Thursday doors

I’ve just found out about Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers – that includes me – to come together and share their favourite door photos from around the world each week between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) – phew, just in time!

Above is one of my all time favourites from Alassio on the Italian Riviera. It’s a handsome door in between a parade of upmarket shops and I bet it has some interesting tales to tell, if only it could talk!

Friday Photo Fun – Events

As soon as I saw the words “Events” I thought of sporting events. Regular readers will know that I’m a sports fan. I love doing sport but I also love watching it.

I take photos of inanimate objects while my beloved takes the action shots with his all-singing, all-dancing Cannon.

He took this picture in March 2017 of the final climb of a race in Tuscany called Strade Bianchi which is partly raced over white gravel roads. If it’s wet, as it was here, the riders get splattered with mud. The shot features Olympic champion, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), who finished runner up, on the final haul back into the old town of Siena where the race finishes in the Piazzo del Campo. This is a popular viewing spot for the fans as the gradient forces a slower pace, some riders even weave all over the road. You can see the intensity of their efforts etched on their races.

Friendly Friday moved to Monday!

I take so many photos during the year that I decided to take part in Friendly Friday – a brand new photo challenge, co-hosted on alternate weeks by Amanda from Something to Ponder About and Snow from The Snow Melts Somewhere. Of course, I meant to post this on Friday, but I forgot! <hangs head in shame>

This week’s theme is Inspiration. So I’ve been flicking through my photos for inspiration. I started blogging initially to keep friends and family, who’d sponsored me to undertake a charity ride, up-to-date with my progress. After I’d successfully completed the event, they asked me to continue blogging as it gave them a view into our life in France. I still write about cycling, but the blog’s morphed more into a Lifestyle blog as I write about anything that takes my fancy such as my beloved [husband], the French, our life in France, recipes, trips, special memories, travel and sport.

So my photo really needs to be a shot of a cyclist or of a cycling event. Just one problem. Most, if not all, of our cycling photos are taken by my beloved with his all-singing, all-dancing SLR. I just snap away with my iPad or iPhone at the scenery or inanimate objects. But there’s a few………such as this one.

Amael Moinard, former stage winner at Tour du Haut Var Matin 2014

But here’s one I took of one of our friends who’s coming to the end of an illustrious career. We saw him take his first World Tour victory at Paris-Nice 2010 where he won the final stage and the spotted King of the Mountain’s jersey. Off the back of that win, the following year he moved to BMC and rode in support of Cadel Evans’ Tour de France victory in 2011. We saw him win a stage in the Tour du Haut Var in 2014 in the company of his family which was also a special occasion. At the end of 2017, he moved to Arkea-Samsic (formerly Fortuneo-Samsic) to ride in support of Warren Barguil and impart the benefit of his years’ of experience to the younger members of the squad.

Amael’s a talented rider with three top 20 finishes in grand tours on his palmares (14th Tour de France 2008, 18th Vuelta 2009 and 15th Giro d’Italia 2015) and has a enjoyed a long and successful career. This season may be his last. We love watching our friends take part in races and, though it rarely happens, enjoy watching them win. It’s truly inspiring.

Friday Photo Fun – Romance

CalmKate is right, everyone does love a good romance! So I’m responding to her post and here’s a picture which I think epitomises romance.

We all have very different ideas of roamnce so why not join in and share what romance means to you either through a photo or words? 

Post a photo or get creative about romance … it’s in the air!

My photo is of a bride and her father on the way to her marriage in Paris, the city of romance.

Come on the more the merrier, please share and read each others photo posts!

Sheree’s 2018 Sporting Highlights

It’s always tricky distilling a year’s viewing of a number of sports into a few high points, but I’m going to try. You might be surprised at the results but, then again, you might not!

1. Rudy Molard’s stage victory in Paris-Nice

There’s really nothing better than watching someone you know win, particularly when it’s their first big win. I was delighted for him – my race winning brownies worked their magic again!

Rudy’s move to FDJ is proving to be inspired and he’s really blossomed in his second year with them. His main role in the team is to ride in support of Thibaut Pinot and in this year’s Vuelta a Espana he spent four days (stages 6 – 9) in the leader’s jersey while undertaking that role after getting into a long range break on stage five. It was the first time in 13 years that an FDJ rider had worn a race leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour.

Sadly, the Vuelta was the one grand tour we didn’t see this year due to other commitments. However, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see Rudy race in the coming season.

2. #Level7 for Marc Marquez

This year we watched the MotoGP Catalunya live and every other round of the World Championship on the television. It was an exciting year’s racing with #MM93 being challenged by a number of other riders but he finally nailed the championship in Honda’s back yard (Motegi, Japan).

Marquez has had another blistering season after a controversial start that saw him get into a spot of bother with Valentino Rossi at the Argentine MotoGP but the young Spaniard turned things around in emphatic style as he performed another world title smash-and-grab.

On his way to claiming his seventh world championship crown – that’s now five in the premier class, one in Moto2 and one in Moto3 – Marquez has scored five pole positions, six fastest laps and seven race victories. No one was able to keep up with the Spaniard in 2018.
 

Interestingly, #MM93 also maintained his reputation of the King of Premier Class Crashers. Last season he racked up 27, and the reigning Champion began this season saying he wanted to make sure 2018 went a little smoother. It did, he had 23 crashes, with only two of them coming on Sunday afternoon as he crashed out at Mugello and Valencia. But that’s what happens when you’re always on the limit!

3. Super Mario stays at OGC Nice

It was touch and go at times but we retained Mario Balotelli’s services for the final year of his contract. However, after a will he stay or will he go tug of war with OM, Super Mario started the season with a three-match ban and was out of sorts when he returned to action. In truth, we’re still waiting for him to hit his stride.

However, I’m confident new manager Patrick Viera will soon have him firing on all cylinders, that’s if he doesn’t decide to jump ship in the January transfer window!

4. France win the World Cup

France became 2018 FIFA World Cup champions, besting Croatia 4-2. France had entered the tournament as one of the favourites thanks to stars such as Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, while Croatia was a longshot. After the game, manager Didier Deschamps said:

We are world champions and France are going to be on top of the world for the next four years.

The victory meant celebrations erupted all over France though nobody was more excited than French President Emmanuel Macron seen below celebrating at the stadium.

However, the scenes that will remain in my memory are those where the French public paid homage to the team on the Champs Elysee.

5. Return of Rafa Nadal

The 2018 Rafael Nadal tennis season officially began on 15 January 2018, with the start of the Australian Open and (sadly) ended on 8 September 2018, with a loss at the semifinals of the US Open and subsequent injury.

The season was largely shortened by the hip, knee, abdominal and ankle injuries Nadal suffered during the year. He played only nine tournaments, his lowest since 2002 (which was his first year on the ATP tour). However, the season still saw Nadal win five titles including a record extending 11th title at the French Open, reclaim the No 1 spot and have his highest winning percentage of a single season at 91.83%.

What were your sporting highlights in 2018? Let me know in the comments section below.

The Real Neat Blog Award

Awards are like buses. You don’t get any for a while and then two come along together. Neha Kulkarni has most kindly helped me get 2019 off to a great start by bestowing the Real Neat Blog Award. Can 2019 get any better?

Firstly, many thanks to Neha for nominating me for this prestigious award and don’t forget to check out her blog Talk Exchange. It’s a great, positive and inspiring read. Her ambition is to touch a million lives and I’m sure she’ll achieve her objective.

About The Real Neat Blog Award:

Okay so what does this award mean? Well, I looked up “neat” in the dictionary and:-

1. a. Orderly and clean; tidy: a neat office; a neat desk.

1. b. habitually tidy or well-organized: was lucky to have a neat roommate.

2. Marked by ingenuity and skill; adroit: a neat turn of phrase.

3. Not diluted or mixed with other substances: neat whiskey.

4. Left after all deductions; net: neat profit.

5. Slang Wonderful; terrific: That was a neat party.

Okay, I’m going with number 5!

The rules:

  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer 5-6 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like.
  • Let them know you nominated them.
  • Ask 5-10 questions of your nominees.
  • Share some of yours which you think were a hit.

My Nominees:

Rather than list 10-15 of the amazing (aka real neat) blogs that I follow and regularly read, I’m throwing this open to all the blogs I follow (and who follow me) to accept this award and join in.

My responses to Neha’s questions:

1. Which one thing would you sacrifice if you were supposed to?

Not sure how, where or even why I have to make this sacrifice but it certainly wouldn’t be my better half (my beloved), or cycling, or coffee. I’ve already given up dairy, animal products and all processed foods so I suppose I could sacrifice either coffee or alcohol.

2. What efforts will you take to help the underprivileged?

When I worked in the City of London in my previous role, I worked closely with the Chairman on the company’s social and corporate responsibility programme. Specifically, we sponsored a primary school in a neighbouring and much poorer borough, mentoring the head teaching, helping to raise much needed funds for the school and working with the children on the three Rs. It was great fun and we all benefitted from the process. Since moving to France, I’ve taught English to youngsters, made donations to local charities but haven’t done as much as when I was in London. Maybe it’s something I need to think about more in 2019.

3. What is your favourite food?

Anything fresh and in season, I pretty much like all the foods I can eat but am particularly fond of vegetables.

4. What are your thoughts about life after death?

Not something I’ve particularly thought about if I’m honest. I’ll wait to find out and maybe I’ll get a nice surprise…..

5. Which is the movie that you love the most and would recommend?

There isn’t one. I like lots of movies for plenty of different reasons. But, in general, I love cartoons.

Some of my earlier posts:

I’m going to be mining my back-catalogue of blog posts just because I can!

My questions to those who accept the challenge:

  1. What one change will you make to your life in 2019 and why?
  2. Which charities (if any) do you support?
  3. What keeps you awake at night?
  4. How have you spent the Festive Season?
  5. Any good books you’d recommend I read in 2019?

Alternatively, please feel free to join in and answer the questions in the comments section below.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and successful 2019!

Keep Blogging

Sheree

The Sunshine Blogger Award III


Well, what a lovely way to kick off 2019 – at the back end of 2018 Dr Tanya kindly nominated me for another Sunshine Blogger Award. Please take the time to check out and follow her blog which has a great name, “Salted Caramel.” Who doesn’t love that? Dr Tanya likes it in brownies and ice cream. That melange of sweet and salty is soooooooooooooo addictive.

Dr Tanya’s lifestyle blog is about continually re-inventing ourselves, change being the only constant, and forwards the best way to go. On her blog she shares her struggles so that you and I can become even better versions of our already awesome selves.


The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

My Responses to Dr Tanya’s Questions:

  1. Why do you blog? Of course, because you want to. But do you blog as a hobby or to complement a business, or for other reasons?

I blog because I can and it’s purely for pleasure, neither profit nor gain.

  1. How long have you been blogging and how has your blog been doing in this time?

I’ve been blogging on and off since mid-2009. It started as a way to keep my sponsors for a cycling event apprised of my progress and morphed into firstly a cycling blog and more recently what might be called a Lifestyle one. 

  1. Do you write for yourself or for your readers?

Rather selfishly, I write for myself.

  1. Has blogging changed you or your life in any way?

Not that I’m consciously aware of but I do enjoy the discipline of writing regularly.

  1. What kind of blogs do you like to read and follow?

I love reading all sorts of blogs including those about food, wine, travel, fashion, poetry, photography and sport. There’s so much great writing out there in the blogosphere.

  1. If you were to write a book this year, what would it be called? (This question doesn’t apply to already published authors)?

I’m not going to be writing a book anytime soon, though I have edited a couple – far more enjoyable and much less stressful.

  1. What is your favourite quote?

Anything by Dorothy Parker, I love her witty ripostes.

  1. Name a book that has inspired you.

I’m struggling to think of a book that has inspired me. There’s plenty that I’ve enjoyed, I’m a voracious reader, but none that have inspired.

  1. Share a link to your favourite post/posts.

We’re not going to have enough room to do this here!

  1. How do your family/friends/pets react to your blogging habit?

My long-suffering husband is supportive, friends overseas find it a useful way of keeping in touch and I don’t have any pets.

  1. Do you still see yourself blogging in five years?

Yes, providing I’m still in the land of the living!


My 11 Questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging and what prompted you to start?
  2. What do you write about on your blog and why?
  3. Typically, how much time do you spend each week on your blog?
  4. What prompts you to follow certain blogs?
  5. Do your family and friends read your blog? And, if so, what feedback (if any) do they give you?
  6. It’s The Sunshine Blogger Award so how do you spread rays of sunshine on your blog?
  7. If you could change one thing about blogging, what would it be?
  8. If you were to impart one pearl of wisdom about blogging, what would it be?
  9. Who or what, if anything, has influenced your blog?
  10. What’s the best bit about blogging?
  11. What’s your idea of “A Perfect Day”?

My 11 Nominees are <cue drum roll>:

Best Indian Food Blog https://bestindianfoodblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/28/nimki/

Matty and Annika https://mattyandannika.life/

Poetry in photographs at https://etiliyle.com/informazioni/

Calm Kate at https://aroused.blog/2018/12/28/friday-foto-fun-cute-factor/

Our Girl in Zurich https://ourgirlinzurich.com/about/

Rosemarie’s Kitchen https://rosemarieskitchensite.wordpress.com/2018/12/28/putting-on-the-ritz-mac-and-cheese-ham-casserole/comment-page-1/#comment-831

Oh yes they did https://ohyestheydid.ca/2018/12/28/easy-fleece-baby-hat/

Kat at Antiquarius https://antiquarius.org/2018/12/28/yule-ritual/

Kellie’s Food to Glow https://kelliesfoodtoglow.com/

Rachel Hill https://thisisrachelhill.wordpress.com/about/

#NoWordsWednesday Challenge

I’ve responded to this challenge from MesMots to post a picture of nature (preferably unedited) without any caption/words/poem and let the natural beauty of the shot speak for itself.

If you want to join in with this challenge share the link of your post in comments section of Mes Mots blog and they’ll declare one of us the lucky winner on Sunday 6 January 2019.

Have fun…………….