better, and I was gifted a set of Shadow Iris Dinner plates, Side Plates and bowls. Oh, and some table mats that matched too!

She still had more left after giving me a set of 12 of each. (We have a big family. Mum liked to be prepared, so she had 24 of everything!) But 12 would be more than enough plates for me and would also allow for any breakages – inevitable in my household!

So nowadays, I love what is on my plate, under the food – my Shadow Iris pattern!

Sorry I’m Late, But I Just Hit Eight! (Years!) #Blogiversary

So, there I was, minding my own business,when a notification came up…

I’ve officially been blogging for eight years!

And how I fell into this world is a story in itself.

Some of you, my oldest friends, on here, will have heard it already, but for those of you, my newer blogily members, I am happy to recount the way this blog started.

A dear friend of mine wrote a post on Facebook, mentioning that she had started writing to help her mental health. She shared a link and said any of us could read it. Being the supportive friend that I am, I clicked straight onto it and was immersed in her words and thoughts. I wanted to comment to show my support, but it told me I needed to create an account.

And so I did.

Then this thing called WordPress emailed me and said, now you’ve signed up, why not start a blog?


So that is what this thing was called.

I’d never heard of blogging. (Old school, aren’t I?)

But I thought, why not?

And But I Smile Anyway was born!

I had no idea what I was meant to write about on this blog thing. I had no niche, no plan, no clue.

But, somehow, that little unknown blog built up its followers, and some of those followers became friends, and you all gradually became my blogily!

Eight years down the line, I have nearly 10K blog followers, it’s won awards, and I was given the encouragement to pursue my writing, meaning I am a published poet and author, too, with a publishing contract!

I branched out onto Instagram and TikTok, too… see where blogging leads you?

And, every day, I feel blessed that I have such a wonderful Blogiy, still willing to read my ramblings, so THANK YOU!

I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for you and your interactions with me!

Here’s to plenty more years together, too!

Book and a Brew with Ritu – Do What You Love by @Marjorie_Mallon by #NewRelease #BookReview

I’m back with a second edition!

Today, I am thrilled to welcome an old blogging and writing friend who I have met in person. None other than the lovely Marjorie Mallon, one of my blogging sisters! She’s got an awesome poetry collection out TODAY, entitled Do What You Love.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway again, Marje! First things first. What would you like to drink?

We have all the usuals, tea, coffee, masala chai, fancy coffee from the Nespresso machine, or green tea if you’d prefer. Lil Princess has been busy baking cookies for us, too!

Ah, I’ve put a bit of weight on recently, Ritu, so I better say green tea, but I’d love a cookie! Thanks, Lil Princess. 🙂

So, firstly, let’s set the scene. You recently left British shores and have moved abroad to Portugal. What a brave move! Tell us about it. How has it changed life for you since you are also a mother? And are you able to be more creative out there now?

Thank you so much, Ritu, for inviting me over to chat about my new book and for taking the time to read and review it. I appreciate it so much. We’re still swamped in the bureaucratic post covid process, Ritu.

Even though things are starting to move! At the moment, I’m spending over half of the year in the UK, mostly in Edinburgh and the rest in Portugal. As I have elderly parents and my daughters are both based in the UK, I see this time as a precious gift to be with them. I miss my daughters, family and friends in the UK.

But… we have had a lot of visitors! In truth, I find it more difficult to focus on writing here as there are so many distractions! I have to be disciplined and find the time! Yesterday (after a late night and a rock concert,) I began writing this interview on the train travelling from Faro back to Tavira.

You haven’t pigeonholed yourself as a writer, have you? YA fantasy fiction, and all sorts of poetry and cross-over poetic fiction books. What is your favourite type of creative writing?

No, I haven’t. I would try anything… I might even attempt to write a crime and/or romance novel one day. My favourite kind of writing is… perhaps poetry and short fiction as I find it the easiest to write. I love writing full-length novels too, but they are much more challenging, frustrating and time-consuming.

I’ve been wondering, how is your 2nd book progressing Ritu… Can’t wait to read it.

Currently, it is sitting with my editors at my publisher! So, not long. June 2023 is the pencilled-in publication date! Oh, they do take forever to write, don’t they, especially when you are working full time, too!

You know I’m a nosy soul. Where do you like to write?  Is it a very different setup for you now you have moved?

Yes! We have downsized from a 5-bed family home with a large garden to a one-bed rented flat with a tiny balcony and no garden. I must be mad! I mainly write in said flat in Tavira – in the kitchen! My hubby bought me a nice table and chairs with a pretty view of the fields and trees nearby  I used to have an office in our old house, but we are only renting at the moment, so I am making do! I am flexible that way… as long as I have a laptop, power and wifi, I am ready to go.

What about you Ritu where do you write?

I have my little reading and writing room. I loathed to call it an office because it then seems like work rather than the pleasure I find creating stories!

We’ve been friends for a LONG time now. And we’ve had the pleasure of meeting each other in person at the ABBA’s. (Remember them? I miss those opportunities to catch up with my blogily!) How do you feel your blogging career has evolved over the years?

Yes, we have been friends for a LONG time, and I value your dear friendship so much, Ritu. I miss those events and your lovely in-person company! I must admit to having downsized my blogging activity. I miss it, but something had to give! I focus mainly on writing reviews now, doing blog tours etc., which I love doing. I’ve started a bookstagram account mainly for this purpose:  https://www.instagram.com/mjm_reviews/

Who knows where my future writing/blogging may take me.

I would love to write more about my travels…as I am a keen photographer. I’ve started drafting a story set in Tavira, so we shall see…it started off as a romantic idea but seems to be veering in another direction. So me!

You must find it so hard to find time Ritu with your work commitments… How do you manage? Oddly I find it even harder now I am retired from my day job. The opposite to what I expected!

I’m not actually sure how I manage, Marje! But, I feel that if you really want to do something, you will find the time for it, so that is how I manage. I don’t watch an awful lot of TV, so my spare time is all reading and writing and adding my regular posts to my blog!

I have been honoured to read most of your work as working copies, or arcs, over the years. What has been your favourite project so far?

You are a star and such a huge supporter of all my work! It’s a pleasure to read and an honour to be trusted with someone’s creativity!

I love your writing too and can’t wait to read more of The Rishtay series!  (Blushing…) Thank you.

My favourite project… a difficult one to answer as I love them all.

Overall, it has to be my debut novel Bloodstone, in The Curse of Time series, as it was my first writing project, the 1st novel I’d ever written and published. It kickstarted it all, and I am very proud of all the positive and diverse reviews it has received. It now has 84 reviews on Goodreads… and counting, with an overall rating of 4.14.

Also, I met the inventor of the Corpus Christi Clock (one of the inspirations for the series,) Dr John C Taylor, and went out for lunch and a stroll with him, which was a huge highlight of my life.  And Bloodstone is now available in audiobook which I love. We are currently working on the audiobook of book 2, Golden Healer. So excited about this!

I’ve just literally finished reading Do What You Love, your latest poetry collection with an eclectic mix of writing, where you revisit key moments in life and talk them through via the mediums of fictional conversations with the Three Sisters of Fate. Tell us how this idea came about.

I had a conversation with the sisters of fate, and they said to write this! Only joking. Like all of my writing projects, it evolved rather than was planned. It showcases poetry, prose and photographic images about my favourite places to live, emotional memories, happy times, amusing moments, and imagined discussions with the 3 three sisters of fate over a wide period of time. I suppose it is me having a soul-searching chat with myself about how my life is about to change and how perhaps I have to come to terms with that. Moving abroad is much more difficult than I first anticipated. I tend to jump and think later…

Since we’re sitting here with our drinks and cookies, and your book is about reminiscences, can you tell us a bit about a favourite food or snack and the memories it evokes?

My favourite food or snack has to be my mum’s beef rendang (Malaysian curry) or her Chinese duck, or sweet and sour pork – truly scrumptious, and her snacks…meat sate sticks, dim sum, homemade spring rolls.

My mum’s cooking evokes memories of family gatherings, and my hubby’s mouth-watering… he kept on coming to see me and ended up being spellbound by her fabulous cooking. Lol. Not joking. My mum is still a wonderful cook at age 80! She still gets up early every morning to cook. Bless her.

That all sounds delicious!

Now, to finish, can you tell us what to expect next? Will there be more from your YA series or other fiction? Or will you be concentrating on your poetry?

Next up is the final book in my YA fantasy series which will be set in The Land of Shadows. I also have several unfinished projects, some of which are short stories and as I mentioned earlier, the beginning of a story set in Tavira. Perhaps if I do write another poetry collection it will be set in Portugal… time will tell! 

Oh, now exciting!

Thank you so much for visiting, Marje. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you for inviting me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊

Peeps, you heard that right, the last in Marje’s YA series is on its way, too!

Now, as I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Do What You Love, so let me share the blurb and my review.

The Blurb

Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

float along with me
create clouds of sweetest joy
to do what you love
hold fate’s hand as we venture
near and far on life’s journey

My Review

Do What You Love: Fragility of Your Flame Poems Photography & Flash Fiction by M.J. Mallon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh what a lovely book, filled with poetic gems and beautiful prose!
I enjoy reading MJ Mallon’s poetic fiction, where she ties poetry with prose, and have read several of her previous books written similarly.
Do What You Love is almost autobiographical in the sense that she has taken her memories and written them in poetic form. The fictional, almost fantastical element is where she meets the three sisters of fate through her journey of reminiscences, and they talk about her different memories.
It’s not linear, but no conversation ever is, is it? Memories jump from the more recent to the older ones as they come tumbling into your mind.
I felt a keen connection to the poems about her daughters and the autumn trees. Autumn is one of my favourite seasons.
A lovely book with a personal touch.


Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

And here are some links about Marje and her other books.

I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections (Mr Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.

Add the book to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63114445-do-what-you-love

The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.


Blog: https://mjmallon.com

All links via: https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor



Other poetry/flash fiction collections:

Kyrosmagica Publishing

The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet


Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose


Anthology – This Is Lockdown (poetry, diaries and flash fiction – kindle)


Poetry during Lockdown – Lockdown Innit


Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series.  Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.




About the Author

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began to be bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations, and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives sometimes in the UK and often times in Portugal. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.

Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too.

One-Liner Wednesday – Diamonds

“Some friends and colleagues are hidden diamonds, it just takes the right polish to make them shine.”

Ritu Bhathal

For Linda’s #1LinerWeds

Chai And A Chat #212 #ChaiAndAChat

Happy Monday, Peeps!

Got your drink?

  • If we were having chai, I’d tell you that I am sitting here, and I honestly can’t remember much about the week! Things were happening every day, and it was busy. That’s for sure!
  • If we were having chai, I’d tell you we had a special cycling workshop for the reception children on Monday to help them learn about road safety, as well as introduce them to balance bikes. The kids absolutely loved it, and the team who delivered it were amazing, too! We even sorted out the cast for our Reception Nativity too. I love this time of year! I also had a meeting with some other Early Years leaders from our academy and another, which was an enlightening catch-up, as well as a chance to vent about things that others don’t understand about how our kids learn at such a young age!
  • If we were having chai, I’d suddenly remember that I was going to update you on my HRT situation! See, the memory is shot to pieces with this Perimenopause! So the Dr called me and was more than happy for me to try a different oestrogen application to what I was originally prescribed as this one is more in tune with our natural oestrogens. Then, as she went through the dosage, she picked up on the fact that I am still on the pill, which I have told her several times, as well as it being on my records which are in front of her. “Oh! We need to change this. You need to stop your pill…” Okay, Dr. Fine by me… I hung up, thinking she was a bit airy fairy… then she called me back ten minutes later. “I just spoke to my colleagues to make sure. You should not stop the pill since it is a contraceptive.” Er, yes, I know that… “But take the rest of the stuff as I have advised.” Okay, Dr… I guess I should be relieved that she at least went and double-checked with her Dr friends before sending me off with the chance of a Menopause baby surprise!
  • If we were having chai, I’d excitedly tell you that I was featured in the latest edition of my old school magazine. Always wonderful to get some recognition from the people who were in my past!
  • If we were having chai, I’d mention that it was our wedding anniversary too on Friday. 21 years together. And I spent the majority of it at school, dressed up as a giant yellow bear, seeing as it was Children In Need, and I always wear my Pudsey onesie! But we had a wonderful weekend celebrating by going out as a family for the first time in ages, and we watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and ended with a meal at Nandos!
  • If we were having chai, I’d also say that as I geared up to write this post, I saw that I have already published 4500 posts! It’s been nearly 8 years since I started blogging, and that is a lot of posts! But, then again, I do have rather a lot to say, whether anyone likes it or not! My blog is the one place I can say what I want or need to without someone not listening. If it is read, then fantastic. If not, at least I have said (typed) my piece!
  • If we were having chai, I’d have to mention Sonu Singh. Storytime for you all. This face, below, though it looks cute, is the sheepish face of a kitty who has learned how to open his food cupboard. On Saturday morning, after I had fed him, he ransacked said cupboard, helping himself to another pouch of food, demolishing it, and eating half the packaging, too! This is him after I found the evidence and had to tell him off! One of my tasks on our family trip to Bluewater was to buy child locks for the cupboard! I thought we were done with them, but obviously not!
Bitmoji Image

This week I have one late evening training day with school, and a couple of staff members out, too. Other than that, I hope it will be a chilled-out week. We have an 18th birthday to attend on Saturday. One of Hubby Dearest’s mate’s son is becoming an adult, and he is also Lil Man’s friend. Scary thought. That will be us in a few months, soon. Parents to a legal adult! Oh, and I hope to get some more words written for book three. I started it on Sunday, in earnest! Eeeek!

And while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

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