Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve all had a great time over the holidays, celebrating with family and friends. I’ve been taking a bit of a break from WP so I’ve now got a lot of posts to read to catch up on all of your news.

Neither I nor my beloved are fans of New Year’s Eve celebrations. We’re usually treated to a fabulous local display of pyrotechnics which we can watch from our apartment, providing, of course, I’m still awake!

In the past we’ve celebrated with friends but we do prefer to wallow in splendid isolation, just the two of us. We will be raising a glass of bubbly to usher in the New Year a couple of hours ahead of midnight and enjoying a few oysters.

It just remains for me to wish all of you a happy, healthy, (and where appropriate, bike-filled) and successful 2020.

Bee Love Award (from Yeka)


My friend Yeka is ALL ABOUT LOVE! She believes in showering love on us all with the highest levels of passion from her wonderful blog.

This award is her special and happy way of saying thank you to us all. Her intention is “to spread our LOVE community-wide and so she’d appreciate our happy participation.  However, if you choose not to join in she still hopes your nomination puts a smile in your heart knowing that you are loved and appreciated. 🙂


  1.    Attach the BEE LOVE AWARD LOGO on top of your post.
  2.    PIng back to YBP, IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE.
  3.    Thank your fellow blogger who nominated you.
  4.    Share your Definition of LOVE and How You Live Out LOVE.
  5.    Nominate your fellow bloggers who live out love and inspiration on WP.  (Love knows no limits, so nominate as many fellow bloggers you’d like to shine your light on!)

My Definition of LOVE

The ability to have an affectionate and intimate connection with another person is one of the most important things there is in life.

Living Out LOVE

It feels amazing to give love and to receive love. I make sure my beloved husband feels just as loved as he makes me feel.


If you’re one of the few bloggers who’ve not already been nominated by Yeka, consider yourself another one of the chosen few. Feel free to join in and spread the love!


Unbelievably, we had a colony of bees on our balcony a few years ago. Want to know what happened to them? Read all about it here and here.

12 days of Christmas: day 12

Look closely at the photograph and I think you’ll realise why I’ve chosen it for this year’s Christmas Card. I took the photograph on a wintery day on our December 2018 trip to Paris where my beloved visited Notre Dame. Sadly it was ravaged by fire on 15 April, losing its gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts.

Consequently, Notre Dame will not hold a Christmas mass for the first time since 1803, though the rector, Patrick Chauvet, will still celebrate midnight mass at the nearby church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois.


Season’s Greetings to you all

I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging until the New Year. Consequently, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you, and your nearest and dearest, every happiness, good health and much success for 2020 and beyond………………………


12 days of Christmas: day 11

Having showcased the decorations from New York, I thought it only fair to show you some splendid ones from nearby Monte Carlo. Peer closefully at the photo below and you’ll see the famous Monte Carlo Casino reflected in the mirror of these decorations which are outside the Hotel de Paris. As are those in the header. Meanwhile, the beautifully decorated Christmas tree is from the foyer of the Hotel Hermitage where we recently ate Sunday brunch.


12 days of Christmas: day 9

My third and final photo from our trip to Australia features Whitehaven Beach. This one is again taken from the window of our plane as we flew over the island and its famous beach. We actually visited the island by boat the following day, the only time I put my feet in the sea on the entire trip. The sand is pure white silica and silky soft to walk on. Actually it squeaks as you walk on it. It’s amazing. Just look at it!

Sunshine Blogger Awards XVIII, XIX and XX

I’m still catching up with my award backlog. You’ll be pleased to learn that this surfeit of awards has not gone to my head. Oh no, I realise I get these awards because I (eventually) do take part. This one has jumped the queue because of its seasonal questions.

Back in December I was kindly nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Tatterhood, she muses over at her blog of the same name. I was also pleased to be nominated by Stuart, who shares his love for God and his two gorgeous children over on his blog. Lastly by Ola, over at dairy free indulgence, who shares some incredible recipes with us.

Please go and check out their blogs and give them a follow. Spread some much needed sunshine this winter!


You should know how this works by now! As a reward for reading this very lengthy post, consider yourself nominated. Go forth and answer any of the 11 questions below, or all 33 if you feel so inclined.

Tatterhood’s Questions

1. Is there any point to Algebra?

This is a rhetorical question? Algebra is the study of mathematical symbols and the rules for manipulating these symbols.  It’s the unifying thread of almost all of mathematics, including everything from elementary equation solving to the study of abstractions. Or to put it another way Algebra = ∑²×s/n÷‰

2. Colour or Color?


3. Should Henry Cavill be the next James Bond?

I had to look up Henry Cavill, I confess I’d never heard of him but anyone who’s played Superman possesses the qualities to be 007.

4. Which fictional world would you like to dwell in?

I wouldn’t like to live in a fictional world as that would make me a ficticional character.

5. Favorite comedy double act?

Hands down Morecombe & Wise whom I had the pleasure of meeting many years ago at The Albany Hotel in Birmingham when they were in panto at the nearby theatre.

6. Have you ever been in a Helicopter?

No, but I wouldn’t rule it out even though I don’t like heights.

7. Are you superstitious?

No! However I do believe what goes around comes around.

8. Have you ever been to a Fortune Teller?


9. Do you believe in Soulmates?

Yes, I’m married to mine.

10. Favourite screen villain?

I don’t have one! Not really into villains.

11. Just what Is Stoicism?

It’s a noun meaning:-
  1. the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.
  2. an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.

Stuart’s Questions

1.  What is your most treasured Christmas memory?

When I was almost five years old, finding my red two-wheeler in the park where Santa had left it for me on Christmas Day.

2. As a child, would you stay awake to the wee hours hoping to catch a glimpse of “Santa”?

No, I have always slept like the dead. So, I’d easily fall asleep and be up at the crack of dawn.

3. Did you have a favourite Christmas gift?

See 1 above

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Silent Night

5. How do you divide your time between families during Christmas Eve and Christmas day?

We don’t! We generally spend Christmas together, just my beloved husband and me.

6. If your children are grown, do you have a special memory from their Christmases as a child?

We don’t have any children.

7. What is the most outlandish gift you have bought for someone?

I don’t buy outlandish presents.

8. Where do/did you hide all those presents?

I don’t hide presents. Once bought I give them to the recipent.

9. Do you decorate your tree with homemade items that have memories attached to them?

No! You should know that I don’t get sentimental about any thing, only people (see photo below).

10. Are you a real or artificial tree person?

Decorated by my beloved

Artificial! I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t bother with a tree or decorations but my beloved husband loves them. He puts them up at the start of December and then takes them down after Epiphany.

11. And lastly, the most important question I can ever ask. Do you know that Christmas is not about the overspending on gifts and hectic race to have the newest thing on the market but about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, who left glory to be born of human flesh and die for your sins?

Yes! I don’t overspend on gifts. In fact, I don’t buy any Christmas gifts.

Ola’s questions

1.What helps you stay balanced and grounded through challenges?

I’m a very pragmatic person, much given to thorough planning and preparation, which means I can more easily surmount challenges.

2. Who inspires you?

My late parents

3. If you didn’t have to make money, what would you do for work?

I’m now retired and can do as I please. I still work but largely on things that I really enjoy.

4.What inspires you as a blogger/artist/writer?

Life in general

5. If you won the lottery what would you do?

Well, it would depend on how much I won, but I’d like to some spread sunshine on those less fortunate than myself. Oh, and given my beloved’s propensity to lose stuff, I never let him buy a lottery ticket.

6. If today was your last day, what would you do?

Sit on the balcony with my beloved husband, hold his hand, sip champagne and watch the view.

7. What do you like most about blogging, what do you wish was different?

That’s two questions! I like blogging because I can. Sometimes I wish my stuff were easier to find.

8.What’s your fave Christmas activity?


9.What’s your favorite/most meaningful quote or life lesson?

In other words, treat people as you’d like to be treated.

10. What empowers you?

Life itself!

11. What’s your favourite memory/memories?

I have an excellent memory and can remember much from my childhood. As the eldest daughter of three I did a lot with my late father and those are some of my favourite ones, particularly when we watched live sport together. Yes, I’m a Daddy’s girl!

Award Rules which I routinely flout

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  • Ask the nominees 11 new questions.
Have a great weekend!

12 days of Christmas: day 8

This photo  was taken during our plane ride over the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef while we were staying in Airlie Beach. It was one of those unforgettable experiences and one of the highlights of our vacation. You can clearly see the heart ❣ in the picture and while I’m not sure my photo does the amazing colours justice, it’s not bad!

Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Discovered in 1975 by one of Air Whitsunday’s pilots, it’s now an internationally-recognised attraction which features on many postcards and brochures promoting the Whitsunday region and the Great Barrier Reef.


Join In The Fun! Join In The December 2019 Tea Party!

What better way to suggest friendliness – and to create it – than with a cup of tea?

-J. Grayson Luttrell

I’m taking part in The Little Mermaid’s tenth monthly tea party. Who doesn’t love afternoon tea? Exactly! Sadly I have to be rather more careful since most afternoon teas are chock full of dairy which is now strictly verboten. However, I have found that many hotels can pull off a vegan afternoon tea with a bit of notice. Alternatively, I can DIY (do it myself – pictured below).

When I first moved into my current apartment, I used to hold physical tea parties for some of the very elderly residents who’d befriended me. They used to love coming round but it wasn’t for the food, it was for the company and a chance to have a chat. I much enjoyed these as the ladies  – sadly none of whom are still with us – had all lived such interesting lives.

Consequently, I’m re-joining The Little Mermaid’s monthly tea party. This one unfortunately doesn’t include scones with strawberry jam and cream unless, of course, you provide your own. No, the whole point is to encourage an affable exchange of dialogue among the invitees because blogging is more enjoyable when done interactively.

The Little Mermaid’s tea party is the ideal occasion for socialising and making, as well as maintaining the acquaintance of those in the blogosphere. It’s a chance to truly relax and to take some time to recharge one’s batteries by engaging in light-hearted conversation, to be with friends and simply delight in one another’s company.

While her first tea party was open-ended, subsequent ones have been topical and this month’s theme is PAINTING/ART – hurrah! Nothing nicer for a dedicated art museum attendee like moi?

Here’s The Little Mermaid’s Questions and my Responses

1. Do you like paintings?

In general yes though there are paintings I might not be willing to hang on my wall but these are few and far between.

2. Do you visit art museums?

Whenever I can and you’ll find plenty of posts about my visits on the blog. For example:

Picasso Museum, Paris

Goya Museum, Castres

Fondation Maeght, Saint Paul de Vence

Fabre Museum, Monpellier

The Louvre, Abu Dhabi

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

This is just a small selection of visits from recent years!

3. What art form do you like best?

I like all art forms even though I’ve only shown paintings above.

4. Why and how do you enjoy art?

We always had art on the walls at home, some sculptures in the garden and some ceramics in the house too. So I’m used to having it around. One of the downsides to having floor to ceiling length windows in our apartment is that there’s less space to hang works and I have now run out of space. 

5. If you could buy a great work of art, what would it be?

I’d like a small work by one of my favourite impressionists.

6. What is the value of paintings among millennials in today’s fast-paced digitalised world?

I have no idea, I’m a childless baby boomer

The December 2019 tea party closes on the 31st. If you want to join in – and why wouldn’t you?  – make sure that you share a blog post round around the subject, This is a golden opportunity for newcomers to share with a huge gathering. Aren’t you excited?

But before you do, don’t forget to check out The Little Mermaid’s tea party etiquette:

Etiquette Number 1- Introduce yourself.

Introduce yourself, your blog or even your latest post to the community in such a way that it encourages others to converse with you. Avoid posting just a link as a comment which looks rude and spammy. Be polite.

Etiquette Number 2- Mix and mingle.

Tea is a communal experience and there it requires that you meet and greet at least some of the other wonderful people in attendance. Participate by actively reading others’ comments and visiting their links/sites.

Etiquette Number 3- Share the most recent tea party on your blog.

The purpose of the event is to create a platform where everyone benefits from real diversity of thought; and for that we need to find people who genuinely hold different views and invite them into the conversation. So, please spread the word in the blogosphere through reblogs.

That’s not too difficult is it?

So, drag up a chair, pour yourself a cuppa, help yourself to some cake and introduce yourself. There, what could be nicer?


12 days of Christmas: day 7

The next few days I’m featuring photos from our holiday in Australia, specifically NSW and Queensland. We had such a magical trip, with so many highlights, that it was difficult just to distill it into a few pictures. Here’s one of the sun setting on Tallow Beach in Byron Bay. We stayed in a hotel in the sub-tropical rainforest just a few steps from here and enjoyed many a walk along the beach, particularly at dusk. It’s hard to believe that there are now fires ranging out of control not far from this idyllic haven and my thoughts (and prayers) go out to everyone affected in NSW and Queensland.