Chai And A Chat #37 #ChaiAndAChat #BloggersBash Special @BloggersBash

Hey there Peeps! Time for our weekly catch up, but with a difference… I’m going Bloggers Bash crazy today! So go and get that drink ready!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d start off by whizzing through the beginning of the week… Yes, we are back at school. And the first week was busy, but we all survived! There was a little training, a lot of teaching, plenty of organisiation and too many headaches! I know where I will be, class-wise, next year, though am not able to say, but it is good to know. One less thing to think of!  The kids seem to have noticably grown and matured in these last two weeks too, so the days flowed perfectly! But I couldn’t wait for the end of the week… because it was Bash Time!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that after much deliberation, Hoppalong Hubby and I decided that the train would be a bit too much for him, so I braved the London drive, and the extortionate costs for parking, so we could drive there, stay overnight, and drive back on the Sunday. We got there by the skin of our teeth, what with traffic, but at least we arrived, which was more than some, who ended up having to curtail their trips as there was an incident on one of the train lines, meaning they had no way of getting there.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d mention that it was such a joy to see so many familiar faces again. It honestly is like seeing dear family after an age! There are those who have become dear friends too… you know who you are. Missed certain faces, like Lucy Mitchell and Christoph Fischer – your absences were noted, and there were Lucy and Christoph shaped holes in my bash experience this year 😥 But I took a few photos, amidst the chatting,a nd I have borrowed a few from,Marjorie Mallon , Willow Withers and Shelley Wilson too!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say the event got off to a good start, despite both speakers not arriving yet, as they were, too, stuck in the train chaos! But arrive, they did, and we were able to hear some delicious pearls of wisdom from burger-fanatic food blogger Lauren Creaven, who writes a blog all about food experiences in Birmingham, aka Brum… so her blog name is Full To The Brum. She is a successful blogger who has been interviewed on the telly, writes for Sainsbury’s Magazine and Olive magazine, and who is passionate about giving her readers an authentic, down to earth review of the various places she visits.
Lauren Creaven
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d let you know that the second speaker, who is also a Midlands girl, but rather than being Brummie, was a Yam Yam… (for those of you who are unaware, the Yams Yams are the indiginous folk of the Black Country who live very close to Birmingham, but aren;t Brummies!). We were delighted to be able to listen to author GX Todd, or in reality, Gemma Todd. Gemma is a traditionally published writer who was extremely blessed to have been signed up to Headline Books, with a four-book contract, of which two are published, and two are on their way. Gemma spoke to us about her journey to becoming a writer, which always fascinates me. Why do people write, and if they get out there, how did they manage it? She took us on a very emotional journey of discovery and realisation, and left us with hope that if we want to write a book, and get it out there the traditional way, there is a chance!
GX Todd
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d obviously mention the workshop that Suzie and Sacha ran, which taught everyone about Flatlay Photography, which is basically the art of arranging objects in an appealing manner to showcase a specific book, product or event. Eloise did a wonderful, photo filled post on it, so please go and read it here.
  • If we were sipping chai together how could I forget to tell you about the awards? Well… Sitting comfortably, with a topped up drink? Okay, them. The awards announcements were peppered through the day, two at a time, and instead of having first, second and third places, there were just straight winners announced. So the categories and winners were as follows :

Wait… What? I won?

Now, Peeps, if you’ve read my posts, you will know that I was pleasantly surprised to have been voted for the Book Blogger category. Yes, I do review books, and this year I have been doing bumper monthly posts about what I have been reading, but I have never considered myself to be a book blogger as such. So, instead of my crazy campaigning for votes, I announced it, and then let it lie… After all, there were 65-odd others nominated in my category and that is a huge amount of bloggers to be up against.

And yet still… you guys did this. You voted me as the BEST BOOK BLOG!

It’s not often I am left speechless, but I definitely was when I heard that. Gobsmacked, more like! But seriously, WOW! I am so apreciative of the votes and confidence you all show in me.

Thank you all, so much! You don’t know the love that is pouring from my heart for each and every one of you that supports me.

I was so excited I even did a bit of rush Flatlay with my certificate!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d offer you cake myself, as I made some to take to the Bash! We had Banana Bread and Yoghurt cake, which is eggless, and fruity, rather like a fruit loaf. (Recipes will follow!)
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d say that one of the best parts of the day was the mingling (or networking, as posher folk call it – Me, I’d rather say chatting, because I’m good at that 😉). Throughout the day, we had breaks and chances to sit and talk to each other, either catching up on life since we last met, or getting to know newer members of my blogily! There was less Chai and more Vino, but hey, it was a special day! We discussed, blogs, books, other writers books, our own books, spam, cricket and all sorts! The day wound down at around 5pm, and we retired to the bar where some had to dash as they had trains to catch. The numbers slowly dwindled over the evening with lots of promises to see each other next year and we were left alone, after finally seeing the stragglers off! Hubby and I were staying the night, so we had nowhere we needed to get back to!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that we ended the night with a little meal at the Indian restaurant across the road from the hotel, where the food wasn’t much to write home about, but the service was good, and I was even given a rose at the end! Awards, certificates, roses… this day was getting better and better! Then we finally retired to our room for the night. I was shattered, and spent an hour trying to answer messages from all over the world, with friends and family congratulating me. Ritu felt like a very special girl ❤
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to say Ritu felt like a very special girl ❤ This week has been lovely in so many respects, from work to family, to the Bash. I’m not sure I’m ready to start a new week…I want to wallow in my happiness a little longer!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that this week has another first happening. Lil Princess will be off on her first ever residential trip with her class… She is so excited, and I am too, for her, but nervous as well…
  • If we were sipping that chai togetherand possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d mention that I have another trip to London this week, for a course… at least that means reading time on the train!
  • If we were sipping that chai togetherand possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’m still not in full editing mode, but once I get those reports finished… I promise! So many folk at the Bash were encouraging me about the book and it’s future, I just have to get it done!

Have a wonderful week, Peeps! Let me know how your week went!

 The Sunshine Blogger #Award and personal questions – Sally Cronin Style!

Thank you so much to Sally for thinking of me for this award! I have received it previously, but I always like to share such posts, and answer the questions, because that is so much fun!

What is the most daring thing you have done? I’ve not jumped from planes, or zip wired across a rainforest… I haven’t moved countries (Counties, yes!) but I think the most daring thing I have done is to put myself out there via this blog and my writing. I have laid myself bare in so many ways, that I think that is pretty much daring enough!

Name one item still on your bucket list. I want to go to the Bahamas!

If you had a time machine, would you choose to live in the past or the future? That is a really tough one because if you live in the past, it’s like you aren’t happy with your present, but to go into the future is a total unknown! If pushed, I’d say as the time machine was mine, I’d love to see what the future held for my family and me, then go back to the past to relive some aspects of life, and unmake certain mistakes! (Is that cheating?)

What is your favourite movie of all time? Easy. Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book!

What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self? Don’t ever lose yourself trying to please others. It’s the advice my mother gave me when I was getting married, and I would tell the younger me that even earlier!

What is one of your guilty pleasures? I love that you ask about one of your guilty pleasures… are you implying we have many…? Well, mine would be…Chocolate… and lots of it!

Do you have any pets? We do indeed! We have Sonu Singh, our Punjabi cat and Heer & Ranjha, our parrotlet pair.

Tell us about one thing that really gets your goat. Parents not taking responsibility for their child! As a teacher, you see some wonderful parenting, but you also see the other side too…

Who would you invite to a celebrity dinner. List 5, dead or alive? I answered a similar question on one of Sally’s interviews before and said I wouldn’t want celebrities, but if I could bring someone back, it would be my four grandparents… But as I want to play properly… Hmmm… five celebs… Okay, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Arjun Rampal (gotta have some eye candy!), Charlie Chaplin and Roald Dahl.

What is your most annoying bad habit? Depends on who you ask! If it was my Hubby Dearest, he would say I am on Social Media too much! If you asked my kids, it would be I nag too much. If you ask one of my old colleagues, she used to say I breathed too loudly, and I have to say, I do when concentrating on something!

Name your current favourite song playing on your playlist right now. Oh, that is such a hard one! I like too much music to choose just one song! And in all honesty, I don’t have a playlist… it’s whatever CD is in the car stereo! But I do love this one right now…

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunshine Blogger #Award and personal questions. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Real Neat Blog Award | Image Earth Travel

Thanks to Nilla of the blog Image Earth Travel for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award.

I have received this before, so I am sharing her post as thanks.

And, because I feel like it… here are my answers to the questions she posed!

1. Do you prefer solo travelling or travelling with someone? Why?

I wish I could give an answer that was based on experience, but the truth is, I have never travelled alone so I don’t know! I would like to try it once at least though. Travelling with someone is wonderful too though, as you create memories you both share.

2. What is the very first country that you visited?

I was six months old, the first time I went on an aeroplane. It was from the UK to India to attend my uncle’s wedding. I remember nothing. There are photos to prove it though! After that, it was Kenya, where my parents were born and brought up.

3. Do you backpack or travel in luxury?

So far, it has been a life of ‘luxury holidays’ or visiting family!

4. How did you start blogging?

By total accident! I was trying to comment on the first post of a friend a few years ago, not even knowing what a blog is, and then WP asked me if I wanted to start one, so I thought why not! And here I am nearly four years later!

5. Why did you choose your current blogging platform?

It was where I fell into it, and I have been happy here.

6. From what part of the world are the most of your blog visits?

The United States is by far the place where I get the most views!

7. Do you find advertising on a blog distracting?

Yes, especially the ones that are really random. But if people use affiliate links I don’t mind them!

And there you have it!

Please visit Nilla’s original post!

Thanks again, Nila!!!

September, 2018 It’s always a great surprise to receive a nomination from a fellow blogger and this time, the nomination is for the Real Neat Blog Award.

Source: Real Neat Blog Award | Image Earth Travel

The Sunshine Blogger Award – Art by Rob Goldstein

Thank you so much, Dearest Rob, for nominating me for this award! I have received it before, so as thanks, I am reblogging it!

But, I do like answering questions… so here are my answers!

Why do you blog?

I blog because I enjoy writing, and it fuels my creativity to read what others write too.

What most frustrates you about blogging?

Nothing as such, but I just wish I had more time!

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I LOVE the interaction with others, and the connections with people across this world of ours.

How do you define success?

In my eyes, success is being satisfied with what you have, fulfilling your goals and feeling at peace.

What is the one thing you most want from your followers?

My followers are wonderful. I couldn’t ask for more from them! But if they want to give more, I always welcome comments!

What is the one thing you most want to give the people you follow.

Support for their writing 🙂 We all have an opinion, and a certain style, and they should all be applauded!

How do you define the difference between positive and negative criticism?

Criticism is all good, as long as you label it constructive!

How do you deal with moments when a blogger you like posts something you don’t like?

If need be, I’ll scroll on. They are entitled to post whatever they want.

Is your blog a journal, a literary experiment, performance art or none of that?

A total mish-mash of all of the above, kind of like me!

What is success as a blogger?

To me, it’s gone beyond figures and stats, which initially it was all about. Success for me, is to get positive feedback on my posts, seeing posts appreciated and shared, and if I am able to help even one person with a post, I’ll be happy!

By your definition, do you consider yourself successful?

I feel that I am successful in my blogging journey. Despite a blogging hiatus, I have still maintained my followers, and notifications have been acted upon. Getting a welcome back from my readers shows, to me, that I was missed, and appreciated!

Source: The Sunshine Blogger Award – Art by Rob Goldstein

The Bloggers Bash 2018 – My take! #BloggersBash #MondayBlogs

Saturday the 19th of May took it’s time to arrive, but equally, it sped its way here, if you know what I mean!


The Annual Blogger’s Bash is one of the pinnacles of my year (I can’t say THE pinnacle… family might object lol!) and I always look forward to it immensely!

This year we were in a lovely venue, the George IV in Chiswick, and the weather was glorious!

Of course, we also shared the special day with a couple of other minor events, such as the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan (congrats!) and the FA CUP final, and my best friend’s daughter’s first birthday… certainly chose a popular date!

There were a few notable absences, where certain folk were either unwell, or caught up in the ridiculous traffic that clogged the roads and trains.

But there was a healthy turnout of both familiar faces as well as some new ones (to me, anyway!)


We chatted, mingled, networked, asked questions, gave advice, ate drank and were merry!

The committee was up there, introducing, presenting and generally making merry!


My nerves when I was speaking were evident, as I physically shook when I started, but once I got my groove, all was well! There were even questions at the end, which I’m told is a good thing!


Sacha’s presentation about mailing lists was really enlightening too! I may even start thinking of starting one!


Awards were handed out periodically through the day, as were book prizes for a raffle that had several draws… And I won one of those prizes!


Gotta love a book prize!

And I was also asked to be part of the panel discussion, where I felt just sitting and smiling through would be sufficient, but I did input a little!


And I am honoured to say I was awarded Third place Runner up for Best Overall Blog 2018. There was some tough competition, but what an honour, to get some recognition!


Thank you Voters!

There will be a much better one of this shot out there, but my long-suffering Hubby Dearest, who accompanied me, took a sneaky couple of all the attendees!



I am really grateful to Sacha, Geoff, Hugh, Suzie, Shelley, Graeme, Helen and Adam for taking so much time over the last year, organising such a fantastic get together!


The Fab Committee!

Thank you to all the Committee for creating such a wonderful event for us to be a part of.

Congratulations to all the Winners, Runners Up, and Nominees! You are all stars!

The awards are fun, but the Bash itself, and meeting other bloggers out there – priceless!

I simply can’t wait for next year!!!!

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