Category Archives: random thoughts

Random Thought

Now I’m trying to get read to go back to work, I thought I’d share a few things I used over the last four months I was at home.

I’ve been using a few of these things to help me through lock down. I’m sure I’ll continue to use a few of these.

Let me know if you use any, or did you use anything else?

🦋

Audible 📱🎧

Audible

How Does Audible Work?

Audible works by first starting a 30-day free trial which comes with a free audiobook. Each month, a credit is awarded to the Audible account which can be used to purchase one audiobook. As a monthly member, you will receive one credit each pay period. That credit is redeemable for a single book of any value.

When your free trial is over, the free trial will automatically adjust to a monthly fee unless you cancel the account. Take note that one of the biggest complaints about the trial is that the company does not ask if you want to continue, but they automatically charge us if we don’t cancel the account.

Audible provides users with ad-free, high-quality audio files that you can listen to online or offline. That means you can delve into your favourite titles, listening without racking up data charges or going through the hassle of finding a Wi-Fi password. What’s more, it enables you to curate your own digital archive of audiobooks that can be accessed for listening to audiobooks at any time.

All Amazon Audible books are exchangeable. If you don’t enjoy a title, you may switch it for an alternative title with no hassle. Also, Audible offers members an exclusive 30 percent savings per credit on additional monthly purchases on fiction and non-fiction books, including mysteries & thrillers, personal development, business, bios & memoirs, sci-fi & fantasy, romance audiobooks and Audible originals.

What Is Audible?

Amazon Audible is a monthly membership service that provides users with access to a massive database of audiobooks. You access and play these audiobooks through the Audible app. They provides members with Audible credits a month to purchase new titles. 

Over time, users are able to accumulate large libraries of audio books. Unlike similar audiobook subscriptions, all audiobooks purchased through Audible are yours to keep forever. If you’re not already reading or listening to audiobooks, you’re missing out on a lot of knowledge. We all know that reading is good for us and audio is a good way to listen to Audible books

A basic Audible membership fee and offerings is on par with most monthly subscription services. For the standard Gold monthly, you only get one credit for the monthly subscription fee with this membership plan. You can redeem one audiobook per credit. Since Audible credits are redeemable for a single audiobook of any price, it is smart to use this credit for costlier titles. After which, you can scour Audible for daily deals and low-cost classics. In addition, you also get 2 Audible originals.

You can find offers on Audible, the same way you can find offers on physical books. On occasion, you will find audiobooks priced as low as 99p. It’s important to note that the price you pay varies depending on the number of titles you purchase and how much you spend. That makes Audible worth the price. I find that it helps to treat your membership credit as if it’s worth one audiobook.

This way, you spend it on something equal to or greater than the monthly fee. But that’s just how I would do it. Unused Audible credits can be rolled over from one month to another. Whether you are waiting on an upcoming new release from major publishing houses or cannot decide between two titles, this feature ensures you never pay in vain. If you feel like you need more than 1 book a month, there are other membership plans available.

Is Audible Free With Amazon Prime?

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can use Audible for no extra cost. The limit here is that you will only get access to a rotating collection of 50+ books. Notably, you get access to the channels as well.

This is a really good deal if you are already on Amazon Prime or if you’re thinking of using it.

The Library

The Audible library features over 425,000 titles and audio versions of books. Given it is an offshoot of Amazon, we only expect that number to grow. Audible tops the ranks as one of the densest audiobook libraries on the market.

The library consists of 26 book categories with new releases and audiobook titles spread evenly throughout. You can browse by category, lists & collections, or featured material. This includes a selection of titles that are compatible with the Amazon-exclusive service Whispersync. Almost every book that has an audiobook version is in the library including best sellers and many Audible originals. 

Members also gain access to an extensive collection of audio shows. These are free with a monthly membership. They include genre-diverse Audible originals, such as Audicted, Sincerely X, and Real Crime.

The Audible membership also includes audio version of news via and additional publications for your listening pleasure. What’s more, there is a steady stream of celebrity performances and live comedy to keep you entertained. While the non-audiobook content could serve to be expanded, it’s an excellent bonus feature you don’t see.

What Is Whispersync And How Does It Work?

Whispersync for Voice is a unique service offered to Audible customers. It allows members to switch between listening to an audiobook and reading on a Kindle without missing a beat. The app also features real-time highlighting to boost reader engagement, comprehension, and retention. In short, you can sync your audiobooks with a Kindle to pick up where you left off on a book. You will need an internet connection for this. To utilize the service, you need to purchase the audio companion to a Kindle book. While it is on the pricier side, there is no denying the convenience of this service. Currently, Amazon does not have a bundle for an ebook + audio book on Kindle and Audible. That makes it a bit more expensive to get both and may not be for everyone.

What About The Alternatives?

Audible isn’t the only audiobook subscription service on the market. However, it stands out because of its extensive library. While public libraries typically provide services such as Hoopla or Overdrive for free, you get far fewer options to choose from. What’s more, you are often restricted to a small number of monthly audiobook rentals. The same thing goes for popular pay-to-borrow services.

Audible provides a wide variety of audio books and purchases are yours to keep even if you cancel. The best alternative to Audible is Audiobooks.com. The book library is not as extensive as Audible but it’s still huge and most popular audio books are there. They have a 30-day free trial at the time of writing this Audible review, but they will need your email address and credit card details.

Building A Collection

Every audiobook you purchase through the Audible app is yours to keep forever. In fact, it can even be downloaded in any audio format or stored on a limited number of devices. Plus, you can access your Audible library at any time, even if you cancel your membership. While it takes a long time to build a personal library on Audible credits alone, this is definitely a versatile and space-saving alternative to a physical home library.

It is important to note; you cannot buy additional credits. Instead, you get a 30 percent discount on any additional purchases. As such, I feel this service is best suited for individuals who listen to one to two books per month. Otherwise, it can be quite costly. That being said, it’s a good idea to get one or two audiobooks per month and if you’re a big reader, just read the physical book too.

Usability

This Audible review will show you some of the most likely usabilities. Like most Amazon products, the Audible app offers user-friendly navigation. You can toggle between pages and menus for quick and easy access to thousands of book titles. Audiobook sub-categories such as “Pre-orders”, “Wish Lists”, and “Browse” (which includes several subheadings) make it easy to find new titles with rave reviews. Not to mention, all audiobooks are also subject to Amazon’s five-star customer review system.

Aesthetically, Audible couldn’t get much better. It features easy-to-read text, high contrast visuals, and customizable toggles. With that being said, the affiliated website is a bit sparse, with just a white background, gallery-style book cover grids, and six overhead menus.

Still, each audiobook has a detailed product page with information such as author, length, release date, and publisher. Here, you can confirm whether a title is compatible with Whisper sync and add it to your wish list. There is also a one-click purchase option.

The site others a standard search bar that allows you to explore audiobook options through both vague and detailed credentials. It also offers an advanced search option that is similar to digital library catalogs, with fine-tuned credentials such as the title, author, narrator, and publisher. From there, you can narrow the search field by honing in on the program type, language, length, format, and more.

Using Audible On Multiple Devices

The files can be downloaded to a variety of listening devices and even your MP3 player. To do so, you must install the Audible Manager on the device. Then, you have to physically plug the device into your computer and go through a twelve step process. After this, your content will be available on the device. Twelve steps mays seem like a lot but it is a quick and simple process.

Can You Share Audible Books?

You can also share your audiobooks with loved ones but they have to be adult members of your Amazon Household, as long as they have an Amazon account. It is important to note that this won’t work with a child’s account.

Previously, Audible’s Digital Rights Management system only allowed consumers to play and listen to Audible on three devices. This gave way to the upswing of programs designed to eliminate Audible’s DRM. Nevertheless, there is no longer an apparent limit. What’s more, consumers claim the MP3 files can be downloaded without hassle.

Beyond that, one of the reasons I love Audible is because of the ability to personalize your Audible app settings. Two of the more convenient features were the options to set an automatic sleep timer and adjust the audio playback speed to increase listening speed. Better still, Audible tracks where you leave off. Therefore, you never have to worry about losing your place when stopping or switching between devices.

How To Cancel Audible Membership?

This is an Amazon-based digital service. As such, they offer 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support. The cancellation process is straight forward. I found that, regardless of the platform, the customer service agents responded quickly and aimed to please. I also found the “Popular Questions” page to be extremely informative. Whether you’re looking to cancel your membership or exchange an unwanted audiobook, Amazon aims to provide you with quick and pleasing answers to all of your questions.

How To Return An Audible Book?

The best part, Audible’s hassle-free return policy is good. They have a great listen guarantee, which means you can literally exchange an unwanted audiobook or Audible originals at any time. Just go to “Account Details”, select “Purchase History”, locate the order you wish to return, and hit the orange “Return this Title” button.

However, experiences may differ from one person to another. I’ve read some bad reviews about their support. My experience overall has been good. The most notable complaints were that support was a bit slow, and they get charged even after calling and cancelling the Audible subscription.

Book Descriptions

Let’s face it, regardless of the audiobook service; we are buying the same product. Therefore, a considerable part of our buying decision is determined by user experience. In the case of Audible, the particular product is a subtle but important detail.

When you click on a title, a page pops up with a large book cover image and list of quick facts about the publication. Here, you’ll find a “Sample” button that allows you to listen to a small tidbit of the audiobook to determine whether its right for you. As someone who can be somewhat picky about which narrators I listen to, I found this option to be extremely valuable, making me love Audible even more.

On the right side, you can opt to use your membership credit on the title, buy additional credits outright, add it to a reading list, or post it on Facebook. Below this, you’ll find the “People who bought this also bought…” section. For me, this section was a treasure trove of valuable information. It generates useful recommendations based on the recent purchases of like-minded consumers. Of course, it is one of those sales tactics that Amazon uses but works and it’s possibly the best way to give a recommendation.

Next, there is a brief publisher’s summary which gives you the gist of the audiobook in two to four paragraphs. Following this, some audiobooks feature a small section for “Critic Reviews”.

Sales

On occasion, Amazon will post special offers for members. Sometimes, you can even purchase additional credits at a discounted price. To be considered for this deal, you need to have had the same Audible membership plans for two consecutive months, have one or no credits, and (if you are on the yearly plan) be at least 30 days from your next billing date. On top of that, Amazon offers inexpensive classics (sometimes as low as 99p but not very often)

Rating System

At the bottom of a book page, there is a section called “What Members Say”. This breaks down the average ratings into three categories: “Overall”, “Performance,” and “Story”. Below each of these categories is a small bar graph that shows the number of people that gave five, four, three, two, or one-star reviews.

After this, there is you can switch between lists of Audible and Amazon reviews, sorting between “Most Helpful” and “Most Recent”. It appears as though the longest reviews are to be found at the top.

As someone who is very picky about the books I listen to, I found this feature to be extremely helpful. However, it is important to note that these reviews have the potential to be biased and misleading, but are unlikely to be so because they do verify buyers Amazon account.

Audible Audio Book Pros And Cons

There are some notable pros and cons that you should be aware of. Especially the cons. Is Audible worth your time? Overall, my experience on Audible and reviews are mostly good. There are some complaints that we will address below. Most of the pros are already in the review, so that section will be short, while the cons will be a bit longer.

Pros

Audible is convenient when you want to read but you’re busy. I don’t like to think of audio as a replacement for physical books and vice versa. However, as a working woman and blogger here, I barely have enough time in the day as it is. For me, audiobooks allow me to indulge in entertaining or informative literature even if I can’t set my eyes on it. I can progress through a novel while walking, sat on the train, bus or plane, (nothing worse when you have someone looking over your shoulder)

Easy access to my library from any device. As a public library enthusiasts, I was initially leery of paying for the subscription service. After all, why pay for audiobooks when I can borrow them for free? It turns out that the ability to access my audiobook library from multiple devices and flawlessly pick up where I last left off is well worth it. To top that, I don’t have to wait for new releases or popular titles to cycle through long waiting lists. Instead, I get instant access to these titles with a click of a button. What’s more, I never have to worry about incurring library fines or returning material.

Cons

Credits may be a hassle. Each membership plan allows for a different number of additional credits per month to be rolled over from one pay period to another. For example, the Gold annual membership allows for a maximum of five to roll over, whereas the Platinum Annual allows for 12. More importantly, you lose your credits if you cancel your membership.

Besides that, some audiobook prices can be quite high even after applying the 30 percent discount. For example, Stephen King’s The Outsider sells for way cheaper on Google play store. Not all books are cheaper on Google Play but this particular one is.

After the free trial is over, they charge automatically. There are many complaints about this with people saying “the trial is not actually a free trial” and so on. The best thing to do if you plan on taking the trial is to make sure that before 30 days, make a decision and either cancel the Audible account or continue letting it be.

Audible/Amazon has a reputation of overcharging customers. Although getting a refund is easy enough, it’s still a hassle and something that we shouldn’t even be dealing with. The common ones are the bill for a free trial and double charging when you subscribe or upgrade. It doesn’t happen all the time but those are the most common complaints.

What I Think Of The Pros And Cons?

In the end, I am not someone who is likely to spend too much on something such as an Audiobook. For one, I am not likely to listen to it more than one time. Secondly, I don’t feel that the audio files are adequate replacements for physical paper books nor e-books. For me, there is something sacred about reading text.

There is no doubt that it is convenient to listen to audiobooks. I found myself indulging in Christine Feehan’s award-winning book, Dark Legacy while I cleaned my bathroom. At 15 hours and 31 minutes, it lasted me nearly an entire month.

While Feehan’s book was available on CD at my local library, I had trouble justifying paying for it. Nevertheless, I was able to take it with me on my daily walk, to the work, and even for lunch without a hassle. I also was able to download it to my phone so that I didn’t have to rely on internet or data.

Readings Offline

One of the best features of Audible is that you can download and you listen to audiobooks online and offline. While this may not seem like a big deal, not having to worry about finding Wi-Fi or using data is imperative to many people (myself included). What’s more, you’re allowed to download all or part of an audiobook. Therefore, you can opt to save device space or personal time by only downloaded a select portion at a time. Whichever option you choose, all Audible audiobook purchases will remain in the cloud indefinitely.

Listener Stats

While not for everyone, the Audible app tracks listener stats and awards subsequent badges. As you listen, it unlocks badges, they have the option to post their progress on social media. If you have a shared account with a household member, each member can independently track their personal progress, stats, and badges. Some featured badges include “Mount Everest”, “Marathoner”, and “Daily Dipper”. The tracker helped me to set personal goals and adequately log my summer reading. It is also a cool way to compete with a friend or a family member.

Bookmarks And Notes

One of my favorite Audible features is “Clips”. “Clips” allows users to mark their progress with a digital bookmark, add notes, and more. It even allows you to save and share an audiobook passage. This will enable you to clip, edit, and post these audio tidbits via email or social media. It also saves the location of the audio so that you can return to it at any time.

If you’re someone who enjoys quoting passages or writing in the margins, this is the digital manifestation of an age-old practice. Plus, don’t worry if you’re sharing your audiobooks. All members get their own annotations, notes, and bookmarks.

Audible Review: Is Audible Worth It?

Is Audible worth the money? In my opinion, the short answer is yes.. Anyone who wants to listen to audio books should at least take Audible’s 30-day free trial. It doesn’t matter if you listen during your morning commute or while exercising, it’s a great app to get informed and read more books you’ve been meaning to read.

In short, I would recommend Audible to listeners looking to expand their audiobook libraries. For one, this service is relatively inexpensive. More so, it features the most expansive audiobook library currently on the market. Furthermore, Audible is easy to navigate and features user-friendly settings. Beyond that, Whispersync audiobooks offer a flexible alternative for individuals who enjoy reading but struggle to find the time to do it.

If you’re still not sure if this Audible is right for you or if you’re still asking how does Audible work, you can take the free trial to see for yourself. Not only do you receive free audiobooks of your choosing, but you get the opportunity to gauge how often you would utilize the service.The free audiobooks will be yours to keep and that alone makes Audible worth trying. This Audible review should have covered everything you need to know. Be sure to download audible and play around with the settings to ensure you get the best possible user experience. To me, that makes Audible worth the price.

Last week, I was talking to someone about books (About Pride and Prejudice, specifically.) This blogger loved Pride and Prejudice. She’s been putting it off for years. But before she set out on a long road trip, she chose the Audible edition narrated by Rosamund Pike as her driving companion.

I love Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve read it at least half a dozen times. But I’ve never heard Rosamund Pike’s complete version. This reader’s raves about her fantastic narration—and especially, her perfect accents for Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins—had me firing up my kindle to order that version for myself immediately. I have piles of Audible credits saved up; I was ready to use one.

But I didn’t have to.

I discovered that that audiobook—along with more than 40 other titles—is available to stream for Amazon Prime members through Audible’s new Audible Channels feature. For FREE.

Audible Review

Audible offers great customer service compared to all the audio book sites reviewed. Audible is one of the best options for anyone who listens to one audiobook or more per month and want to have a huge library to choose from. There are also daily deals on audio books to review.

Hope you enjoyed this Audible review and if you or someone you know have tried the Audible app recently or have an opinion on the post, tell us about that experience in the comments below!

🦋

https://www.amazon.co.uk/tryprimefree?tag=butterflies07-21

*I am an Amazon affiliate and all the book links are my affiliate links. Using them you receive a discount and I do receive a small commission.

Butterflies 🦋

Butterflies are insects in the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. The group comprises the large superfamily Papilionoidea, which contains at least one former group, the skippers (formerly the superfamily “Hesperioidea”), and the most recent analyses suggest it also contains the moth-butterflies (formerly the superfamily “Hedyloidea”). Butterfly fossils date to the Paleocene, about 56 million years ago.

Vanessa cardui is a well-known colourful butterfly, known as the painted lady, or formerly in North America as the cosmopolitan.

Male and female. Upperside. Ground-colour reddish-ochreous, basal areas olivescent-ochreous-brown; cilia black, alternated with white, Forewing with an outwardly-oblique black irregular-shaped broken band crossing from middle of the cell to the disc above the submedian vein; the apical area from end of cell and the exterior border also black; before the apex is a short white outwardly-oblique streak and a curved row of four round spots, the second and third being small; a marginal pale lunular line with its upper portion most defined and whitish. Hind-wing with a blackish patch from the costal vein across end of cell, a partly confluent recurved discal band, a submarginal row of lunules, and then a marginal row of somewhat scutiform spots; between the discal band and submarginal lunules is a row of five round black spots, which in some examples show a pale and dark outer ring. Underside. Forewing brighter reddish-ochreous, the apical area and outer margin much paler, the apex being olivescent ochreous-brown; discal irregular band as above, subapical white streak, row of spots and marginal lunules distinct; base of wing and interspace before end of cell white. Hindwing transversely-marbled with olivescent ochreous-brown and speckled with black scales; crossed by basal and discal sinuous whitish or pale fascia and intersected by white veins; an outer-discal row of five ocelli, the upper one smallest and usually imperfect, the second and fifth the largest, the fourth with black centre speckled with blue and ringed with yellow, and the second and fifth also with an outer black ring; submarginal lunules purpurescent-grey, bordered by a whitish fascia; outer margin ochreous. Body olivescent ochreous-brown, abdomen with ochreous bands; palpi blackish above, white beneath; body beneath and legs greyish-white; antennae black above, tip and beneath reddish.

My son brought me caterpillars 🐛 to turn into butterflies 🦋

Watched as they turned from caterpillars into pupae, then into butterflies.

🦋

Catch up on a random thought ….

I said I’d catch you up with some of the stuff I planned to do this week ….

So…..

1. I still have my African Adventure to finish on here!! I got several days done. Hoping to finish off next week.

2. Thought I’d put other previous holidays on here. I’ve started on them. I’ll add as I do them.

3. I have a few craft projects that need to go on here. Again I’ve started to add them to my draft list, they will be added once I’ve finished.

So I’ve done some. I’ll keep you posted 😉

🦋

Random Thought

Ok. I need to get a few things done on this blog.

1. I still have my African Adventure to finish on here!!

2. Thought I’d put other previous holidays on here.

I have a few craft projects that need to go on here.

So that’s my plan for this week……. I’ll review at the end of the week 😝

🦋

Happy Mother’s Day 💐

For some a happy occasion. But the others it’s a day where you think about your own mum.

sadly my mum passed away, so Mother’s Day has a sad tinge to it. We’d manage to get together and celebrate it somehow. Or I’d have to share her with my sisters. Taking it in turns to spoil her. Miss her terribly.

and I’m also a mother. But as you know my daughter is no longer with us. My son makes a fuss, but it doesn’t take the heartache away.

So happy Mother’s Day, treasure your mum, treasure being a mum. And for those who’s mother isn’t with them for one reason or another, so I’m sending a hug.

🦋

Random Thought 💭 …. A Leap Year

A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year) is a calendar yearcontaining an additional day (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, a month) added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting (also called intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.

For example, in the Gregorian calendar, each leap year has 366 days instead of 365, by extending February to 29 days rather than the common 28. These extra days occur in years which are multiples of four (with the exception of centennial years not divisible by 400). Similarly, in the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, Adar Aleph, a 13th lunar month, is added seven times every 19 years to the twelve lunar months in its common years to keep its calendar year from drifting through the seasons. In the Bahá’í Calendar, a leap day is added when needed to ensure that the following year begins on the vernal equinox.

The name “leap year” probably comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in the 12 months following the leap day (from March 1 through February 28 of the following year) will advance two days due to the extra day (thus “leaping over” one of the days in the week) . For example, Christmas Day (December 25) fell on a Tuesday in 2012, Wednesday in 2013, Thursday in 2014, and Friday in 2015 but then “leapt” over Saturday to fall on a Sunday in 2016.

The length of a day is also occasionally changed by the insertion of leap seconds into Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), owing to the variability of Earth’s rotational period. Unlike leap days, leap seconds are not introduced on a regular schedule, since the variability in the length of the day is not entirely predictable.

So that’s the meaning of a leap year 🤪

Happy New Year 🥳

This was sent to me …….

Hoping it plays 😁

So my wish to you is, be with those you love, tell them daily, we don’t know what’s around that corner. Do something that challenges you. Do something that makes you smile. Do something just for you.

I’m hoping to do a few more fun things before my birthday in September. Afternoon Teas. Feed a penguin. Visit my friend in America. Visit Blackpool Tower, and look down 😉

🦋

Random Thought 💭

It’s the end of another year ……

What did I do this year?

It’s my first year without my mum. That was hard.

It’s another year without my daughter.

I changed my job, big move for me, but a better one.

Watched my nieces, nephews and grandchildren get one year older. The time just seemed to whizz past!!!

I’m another year older (and in fact turned 50!!)

I have a wonderful memory of my time in Africa.

I have to get in that I read some really good books, (and a few that were just ok)

watched my granddaughter dance in public.

What do I hope to do in 2020?

Read a few good books😉

And maybe a visit to my friend in America.

🦋

Bonfire Night 🔥 🧨

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is an annual commemoration observed on the 5th of November, primarily in the United Kingdom.

Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes a member of the Gunpowder plot, was arrested while guarding the explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords.

Celebrating the fact that King Janes I had survived an attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of the 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of giving thanks for the plots failure.

Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration, but as it carried strong Protestant religious overtones it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment.

Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while during increasingly raucous celebrations, common folk burnt effigies of poplar hate figures, such as the pope.

Towards the end of the 18th century, reports appear of children begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes and 5 November gradually became known as Guy Fawkes Day.

In the 1850s changing attitudes resulted in the toning down of much of the day’s anti-Catholic rhetoric, and the Observance of 5th November Act was repealed in 1859. Eventually the violence was dealt with, and by the 20th century Guy Fawkes Day had become an enjoyable social commemoration, although lacking much of its original focus. The present-day Guy Fawkes Night is usually celebrated at large organised events, centred on a bonfire and extravagant firework displays.

Settlers exported Guy Fawkes Night to overseas colonies, including some in North America, where it was known as Pope Day. Those festivities died out with the onset of the American Revolution.

Claims that Guy Fawkes Night was a Protestant replacement for older customs like Samhain are disputed, although another old celebration, Halloween, has lately increased in popularity in England, and according to some writers, may threaten the continued observance of 5 November.

Morbid I know….. But interesting too.

The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.

The holiday is sometimes called Día de los Muertos in Anglophone countries, a back translation of its original name, Día de Muertos. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually, it was associated with October 31, November 1, and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christianity triduum of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using calaveras, aztec marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed into other deep traditions in honor of the dead. It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation’s schools. Many families celebrate a traditional “All Saints’ Day” associated with the Catholic Church.

Originally, the Day of the Dead as such was not celebrated in northern Mexico, where it was unknown until the 20th century because its indigenous people had different traditions. The people and the church rejected it as a day related to syncretizing pagan elements with Catholic Christianity. They held the traditional ‘All Saints’ Day‘ in the same way as other Christians in the world. There was limited Mesoamerican influence in this region, and relatively few indigenous inhabitants from the regions of Southern Mexico, where the holiday was celebrated. In the early 21st century in northern Mexico, Día de Muertos is observed because the Mexican government made it a national holiday based on educational policies from the 1960s; it has introduced this holiday as a unifying national tradition based on indigenous traditions.

The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration is similar to other societies’ observances of a time to honor the dead. The Spanish tradition, for instance, includes festivals and parades, as well as gatherings of families at cemeteries to pray for their deceased loved ones at the end of the day.

In Belize, Day of the Dead is practiced by people of the Yucatec Maya ethnicity. The celebration is known as Hanal Pixan which means “food for the souls” in their language. Altars are constructed and decorated with food, drinks, candies, and candles put on them.

Día de las Ñatitas (“Day of the Skulls”) is a festival celebrated in La Paz, Bolivia, on May 5. In pre-Columbian times indigenous Andeans had a tradition of sharing a day with the bones of their ancestors on the third year after burial. Today families keep only the skulls for such rituals. Traditionally, the skulls of family members are kept at home to watch over the family and protect them during the year. On November 9, the family crowns the skulls with fresh flowers, sometimes also dressing them in various garments, and making offerings of cigarettes, coca leaves, alcohol, and various other items in thanks for the year’s protection. The skulls are also sometimes taken to the central cemetery in La Paz for a special Mass and blessing.

The Brazilian public holiday of Finados (Day of the Dead) is celebrated on November 2. Similar to other Day of the Dead celebrations, people go to cemeteries and churches with flowers and candles and offer prayers. The celebration is intended as a positive honoring of the dead. Memorializing the dead draws from indigenous, African and European Catholic origins.

Guatemalan celebrations of the Day of the Dead, on November 1, are highlighted by the construction and flying of giant kites in addition to the traditional visits to grave sites of ancestors. A big event also is the consumption of fiambre, which is made only for this day during the year.

In Ecuador the Day of the Dead is observed to some extent by all parts of society, though it is especially important to the indigenous Kichwa peoples, who make up an estimated quarter of the population. Indigena families gather together in the community cemetery with offerings of food for a day-long remembrance of their ancestors and lost loved ones. Ceremonial foods include colada morada, a spiced fruit porridge that derives its deep purple color from the Andean blackberry and purple maize. This is typically consumed with guagua de pan, a bread shaped like a swaddled infant, though variations include many pigs—the latter being traditional to the city of Loja. The bread, which is wheat flour-based today, but was made with masa in the pre-Columbian era, can be made savory with cheese inside or sweet with a filling of guava paste. These traditions have permeated mainstream society, as well, where food establishments add both colada morada and gaugua de pan to their menus for the season. Many non-indigenous Ecuadorians visit the graves of the deceased, cleaning and bringing flowers, or preparing the traditional foods, too.

Usually people visit the cemetery and bring flowers to decorate the graves of dead relatives. Sometimes people play music at the cemetery.

In many American communities with Mexican residents, Day of the Dead celebrations are very similar to those held in Mexico. In some of these communities, in states such as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, the celebrations tend to be mostly traditional. The All Souls Procession has been an annual Tucson, Arizona event since 1990. The event combines elements of traditional Day of the Dead celebrations with those of pagan harvest festivals. People wearing masks carry signs honoring the dead and an urn in which people can place slips of paper with prayers on them to be burned. Likewise, Old Town San Diego, California annually hosts a traditional two-day celebration culminating in a candlelight procession to the historic El Campo Santo Cemetery.

The festival also is held annually at historic Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Sponsored by Forest Hills Educational Trust and the folkloric performance group La Piñata, the Day of the Dead festivities celebrate the cycle of life and death. People bring offerings of flowers, photos, mementos, and food for their departed loved ones, which they place at an elaborately and colorfully decorated altar. A program of traditional music and dance also accompanies the community event.

The Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso and Second Life, have created a Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum and accompanying multimedia e-book: Día de los Muertos: Day of the Dead. The project’s website contains some of the text and images which explain the origins of some of the customary core practices related to the Day of the Dead, such as the background beliefs and the offrenda (the special altar commemorating one’s deceased loved one).

The Made For iTunes multimedia e-book version provides additional content, such as further details; additional photo galleries; pop-up profiles of influential Latino artists and cultural figures over the decades; and video clips of interviews with artists who make Día de Muertos-themed artwork, explanations and performances of Aztec and other traditional dances, an animation short that explains the customs to children, virtual poetry readings in English and Spanish.

Santa Ana, California is said to hold the “largest event in Southern California” honoring Día de Muertos, called the annual Noche de Altares, which began in 2002. The celebration of the Day of the Dead in Santa Ana has grown to two large events with the creation of an event held at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center for the first time on November 1, 2015.

In other communities, interactions between Mexican traditions and American culture are resulting in celebrations in which Mexican traditions are being extended to make artistic or sometimes political statements. For example, in Los Angeles, California, the Self Help Graphics & Art Mexican-American cultural center presents an annual Day of the Dead celebration that includes both traditional and political elements, such as altars to honor the victims of the Iraq War, highlighting the high casualty rate among Latino soldiers. An updated, intercultural version of the Day of the Dead is also evolving at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. There, in a mixture of Native Californian art, Mexican traditions and Hollywood hip, conventional altars are set up side-by-side with altars to Jayne Mansfield and Johnny Ramone. Colorful native dancers and music intermix with performance artists, while sly pranksters play on traditional themes.

Similar traditional and intercultural updating of Mexican celebrations are held in San Francisco. For example, the Galería de la Raza, SomArts Cultural Center, Mission Cultural Center, de Young Museum and altars at Garfield Square by the Marigold Project. Oakland is home to Corazon Del Pueblo in the Fruitvale district. Corazon Del Pueblo has a shop offering handcrafted Mexican gifts and a museum devoted to Day of the Dead artifacts. Also, the Fruitvale district in Oakland serves as the hub of the Día de Muertos annual festival which occurs the last weekend of October. Here, a mix of several Mexican traditions come together with traditional Aztec dancers, regional Mexican music, and other Mexican artisans to celebrate the day.

Europe

As part of a promotion by the Mexican embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, since the late 20th century, some local citizens join in a Mexican-style Day of the Dead. A theatre group produces events featuring masks, candles, and sugar skulls.

Asia and Oceania

Mexican-style Day of the Dead celebrations occur in major cities in Australia, Fiji, and Indonesia. Additionally, prominent celebrations are held in Wellington, New Zealand, complete with altars celebrating the deceased with flowers and gifts. In the Philippines “Undás”, “Araw ng mga Yumao” (Tagalog, Day of those who have passed away), coincides with the Roman Catholic’s celebration of All Saint’s Day and continues on to the following day of All Soul’s Day. Filipinos traditionally observe this day by visiting the family dead to clean and repair their tombs. Offerings of prayers, flowers, candles, and even food, while Chinese Filipinos additionally burn joss sticks and kim. Many also spend the day and ensuing night holding reunions at the cemetery, having feasts and merriment.

Your wondering why I posted this ? Well as you know, I did a skull art project that I posted on my blog this week. And it for me wondering about the start of these colourful skulls. So with the help of Wikipedia 😁 I found all this amazing facts. And after reading I just thought I’d share.

🦋

Random Thought 💭

What affects our mental health

Life affects us all differently. We all go through difficult times, and negative emotions can be a healthy reaction to the challenges we face. But for many of us, things can become more serious, and each year as many as 1 in 4 of us experiences a mental health problem.

Being aware of what can affect our mental health can make it easier to understand when we, or someone we care about, are struggling, and helps us think about what we can do to improve things or where to get support.

Some of us are more deeply affected by events than others. How we deal with things can also depend on how well other parts of our life are going or how well supported we feel.

There are lots of things you can do and organisations that can help.

Our personal lives and relationships

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet we can often forget just how crucial our connections with other people are.

When we experience difficulties or changes in a relationship – with a partner, friend or family member – it can affect our mental health in many ways.

If you’re worried about your relationship and how it’s making you feel, it’s worth talking it over with someone you trust, or you may prefer to use a helpline or online resources.

There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you need help with your relationships.

Caring for someone else

Looking after someone else can be a positive and rewarding experience, but it can also be mentally and physically draining.

Helping someone else gives you less time for your own needs and thoughts. Although you may really want to care for them, you may also find it difficult and upsetting, or might feel overwhelmed and unable to look after yourself properly.

The impact of bereavement

Over our lifetime we’re all likely to experience the loss of a friend or loved one. Whenever it happens, it will be a difficult time.

Grief affects us in different ways. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

When we are bereaved, we are likely to feel waves of emotions as we come to terms with loss. These can include sadness, guilt, shock and anger. All are normal after a death.

Loneliness and mental health

Loneliness can affect anyone, young or old, and can happen in any situation. We may live in a busy city or a rural location, on our own or with others and still feel isolated.

We may be isolated physically or feel alone in a crowd, or we might be emotionally isolated because of something we have experienced that’s difficult to share.

Sometimes important life events make us lonely, like leaving school or work, moving home or having a baby. We may also face discrimination, which can make us feel lonely or excluded.

Discrimination and mental health

Discrimination can come in many different forms and can have a big effect on our mental health.

An act of discrimination could be losing out on a job or promotion because of who we are or what we believe in.

It may also mean not getting the support you need, feeling threatened or being excluded from a group.

Money, work or housing

Worrying about your financial situation, work issues or your housing situation can have a negative effect on your mental health.

Money worries and mental health

Money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder, and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.

Not having enough money or being in debt can make you feel:

  • out of control
  • hopeless
  • embarrassed
  • guilty
  • depressed and anxious

Work and unemployment issues

Having a job can help us feel a sense of achievement, give us a feeling of belonging and connect us to others, on top of the obvious financial benefits.

But if we face stressful situations in the workplace or are unable to work, it can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing.

We sometimes face difficult issues around work, which may include:

  • a lack of control of our workload
  • high demands on our time and energy
  • fear of redundancy
  • poor line management
  • difficult relationships with colleagues
  • bullying or harassment in the workplace
  • workplace discrimination

It’s not always clear what the best thing to do is, but if work issues are becoming difficult to deal with, there are ways you can get help.

Being out of work can affect our sense of identity and purpose, cause money worries and may make it difficult to maintain self-confidence, particularly if you’re unable to work or have been made redundant or unemployed.

It may also damage your confidence if you have missed out on opportunities or are stuck in a career rut, or do not know what to do next.

Although retirement is something many of us look forward to, it can also be a challenging time. But there are things you can do to help ease this transition from working life.

Our home environment and mental health

Damp or cold housing, overcrowding, problems with landlords and debt can all be bad for our mental wellbeing, even when we think the problem is only temporary or we know how to fix it.

Homelessness is extremely stressful and many of the things that cause it are beyond our control, such as disability and poverty.

Being homeless can make it even harder for someone with poor mental health to recover and find secure, stable housing and a job, as well as making it harder to form healthy relationships.

Life changes

Life’s always changing, but sometimes we face a big or sudden change that is harder to deal with, whether it’s moving home, starting university, having a baby or starting to care for someone.

When things change

Even if the change is expected and positive, we can still struggle with the effects.

It helps to be aware how stressful change can be, but also be aware that the stress is unlikely to last. It’s important to take action if the effects last a long time after the change happened.

When things change, it can be helpful to understand what’s happening and how the change could be affecting us.

Starting university

Young adults going to university can feel unsupported because their usual support network of family and friends are not around.

They may have difficulty adapting to new accommodation, the demands of the academic timetable and looking after themselves. This can naturally put a strain on their mental wellbeing.

Pregnancy and bringing up children

A pregnancy is a huge change in our lives, especially if it’s a first baby. It can be an exciting time, but physical changes can result in poor sleep caused by discomfort, and hormonal changes can result in up-and-down moods. 

Some people cope with these changes well, but others find it harder, particularly if they have to deal with morning sickness or health conditions such as diabetes.

Relationships will also be tested, particularly with a partner who may also be worried or confused.

Miscarriage or stillbirth may be a big worry for many pregnant women and those around them. If a miscarriage or stillbirth happens, it can be devastating and can be linked to symptoms of trauma.

While many people are aware you can become depressed after having a baby, it’s less well known that many women experience anxiety during and after pregnancy. In fact, it’s common to experience depression and anxiety together.

Some people may be particularly anxious about childbirth. Some people may experience postnatal depression and a small number experience postpartum psychosis.

There are lots of sources of support and information that can help if you are pregnant, have had a baby or have been through a miscarriage.

Ageing and later life

Ageing happens to us all. Later life can be full of amazing new experiences. Retirement can give you newfound freedom, and grandchildren can be a joy.

But many of us find the change hard, especially if work played a major part of our lives. Sudden loss of status and financial security, and the withdrawal from social networks and activities at work can all affect our mental wellbeing.

When children leave home, it can also be a new phase of life, but it might feel as if the house is empty. It can also put a different focus on relationships with partners or friends, and this could cause friction.

You may also find that you’re caring for an elderly, ill or disabled parent or partner.

As we age, we may find we lose our financial or physical independence. We might struggle to go out or do things alone, or may not have the money to engage in activities we once enjoyed and that connected us to other people.

Being in a care home or having a long stay in hospital can break the familiar routines of our life, causing us to feel confused and maybe even depressed.

There are also natural changes to the body that are part of the ageing process. Some of these, such as the menopause, can often result in low mood and anxiety.

It can feel like signs of depression or struggles with our mental health are an inevitable part of getting older, but they do not need to be. 

Health issues

How we are physically affects how we feel mentally.

Health issues, long-term and serious illnesses

Health issues, medical appointments and tests may make us anxious, and our mood may get worse from being in pain.

A long-term, life-limiting or life-threatening illness can make us feel sad, worried or angry. Whether physical or mental, ill health can affect work, relationships and the way we relate to other people.

Living with a long-term physical illness can make us feel anxious or depressed, and being in pain can interfere with sleep.

Long-term conditions cannot be cured but can be managed. They come with a risk of social isolation, low self-esteem, stigma and discrimination. There are things we can do to look after our mental health, which in turn helps with managing a long-term condition.

Poor sleep, anxiety and low mood can also occur alongside less common mental illnesses, such as eating disorders, psychosis or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It’s important to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if or when you need it.

Traumatic events and mental health

Some experiences can be devastating when they happen but also continue to have effects that last a long time.

Children who witness or experience trauma are more likely to have problems as adults.

There are many traumatic events that can affect mental health, such as:

  • being neglected or abused as a child
  • being sexually or physically abused as an adult
  • experiencing relationship abuse
  • living in areas of armed conflict
  • working in the armed forces, emergency services or related professions, such as social work

Witnesses to traumatic events can also be strongly affected by them. You may feel confused, afraid or angry, and may also feel guilty, ashamed or numb about the events you have experienced.

Traumatic events can be things like serious accidents, natural or man-made disasters, or a traumatic childbirth.

When we experience traumatic events, our body’s defences take effect and create a stress response, which may make us feel physical changes or intense emotions, or behave differently.

Directly after the event, we may experience shock and denial. This can give way over hours or days to feelings like sadness, anger and guilt.

Many people feel better and recover gradually, but traumatic life events increase our risk of poorer mental health, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Smoking, drinking, gambling and drug misuse

Smoking, drug use, alcohol misuse and gambling can contribute to poor mental health. Equally, poor mental health can lead to increased substance misuse, smoking and addictive behaviours.

This means we can find ourselves trapped in a vicious circle.

For example, someone using cannabis to self-medicate their mental health issues might actually find themselves more anxious and paranoid in the short term, and could even go on to develop a psychotic illness.

Coupled with anxiety about getting the next drink, hit or win, substance misuse and addiction can make us feel guilty, worried about money, and put a strain on our relationships.

Quitting smoking and drugs, cutting down on alcohol and managing our gambling can help us take back control of our moods and emotions.

People who smoke, for instance, can mistakenly believe that stopping smoking will negatively affect their mental health. But it can actually reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Pet Peeves 😠

Have to share this one today ……

Dog Walkers ……

Unless your dog is fully trained, I really don’t think you should let them off their lead. We are hearing of more and more people (especially kids) being attacked by dogs. And then there is the owner who lets his dog worry sheep, chase cows. That’s bad!!! There is no need to do that.

Please pick up after your dog has left a pile of poo on the floor ….. don’t walk away, don’t pretend you didn’t see your dog take a dump!!! The amount of times I’ve stepped in dog poo. Or on the grass, your walking through a d it’s not till you get home, you realise you’ve walked it all through the house!!! There are bins to put the poop in. Letting you dog leave a mess in the park!!! There are kids playing there!!! Seriously!!! If they fall over in it!!! 🤢

Rant over 😉

Is there anything that makes you mad? Or do you have a different opinion from mine? I don’t own a dog now, but I grew up around dogs.

🦋

Pet Peeves 😠

As promised, another one of my pet peeves……

People who talk on phones whilst ……

Your at a checkout, do you need to still be talking? I find it really rude when a customer is still talking to you, but holding a conversation with the person at the other end of there phone!!

Or they ignore you and continue to chat on their phone!!!

Or they point at whatever they want!! Funnily enough I’m not a mind reader….. if I’m on the phone, I’ll tell the caller I need to ring them back, or I step out of the queue. 📱

Or when they have their phone on loud speaker!!! What is that all about? I don’t need to hear your conversation. Put it up to your ear, or put earbuds in your ears!!!

And finally ……

when your on the bus or train, and they are having a loud conversation in a quiet area!!! 🗣Or you can hear that tinny noise. Just turn it down a little. And leave the carriage, or text!!!

Anything that annoys you? Do you agree or disagree with my views?

🦋

Random Thought 💭

This is the place we are staying at in Africa…..

Leopardsong Game Reserve

FOR THE HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME….. 

Leopardsong is a comfortable and friendly game lodge set in the middle of Pride of Africa within Dinokeng one of South Africa’s newest “Big Five” Game Reserves. It is situated in the heart of South Africa within an hours drive of Johannesburg international airport and 40 minutes from Pretoria.

There is accommodation for up to 16 people in 8 en-suite rooms. The beautifully styled rooms have as standard:

  • Tea / Coffee
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Free wifi is available

We are proud of our excellent South African cuisine and our chefs also enjoy catering for a wide variety of dietary preferences such as vegetarians, halal and kosher. Dining takes place in the onsite dining room before a pleasant evening around the roaring fire in the boma.  Or have a special braai in the heart of the game park.

During the day the swimming pool enables you to cool off or have a cool beer from the bar or a nice glass of wine.

GAME DRIVES …… 

The most important way of maximising the best out of any Game Drive is by utilising the expert knowledge of our own fully qualified game rangers.  The Game Viewers at Leopardsong are a rugged all wheel drive all terrain vehicle that allows total coverage of all 22,500 hectares.  They each carry 10 people and their tiered format provides excellent viewing from all seats.

The morning drive sets off shortly after dawn and takes about two hours and gets back in time for breakfast.  The evening drive sets out to get the last of the light and enjoy the beautiful African sunsets.

There are many types of animals you can see these include:

  • The Big 5 – Lion Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino and Leopard
  • Hippopotamus 🦛
  • Reptiles 🦎
  • Vervet Monkey 🐒
  • Zebras 🦓
  • Antelope 🦌
  • Cheetah
  • Giraffes 🦒

There are also many varieties of birds 🦅 and insects 🐜

I have always wanted to see animals in their natural habitat. I’ve very excited to be going.

🦋

Random thought 💭

A place I’m hoping to visit on my holiday to Africa…..

The Penguins of Boulder Beach

The Penguins are the centerfold magnet for a visit to Boulder’s Beach.

Penguins in Boulder's Beach
Penguins Searching for Food
These penguins are oblivious to tourists who I think are seen as a necessary nuisance, a food source and a humorous addition to the landscape.

The Penguins have their own beach and they have enjoyed this for years now.
Pottering Penguins in the Western Cape

Pottering Penguins.
Sunning Penguins

You’ll find them stretched out sunning themselves, having a walk with a friend or having a community festival.

Penguin colony

Penguin Colony in Boulder’s Beach.

Penguins’ Ancient Lineage

These birds are of ancient lineage, said to have evolved around 65 million years ago.

There are at least 17 species of penguins and since this is the only one that lives in Africa, it is now called the African Penguin, a much more appropriate name than its Blackfoot Penguin or Jackass Penguin moniker earned for the appalling racket it can make.

Various Names of Boulder’s Beach Penguins

African Penguins
Jackass Penguins
Spheniscus Demersus
Blackfoot Penguins
Penguin Feeding

Penguin Feeding.

What Penguins Eat

Anchovies
Sardines
Mackerelel
Herring
Pilchards
Squid
Shellfish
Travelling Penguins

Travelling Penguins.

Where about is Boulder’s Beach?

It is in the picturesque town of Simon’s Bay in the Western Cape, an easy drive from Capetown.
Where did they come from? Who dreamed of Boulder’s Beach in Simons Town? Great legends here! Not only that, they continued to reproduce at 60% each year.

The family has grown each year despite dangers to the young when they first put out to sea and the repulsive human food hurled at them.

Nesting Penguin

Nesting Penguin.

Arrival and Evolution of the South African Penguins

The locals say these penguins came around 1983 and just decided to stay on.

Penguins are really cold climate animals but they have evolved in Africa and South America. The “tropical” have shorter feathers as they don’t need that much insulation. But wherever they are, they are expert swimmers and can swim at 24 kms. per hour.

They can dive as deep as 35 meters, more than is regularly allowed for divers and can stay down there for at least a minute and a half. They need this to feed as sometimes, they have to reach down for fish where all the other birds can’t.

But they are multi-talented pool denizens with Olympic level talent in diving, sprints and Iron Man type distances. Finding the 300 to 700 grams of fish a day, depending on the season, is not optional.
Penguins Sanctuary

Penguins Sanctuary. Source: aesta1
They used to nest in thick guano but because this was gathered for fertilizer, they adapted to burrowing and nestling under thick beach vegetation to protect their chicks from the sun. I think they have a celebration each year on the day of their liberation from Guano mining!!!

They start to mate at around 4 years and they remain mostly with one partner. Penguins produce only one or two eggs a year with an incubaton period of 40 days. You can see some of their nests in Boulders Beach. 

Boulder's Beach Penguin Sanctuary

Boulder’s Beach Penguin Sanctuary.

The Boulders’ Beach Penguin Sanctuary

They try to return to the same nest each year. In Boulders Beach, a sanctuary has been developed for them. 

The Southern African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds has helped to make life easy for the penguins. They have an information center right here in Boulders Beach in Simons Town and have designed a protective environment for the penguins. One can adopt a penguin or support a rescue or volunteer.

So….. that’s one of the places I’m hoping to visit whilst I’m away 😊

🦋

Welcome September 🍂

Found this on Pinterest (love that site) and after playing around with the edit on Snapchat (love the filters on that app) I managed to add the three books I’m looking forward to reading in September. (Although two of these books are hardback and expensive) I’ll either download the audio (I have a credit to use) or wait till it comes out in paperback (usually 4-6 months)

I’m sure there are a few kindle books I read. But I don’t really write those down.

Any books your looking forward to reading in September?

🦋

Random Thought 💭

As my birthday looms ever nearer, I begin to write my holiday lists 📝 and I do have several …..

I’m off to Africa 🐘 🦓 🦒

It’s been a dream of mine ever since I watched Wild life programs on the tv as a child. To see animals in their natural environment.

I’m beginning to compile a list of things I’d like to do ……

My husband and son are going with me, I would have loved to have taken my daughter, but I’ll carry her in my heart.

We are aiming to do a two day safari out into a reservation area. No tents ⛺️ lodges only, a dusk ride out into the area, and an early morning one.

There are also penguins to visit (Boulder Beach)

I’ll be taking a friend with me also …..

I’m taking books and my kindle also 😉 so I’m hoping to have a few reviews to post when I get back (or find a WiFi spot) if I can find WiFi I’ll post a few pictures and a quick daily post. If not, then a nice long post when I get back 💋

I’m hoping to schedule posts while I’m away (just in case I can’t find WiFi) I’m trying them at the moment (but it can be a little hit and miss, so fingers crossed they work 🤞

Is there anywhere you’ve always dreamed of going?

🦋

Random Thought 💭

Saw this and had to share …..

When you’re deciding between getting a cup of hot coffee or a cold brew, you may base your decision on your mood or what the weather is like outside. While temperature is an obvious difference between the two, it isn’t the only thing. According to experts, there are some surprising differences in the health benefits of drinking hot coffee and iced coffee.

The benefits of drinking coffee, regardless of temperature, are numerous. When consumed in moderation coffee can help to reduce depression, lower your risk for getting diabetes, improve your workouts, and give your brain a good boost. A 2018 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that drinking coffee can also help you live longer.

If you have a preference for iced coffee or cold brews, Dr. Maheinthan Yogeswaran, a general practitioner with Medicspot, tells Bustle, there are benefits to drinking it over hot coffee. For instance, iced coffee is known to be less acidic. “This is calmer on your digestive system so you’re less likely to have an upset stomach after drinking your cup of joe cold,” Dr. Yogeswaran says. Less acidity is also better for maintaining healthy teeth. 

Although cold-brewed coffee became a rising star in the health field over the last few years, hot coffee still has some significant advantages.

So here are some surprising health benefits of drinking hot coffee versus drinking iced coffee, according to experts. 

1. Coffee Has More Antioxidants 

In a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University found “chemical differences” between hot and cold brew coffees. Hot coffee was found to have higher levels of antioxidants than cold brew, which makes it slightly more healthy. This is important because antioxidants are responsible for the health benefits you get from coffee. According to Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD from DisturbMeNot, the benefits of antioxidants in coffee include a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and premature death.

2. Cold Brews Generally Have Less Caffeine 

The amount of caffeine in your coffee can vary based on where you’re getting your coffee from. “Generally speaking, cold brew contains less caffeine which is a benefit for those who really crave a second cup of coffee but feel a little shaky,” Jordan Karcher, coffee expert and founder of Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co., tells Bustle. Cold brews typically contain around 40mg of caffeine per 100g, while hot coffee contains roughly 60mg per 100g of coffee. Benefits of consuming less caffeine include getting better sleep, more balanced hormones in women, and lower blood pressure. 

3. Hot Coffee Can Put You In A More Pleasant And Generous Mood 

A cup of hot coffee in the morning may actually put you in a more positive mindset,” Adoni says. In fact, a 2009 study published in the journal Science found that experiencing physical warmth, like holding a cup of hot coffee, can increase feelings of interpersonal warmth. In a series of studies, researchers split participants in two groups. One group was told to briefly hold a cup of hot coffee, while the other held iced coffee. Participants who held a cup of hot coffee were more likely to see others as being generous, caring, and warm. They were also more likely to choose a gift for their friend over themselves. 

4. Iced Coffee Can Help To Prevent A Heart Attack 

Coffee can be very beneficial to your health because it’s a good source of antioxidants, which helps to protect you from many diseases. But iced coffee is especially helpful in protecting you against heart attacks. As Dr. Yogeswaran says, “Iced coffee is surprisingly helpful as it contains compounds such as caffeine, magnesium, trigonelline and phenolic compounds that can work by both stabilizing your blood pressure, increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood pressure.” A 2017 University of Colorado study found that drinking coffee every week — no matter what temperature — can help to reduce your chances of getting a heart attack by 7%. 

5. A Whiff Of Hot Coffee In The Morning Can Wake You Up And Make You Feel Less Stressed 

Sometimes you don’t even need to drink coffee in order to receive its benefits. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the aroma of coffee can alter the activity of certain genes in the brain. In a study of sleep deprived lab rats, researchers found different gene expressions between rats that were able to sniff the coffee and those that didn’t. As it was found, just one whiff of hot coffee was enough to reduce the effects of sleep deprivation like stress and tiredness. More research needs to be done to make any conclusions on the effects of coffee aroma on humans.

In general, coffee in moderation can be good for you so it doesn’t really matter which type of coffee you choose to drink. Both hot coffee and iced coffee have their share of health benefits. These are just a few notable differences to be aware of.

I love my coffee ☕️

🦋

Random Thought 💭

Is It Ever Acceptable To Recline Your Seat On A Flight? A Guide To Getting It Right….. 


As you know I’m thinking of going on holiday soon. My plans will pop up soon in my blog……

So what is the etiquette for reclining on flights? It’s a divisive topic, that’s for sure. A poll by Skyscanner found some view it as “inconsiderate” and believe it’s never ok to recline, while others think it’s ok as long as you ask first.

Some consider it 100% unacceptable on shorter flights, while others believe that they should absolutely be able to recline regardless of flight duration – one person went as far as saying anyone with a problem should pay the extra money to sit in premium economy.

Rupert Wesson, academy director of Debrett’s, the authority on etiquette training in the UK, tells HuffPost UK: “The seats on most aircraft are designed to recline and so of course it is acceptable, but that does not mean that it should be done without care and consideration for the person sat behind.”

If a meal is about to be served there’s no point in reclining “because you will only have to put it back up again”, he says. And in his view, you don’t need to ask permission to recline – but it’s important to do it carefully and check that you are not going to knock over drinks, laptops and iPads when you do so.

“A quick glance to check will also indicate to the person behind that you going to recline which is always helpful,” he adds. 

My Opinion…… 

I try not to lay back in my seat, I always feel for the person behind me, that’s not to say the person in front of me has the same consideration. 

I have children think their seat is a toy, I’ve also had adults that can’t get comfy, and will spend most of the flight up and down …. 

I remember one time my daughter was sat in her seat (she had her bag to keep her occupied, toys, snacks and colouring) and this man in front of her kept bouncing around in his seat, the seat went back, the seat went up, he must have done it for a good 5 solid minutes. My daughter daughter calmly stuck her head through the seats and asked if he wanted a snack or a colouring book, as he couldn’t keep still 😊 


Random thought 🎧

Downloaded this and I’ve been listening to it for a few days. Some really good tunes.

I have Spotify on my phone and it’s great, you can download so many albums. Or individual songs and make your own playlists.

🦋

31 Day Blog Challenge (Day 3)

Meaning of my Business Name …..

It’s not a business, it’s a fun blog that I’ve moved from one site to another.

ButterfliesandBooks

Butterflies 🦋 as my daughter loved butterflies (and as she is no longer here, I carry on her love of butterflies and in memory of her)

Books 📖 well as I read and review, I thought I might as well do the obvious 😉

So my blog usually contains a picture of a butterfly at the beginning and a book picture at the end of the blog, then a quick run down of my day.

I’ll also post random thoughts. And craft projects. Also posting days off and holidays.

🦋

31 Day Blog Challenge (Day 2)

20 Facts about me …..

  1. I read (I read a lot)
  2. I have a room dedicated to my books (it’s jokingly called the “library”)
  1. I have 6 tattoos (and plan to have a few more)
  2. I listen to music a lot more, my taste is more varied that it was 10 years ago. I also listen to music that matches my mood, or if I’m feeling a little down, I’ll put on some fast music and have a dance. Music to housework is a favourite of mine. Not yet been caught like Mrs Doubtfire dancing with the vacuum.
  1. I love roses. I prefer to see them in the garden, but I like a nice bunch once in a while for the home.
    I did try to learn to drive when I was younger, it was the whole learning to do things all at the same time, and I wasn’t a confident teenager. So sadly I’m a walker not a driver.
    I love the cinema, that whole experience, I usually buy sweets and a drink from a shop (the cinema is just so expensive!!) but what I don’t like is the talker ….. behind me or by the side of me, it’s not cheap to watch a film, so I like to watch it in silence.
    I have never ridden a bicycle. We weren’t fortunate enough as kids to have bikes, so I never got round it learning. And to be honest the thought of riding on the roads with so many thoughtless drivers is enough to make me stay a pedestrian.
    I’m a bigger walker than I was. I’m not a big lover of public transport, I’d rather spend my money on a book or a bar or chocolate. I can usually do over 10,000 steps a day, and in fact my phone has an app which tracks my steps.
    I Love chocolate….. white, milk or my favourite is dark chocolate.
    I’m a coffee drinker. I don’t drink tea, I haven’t done since I was pregnant with my son (and he’s 31) the smell use to make me feel ill, but at least I can make a cup without holding my nose.
    I blog daily 😉 and I also leave reviews on BookBub. Amazon Uk. Good Reads. NetGalley. I also guest review on a blog site called The Reading Cafe.
    I like to cook, I’m not an adventurous cook, but I like to throw things together and come up with different recipes. My favourite is a cupboard rice recipe. I find different ingredients and add to rice.
    I love butterflies. They use to be one of the things my daughter collected. Ornaments and anything with a butterfly on it, and after she passed away, I continued her collection.
    I’m a big fan of penguins. I’ve liked them since I was a child, I’d watch all the nature documentaries. On my next holiday, I plan to see some in the wild. And I can’t wait.
    I can’t swim. I never learnt as a child, I’m not scared of the water, but if I’m in a pool, I like to be able to touch the bottom of the pool. And if it’s the beach, then I don’t wade out further than my knees.
    I have a kindle, a kindle app on my phone, I also have a kindle fire, and iBooks on my phone, along with paper books. And Audible in my phone. As I said before I love to read, and if I can take a book out with me, then I will 😉
    I craft, I have plenty of ideas, I have plenty of items to craft. It all sits in my library. I’ve made a few things, and I do intend to go back and do a few more. (Watch this space)
    I wear glasses, I have gone since I was 12, I didn’t always wear them. As a child, I used them for looking at the blackboard (shows how old I am😉) and when the children came along I just started to wear them all the time. In the morning I usually wander round the house without them on. I can’t do it for long as it gives me a headache.
    I’m not a big alcohol drinker, I do like a glass of southern comfort with lemonade. A nice cider is always welcome. If I drink wine it’s with lemonade. I can’t taste all those flavours that some people say they can taste!!!
  • So ….. that’s 20 facts about me.
  • 🦋

  • 31 Day Blog Challenge (Day 1)

    Saw this on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a go ….

    Introduction…..

    Thinking this should have been done on my first day of blogging. But as I didn’t see it till today, I thought I’d try it.

    Introduction to me …..

    Hi, my name is Julie, and I’m a part time blogger, I read and review my books on here, and I also do a little crafting. I’ll post pictures as I Craft.

    I’m from the UK, I live in a town called Basingstoke. But I was born in a town called Bristol. My dad was in the army, so we moved around a lot, I was a shy child, and that made me a target for bullies. So I spent most of my lunches in the library, where I found my love of books. My English teachers encouraged this, and I wrote a few stories in school.

    I’ve been married for 28 years, but I’ve been with my husband for 32 years.I have a 31 year old son

    we also had a daughter, but she sadly died at the age of 20.

    Introduction to my blog …..

    I read and review on here, I tend to read Paranormal romances (vampires, witches, werewolves and Demons) I’m also stretching myself by reading a few different things. I leave Reviews on BookBub, GoodReads, Amazon and a blog site called “The Reading Cafe” and NetGalley. I also pin my blog on “Pinterest”

    I’m also going to try audio books.

    I read books 📖 audio 🎧 kindle 👩🏻‍💻 and my phone 📱 (iBooks) those little icons will appear on the title page.

    So that’s Day one of my Blog Challenge. I’ll try to leave each challenge at the same time each day ⏰

    And I tend to leave a 🦋instead of my name.

    🦋

    Random Thought…..

    As promised I thought I’d put my books on the picture board, (but they wouldn’t fit) so I’m going to write them underneath…..

    The book I couldn’t put down ….. I use to read until the book was finished, I try to slow down a little now😉but once I’d picked up J.R. Ward, her Band of Brothers became a Couldn’t put down read.

    The book I couldn’t pick up …. I’ve got a thing about not reading half way through a series, so I try to get the first couple and then go from there. I don’t really read much in the way of fact or autobiographical.

    The book you gave me (I haven’t read it yet-sorry) ….. I have been given quite a few books over the years, especially when a friend was getting rid of her piles of books. I’m still reading them now.

    The book I brought to the beach ….. well the picture has the book looking wet and sorry for its self, that wouldn’t happen to my book, it’s kept away from the water, put back in my bag when not reading. And If i take a book to the beach it’s going to be one I’ll leave at the holiday library area. (Last one was a Jack Reacher book)

    The book I tried so hard to like… J.K. Rowling did a book called “The Casual Vacancy” and because I loved her Harry Potter books, I really wanted to like it. But I didn’t, I don’t think I even picked it up from the library, I’d read the back sleeve and walked away …..

    The book I somehow own three copies of …. I have Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Macguire. I’ve got a signed copy, and two paperbacks.

    The book that saved my life ….. I know the picture has knives sticking out, so I’ve not had an experience where the book has literally saved my life. But I read a lot of books when my daughter was in hospital, I was reading The BlackDagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward at the time, enough hilarious moments to make me smile, and thick enough that I’d only need one book a day. So figuratively I’d say J.R. Ward saved my sanity.

    The book I lent you (can I have it back?) ….. I’ve lent books, and I’ve kept a pretty close eye on them. But I do remember a time when I was a teenager, I’d lent a so-called- friend a romance book, and she thought it would be funny to throw it out the school window. (Can’t remember the book)

    The book I fall asleep to every night ….. I listen to audio books most nights, I have it set up to close at the end of a chapter, and I never start a new chapter, so it does work.

    The book I mistook for a hat ….. I used comics as a kid to fashion hats, but never wore an actual book as a hat!!!

    The book I’m desperately trying to write ….. Ok I have a confession, I have been trying to write a story. I did get into it, but I wasn’t working and I threw myself into writing it, now I’m back to work, it’s been put to one side….. 🤔

    All the books that changed my life ….. I wouldn’t say there has been any book that changed my life. But if I hadn’t read Dark Fire by Christine Feehan, then I wouldn’t have found her community on FB, and I wouldn’t have met a very good friend online.

    That’s the books I think I can put to the picture board. How about you? Can you respond with the full 12 pictures?

    🦋

    Grief ……

    The feelings when you lose someone close to you will range from numb, anger, sadness, despair and all the way to helplessness.

    But it’s all natural, it’s normal, and everyone is different.

    As you know I lost my Grandad a while back, he was suffering from Dementia, so in the end it was a blessing, to watch such an active man being reduced to a shuffling old man, with memory loss was hard. And Today is a year since we lost my mum. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. She had a tumour on the brain, and it slowly took her from us, to watch her going from being a bubbly and active woman, to the sleeping old woman (she was only 70) who couldn’t remember stuff was difficult to watch, but she was my mum and I know that if it had been me, she wouldn’t have left me to face it on my own. Daily visits to the hospital or care home was hard, it brought up memories of visiting my daughter in hospital, but you do these things for the people you love.my grandad, this was about 8 months before he passed away, and he was already falling and forgetting things. my mum. Such a rock, the center of our family, always on the phone to her daughters or grandchildren, she always had time. and my precious daughter. Even after 5 years it hurts. But I can remember her and the good times better than seeing her in hospital struggling to breathe.

    It’s ok to grieve, if you didn’t love them, then you wouldn’t miss and grieve for them. It’s your love that keeps their memories alive, so think of the good times, I use to visit my daughters grave every day, now it’s on my day off and a Sunday, so that’s progress, so I miss them? Yes every day, but my grief for my grandad isn’t as strong as it is for my mum and daughter, in the order of things it should have been my daughter to go last, but it wasn’t. So use the people around you. Phone the Samaritans if it gets too much, write your feelings and thoughts down on a journal. Let the people around you know how your feeling. Don’t keep it bottled up.

    If someone reads this and I’d struggling with the loss of a love one, it doesn’t go away, it will never go away, but you manage the pain and the grief, you manage to laugh and smile, you get to the point where you can think of them. It takes time, so give yourself that time.

    🦋

    Random Thought 💭

    Having a garden is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Tangible benefits can be gained from interacting directly with the natural world, including healing faster after an illness and improving kids’ creativity and learning. Just think about how the scent of a flower or the feel of its petals completely changes your mood! Flowers and other plants are beautiful.

    Native Plants

    First, it’s important to select plants that are native to your region. Butterflies and other insects have evolved with the bloom time and taste of plants they know best. When properly sited, native plants can be easier to maintain. 🦋

    Make sure you incorporate host plants for caterpillars – zizia for black swallowtails, milkweed for monarchs, and baptisia for sulphurs. Many native grasses, such as bluestem and sideoats grama, are also host plants, as are trees such as oaks, elms, and willows. Whatever you plant, go for diversity of height, bloom size, and leaf texture – the more diverse your garden, the more life it will support from egg to wing.

    Gardening for Butterflies: Top Ten Plants for Attracting Butterflies

    Long Live the Monarch

    All butterflies are beautiful, but if your heart lies with the royals, you may wish to attract monarch butterfliesabove all others. In that case, you must plant milkweed. Monarchs need milkweed to survive because it hosts much of their lifecycle. 

    Monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of the milkweed’s young leaves in the spring/summer. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, known as larvae, and feed on the milkweed through the five stages of their growth.

    During each of the five stages, known as “instars,” the insect grows larger and the appearance of its banding pattern changes. If you see a caterpillar gorging on the leaves on your milkweed, don’t bother it – wait just a few weeks and you’ll see it return with spread wings. 

    After the fifth instar, the caterpillar enters its famous pupation stage. The insect finds a horizontal section of a plant and spins a silk pad to hang from vertically. The caterpillar then sheds its skin, revealing a chrysalis in which it encases itself. This chrysalis is like a green exoskeleton that protects the monarch while it is pupating. This process takes about two weeks to complete.

    If you cannot find the caterpillars that were recently feeding on your milkweed, don’t be concerned. Caterpillars will often leave their host plant to find a good place to pupate. Just wait a couple of weeks for the monarchs to appear as fluttering adults, ready to mate. After they emerge from the chrysalis, these amazing creatures remain hanging for a while to dry their wings and pump fluid into them for flight. 

    Gardening for Butterflies: Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle

    Milkweed

    Growing up to six feet tall, the plant has long, thin, rigid stems, with a spherical cluster of pinkish-purple flowers. The name milkweed describes the milky sap, which contains natural latex. This latex contains alkaloids (nitrogen-based, drug-like chemicals) and cardenolides (natural steroids), which in some species can be toxic. If you watch caterpillars eat milkweed, you’ll notice they eat in a circular fashion. This is thought to keep the caterpillar from getting stuck in the latex. However, the consumption of the cardenolides and alkaloids makes the monarch itself taste terrible to predators. This helps protect monarchs from becoming prey. That being said, milkweed must be handled with care. First, you should never eat milkweed – it will make you vomit. Second, you should avoid getting the sap on your skin or in your eyes.

    Milkweed is drought-resistant, and it grows best in well-drained soil. The leaves of the plant are broad and oblong, providing lots of food for monarchs. Often, milkweed will attract aphids. However, you don’t have to worry about them because ladybugs will often show up and eat the aphids.

    Gardening for Butterflies: Milkweed

    Kick the Chemicals

    Don’t use chemical sprays of any kind; instead, create an organic garden. If you have a garden full of various flowers, shrubs, and trees, you will attract beneficial predatory bugs that will take care of any pests you might have. Be patient. For example, plants such as vanilla-scented swamp milkweed often attract aphids, but ladybugs 🐞 will come to the rescue within a few days. You should also be aware that “organic” treatments can be just as deadly to a butterfly 🦋 or caterpillar 🐛 as any inorganic spray. Nature is sometimes a far better manager of diversity and life than we are. 

    Leave It Up Over Winter

    Leave your garden standing for winter. Avoid the impulse to create a tidy or clean landscape. Many butterflies overwinter in leaf litter or brush piles as adults (mourning cloak), as caterpillars (viceroy), or in a chrysalis (black swallowtail). Butterflies aren’t the only insects hibernating – many moths and beneficial native bees are out there taking shelter, too. Try to wait until the last possible moment each spring to cut back your plants so you don’t disturb the gentle creatures waking in March and April. Besides, a standing winter garden is beautiful to look at; full of bright oranges, rusts, and tans. In addition, it will capture more snow to hydrate the soil and insulate plants from the cold.

    When you garden with butterflies in mind, you heighten your own garden experiences and you help life flourish beyond it. Many pollinators struggle with shrinking wild habitats in our chemically doused world, so your garden can be a refuge, not just for you, but for all the beneficial bugs that pollinate our crops and provide us with one of every three bites of food. Gardening for butterflies connects you to nature in spectacular ways while giving you a garden that will surprise you year-round.

    My thoughts ……

    I found this on google and thought I’d share 🤔 I’m not a great Gardner, I think I’ve pulled up more than my fair share of flowers thinking they were weeds 🤷🏻‍♀️ but I do like to see butterflies in my garden (they make me think fondly of my daughter) 💜 so are you a keen Gardner? Or do you just like to look at a nice garden ?

    🦋

    Random thoughts 💭

    My friend I were talking about flowers, I mentioned I loved roses, she said she loved lilies, we got to talking, and we wondered where the tradition of lilies for funeral came from (why lilies?) ….. 
    So I fired up my trusty google (and came up with a few theories….. 

    The lily is the flower most commonly associated with funeral services as they symbolize the innocence that has been restored to the soul of the departed. The white lily expresses majesty and purity, where as white stargazer lilies specifically symbolize sympathy.

     But why do we use them and what do they mean?

    We look into the history of funeral flowers as well as the symbolism behind the most commonly used funeral and sympathy flowers….

    Today flowers are used at funerals as a visual expression of our sympathy, grief, love and respect to the deceased, but this was not always the case.

    In early times, fragrant funeral flowers were placed on and around the casket of the deceased to perfume the area and ward off the smell of the decaying body.

    Luckily, we found a better way to manage the odour, but the flower trend stayed.

    Mid-Western funeral practices then saw the role of ‘Flower Ladies’ develop, a role as important as acting as a pall bearer.

    Six ladies who were usually close friends or family of the deceased would carry the flowers into a flower vehicle and help to set them up at the cemetery.

    However, this role faded and today everyone is welcome to express their feelings through flowers by bringing a flower arrangement that embodies their relationship and feelings towards the deceased and their family.

    It is also now common to send sympathy flowers or a hamper to the home of close family of the deceased.

    Common Funeral Flower Meanings

    Lilies

     Lilies are perhaps the most popular flower at funeral services because of their representation of the innocence that has been restored in the soul of the deceased.

     Any type of white lily is appropriate as they represent purity and majesty.

    However, the white stargazer lily in particular symbolises sympathy, and features in many funeral and sympathy floral arrangements and bouquets.

    Peace Lily

     The peace lily has long been used in religious ceremonies as the flower represents peace, innocence, harmony and purity after death.

    They are also thought to be associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ because they die during winter and come back to life in the spring.

    Roses

     Just like white lilies, white roses represent purity and innocence, and are a common addition to sympathy and funeral flower arrangements.

    Other colours of roses are also used to remember the deceased. Pink roses stand for love, grace and appreciation and are usually given to the bereaved, while dark red roses symbolise grief.

    Yellow roses signify friendship and are given by friends of the deceased to represent their loyalty.

    Orchids

    Potted orchids are a long-lasting elegant plant that make the perfect choice for a sympathy gift.

    The exotic flower evokes feelings of renewal and innocence, and the orchid flower means ‘I will always love you’.

    Chrysanthemums

    Chrysanthemums are a common feature in flower arrangements at funeral services because white chrysanthemums carry meanings associated with the death of a loved one, such as mourning and grief.

    Besides their symbolism, the white blooms are used in bouquets and arrangements as a welcome, positive and cheerful tribute.

    Carnations

    When carnations are used in funeral floral arrangements like comfort, they stand for love and admiration, but they are commonly used for their sweet long-lasting fragrance too.

    Like orchids, each colour carnation has a different meaning; red symbolises admiration for a loved one that is deceased, pink stand for remembrance of the dead and white represent untainted love and innocence.

    So there you go ….. originally to cover up bad smells. And lilies are pretty pungent. And before you know it, I’ve looked into other flowers as well 😉

    🦋

    Random Thought 💭

    I have a question…… 

    How do you place your books on a shelf, floor or window sill ?? 

    I use to stack mine like this before I got my shelves (and I always wanted the ones at the bottom) 😆😉

    I go by the series and in release order …. I’m also trying to keep the author’s books together (that reminds me I need to move a few series around)

    I’ve seen lots of pictures going by colours 🤨

    How’s that for orderly …. size and colour

    coloured and with all those bobble heads. I’d really like a Wonder Woman one 😉don’t think the books I read have any bobble heads !!

    That’s clever … love the spiral in the middle. And all the mugs. I’ve got a few mugs

    So ….

    How do you stack yours ?

    🦋

    Random Thought 🤔

  • Question : Do you have an author that is on your auto-buy/read? Tell us about her/him.
  • Answer: My automatic author buys are Christine Feehan and J.R. Ward, and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

    Christine Feehan……

    Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Timesbestselling author, with 78 published works in seven different series: Dark Series, GhostWalker Series, Leopard Series, Drake Sisters Series, Sea Haven Series, Shadow Series, and Torpedo Ink Series. All seven of her series have hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. 

    Christine lives in the beautiful Redwoods near the ocean on California’s Pacific North Coast surrounded by family, friends and several dogs.

    I was introduced to this author by an old work colleague, as soon as I read Dark Fire, I was hooked ….

    I then brought as many as I could of the Dark series, from there it was her leopard series and the rest of her series. I pre-order all her books. I have a selection of hardback, paperback, audio and kindle.

    Sherrilyn Keynon …..

    Sherrilyn is best known for her Dark-Hunter series that she first published in 1984, which comprise the Dark-Hunters, Were-Hunters, Dream-Hunters, Lords of Avalon, Chronicles of Nick and Hellchasers stories. The books deviate from traditional vampire stories in that the vampires, called Daimons, only live twenty-seven years due to a curse from the god Apollo who appears frequently in the series. To elongate their lives, the Daimon vampires are forced to take human souls in order to live. Apollo’s sister, the goddess Artemis, set up an army of immortal warriors called the Dark-Hunters to kill the Daimons and free the human souls before the souls die. A few of the original Dark-Hunter heroes were taken out of fantasy stories Sherrilyn wrote in middle and high school.

    During the mid-1980s, while working for a small science fiction magazine called The Cutting Edge, her boss asked her to write a long-running serial for the magazine. She brought many of her favorite characters from her previous fantasies into one larger series. This was the start of the Dark-Hunter world.

    Her series is completely different from CF (Christine Feehan) and there are several spin offs that all interlink with each other.

    And finally ……

    J. R. Ward ……

    J.R. Ward is the author of over thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than 15 million copies of Ward’s novels in print worldwide and they have been published in 25 different countries around the world.

    After graduating from law school, Ward began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

    This series had to be one of the best, full of sarcasm, humour and heartache. The characters are just a really good read.

    So there you have it, my three most favourite authors. I have a few others that I like and I will buy ….

    Kresley Cole …… Immortals after Dark

    Alexandra Ivy ….. Guardians of Eternity

    Lara Adrian ….. Midnight Breed.

    Coreen Callahan ….. Dragon fury series.

    Gena Showalter…… Lords of the Underworld.

    They are my go to authors and my authors to buy if I have spare cash 😉

    Are there any in here you’ve read? Is there anyone you would recommend ?

    If you do read any of these, or fancy reading one, I’d love to hear what you thought.

    🦋

    My Trip 🐧

    The B&B we stayed in …..

    Percy on the beach

    Percy by the port. Had to mind the dive bombing seagulls.flavoured bars of chocolate 🍫 Percy hiding from the seagulls 😆my other travel companion (Scrappy)

    Percy needed a cup before we went in to see his family 😉they felt very strange. Very rough.Percy meeting family 😆seals in the background these cuties are tiny. I think Percy was just a little bigger 💜a library that’s a cafe 😍popped in ….. but it was just about to close 🤨

    My trip to Weymouth was a nice few days. Got to see penguins (which is always a bonus)

    hope you can watch a video of the aquarium 🐟 🐢🦈 🐠 there was music playing. But I don’t know if you can hear it.

    🦋

    Random Thought 💭

    How to be a good friend to someone who has depression.

    Man, it’s tricky knowing how to navigate a friendship after you learn that your friend is depressed, isn’t it?

    Do you ask about it, or is that seen as nagging or bringing something up at the wrong time? But if you don’t, are you ignoring it and will they think you don’t care? If you take them out for drinks and A Jolly Good Knees Up will that make it worse because of all the alcohol?

    What a mindf***.

    With one in six of the UK suffering from mental health problems at the moment, chances are that you’re friends with someone who has depression.

    Depression has a different effect on everyone, and even those who are going through a severe depressive episode are often able to mask it. If someone you’re close to has talked to you about their mental health, or you might think that they’re struggling and just want to be there for them, there are things you can do. Panic not.

    Psychotherapist Emma Marlin has some simple advice: ‘If you have a friend who is depressed, know that person needs connection and contact. Don’t be put off if they don’t return your texts or calls – keep texting and calling. Let them know you are thinking of them and are there for them. It all reminds them that you care.’

    ‘Don’t be afraid to ask your friend how they really are,’ says Emma. ‘If they say ‘down or depressed,’ say something like, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m here. I’m listening.” Don’t try to talk them out of how they are feeling or be afraid to ask them just how bad it is.

    ‘If your friend is opening up to you about dark thoughts or feelings, take it as a good sign because people who talk about suicidal thoughts are much less likely to act on them. If your friend tells you they have formulated a plan to act on those thoughts or feelings, take them to the nearest A&E so they can get the mental first aid they need.’

    What about if you live with someone who’s going through depression, though? It can be hard, of course it can, to try to anticipate someone else’s mood. I can’t speak for all of us sad-sacks, but other people tiptoeing around us is not the dream.

    If your mate has the norovirus, do you say that they’re bringing it on themselves and it’s not that bad really? If a friend has a chest infection, do you tell them it’s probably not as bad as they’re making it out to be in their own head? (If you do, please give yourself a shake, re-read this piece and then say in the mirror three times, ‘I am a crapbag.’)

    Depression is a stagnant, sticky, thick syrupy pool of hell that it’s often near impossible to get out of, and even the most foolish puppy videos in the world won’t shift it. Don’t feel bad if your efforts aren’t making a visible difference – but do rein it in a bit, and just exist with your friend. Be alone, but together – and probably not in a pub, if you can help it, says Emma.

    ‘If you’re meeting up with a friend that you know is struggling, steer away from just drinking,’ she tells us. ‘Sure, booze will lifts spirits in the short term (which might make you feel more comfortable) but getting a depressed friend drunk is not a kind thing to do as it will make the depression worse the next day. If that person is already taking antidepressants (and you can’t always know this) alcohol, in even small quantities, can make them black out. Meet them for lunch instead or suggest a walk.’

    ‘If you try to cheer someone up and it’s not working you can actually make them feel worse as they might feel guilty for not responding to your attempts to make them feel better.

    ‘You need to let them know that you don’t think they’re to blame for being depressed and not being able to go somewhere or do something, anymore than someone on crutches is to blame for not being able to climb lots to stairs or walk up steep hills.’

    Yes, depression is complicated and isolating and frightening. It’s f***ing annoying – and you can bet that your depressed mate thinks so, too. They may seem like they’re sacking you off; ignoring messages, declining invites and staying locked in their room – but please don’t leave them. Just knowing that someone’s there for them can save their life.

    If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, you can find a qualified local counsellor in your area with Counselling Directory . Mental health charity Mind also offer counselling services, and you can call The Samaritans on 116123 (UK and ROI). The NHS even have a little quiz you can take. If you can, visit your GP for further advice.

    It’s ok to ask for help. There is such a stigma around mental health, and that needs to stop. We can talk about it, it’s ok, please don’t struggle.
    Talk to the Samaritans, your GP, anyone that will listen and not judge. Sometimes a stranger is better than family, they don’t know you, so how can they judge?
    I’m talking from personal experience, I still find it hard to talk about it. I pretend when everything isn’t alright, so today I phoned a helpline and asked for help. I’ve been hiding it for a long time, been pretending that life is fab. You can’t be happy all the time. You have to be proactive, and today I realised that.
    🦋

    Random thought 🤔

    Read on a few blogs and posts on Pinterest recently, so I thought I’d add my thoughts on this tricky topic …….


    As bookworms, we come into contact with lots of problems that other ‘normal’ people think are strange. Suddenly we are asked by our unknowing work colleague, what is a TBR? A relative comments that we have plenty of unread books at home without buying another. We start to loose the natural light in our houses because our walls are pilled high with books. We notice our bank balance doesn’t read what it used to and books have suddenly become more vital than food.

    We’ve all been there, we’ve all had a worry about whether we will ever read every book we own. Or perhaps if forming an emotional connection to a fictional character is healthy (yes, yes it is). Well, let’s see if this post can help address some of your worrying concerns.

    We all have it, the crippling TBR stack, the one that is spilling from your bookshelf as you read this blog post. Maybe it started off life as being one or two books high, maybe it stayed that way for a while, nice and manageable. But then you reached a time where you could buy books for yourself, you were seeing recommendations and new series and you couldn’t help yourself. Your TBR started to grow.

    1. Firstly asses your TBR, do you actually want to read every book that’s on it? (It’s okay to say no)
    2. Okay next remove a couple of those books that you just looked at questioningly.
    3. Now we’re not going to do anything too crazy here. I want you to put those books in a box, maybe in your garage, loft or under your bed.
    4. Forget about the books you took off the shelf.
    5. Now allow some time to pass, try not to buy too many new books though or we’re back to square one.
    6. Okay it’s been a while, a few weeks maybe, are you thinking about those books you took off your shelf? Have you at any point since they have been put in the box thought about reading them?
      If the answer is no then it may be time to give those books a new home. If it’s yes, then you may be beyond my help.
  • A guide to buying less books

    Okay I am not saying I condone less book buying, but sometimes we need to cut down a little. Books can get expensive, but they’re so good, so should we really stop buying so many? I think I’m talking myself out of this point…

    1. When you’re next near a bookshop try and walk the other way.
    2. That didn’t work? Okay, once in the bookshop just try to lightly browse, don’t pick anything up.
    3. Oh, you picked up a book? Okay well maybe just glance at it and put it back.
    4. Ah you quite like the plot and want to buy it? You could just take a photo of the cover and ask for it for a Birthday or Christmas gift?
    5. I see you’re talking to the till, buying the book ay?
    6. Well I tried.
  • Okay so we’ve tried to reduce your TBR, we’ve also tried to buy less books, but what about reading so many books that your TBR never has a chance to get out of control? I think it could be possible! This is definitely going to be the method that will work for you!

    1. Only pick up a book that really excites you, to avoid an accidental reading slump.
    2. Try and read for at least 30 minutes a day if you can. You could always get the audiobook for your current read too so you can listen to it in the car, or whilst you’re doing chores.
    3. Basically read everywhere you go!
    4. Read before bed, this is the best time of day to read in my opinion. It’s when you have the chance to be the least distracted!
    5. Speaking of distraction, put your phone away. Your iPad, your laptop, your TV. Avoid technology, it is the sucker of time and productivity.
    6. Read a series that you own all of the books to, so you can knock off a few books on your TBR at once… providing the series is so good that you want to read one after the other that is…
    7. Start with smaller books to ease you into the mad reading frenzy you shall need to enter to CRUSH YOUR TBR!
  • My thoughts …….
    So ……. I can relate to some of that (yes I’ve got books that I may never get around to reading) and I fool myself into taking them away on holiday (I’m getting better, I don’t always bring them back 😁) 
    🦋

    Random Thought 🤔

    Tell us about books from your childhood that you still love until now. How did you discover it?

    I have always loved to read. As a kid I always had a book in my hand (growing up with four sisters and my parents on a limited budget, money was pretty tight.)

    So my escape was to dive into a book.

    So I thought I’d relive and give you my top ten childhood books. Let me know if you had read any of them growing up.

    My to Ten childhood books (in no particular order) …..

    1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson
    2. Stig of the Dump by Clive King.
    3. The Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton.
    4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.
    5. Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton.
    6. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White.
    7. Watership Down by Richard Adams.
    8. Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm .
      James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
      Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
  • I’m sure I could have added more. But that’s enough to be going on with. And now I’ve spent time thinking about them, I’m tempted to find cheap copies and read them all over again 😉 simpler times when I was growing up.

    🦋

    Random Thought 🤔

    Saw this on a blog post recently and thought I’d share ……. 


    As bookworms, we come into contact with lots of problems that other ‘normal’ people think are strange. Suddenly we are asked by our unknowing work colleague, what is a TBR? A relative comments that we have plenty of unread books at home without buying another. We start to loose the natural light in our houses because our walls are pilled high with books. We notice our bank balance doesn’t read what it used to and books have suddenly become more vital than food.

    We’ve all been there, we’ve all had a worry about whether we will ever read every book we own. Or perhaps if forming an emotional connection to a fictional character is healthy (yes, yes it is). Well, let’s see if this post can help address some of your worrying concerns.

    We all have it, the crippling TBR stack, the one that is spilling from your bookshelf as you read this blog post. Maybe it started off life as being one or two books high, maybe it stayed that way for a while, nice and manageable. But then you reached a time where you could buy books for yourself, you were seeing recommendations and new series and you couldn’t help yourself. Your TBR started to grow.

    1. Firstly asses your TBR, do you actually want to read every book that’s on it? (It’s okay to say no) 
    2. Okay next remove a couple of those books that you just looked at questioningly. 
    3. Now we’re not going to do anything too crazy here. I want you to put those books in a box, maybe in your garage, loft or under your bed.
    4. Forget about the books you took off the shelf.
    5. Now allow some time to pass, try not to buy too many new books though or we’re back to square one.
    6. Okay it’s been a while, a few weeks maybe, are you thinking about those books you took off your shelf? Have you at any point since they have been put in the box thought about reading them?
    7. If the answer is no then it may be time to give those books a new home. If it’s yes, then you may be beyond my help.

    A guide to buying less books…..

    Okay I am not saying I condone less book buying, but sometimes we need to cut down a little. Books can get expensive, but they’re so good, so should we really stop buying so many? I think I’m talking myself out of this point…

    1. When you’re next near a bookshop try and walk the other way.
    2. That didn’t work? Okay, once in the bookshop just try to lightly browse, don’t pick anything up.
    3. Oh, you picked up a book? Okay well maybe just glance at it and put it back.
    4. Ah you quite like the plot and want to buy it? You could just take a photo of the cover and ask for it for a Birthday or Christmas gift?
    5. I see you’re taking to the till, buying the book?
    6. Well I tried.

    Okay so we’ve tried to reduce your TBR, we’ve also tried to buy less books, but what about reading so many books that your TBR never has a chance to get out of control? I think it could be possible! This is definitely going to be the method that will work for you!

    1. Only pick up a book that really excites you, to avoid an accidental reading slump.
    2. Try and read for at least 30 minutes a day if you can. You could always get the audiobook for your current read too so you can listen to it in the car, or whilst you’re doing chores.
    3. Basically read everywhere you go!
    4. Read before bed, this is the best time of day to read in my opinion. It’s when you have the chance to be the least distracted!
    5. Speaking of distraction, put your phone away. Your iPad, your laptop, your TV. Avoid technology, it is the sucker of time and productivity.
    6. Read a series that you own all of the books to, so you can knock off a few books on your TBR at once… providing the series is so good that you want to read one after the other that is…
    7. Start with smaller books to ease you into the mad reading frenzy you shall need to enter to CRUSH YOUR TBR!
    My thoughts ….. 
    So ……. I can relate to some of that (yes I’ve got books that I may never get around to reading) I can also leave a book now without hyperventilating. I also talk myself into taking them away on holiday (I’m getting better, I don’t always bring them back 😁
    But if no one has an issue with the amount of books I hoard (yes I’m an hoarder) then what’s the issue? 
    My last kindle held HUNDREDS of books, and I knew I would probably wouldn’t read some of them (they were free) and so when my kindle died, I use it as an opportunity to download the stuff I wanted read …. that lasted a few months (I’m a sucker for a free read) so now I look at the book …. 
    1. Is it part of a series ? 
    2. Is it a book that has been split into more than one story? 
    3. The first one was free, how much for the rest of the series?
    4. Wait and buy the paperback. 

    🦋