The Bloggers Bash 2019 – Highlights and Photos #bloggersbash @BloggersBash

I can count on one hand how many bashes I have attended – five in total. Each have been different but one aspect is undeniable – I have put on a little weight since the first one.

I blame Ritu’s wonderful cakes!

Do check out Ritu’s new author blog:

https://ritubhathal.com

It was lovely reconnecting with old friends and making new ones too.

Unfortunately, as with all bashes there is always that moment when you realise that you haven’t had a chance to speak to everyone. So apologies to those I missed and to those I only chatted to briefly.

I took very few photos. Getting lazy…

But here are some, below myself, with Willow and Ritu.

Congratulations to Ritu for winning best book blog and to Sam Smith at Loving The Fifty Something Blog for winning the writing competition this year. I really enjoyed chatting to Sam and wish her every success and happiness with her writing and inspirational lifestyle.

Highlights

I particularly enjoyed listening to guest author Gemma Todd talking about her writing journey.

From working class girl with no books in the house, or readers in her family, to librarian and Headline author! That shows determination, tenacity and a love of the written word! Gemma flitted across the stage in an exuberant but down-to-earth way making me smile. She shared some touching anecdotes about her father and her genuine authenticity shone through.

I’ve followed Gemma on Twitter and will be finding out more about her book series which sounds fab. You can find out more about Gemma on her author website is via this link: https://gxtodd.com

Other highlights of the day were the flatlay session with Suzanne Elliot. Great tips from Suzanne followed by Sacha helping me with my creation.

Sacha Black’s invaluable advice was simple: less is more – don’t clutter your #flatlay photography. Add items to identify your unique style.

In Sacha’s case she includes a skull in her #flatlay. In my case, I could consider adding an item in red (like the colouring on my book cover.)

This is my work in progress flatlay… red item to be added at a later date. Perhaps a red bloodstone!

And The Panellists

Discussion was very interesting too. We heard from three knowledgeable bloggers/writers.

Great summation of the bash by my lovely friend Ritu: https://butismileanyway.com/2019/06/17/chai-and-a-chat-37-chaiandachat-bloggersbash-special-bloggersbash/

The perspective of a new blogger who hadn’t been before –  Marian:

https://justmuddlingthroughlife.co.uk/2019/06/16/annual-bloggers-bash-2019/

More about the Bloggers Bash and Flatlay workshop from Eloise:

https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/bloggers-bash-flatlay-workshop/

https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/bloggers-bash-2019/

From the Bloggers Bash Website:

https://annualbloggersbash.com/2019/06/15/winners-of-the-2019-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-and-blog-post-competition-bloggersbash/

And Willow’s wonderful account full of photos: https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/the-annual-bloggers-bash-june-15-2019/

Sherri’s fab post on the bash: https://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2019/06/18/five-years-and-another-fab-bloggers-bash-2019/

Bye for now.

If you haven’t been to the bash yet I hope you might consider coming!

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

A Huge Welcome To Artist Carolina Russo #Art #Music #Nature #Creativity

 

It is my great pleasure to welcome artist Carolina Russo to my blog. I consider her to not only be a talented artist but also a dear, sweet friend with whom I have a lot in common. We both share a great love of the beauty of nature, art, crystals, jewellery and music.

Such synchronicity!

Tell us about your artistic journey. Where did it all begin and what defines you as an artist?

First of all, I want to  thank Marje for inviting me to this interview and  for preparing these great questions. I appreciate  this very much. What a nice opportunity to be featured on her Blog.

Now about the beginning of my artistic journey… well it all happened the day I was born 😉 I am very thankful for the gift of  my artistic talent. I realized that I was very creative as a child. I loved drawing and creating things, and by the time I was a teenager I knew this was my calling. Creating art was what I wanted to do. My father is an Artist and I learned a lot just by watching his creative methods and  observing him working on his beautiful oil paintings. I was born in Italy, raised in a beautiful country which is bursting with Italian art, creativity, and history. I studied Art & Design and Jewelry design in Italy. I also have experience in Fashion, Graphic and Illustration Design.  I always wanted to be an Independent Artist with the ability to create freely  – which is what I am focused on right now. I have just redesigned my Blog yesterdayafter.com and included my own Carolina Russo Shop where I sell all my Art. This allows me to have direct contact with those who reach out to me. I also offer art on a commission basis and I love to collaborate with other inspiring people. If you like you can read more about my creative journey on a guest post I wrote a while ago here: https://yesterdayafter.com/the-designer/creative-journeys/

You create jewellery as well. I know your collections are ‘nature finds.’ What is it about nature,  salvaging, recycling, restoration, and transforming things that attracts you?

Pure Nature is one of the most beautiful things on our planet and needs to be preserved and not to take it for granted! I love nature and I love animals. I find it to be fascinating when I come across some wild nature finds of any kind, but especially fossil seashells, beautiful unique stones and other interesting little pieces of nature. I like to think when I find fossil seashells that they have been smoothed and shaped by the ocean waves with the helping hand of sand and rocks and that they are here on this planet for millions of years and saw it all!  I love to create unique pieces of jewelry with natural gemstones and crystals combined with my nature findings. Sometimes I also like to draw directly on stones or seashells adding my art  to their surfaces – to bring these discovered objects back to live a life in a different dimension – where they can still shine, bringing the magical vibes of nature to us.

What is your favourite crystal? And why?

Well this is not a easy question! I love so many crystals. I like to find out about their meanings and the energy of their healing powers! I love Blue Quartz because is a soothing and calming  crystal. It brings a relaxing and peaceful vibe to any kind of situation. Rose Quartz is known as the ” Love Stone.” This beautiful crystal emits strong vibrations and energy that clear and purifies, opening the heart to promote love in any situations.  And of course I like Sapphire which is my September birthstone. I like that it symbolizes purity and wisdom.

You live in California. Is this the perfect location for your art or do you miss your birthplace –  Italy? 

Well I love California. It is a beautiful place, but of course I miss Italy as it is the place where I was born and  grow up. I have been in Italy most of my life. My parents, brother and family are all there and it doesn’t often happen that we get a chance to see each other. Life events happen and the long distance makes it more difficult. About the location of my art I honestly  don’t  need a specific place to be able to create, this is one of the beautiful sides of being an independent artist. I can be artistic and create anywhere, and I love that! I mostly sell my creations online via my shop on my website. I actually just redesigned my Blog and included another section which is my Carolina Russo Shop https://yesterdayafter.com/shop/  where I have direct contact with customers anywhere in the world who are interested to my Art. All of my latest collaborations were  overseas in Europe. I am so happy about this, because I can work anywhere as long I have my supplies and an Internet connection. I paint at home in my little bunny hole studio.  I like to do everything by myself and I print all my Limited Edition Fine Art Prints of my paintings on my own. I want to give a 100% service to those who choose my art. I love to prepare my prints personally by adding final touches when I sign and pack them. I like to work on my pieces from the beginning of creation to the end to make sure that my customers have the most beautiful experience when they purchase from me.  My watercolor paintings and Limited Edition Prints are sold around the world – Europe especially England, Scotland, Germany, Norway,  USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and more.

I believe you create music album covers too. I’d love to find out more about this. And your favourite musical artists.

This is a great question!  Yes I do create music album covers.  It has always been  a dream of mine to create art for music artists and to collaborate with them. Recently I collaborated with  UK music composer Nu-San and created the cover for his soon to be released new Album “Nu Nostalgia” and I am so looking forward to seeing my art on Vinyl and CD.

Nu_San Album Cover ©CarolinaRusso_WBT1 (1)

This is the link to my Blog post about this great collaboration – I don’t know the exact release date yet but it would be sometime soon. https://yesterdayafter.com/2018/04/18/art-for-music-preview-album-cover-a-collaboration-with-nu-san/

I love music and of course I have my iconic bands that have accompanied me my whole life. On my Blog I often post about the music I like and follow, or mention new artists that capture my attention. Of course I have my favorites and right now I listen to Independent music artists like the Scottish band The Twilight Sad . They supported The Cure in their latest 2016 Tour and they are blossoming  in the music world. There are a few more music artists that I really like: I’d like to mention a band called Frightened Rabbit, sadly they lost their front man Scott Hutchison who recently died. If you follow me you will remember my watercolor painting Tribute of him, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my Limited Edition prints, is going to Charity and donated to SAMH Scottish Association for Mental Health, to help raise awareness for suicide prevention. Scott Hutchison Tribute Portrait_s (1)

As an Indie artist myself I love to support other indie artists and bands, like German band RIGNA FOLK and their front man Viktor Nordir – we collaborated together with a  video. I have created a combination of their music with my art you can see the video “Stillness” here: https://yesterdayafter.com/2017/11/17/art-inspiring-magic-stillness-video/   

I also had the opportunity to Interview Ewian and  James Radcliffe. I came across some of these great artists through my Blog and amazingly we have become friends, and through this friendship I had the opportunity to interview some of them.  I have a specific music taste, and maybe what I like doesn’t suit everyone, but I like to share what I find interesting. One of my Projects is a Collection named “ART FOR MUSIC” a series of artworks inspired and dedicated to  music artists. In this project and series, I have created artworks and portraits using several media, traditional watercolor paintings, ink drawings, digital art, photo manipulation. This art series is  featured on my Blog for the music artists that I have the fortune to collaborate with.

Like me you love to write poetry as well. Your poetry has been published in Spillwords, Visual Verse and Praxis Magazine. Have you a favourite poem that you’ve written that you’d like to share with us?

Thank you for your mention about my poetry, yes I love to write poems, Haiku, 50 words stories and short stories, I also like to illustrate them with my own photography or watercolor paintings. One of the future projects on my bucket list, is to create an illustrated book that includes my art and writings. I started writing poems when I was a teenager. I don’t write every day,  I only write when something inspire me, or when words comes  whispering to my mind and soul, silently and suddenly. Then I let the words flow from me. I am pretty pleased with my creative writings, I had some great feedback and I am very happy that some of my poetry is now published in nice Anthologies. It feels great to have my name listed amongst author contributors.  I love all of my poems – there is a lot of my own emotional experiences and deep feelings in each of them. Thank you for asking to share a favorite poem, I like to share : Emotions
https://yesterdayafter.com/2015/11/09/emotions/


It was brilliant collaborating with you. I love the portraits of two of my characters: Esme and The Creature that you created. Do you have a favourite character from the Curse of Time that you’d love to paint in the future?

    
We had a great experience during the making of your book!  I loved to collaborate with you and see two of your characters coming to life. You gave me some pretty good descriptions, precious details and information that helped me to visualize the characters. I loved to paint both of them especially as they represent two completely opposite looks.  Esme is sweet and delicate and so is the painting, while The Creature Eruterac is a pretty creepy creature.. I am not sure if my painting is creepy enough as your description of him was…LOL I love both characters designs and in my opinion it is beautiful to have some illustrations in a book. They sure add a special touch, also if they are only two images like you did it helps the reader to visualize the story more, sometimes art can reach out where words cannot. And now to answer your last question, I love Esme but I already painted her, so my next favorite character to paint would be Amelina, I am so looking forward to see what  happens next.

I want to thank Marje again and everyone that has taken their precious time  to read this interview. If you would like to see more of my work and discover more about me and my creative world please visit my Blog at yesterdayafter.com. Carolina xxx

Before Carolina goes I’d like to say how lovely this interview is and I’d love to share with you this gorgeous portrait that I had the good fortune to win via a blog post competition on Carolina’s blog. She chose the perfect portrait to send a fantasy enthusiast – Alice in Wonderland which is lovingly crafted in coffee and watercolour! 

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Thank you so much to Carolina for sharing her fascinating artistic life with us.

Bye for now,

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Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com

Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Founder of #ABRSC – Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Tumblr: http://mjmallonauthor.tumblr.com/

M J Mallon _ YA Author

#Blue Sky Tag Challenge – #Blogchallenge – Tag, You’re it!

 

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I’ve been invited to hop on to the Blue Sky Tag Challenge by  Debby Gies

The rules of the challenge are:

11 tags, 11 answers, 11 questions

Use the Blue Sky banner  (that Rachael Ritchey designed).

It is sort of polite to mention the person who tagged you (even if you are busy and have not time for fun)

You need to answer the 11 questions set by your tagger (even though you wonder where they dredged them up from)

You will need to make up 11 original and interesting or funny questions for those you tag.

You need to tag 11 people

You can read Debby’s post and the answers to her questions here: https://dgkayewriter.com/blue-sky-tag-challenge-blogchallenge-tag-it/

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And now for Debby’s Questions:

  1.  What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

Ah, I’d dream of being someone else! I’ve always felt trapped in the typical day job scenario,  in need of an outlet for my creativity. If I hadn’t become a writer I might have dabbled in photography. My grandfather and uncle were both photographers and ran a photography business before the Second World War. Creativity is in the genes! Or I’d have worked in education in some capacity. I believe very strongly that education is the foundation of a balanced and open society. I love to study – if only I could be a perpetual student! Now that would be fun.

      2. Share one thing you’d like to do on your bucket list.

Travel more. I’d love to explore all the wonderful and exotic places in the world. In our family’s genes there’s this deep desire to wander to far off lands. My dad worked abroad for many years in the Far East, Middle East, and Africa and now my eldest daughter is following in his footsteps. She’s been away for a year teaching English As A Foreign Language in South Korea. It’s my turn next. I’d love to live abroad and maybe one day I will.

      3. Your favorite holiday destination.

Oh, so many places do I have to pick just one? I love Portugal, Greece, the Balearic Isles, the Caribbean, Rome, Malaysia, Singapore, etc, etc. Take me there. Oh, this question reminds me how much I need a holiday abroad.

      4. Name the best movie you’ve seen in a long time.

Oh dear this makes me sad. I haven’t been to the movies for such a long time. I intend to go but never get round to doing so. I will try to rectify this soon.

      5. If you could have one do-over, what would it be?

By do-over I expect you mean make-over? Recently I’ve been getting my nails done and I have to admit that I’m in danger of getting hooked. I love to have pretty nails. It’s important that I look presentable for my day job as I work as a receptionist for a private sixth form in Cambridge.

      6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I am tempted to say either Portugal or France. Still thinking about this…

      7. Your favorite all time book?

Pinocchio. His nose gets me every time. Now that’s a lie, I appreciate Pinocchio and his tricky nose situation but I love so many books it is very difficult to pick just one. My favourite genre is fantasy but I also enjoy thrillers, crime, romance, memoirs, and the occasional horror.

      8. Tell us one quirky thing about you.

WHAT!!! Oh dear – confession time. I do this daft thing when no one is watching. It’s kind of like a kid would do. You know making little explosive noises. My brother does it too. It’s in the genes. Yes, I’m a bit crazy. Oh my!

      9. Write a one sentence quote for world peace.

Don’t be one of those people who is close-minded, be a warm-hearted person who lives and loves regardless of skin colour, race, and sexuality.

     10. Share one great thing blogging has done for you.

It’s made me more confident and adventurous. Prior to blogging I would have never met up with a bunch of strangers at a blogging event and now I do. I get such a buzz from attending the annual Blogger’s Bash in London.

     11. Name your favorite color and tell us why and what it represents to you.

It would have to be green. Green for go. Green for fresh cut grass. Green for shoots of possibilities. Green, green, green…

Tag! You’re it:

Ritu: https://butismileanyway.com/

Colleen Chesebro: https://colleenchesebro.com/ 

Annika Perry: https://annikaperry.com/ 

Samantha Murdoch:  https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/

Vashti Vega:  http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

Craig: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/  

Annette: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/ 

Gary: https://fictionisfood.com/

Willow:  https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/ 

Wendy: https://wendyannedarling.com/

Rachael: https://rachaelritchey.com/

Here are your questions:

1. If you could travel to Mars would you go?

2. Do you like rock music or quiet ballads?

3. Are you a tidy freak or a messy pup?

4. Tell us about the most strange/extraordinary person you know.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight?

6. Which animal represents you the best?

7. Are you a theatre and/or film buff?

8. If you had to do a party trick would you love this or hate it?

9. What superpower would you love to have?

10. What’s your favourite food, and/or drink?

11. As a child were you naughty or nice? And which are you now…

If you don’t choose to join in, you are forgiven. and being that there are only 11 to be tagged, I welcome any and all of you to join in! 

Source: #Blue Sky Tag – Time for a little fun and distraction…#TGIF | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

 

Many thanks to Debby for tagging me.

Hope you enjoyed the Blue Sky Tag.

 

Cheerio for now, Blue Sky…

 

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For information about my privacy and GDPR compliance please visit: https://mjmallon.com/2018/05/20/privacy-and-gdpr-compliance/

 

Buy Paperback Book link: http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’
“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

Social Media:
Authors Media Kit: https://mjmallon.com/2018/02/13/media-kit/
Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
Facebook Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
Tumblr: http://mjmallonauthor.tumblr.com/

 

The Bloggers Bash 2018 #winning #blogs #shortstory #news #photographs #bloggersbash #humour #funny #confession #blogging

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I’m absolutely thrilled to say that I won first prize in The Bloggers Bash Blog Post writing competition 2018 with my winning short story – The Queen’s Dress Down Day! https://mjmallon.com/2018/03/21/the-bloggers-bash-blog-post-competition-2018-the-queens-dress-down-day/

Yeah!!!

It was such an unexpected but lovely surprise. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement! I’m sure I blubbered a whole lot of nonsense when I went up on stage to accept my award… talk about unprepared! OOPS!

The bash is such a fun and informative event. I have been lucky to be able to attend every single bash (all four in total.) It’s a way to connect beyond the virtual world with like-minded authors and book bloggers.

If you haven’t been to one before, I urge you to do so – you won’t regret it.

This year I noticed a new trend. Many book bloggers won awards. Book bloggers work so hard to promote a love of reading and to promote authors who might otherwise not be so successful. So keep up the hard work.

Here’s  a link to the list of all the winners for this year’s bash: http://sachablack.co.uk/2018/05/19/the-winners-of-the-2018-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-are-bloggersbash/

I took a few photos… Here are three lovely lasses – EstherRitu and Willow. Ritu did an awesome job with her speech. I truly believe she is wonder woman! Her energy and enthusiasm for blogging needs to be patented.

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A special treat went to Little Miss Bad – Sacha Black – Organiser of the Bloggers Bash…

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It was lovely sharing a chuckle with Barb Taub and Sherri Matthews.

But, I’m a bit alarmed by an odd sprinkle of fairy dust floating into Sherri’s specs…

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Then came the panellist questions, one came from Lucy At Blonde Write More’s readership who asked a very dodgy question – Do you write your blog posts in the nude? Graeme Cumming’s expression, and the laughter from the panellists says it all. But, Geoff is looking very thoughtful… His body language and that blue beard Smurf look speak volumes…

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After teasing his beard again and again Geoff Le Pard admitted that he’d indulged in writing blog posts in the bath! In the nude, (well you can’t have a bath fully clothed can you?) Of course you can’t.

I wonder whether there were bubbles? Blue ones perhaps, to cover up the necessary!!!

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Moving on from Geoff’s confession Suzie Speaks strange expression below suggests an ability to see Sacha’s weird martial art movement behind her…

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What a day to remember! In typical Marje fashion I had a bit of an accident when I got home. I fell on the stairs. Total Miss Clumsy! Pleased to report that no harm done just a touch of bruising…

Getting back to Geoff’s confession about his habit of blog posting in the bath. Do you think this could be a new blogging trend? Or, is this a unique characteristic that only a blue-bearded Geoff could master?

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Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Social Media:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com

Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Facebook Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Tumblr: http://mjmallonauthor.tumblr.com/

 

The Day My Website Crashed – What Happened? Beware WordPress Plugin Updates

Poor Debby has had a terrible time of late after installing a WordPress Plugin Update, read this post to find out more and avoid the Captcha plugin hell.

Friday September 1st was a terrible day for me. It was one of those days when “Murphy” just keeps giving the gift that just keeps giving – Murphy’s Law = Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It began with my website crashing and got progressively worse as the day went on in…

via The Day My Website Crashed – What Happened? Beware WordPress Plugin Updates — D.G. Kaye Writer

#TheBloggersBash 2017 – My 3rd time!!

On Saturday 10th June I caught the train to London in the early hours of the morning and travelled to the much-anticipated Bloggers Bash.

 

I bought a new dress, jewellery and even did my nails….

 

In typical Marje fashion I did some nutty things on route, starting with trying to get through the barriers with an invalid, outdated ticket. This gave me a mini case of palpitations until I realised that I had the correct ticket in my wallet! Thereafter, I had a sneaky feeling that something else would happen and it did. I jumped on the tube at St Pancras without checking what I was doing. Of course, this meant that I was now headed in the opposite direction to the way I should have been going, so I jumped off, gave myself a stern talking to and sorted myself out!

Phew…. thereafter it was easy peasy. Blogging pal, committee member Geoff’s instructions were great … Though, I didn’t hear any giggles to follow, so that was a bear faced, or in Geoff’s case, a pink beard face lie! Miraculously, I arrived at the hotel with time to spare.

Thereafter, it was a blast. So many faces, both new and not so new. Bloggers from far away, bloggers from London, bloggers from just about every neck of the woods. Have bloggers will travel.

It was fantastic, my third event. Here’s my impressions of the First,  and Second Bloggers Bash.

A big thank you to the committee for organising this labour of love: SachaGeoff , Ali  and Hugh.

I failed miserably at taking photos during the event – Bloggers Bashes do that to me – obviously I struggle to talk and take photos, but there are loads of photos on Facebook on the #bloggersbash page: Facebook: Bloggers Bash & ABBA Awards.

But I did take this one of Sherri, Sally, and Mary.

Can you believe it? Three years of bashes!  This year’s bash felt grown up. It occurs to me that, in retrospect, the first bloggers bash reminded me of those first baby blogger steps into the unknown,  the second bash involved toddling off confidently and now we’re all grown up and have progressed to an International Bloggers event! Very posh.

So, who knows what the fourth bash will bring? Exciting times ahead. I just hope they get proper name badges next time rather than those sticky labels that refuse to stick to your dress and travel up your arm, waltz around your skin and end up being worn as a bracelet.

If you haven’t been to a bash before and would like to come, here are several reasons why I think you should:

  1. You will learn a huge amount. At this event there were discussions about social media, Pinterest, and many blogging tips from the panel of experts: SuzieElena and Christoph.
  2. It’s fun.
  3. You’ll meet loads of like-minded people.
  4. It’s a great opportunity to network with other writers and authors.
  5. We are all introverts so we know what it’s like to come to your first event.
  6. You’ll feel welcome. Everyone is very friendly.
  7. There are cakes, (this has to be a good thing,) biscuits, tea and coffee,  and alcohol too!
  8. You will find that there are hugs a plenty, from huggable Hugh who is our resident king of the hugs,  but newsflash – Hugh may have competition. Our inspiring Shelley is huge on hugs. She gave me a real bear hug as I was leaving – it took my breath away.

After the talks and discussions I rewarded myself with a great big carrot cake cupcake  – just one of Ritu’s delicious recipes which she brought along. It melted in my mouth – so delicious. I had a ‘wee’ drink but not too much, as I had a sneaky feeling that getting home inebriated would be a bad idea for someone who can’t even find their way whilst sober!

The lovely Ritu, and Willow accompanied me from the venue, until sadly we drifted off our separate ways home. I ended up on the slow train to Cambridge which stopped at every bl***dy stop. This meant that I had to walk about a mile to my bus stop from the train station in my (for me,) high heels, to catch the last bus to the back water I call home. Yes, our sad little village has a last bus home at 8.40pm, thereafter you have to wait until 10pm for the next one!

Guess who I saw on my way home ? My youngest riding towards me on her bike. So I asked her where she was going. Bad idea, I should have run, but in those heels, I had no chance. She had forgotten her keys so I ended up going back home with her and taking her out in my car. What a sucker, such a soft-hearted mother, that’s me. Luckily, I had only had one drink, so could drive!

The story doesn’t end there…

No, there were chips, and a very dodgy scampi supper to consume. I wish I hadn’t. The scampi oozed milky liquid which really didn’t look edible. Still, I survived, I have a tough old stomach that can consume such dubious delicacies with no ill effects.

And… In the short while I was away… a mere day, my hubby decided it would be a good idea to let my daughter have her first driving lesson. He let her reverse his car out of our very tricky driveway. Whatever possessed him? So, wonder of wonders she had a bit of an accident. He said ‘crashed,’ but I checked the damage and luckily it is a mere scratch! It could have been a lot worse!

So the moral of the story? Next time, I will be staying over in London so no one can find me, or assault my stomach with a chip supper or request that I lift them anywhere in my car, even if it means that my hubby does something crazy!

Ha ha!

Sorry for that waffle, un-bloggers bash yarn. I thought it was funny and hoped you might do too!

Who did I chat to? Loads of folk…  methinks they were… perhaps…

Ritu, Graeme, Noelle, Sherrie, Helen, Mary, Eloise, Jools, Steve, SueEllen, Lance, Sally, Suzie, Icy, Matt, Susie, Adam, Ruth,  Shelley, Jessica, Willow, Christoph Allie,  Jo  and the committee of course!  If I’ve left anyone off, just give me a stern telling off next time you see me.

It was such a shame that Esther couldn’t make it this year as she was moving house that very day and of course there were many others who would have loved to have come but couldn’t join in the fun. They were sorely missed too.

But there is always another year, another opportunity.

The date has been set for next year’s bash so don’t forget to put it in your diary:

9th June 2018. It sounds a long way off but don’t believe it, before you know it I’ll be on a tube going the wrong way again.

Bye for now, much love,

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#10thingsIlove

Turn off the lights.Turn on the stars.

To balance out the good with the bad #10thingsIhate here are my #10thingsIlove.

1. Spending time with friends and family. There’s nothing quite like this, I’m definitely a social animal. Love going out for coffee, dinner or just hanging out at home with my family. Friends both on and offline are the best for supporting and encouraging you to pursue your dreams.
2. Eating tasty food. This just had to be on my list! LOL… I love food, any food, but especially spicy meals, as I grew up with a diet of Malaysian fare – my mum is from Kuching, Malaysia.
3. Travelling. Absolutely, would love to travel more. I grew up with a father who had a penchant for travel so this isn’t entirely surprising.  Recently, I entered Dan Alatorre’s recent Word Weaver writing competition with the first chapter of my dad’s travelling adventures. Sorry, the competition is now closed, but Dan has a great blog so go follow! I’ve been to many places in the world but there are still many to explore.
4. Going to the Theatre to see drama and dance. Where would we be without the theatre to make our imaginings take form? I adore going to the Edinburgh Festival and try to go every year if I can. The buzz is fantastic.
5. Visiting Edinburgh to see my mum, dad, brother and extended family. Love Edinburgh, it is one of the best cities in the world Edinburgh ranked Second in the World for Quality of Life and  is my home from home.
6. Writing prose and poetry, and reading books. Of course, this has to feature here. What has writing done for me? So much, it has given me such confidence, and so much enjoyment. I wish I had started writing decades ago!  Reading books and going to Book Festivals ranks pretty highly up there on my favourite things to do. Books make me cry, they make me smile; they delight me. Where would we be without books? I daren’t contemplate such a fate. And book festivals, again, my favourite is the Edinburgh Book Festival
7. Tai Chi. I have been attending classes in Taoist Tai Chi for many years, and I love it. I find it helps me relax, keeps me balanced and gives me a terrific boost. I would recommend it. Start young and you’ll stay fit well into your old age! Start older and it will keep you young! It’s a win, win situation… Recently, we had a Tai Chi intensive at my local branch.  Here’s the link to the Facebook page to see photos: Taoist Tai Chi Intensive in Cambridge. What’s a Tai Chi Intensive? It’s a special lesson when a particularly awesome instructor comes along to impart their knowledge to us Tai Chi enthusiasts. We partake of a bring and share lunch and generally have a lovely time.

Here’s the instructor considering what to teach us next:

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8. Sea air and sunshine. These two I’ve combined, as I enjoy the seaside best when the weather is nice. If the sun is out,  I can swim, (not in the UK!) sunbathe, eat an ice-cream, walk and explore. When it’s cold I still enjoy it, but I have to wrap up in many, many layers!
9. The blogging community. Have been a blast, so helpful, supportive and amazing. Love you! In fact I love you so much that I set up a special community on Facebook for authors/bloggers and bookish souls. Please do investigate and join …. Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support ClubMy fellow administrators of the group are Colleen Chesebro, and Debby Gies.
10. And last but not least, crystals and cats. I collect crystals and write about them too. My current manuscript is entitled: The Curse of Time – The Bloodstone. I intend to release this YA fantasy this summer. Cats, well I like their independence, and cats always seem to like me! Unfortunately, I don’t own one as both my husband and daughter are allergic but I get my fix over at Samantha Murdoch Blog. Samantha and I are good blogging friends and she has kindly been providing me with lots and lots of photos of her cat Lily who looks like the cat Shadow in my book.

Here are the latest photos of Samantha’s lovely cat Lily.

 

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In life, there is always good and bad but it is always nice to end on a high note.  There is much more to enthuse about when writing about what I love. The list could have gone on and on…

Bye for now,

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Happy Easter!!!

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

I’m still on a bit of a blogging break until my eldest daughter returns to University so will be somewhat scarce in blogging land.

I had a wonderful holiday up in Edinburgh but it was all too short…

Here are some of my photos:

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That’s one of me and my daughter Georgina before I had my lunch…. I tend to shrink when I’m hungry! We were at a very nice restaurant called The Railbridge Bistro in South Queensferry which overlooks the bridges and has haggis on the menu!

And here’s my lovely mum and dad… Missing them…

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My dad hates the cold, and though the view at South Queensferry is amazing it was bitterly chilly… My mum looks okay, in fact she dares to look a bit amused but poor dad…

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Since I’ve been back in Cambridge, I’ve had a lovely time with my eldest daughter who is visiting from University.

Recently we went out to a cafe in Cambridge…

And she approved of my photo…  The drink looks like some sort of Dr Who concoction but I believe it is a green tea matcha. Oh, by the way did you see the Dr Who episode last night? If you did I bet you didn’t dare have a shower or bath before bedtime. I love it when Dr Who gets all scary!

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Then, there’s me all dressed up as I had work afterwards. Recently, I started working part-time at Ann Summers – which is a strangest job I have ever had! It’s a bit like marmite some days I love it, some days I hate it! Ha ha…. It’s a tricky one for an introvert with extrovert tendencies. Anyway, that plate in front of me is the remains of a very tasty Orange and Polenta cake that we shared at Espresso Library cafe in Cambridge.

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Before I go let me say a big thank you to all the contributors to my Facebook Rainbow Support Club in my absence.

Here are just some of the wonderful links that have appeared:

http://marshajustwrites.com/accidental-tourist/

https://dgkayewriter.com/who-has-a-new-book-the-swamp-fairy-colleen-cheseboro/

http://allanhudson.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/4q-interview-and-excerpt-with-guest.html

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/friday-roundup-on-a-thursday-13th-april/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview-d-g-kaye/

https://jennyinneverland.com/2017/04/14/bloggers-revealed/

https://scvincent.com/2017/04/12/guest-author-sarah-brentyn-where-i-spin-self-doubt-into-a-post/

https://scvincent.com/2017/04/14/guest-author-d-wallace-peach-room-to-breathe/

All the contributors have done a fabulous job of making the page a fantastic resource of information, help, and collaboration for fellow writers/bloggers.

Do pop over to the club page and take a look, and come give the club some love: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club.

If you’d like to join the club please do message myself either in the comment below or contact me on my email marjma2014@gmail.com, or chat about it with Colleen Chesebro or Debby Gies, my two fabulous blogging buddies who administer the running of the club with me.

All the best for a lovely Easter.

Do pop over to my Instagram page to see the rest of my photos: My Instagram

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#Review of Better Blogging With Photography by Terry Webster Schrandt

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Terri inspires the reader with this wonderful quote right at the beginning setting the tone for her clear, concise and friendly little book:

Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.’ Bruno Barley.

Isn’t that the absolute truth? It’s remarkable how the medium of photography can draw people together from different cultural backgrounds in a common moment of wonder. Curious, I googled Bruno Barley and found these stunning examples of his work: Pinterest examples of Bruno Barley’s photography. Wow, I just love photography!

Terri kicks off her book with a simple premise –  Why? Why use photography on your blog? The answer, is of course, simple – images draw attention, interest, break up text, make your blog post more interesting and memorable.

She adds tips on how to –

  • Create an engaging profile.
  • Ways to make your sidebar design attractive.
  • How to design a defining header.
  • Adding widgets and not overloading your posts with too many images.

Terri warns about the dangers of using images without consent on your blog even if the images happen to be from friends, and particularly if the photos are randomly found on google.  The Rule is: Always get written consent – though an email will do.

There’s an interesting section on how to use old images and give them a new lease of life. I read this part with great interest.  Recently, I created a scrapbook of images for my dad for his birthday, (the first few photos you can see here,): My Instagram page Kyrosmagica

Then Terri mentions how to find free images for your blog via sites such as Canva and Picmonkey, both of which I have used, and recommend.

There are chapters on how to:

  • Crop your photos, edit, add captions, size and add watermarks. Again, I was particularly interested in the section on watermarks as this is something I still have to try…  Terri suggests using tutorials on Pinterest and picmonkey.
  • Organising images, in storage solutions such as Dropbox, which I still have to investigate.
  • Participating in or holding photography link parties and joining in photo challenges, such as  Norm’s Thursday Doors. I enjoy taking part time permitting…
  • Using quotes to inspire, creating blog banners or blog badges. Here’s the link to the tutorial and other excellent blogging suggestions via Diana’s Adventures: Dianas Adventures – Tips for new bloggers
  • A section on photo-friendly social networking sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, plus a fantastic resources page.

Would I recommend it? Are you kidding?  Most definitely. I just wished I’d read this book years ago when I started blogging – it would have helped me so much. I found out the hard way how to do much of what Terri mentions, but I still have a lot to learn.

Don’t forget to follow Terri on Instagram: Terri Webster Schrandt – Instagram

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram too, LOL… (cheeky personal plug,)  – find me here:  My Instagram Page: Kyrosmagica

My rating.

A richly deserved 5 stars.. 🙂

DISCLAIMER: “As of 13th September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

 

 

Before I fly off to take some photos to add to my Instagram feed let me point you in the direction of this wonderful free resource from Terri: Second Wind Leisure – How To Get Hundreds of Free Photos for Your Blog

Bye for now, photo enthusiasts!

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