Tag Archives: WordPress

One Year On WordPress

I have seen other bloggers publish posts to share that they have passed an anniversary on WordPress, so now it’s my turn. One year ago, 1st January 2021, I started this site.

I am proud of my site, and the different features I included for many months. During the National Lockdown I managed to write a lot. Since things have been opening up since the summer, I have been busy. Work has been intense and I want to see family and friends and make up for lost time.

But the one year anniversary notice from WordPress is a great reason to make a resolution to be more regular with writing.

Thanks for all the awesome bloggers who make WordPress welcoming.

Wednesday Writer – Val Portelli

I have missed my blog. I am hoping to spend more time during the autumn and winter nights ahead working on new posts. Of all the regular features I have built into my website, it’s The WEDNESDAY WRITER Series that I loved the most. Every Wednesday I was publishing an interview with a brilliant WordPress blogger. It’s been a great honour to be able to feature so many great bloggers.

Well last weekend, I had some time to chill and catch up on some of the posts I had in my drafts folder. The one I really wanted to concentrate on was an interview with the fabulous Val Portelli, writer and creator of the website Voinks.

Val sent me her answers to the WEDNESDAY WRITER interview questions ages ago, just as I was taking a break from my blog because work was exhausting and I needed to spend some time catching up with family after the Pandemic lockdowns. So this post is long overdue!

HI VAL. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?
I’ll start with black coffee, no sugar, please, but if we’re still chatting later this evening, a whisky and lemonade would be nice. No ice. Thanks.

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE.
I’ve actually got two blogs. The main one was originally under the pen name ‘Voinks’ which I used for my books, but I changed it recently to ‘Val’s Tales,’ to tie in with my audio project.

The other one has been rather neglected, but ‘Quirky Unicorn Books’ was set up as the publishing site for my own books, and to showcase the works of other Indie authors.

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?  
When my first book was published in 2013, my niece insisted I needed a social media presence so I set up a Facebook account, and then a blog. Initially it was intended as a site to shout ‘Buy my books’ but morphed into a place to post my short stories. From there it became somewhere to discuss writing and the joys and tribulations of being an author, and ended up as a mish-mash of whatever grabs my attention.

This is the latest of at least six books that Val has published and are available on Amazon and other sites:


WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?
I have absolutely no idea. 😀

I’m sure there’s a way to find the stats, but since WordPress changed everything to blocks, I find it much more difficult to navigate. It’s not helped by the fact that since the changeover it’s developed a glitch which suddenly decides I’m not authorised to post. There’s no apparent reason, and half an hour later the gremlins will let me carry on again. Every response is valued but if I did find which was the most popular, I’d probably be quite surprised.

I looked over your posts Val, and based on “likes” alone, this one seemed to be the most popular post so far:

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?
Reading other people’s blogs, and receiving lovely comments on my own.

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?
Chocolate…

Val, I am going to slide your whisky and lemonade over along with the chocolates.

…a party table full of nibbles waiting to be shared….

…in fact anything except eggs, (unless they’re the Easter variety.)

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
I love all flowers with perhaps a particular fondness for roses, carnations and lilies.


Sunflowers make me smile and wild flowers or tiny rockery plants are delightful, even cyber flowers are lovely.
I saw on one of your other interviews the reason for this question, and have a feeling the shop you mentioned might be fairly close to where I live. Now my interest is piqued to know if I’m right.

I live in South London Val – and I work around fifteen minutes from where I live. Sometimes I have to go to other branches of our pharmacy chain when they are short-staffed. Whichever route I go, I get to pass my favourite florists, and they always make me smile.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

It would depend on my mood. Late night music might be ‘Tomorrow is a long time’ by Elvis, one of his less well-known ones but thought-provoking lyrics.

I love Rock and Roll, and it might be a cliché but Happy by Pharrell Williams always starts me smiling.


DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?
It’s good to have a plan but life can throw curve balls to completely change the destination.
This was brought home to me about nine years ago after a freak accident, so for now I’m content to follow the yellow brick road and see where I end up.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?
There are so many interesting people in blogland, and even if you never meet them, strong, supportive relationships can be built. Storytelling is universal, whatever your life style, culture, age group, ethnicity or background.

As Spike Milligan so aptly said ‘Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu’. When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.’ I guess my message could be summed up by ‘Read, respond, smile and share.’

Thanks, Jacob. I’ve really enjoyed being your guest and answering your unusual questions.

_______________

Thank you Val! I loved your answers to the interview questions. Sorry you had to wait so long for me to get back to my blog. It’s been such a privilege to feature you.

http://www.Voinks.Wordpress.com

https://author.to/ValPortelli

http://www.facebook.com/ValsTales/

http://www.goodreads.com/wwwgoodreadscomVal_Portelli

https://www.instagram.com/vals_tales

Getting Back On Track

I don’t know where time has gone over the past few months. Well, yeah I do. Since things have been opening up, we have been going here and there, doing this and that. Life has been busy man. Work is bust – now we have the flu season ahead so it is going to be hectic.

When I started this blog on 1st January 2021, I had an idea, a vision. I was pleased with what I was doing, but it became important to see friends and family, and to go places, have holidays and weekends in different parts of England and Wales.

I have no regrets. Life is for living. But I do have a lot I want to create – I want to get back to the blog. I reckon during the autumn and winter I will be indoors more and keen to put posts together. Meanwhile, I am still putting all my ideas into drafts, so I can come back to them and work on them later.

What Does Love Mean To You?

Did you see my Choco-Coconut Rum Banoffee pie in this year’s Great Bloggers’ Bake Off? We are waiting now to find out the results of the Bake Off.

But after all of the baking posts had been published last night, there was something amazing to round off the weekend – an enormous patchwork of collaborations from over a hundred people who were asked the question in the title of this post.

If you want to read one thing that is going to lift your heart today…read this post, published by Caramel:

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2021/08/23/the-great-bloggers-patchwork-of-love/

THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ PATCHWORK OF LOVE

Post-Holiday Blues

Last week, we had our first holiday in over a year. I cannot tell you how great it was to feel like a tourist, even though we did not leave England. It was fun though. Eating ice-cream, visiting places of interest, hitting the beach when the weather improved at the weekend…it was fun.

Probably because of not having had a holiday in a long time, and the stresses of the past year – we just enjoyed every moment.

I have come back feeling refreshed, at peace, happy, energized and I have today to soak up more sun before I am back at work tomorrow. Normally I get post-holiday blues after being away. Right now I still feel as if I have had a big hug from nature and the good old British tourism industry, who gave us a great welcome. People were much friendlier than I expected, and it felt good.

It might take me a while to get myself back into routine with my blog. But I just wanted to touch base with you to say I am still here, and feeling great after the escape we just had.

Five For Friday

During a week when it rained and hailed, along with thunder and lightning, London’s restaurants were finally able to open their doors again. But the sun was truly shining in the world of WordPress. Here are five of my favourite posts this week!

SARAMINCY – Arizona Trip [Day One]

I am starting this week’s FIVE FOR FRIDAY in Arizona. I have missed travel during the Pandemic, so it is great to be able to see all of the photographs Sara took on her trip. It reminds me so much of the scenery we see in the movies. You are definitely giving me a strong sense of wanderlust Sara!

***

CANDICEBFORD – It’s Always Pink Shirt Day…Unless You Don’t Agree

This was actually my top pick from the whole week. It made so much sense and Candice expressed perfectly some of the thoughts that have run through my own mind during the Pandemic, during we have seen people with diverse opinions. I highly recommend you read this very thought provoking discussion.

***

CATCHING CRAWFISH – Life Is A…Rerouting, Take A U-Turn Here

This was one of the most charming lessons in life I have read in weeks. I loved Chelsi’s post about journeying along with her husband. It was so candid and fun to read of their navigating together.

***

CLAIRESALLOTMENT – Sunday 16th May 2021 – Dodging The Showers All Day!

Garden, Greenhouse, Allotment, Allotment

So if there is one wish I developed during the Pandemic – it was the wish to have an allotment. I felt a twinge of envy reading through Claire’s brilliant post. But then I realized, that we need to sort out our garden before I move onto any ideas of an allotment. I can always turn to Claire for inspiration!

***

FRIED GREEN – A Day In The Life

I loved this! Camping and hiking in New Mexico – this was just a joy to read through. I wanted to be out there so much! So I am going to admit, I had no idea where New Mexico was, but I checked on Google Maps and I realized it is not far from where I started today’s FIVE FOR FRIDAY!

Wednesday Writer – Paula Harmon

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?

During the day, a nice cup of tea – strong with milk but no sugar. In the evening a nice cold glass of Chardonnay.

I like your taste Paula!

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE?

It’s Paula Harmon and my site is https://paulaharmon.com

…and as well as her brilliant site, you can also read more of Paula’s writing in The Caster & Fleet Mysteries:

WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING?

December 2015

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I wanted somewhere that I could post short bits of writing. They were mostly short stories or flash fiction to begin with.

After a while, I started to add random thoughts and since I’ve started publishing books and got to know other authors, I write about the writing process and also do author interviews from time to time. I wanted a place where I suppose I could share a little of myself with people who might be feeling the same way whether funny or sad or serious.

WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?

Apart from the tab which lists the books I’ve written, the most visited post is ‘Everything At Once‘ which is about my son’s ADHD….

….closely followed by ‘Lost Sometimes‘ which is a piece of prose written last year (see below)…

Lost, Found, Lost And Found, Searching

…and ‘Whatever is in your heart, becomes your words…‘ which is about bullying.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

I love it when stories or random thoughts resonate with other people. When they comment to say they recognise the situation or feeling or that it gave them reassurance that they’re not alone, it makes me hope that I’ve helped in some way. It’s good that I can add helplines if applicable.

Fatigued, Young, Laptop, Beautiful

And then if I write something hopefully humorous – usually poking fun at myself – it’s great when someone says it made them laugh. It is also really cathartic.

Like most people I found the impact of Covid 19 very hard to cope with and for me, lockdown came just after my mother had nearly died and was recovering and just before I found myself facing a serious illness of my own which came completely out of the blue. Being able to write down all the tangled emotions and work on turning them into prose rather than simply self-pity helped straighten them out in my head to a great extent. ‘Lost Sometimes’ is one of those pieces. 

Writing, Writer, Notes, Pen, Notebook

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?

Good question! Any sort of food with good friends is wonderful and one of those things I’ve been missing during lockdown. I can never be sure which cuisine I like best because it’ll depend on the weather or my mood but I do like a little spice.

Last night we had lamb tagine but today, we’re going to have pork slow cooked in cider, finished off with cream and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

I collect cookbooks including ones from different eras as I like to work out what characters in my books might have eaten. Last summer I (successfully) cooked some Roman recipes from a translation of a cookbook by Apicius with some help from the Tavola Mediterranea website. 

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Freesias or oriental lilies please! Pretty and fragrant.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

No because it depends on my mood and what’s going on generally. But in general, I love the positivity and hope of ‘One Day like this’ by Elbow:

‘Put Your Records On’ by Corinne Bailey Rae:

‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac (especially sung by Eva Cassidy):

Great list of songs – I love all of them!

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?

Life is full of the unexpected and it’s easy to make plans and have them fall apart as happened for most of us in the last year. I want to be able to write more books and enjoy time with my friends and family, but I’m trying to keep learning how to go with the flow and enjoy each precious moment for its own sake. (I’d also like to sort the attic out, but I’m beginning to think that’ll never happen. I swear the stuff up there multiplies on its own.)

Our attic has the same problem with stuff that multiplies – it could be another mystery for Caper & Fleet Paula!

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?

That it’s all right to be you. That when things go wrong or you feel lost or broken, it doesn’t need to be like that forever and that it’s ok to ask for help. That joy and humour and love can be found in unexpected places. That everyone can find release in creativity like children do – without worrying about the end result. That it’s never too late to follow your dreams and maybe in fact the time when you can follow them was always going to be the right time after all.

_____________

It’s been such a joy to get to know you better Paula! Thank you so much for answering the interview questions and being such an amazing WEDNESDAY WRITER!

https://paulaharmon.com

viewauthor.at/PHAuthorpage 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/paulaharmonwrites

https://www.goodreads.com/paula_harmon

https://www.instagram.com/paulasharmon/

Paula Harmon writes chiefly (but not only) historical mystery books. She was born in North London to parents of English, Scottish and Irish descent. Perhaps feeling the need to add a Welsh connection, her father relocated the family every two years from country town to country town moving slowly westwards until they settled in South Wales when Paula was eight. She later graduated from Chichester University before making her home in Gloucestershire and then Dorset where she has lived since 2005. She is a civil servant, married with two adult children. Paula has several writing projects underway and wonders where the housework fairies are, because the house is a mess and she can’t think why.

Five For Friday

Sometimes it feels as if the weeks are flying by this year. It is Friday again and time for me to share with you some of the highlights of the many brilliant posts that appeared in my WP Reader this week. There was so much to warm the heart, and inspire me. I am sure you will feel the same way too!

DEB EVANS – Have You Thanked A Nurse Today?

Nurse, Heart, Pulse, Stethoscope

This week we had International Nurses Day. How our appreciation for nurses has deepened during the Pandemic. Deb also shares with us some of the history connected with perhaps the most famous nurse of all time – Florence Nightingale. I loved her post.

***

FRAN – The Sunday Edition – 1. Tonight We Fly! Checklists! London Baby, We Made It

Green Park, London, Uk, England, Park

I loved reading the account of Fran and her family embarking on an adventure! I am a Londoner Fran and I was reading this, totally excited for all of you – and wishing you an incredible time in your travels!

***

LAURA AND BRETT – Staying Healthy: Eating And Exercise (5/2 – 5/8)

Vegetable Skewer, Paprika, Tomato

I have to admit, I seem to spend a lot of time looking at foodie posts. Why is that? It makes me so hungry. I loved the photos in Laura and Brett’s post this week. Am I reading this right – were all those delicious dishes under 400 calories? Desperate to get an invite to their dinner table!!

***

SIMON – Blog: A Year On Woodhouse Washlands

Yorkshire Dales, Pen-Y-Ghent, Sunrise

It is a long time since I was in Yorkshire, but I remember it as a massive contrast to London. There seemed to be an endless sea of green undulating with hedges and trees, dry-stone walls, and animals I had never seen before (animals never seen in Clapham!) I loved reading Simon’s account of the changes that occurred throughout the year. I wanted to be there walking through those dales myself.

***

SHELLEY FALLOWS – Bird Song And Blue Bells

Bluebells, Bluebell, Blue, Spring, Plant

This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is nature. Shelley made my day with this post. She shared a short video of her journey to work, were she seemed to be passing through a magical forest, with carpets of bluebells and sweet birdsong. Thanks Shelley for such a beautiful share!

Wednesday Writer – James Guttman

Today we have the fantastic James as our featured writer. His blog is superb and so are his family.

HEY JAMES, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?

I’m good with water, although this one is warm.

Landscape, Winter, Glass, Water, Mirror

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE.

My blogging name is James Guttman, and my site is Hi Blog! I’m Dad

WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I have been writing since 2002, but I began my blog in 2017.

James has also published a fabulous book – perfect for expectant Dads – available on Amazon:

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I wanted to show the world that parenting a child with special needs isn’t dire or overwhelming. The goal was to normalize people like my son, who is non-verbal with autism, and demonstrate the similarities a family like ours has with many others.

WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?

Out of all, I’d say the top two have been “When You’re The First To Spot Autism’s Early Signs” and “I’m Sorry My Son Drank Your Coffee

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

I enjoy the honesty and getting to hear from others who relate to stories and situations that would have felt isolated and unique without the outlet to share with others.

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?

Hmm. Ice cream? My daughter and I are kind of ice cream junkies.

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

No preference. I have a wishing well at my house that I keep as a planter. So whatever will overflow over the sides.

James, I am not an expert when it comes to gardening, but I love the way little bellflowers seem to grow in amongst cracks in the stone. They would make the wishing well look glorious.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

I feel like I gravitate to different songs at different periods of my life. Hearing them again brings me back each time. Out of all of them, I’d go with the one that I replayed after my bypass surgery, “Come Healing” By Leonard Cohen.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?

For the first time ever, I think I might.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?

This is the only life you get for sure. Don’t waste it worrying about things that might never happen and wanting the lives of others who are most likely more miserable than you are. You don’t get a new hand of cards just because you complain about what you have.  You have to play them and hope for the best.

***

That’s a great attitude James and it can help us deal with the circumstances we are in and learn to thrive. It’s been an honour to have you as a guest and to feature you as this week’s WEDNESAY WRITER.

Five For Friday

There have been some brilliant posts appearing in my Reader this week. It was really hard to pick just five of my favourites. These are the five posts that I have chosen because I enjoyed them so much and found them inspiring!

THE RAMBLING SLOTH – Day 400 Seems A Great Day To Take The Next Big Step In My Recovery Journey

Mountains, Summit, Nature, Cliff, Peak, Mountain Range

I spent a long time gazing at the photos of sunrises in Julie’s post. The colours are extraordinary. I was impressed by her plans! I need to follow her good example. Too much take out food during the Pandemic makes me want to start training again.

***

GENTLEMAN DAVE – More For Us To Discover

Wow! This was one exciting poem! Gentleman Dave has a way with words and is able to produce beautiful poetry. This poem was totally romantic and exhilarating in equal combination. Who ever said that the beach was boring? It makes me see the need to continue reviewing the applications so far for the role of Mrs Nyamake.

***

TAM33KS – 7 Self-Care Ideas That Involve Giving

I knew I was going to love this post as soon as I read the title. Self-care and giving go hand in hand surely. There is so much more happiness in giving. Tam33ks gives some great examples of how you can not only bring joy to others, but how good it is for us and our own emotional health and wellbeing.

***

MZDEEDEESMITH – Let’s Go, Or Maybe Let’s Stay…Sometimes Plans Change

I loved reading the adventure MzDeeDeeSmith embarked on to the beautiful land of Ecuador. The lessons she learned, and her attitude to letting the universe work it’s magic. I enjoyed every picture and every paragraph of this post, but it was the ending – the quote that the post ends on that made sure it is one I will not forget!

***

JO GOODALL – Welcome To The Prestigious 30s Club…Turning 30 With Brian And A Week Of New Classes

Last but not least is Jo! Last week I read that she had broken her foot. But it was amazing to read her birthday post and to see that nothing is stopping her from enjoying her life at Oxford! You are an inspiration Jo! Keep smiling 🙂