Thank you, thank you, thank you….one award, three nominations.

A week or so ago I met up in London with my old friend Lorna of the blog Just Words. Guess what? she asked me. I’ve nominated you for an award!

The Liebster Award is aimed at anyone with 200 or less followers, so it is a way of not only making you feel a bit better about your dismal performance but also about – hopefully – getting you some new followers.


Great I thought. And promptly forgot all about it.

However, a few days later I opened up my WordPress feed to find not one, but TWO more nominations for the same award – this time from the lovely Arundhati at Sandcastle and the fabulous Liz at Secrets of a Trailing Spouse. Two more nominations – I couldn’t ignore it this time.

However, I think at this point in time I am going to struggle to nominate anyone else. I just don’t have the spare capacity at the moment. Half term looms next week – which means I won’t get a chance to do anything but the basics (which really means my day job).

But I still wanted to acknowledge this award, thank those who had nominated me and urge you all to go and have a read of the blogs of my nominators. I also wanted to answer their questions as they looked like fun!

So first of all, the questions from Liz:

1. Why did you start blogging?
Having reached the end of writing the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide, I knew I needed to start working on the next stage – the marketing. My audience could be anywhere in the world, so it made sense to try and reach them through social media and starting a blog fitted well into this plan. However, the blog is more than this. I wanted it to be a “companion” to the guide, something current and regularly updated, somewhere I could share more information and guidance and interact with my readers. Get them to share their experiences. This is what this book is about – expat partners supporting each other – and the blog feels like the perfect medium to do this. I also love writing and this is a great place to put all my random thoughts!

2. Where in the world would you most like to live?
Sadly, probably here in our town in west England – which we are about to leave! After that, at the moment I am pretty excited about moving to South Africa. But long term I would love to have a home in Florida. I know it’s clichéd, but we’ve always enjoyed our holidays there, and my husband’s only relative – his brother – lives there. Or New Zealand, if it wasn’t so far from everywhere….

A beautiful Florida beach

A beautiful Florida beach

3. What is the best travel advice anyone has ever given you? Or, what piece of travel advice would you like to share?
Hmmm, good question. Here’s one that I didn’t follow myself but should have: if you have a small baby and are planning to travel with it, don’t give up breastfeeding. You never have to worry about feeding your baby if you get diverted or stuck somewhere as you will always have milk on demand!

4. If you were stranded in an airport for a day, what book would you most like to have with you?
This has happened many times. It would have to be a book I haven’t read but want to. Maybe one of the books from the Africa Book Challenge  I’ve just started?

5. What is your worst holiday experience?
It wasn’t really a holiday but I went on a press trip to Tunisia when I was working as a journalist. Awful! Almost all the other journalists just wanted to sit around all day, get sun tans and bitch about each other. The hotel was half built and the food terrible. We were an all-female group and everywhere we went we were continually hassled. I couldn’t wait to get home. Other than that, camping in the Lake District in the rain as a child. Put me off camping forever.

6. Can you speak a second language?
No. I can get by in Spanish if I have to. I wish I did.

7. What is the best thing about the place where you currently live?
Friends – mine and the children, on our doorstep. Easy walk to great shops, restaurants etc. Good school three minutes away. Loads to do within an easy drive.

8. Describe your ideal day in no more than ten words.
Up early, under water, whale shark! Manta ray! Big supper.

9. What inspires you?
Anyone who does well later in life. I recently read a blog about ten women over fifty who were achieving major things. I am also a late starter….

10. Do you have a pet hate? (I.e. something which really annoys you, not a pet you hate!)
Many, many. Leaving dirty water in the washing-up bowl over night is one…..

11. Post a link to your favourite blog.
This is hard. I haven’t really been blogging long enough to have read that many in depth. I am however going to cheat and chose two. Kirsty Rice’s 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle because she is always so spot on about expat life, and Joburg Expat because it has told me so much about South Africa before we move there. I recommend anyone moving somewhere to find a similar blog and follow it!

And from Lorna:

1. Think back through your last full day. What would you have changed and why?
I would have taken the forgotten cupcakes to school instead of leaving them at home. Then we wouldn’t have had them all here to eat….

The cupcakes that didn't make it...

The cupcakes that didn’t make it…

2. Do you regret losing touch with anyone, and why do you think it is too late to rekindle the friendship?
I wish I had more time for old friends! I don’t think there is anyone I am not currently in touch with that I regret losing touch with. I recently made contact with a lot of old school friends as we had a 25 year reunion. It was really nice to see everyone again and I am now in touch with quite a few of them via social media.

3. What did you say or do that made someone feel good today?
I told Lauren St John (who wrote the White Giraffe and others – I blogged about it here – how much we enjoyed her books. Ah the power of twitter! She replied to thank me, which was lovely.

4. Look up nearly 45 degrees. What do you see?
Lots of unused cook books…..

5. Are you looking forward to tomorrow? Why/why not?
Yes and no. I have a meeting in Worcester and I am worried that the traffic will be bad getting there, and then I will get lost. But I am looking forward to seeing my boss, she’s a great person to work with and we don’t see each other often!

6. West Wing, Downton Abbey, The Killing, Doctor Who, Lost or The Simpsons?
Downton Abbey for sure. Although I loved the West Wing but it went on to long. Lost lost it.

7. Brontes, Austen, Wodehouse, Nesbo or Patterson.
Or none of the above?
I don’t know who Nesbo or Patterson are. At a push Austen. But really none of the above.

8. What was the last rude comment you had to keep in and to whom?
Something to my husband no doubt.

9. How did you sleep last night?
Not well – woke at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Lots of insomnia in this house at the moment – we’re preparing for an overseas move, what do you expect! When I did get back to sleep I dreamt I had to hollow out a coconut because I was going to boil my head in it….

10. What would be your parallel life?
Diving instructor on a small island off Malaysia.

And finally for Arundhati, eleven random facts about me:

1. I hate coriander. With a passion.
2. I am an advanced PADI diver and have racked up well over 100 dives. However, I have not dived for more than four years.
3. I have a certificate that tells me I can do shorthand at 100 words per minute.
4. I have represented the UK at a meeting in the UN.
5. I am in Wikileaks. Under my maiden name.
6. I discovered I was pregnant for the first time when I was in Phuket helping out after the 2004 tsnuami.
7. I have come face-to-face with Nelson Mandela and had the chance to ask him a question. The only thing I could think of was “do you like Essex”!
8. I have probably read Watership Down more than any other book.
9. We are having fish pie for supper.
10. I will run screaming from a flying cockroach.
11. My favourite drink is probably a mojito.