Longlisted Loveliness in the V by Very Blog Awards 2017

Once again, I am humbled and happy to be longlisted for these Irish blog recognitions, V by Very Blog Awards. I read many of the bloggers’ work that has won or been nominated before and it is a little cosy hug of pleasure to know that my writing might be enjoyed by someone else as I have enjoyed theirs. My vanity has been tickled!bitmoji-20170902100006

I didn’t begin to blog for awards. I am not a blogger that is making money from my efforts as much as I admire those who can and do. I have been a Boolino friend (getting books to review occasionally) and I am sent the odd yoghurt voucher but that is it and that is fine. I don’t want my blogging to become hard work. I want to be a teacher by professional and writer by passion.

When my children were born, life changed. There were all sorts of magical changes and many difficult ones. Who I am changed or who I perceived myself to be. It soon became apparent that I needed to take a handle on this quickly or I would be swamped under.bitmoji-20170902015449

This is where blogging came in. I have been writing all my life. I wanted to publish my first ‘book’ when I was four. College allowed me a miraculous capacity for creativity but then you hit real life-wow. Isn’t it hard to get yourself off the ground? I had found myself reading and reading Family Friendly HQ. Their posts were so apt and timely,  I felt as if they were mind readers. One fine day when I may have had a slightly less than blurry mind and a bit of a brainwave, I decided to try blogging.  I had been taught how in college. I had Internet access. I could use my phone.  I also could do something productive creatively in those moments when the babies slept rather than mop the floor. Again. I mean I was killing it in domestic productivity already.bitmoji-20170902045323.png

I was pretty new to this virtual society that I now love and was very rose-cheeked to reach the short list. I had no other expectations but I will say that getting that far did make me value my blogging a little more. Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist…thank you for choosing us!  is a post about last year’s selection.

Getting named in two categories is even more exciting as I don’t feel as if I am niche enough to be exclusively one or another. I started this blog as a parent blogger dealing with motherhood and what it brought to the fore in my world.

I mean, I went from this to chaos. I needed a new outlet.

The blog brings me a chance to explore my identity outside mothering and this included lifestyle elements, travelling, eating, reading, theatre and film largely I mainly write from the angle of a mother and teacher.

So to conclude,  I am going to list the the benefits of blogging for those of you reading who may want to give it a go bit are unsure.  What do I get out of blogging? Here I go…bitmoji-20170902092051

  1. My Own Style. I can dress this blogger anyway I like. As you see, today I am a white rabbit. I can be me without leaving the house. It is a marvellous place to ‘find your voice’. You don’t need to be a wonderful writer.  You don’t even need to write. You can be purely pictorial. You get to choose.
  2. Express Yourself. I get to say what I want to. It doesn’t mean anyone needs to listen/ read but I can rant, laugh, race and review at will. Any time of day or night. You don’t feel silenced anymore. You don’t feel like you have nothing interesting to say outside of baby led weaning, babygros and burping. Not everyone is interested these topics, I soon realised, just when my brain started to limit itself to just the 3 B’s.

    Why are you looking so bored? These are the most beautiful baby pictures EVER. There any only 150, nearly there…
  3. Flexibility lives somewhere in my world now. I blog from a phone app. No more wasted time. I wait on a doctor’s office- I blog. I cannot sleep- I blog. I take a bath- I blog. You don’t need to overthink that last one.bitmoji-20170905014546
  4. No Pressure. I don’t have to produce to a deadline unless I challenge myself to. bitmoji-20170902020046I can hit that Publish button any time I choose. I can save titles, ideas and dip in and out. No one us expecting anything from me.
  5. Identity. Blogging had brought ‘me’ back. I am mothering, teaching keeping house and still being myself. bitmoji-20170902020215Life suddenly included me again.

So thank you blogging and bloggers. I have already won my awards in many ways. I link to several groups such as #bigpinklink and #fortheloveofBLOG and recently had the fortunate pleasure to be involved with Big Up Your Blog. Several people have been kind enough to grant me the blog hug that is The Liebster Award. I once read Family Friendly HQ but now I write articles for Family Friendly HQ! I have written several reviews for Boolino. As for for folk out there who think they should blog and are uncertain, I say go for it. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. It is a beautiful world out here in Blogosphere. bitmoji-20170902044855.png


One Year Old Little Blog

It has been one terrifically fast year.

Or are WordPress are making a mistake?

Was it truly that one year ago that I felt so challenged and afraid that I needed to DO something so desperately?

Do something about it or take something for it, they said.

I did something.

Like First Defence, it may not have solved the problem, but just delayed it.

Also like First Defence, it worked for awhile and then I had to face the problem anyway. Which I am doing.

So what else has the year brought?

My home is filled with the sound of laughter and screams, chatter and reproaches. Yoghurt stains and spitty kisses. Frozen and Peppa. Tale telling and soothers. Nappies and potties. Tiredness and tempers. Love and laughter. Dirty dogs gathering scraps. Diets and secret eating.Man to pets about upside down house: 'I don't care who started it!'

A sick Dad. Awaiting the good times healthwise.

New bedroom furniture. The little things.


Make ups.

A blog that I love. I don’t know if I will ever be one of those ‘successful’ bloggers but I have had success in so many ways. Depending on your definition. Blogging friends.  Linky love. Family Friendly hq articles. Being a Boolino Friend. The Littlewoods Blog Awards Parenting Nomination.

The best thing is having a space to think and write.

Happy birthday little blog. Belated birthday..it was a few weeks ago. We will celebrate together.

Another first birthday in our little world.

So to everyone who helps me keep my head above water and likes my blog, keeping it alive. Thank you.bitmoji-20170301031216.png

The Liebster Award

It is wonderful when someone thinks enough of your work to give it ‘the nod’ by doing something like nominating you for a Liebster Award. I am still a relatively fresh faced, shiny-eyed new blogger with a crisp notebook, pen and pinafore, not long into term so this means a lot to me. Thank you Gigglingfattie for making me one of your choices. I have been really enjoying your blog and your attitude to life too! I can’t buy you an ACTUAL thank you gift, so here is a selection of virtual ‘thank you’ drinks to choose from. On me!! Cocktail or mocktail, as you wish.

My first day back at work after maternity leave and I am smiling! When I started writing as An exercise in happiness earlier this year, I had hoped it would work. It hasn’t just worked. It has been magic. Bloggers can cast spells that leave you feeling relaxed, entertained, hopeful, redeemed, excited or inspired. Today I get to nominate some bloggers for this award who have done thus for me! I am thrilled.

Writing Fairy God People

There are rules with the award and here they are!

You are asked to:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award but more importantly help to promote newer bloggers with fewer followers.
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them (you can create a pingback by copy and pasting the URL of a specific post into your blog. It doesn’t work with the home page, but any other post will work. Their most recent, ot perhaps your favourite one?)
  • Give them 11 questions of your own to answer


Firstly as the rules suggest, I must answer my questions. Here I go. Oh by the way, my blogging friend re-imagined the canon here, by flipping it! Instead of getting ‘your favourite’ questions, I must answer on ‘my worst’ experiences. That is fine by me.

  1. What is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten? I have egg dreads. Cannot abide an egg.  This evolves to egg based condiment, mayonnaise. Therefore the worst thing I ever ate that I felt obliged to complete was Coronation Chicken as a guest at my friends’ home. They had gone to huge effort. I ploughed queasily through and still imagine the jar of mayonnaise that went into the making of that well meant but terrible meal. Eggs in cake?  No issues there surprisingly.
  2. The worst book you’re read/movie you’ve seen? Ah yes. 1993 ish. An old Irish midlands cinema. The screen often flashed erratically during the feature then the movie would stop. Breakdown. Everyone would squeal or chat. I was glad however when this particular  film broke down. It was ‘The River Wild’ with Kevin Bacon and Meryl Streep. Ironically, I love both actors. I have grown to love them as I was slightly poisoned by this movie for quite some time. What was wrong with it? You know, I can barely remember. I think it was teenage angst, cynicism and hormones on my part that aided in my hate of this film and I just ‘took against’ it. I was just so bored in my Wrangler jeans and ox-blood Docs! 
  3. The worst vacation you’ve ever been on?  There is something amazing about every holiday.Time away? I would enjoy a day making cheese at this stage. I am so ‘trip away starved’ at the moment that I can’t think of the worst I ever had. They all have a jolly rosy glow of loveliness in my memory. 
  4. The worst gift you’ve ever received? I don’t enjoy perfume gift sets that are celebrity created. Britney perfume etc. They weren’t my worst gifts to begin with but they are now because I just don’t know what to do with them. They are like being gifted a job as you have to move them on somewhere.
  5. Worse style phase you went through (for me it was blue eye shadow and green lipstick at the same time…ooo the late 90’s were not good to me). I went through a patchwork pants stage. Less said the better. The eighties pink culottes with gold buttons rocked though!
  6. The worst date you’ve ever been on?Any date that wasn’t with my husband, the wonderful Mr Paper. He is the best fun to be with and who I am most comfortable with always. I want to spend all the fun occasions in my life with him.
  7. Worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard? My husband says, ‘Do you work for Jacobs? Why? Because you’re a cracker!’. That is so bad I am fond of it.
  8. Worst job you’ve ever had? I have had some boring jobs. A few awful jobs. My worst job however was in a newsagents’ store working for a woman who hated life. She was a misery. I don’t know why. Young, pretty and with lovely children. I can only imagine I didn’t understand her.
  9. Worst teacher? I can easily answer the question even though I once again feel the dreads. The reason for this is I am a teacher now and hope no one ever nominates me as the worst teacher!! My worst teacher was a nun who was my principal and sixth class teacher in primary school.  She was a harridan, a virago, a shrew of an almost fictional quality. Macbeth’s witches were cherubim in comparison. Racist. Cruel. Bitter. Unpleasant. Insulting.  Cynical. Terrifying.  She victimised the weak or underprivileged. We were aged 4 -12. Really? Who thought this woman should run a little girls’ school? I was born in 1980. I witnessed her spank a child in 1988. This isn’t that long ago and corporal punishment had been banned. Her favourite insults to call us on a daily basis included ‘stupo’ or ‘dumbo’. The worst teacher? The worst human I have ever met.
  10. Biggest regret from the last 72 hours? Eating and drinking too much junk thereby making my weigh in at WW this week a farcical three pounds plus.
  11. Worst personality trait? I have a tendency to think no one is listening to me and lose the plot over this. I don’t have this issue at work only with family and friends.

My nominees!  Firstly,  I hope that you can accept the award. If you already have one and I didn’t know, I apologise. And congratulations!

1.Katystuff A great blogging friend. I feel we keep in touch as if we really have met. This blogger’s attitude is amazing and I feel as if I know her family.

2.Dearlilyjune I love this lady’s writing. She is gifted.  This blog is a collection of love letters to a little girl, Lily June. Beautiful.

3.Theclothesline Funny, honest and comforting. A wonderful blog that I love to read.

4.Nutsrok This storyteller makes me laugh and cry with wonderfully told tales. Out of nowhere then you receive a selection of Farside comedy images to make your day.

5.Simpledimple Giggles & Tales. What a positive blog! Charged with happiness, I live the images and writings.  They brighten my day.

6.Aliidaacstoryteller The mythological tales are fantastic. The real life stories are as much so. I was drawn to this blog immediately and it is a read I thoroughly enjoy.

7.Bumbles of rice I can relate to everything she writes! I loved the letter to her children on why we say no.

8.Special Needs Teaching Ideas As a teacher, this blog is so helpful and inspiring. Ideas and thoughts that have actual function in my classroom!

9.A Silver Voice From Ireland  Stories from Ireland, nostalgia and memories. Beautiful to read.

10.My Little Babóg This Mammy amazes me!! This is another honest,  self-depracating and comical outlook on Mammyhood that I love. I love the tips. I nearly even made my own baby wipes as a result…!!

11. Busyirishmammy She tells it how it is and also loves to shop. Love it!

My eleven life changing questions!

  1. What fictional character do you most relate to?
  2. What should you have forgiven yourself for by now?
  3. What toy from your childhood had the most effect on you?
  4. What lightens your heart the most?
  5. What mundane activity makes you the most cheerful when performing it?
  6. Would you live another life if you were allowed swap? (Sneaky extra: who’s life??)
  7. What was the funniest misinterpretation that you made as a child?
  8. Is there a burning ambition inside you to be something else?
  9. Is there anything that you love in your ‘old age’ that you detested in your youth?
  10. Shakespeare,  Dickens or Wilde. Which would you chose if any?
  11. What drew you to the blogging world?

So I am done! This was a hard post guys! The system tried to beat me, complete with computer glitches etc but I have won. Yea!

I would just like to thank myself. ..

Good luck all and thank you once again!!