Tag Archives: Happy Monday

Feeling the buzz.

I seem to have super-strengths when it comes to drinking huge quantities of tea, but I confess that when it comes to coffee, I am a bit of a caffeine weakling. I love a good cup of coffee, but the racing-mind buzz overload and borderline palpitations aren’t for me really.  Although I have strayed dangerously close on occasion, on particularly long, stressful days, when only a coffee (or three!) will do.

The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, et cetera. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing, or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.

(Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail).

But today is unusual, in that I have been to a very enjoyable coffee morning round at a friend’s house.  And by happy coincident, it is also International Coffee Day. A celebration of the internationally beloved beverage and a day promoting the virtues of fair trade coffee.

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And of course you can not have a coffee morning without cake!  Especially not on a day of celebration!  So I gave these cinnamon rolls a whirl.  I have been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for ages, so this was just the excuse I needed.  It meant a busy morning beforehand, although this recipe was way easier than most I’ve seen.  And the pay-out was the dual caffeine and sugar hits.  A winning combination and most definitely worth it!

Although I did not always agree with his rulings, I enjoyed Judge Huffman and his personality.  He truly enjoyed the courthouse camaraderie. Every year he would bring cinnamon rolls to his office and invite everyone in the courthouse to join him for coffee and cinnamon rolls.

(Attorney Robin Green)

So my week started with caffeine, cake and friends.  The perfect Monday morning!  Although here I am, running rapidly towards an afternoon post-caffeine, post-sugar crash. Now the question is, do I try to exercise a modicum of willpower and brace myself, or do I give in gracefully and go in search of tea and biscuits?!

No more chasing butterflies.

Mondays are usually a hectic start to the week, that makes me long for the weekend before the last one has even fully had time to disappear from memory. I know I’m not alone in that…there is a reason for the phrase ‘the Monday blues’!  But today has – so far – been lovely. It feels like it has been one of those days where there has been a snowball effect of positivity.  I woke up refreshed, my daughter has been unusually angelic all morning, and I’ve spent a lovely couple of hours playing with her and catching up with some good friends and eating cake.  A pretty good start to the week if you ask me, and all the better for being totally unexpected!

‘Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder’.

H.D Thoreau

I know the theory is that negativity and stress attracts more, and the mind is a powerful thing, so I can well believe it.  But it isn’t always easy to shake the (Monday) blues off, once they have kicked in, is it?  And endlessly striving to be chirpy and smiley when that is the last thing you feel like can be exhausting and deflating in its own way can’t it? Still, I am naturally inclined to see the bright side (most of the time!), and I do try to be a ‘glass half full’ kind of person.

So for today at least I am enjoying the rare serenity and happiness of a chilled out start to my week. I’m not going to force it, and I’m not even going to think about tomorrow or what the rest of the week may bring. I’ll just hope for more ups than downs, and not borrow trouble in the meanwhile. For now I’m just going to get a cup of tea and sit for five minutes, to enjoy the moment! Happy Monday for me, and here’s hoping yours is a good one too!

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May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

Irish blessing.

Liebster Awards, and feeling happy on a Monday.

There’s this funny thing about blogging.  You are all alone in a room with your thoughts and your keyboard.  You know that you are just one amongst thousands, all tapping away on the same solitary path.  But actually after a while you start to realise that it isn’t solitary at all. Because all those other bloggers out there – or some of them at least – are connected to you by these invisible threads of shared interests and views and passions.  I love the chance encounters, coming across a blog or a blogger that you just really enjoy reading.

I only recently stumbled across Tidlidim, but she has a really diverse and interesting blog.  It is so readable and her personality shines through so clearly.  It is like being in a room with her, chatting over a glass of wine.   Anyway, she is also quite obviously a lovely person as she has paid me the massive compliment of nominating me for my first ever blogger to blogger award.  The Liebster Award.

Someone somewhere must own these Liebster images, but I'm not sure who. So in the absence of any other source information, credit to http://www.selwaluke.com/, where this image came from when I google image searched.

Someone somewhere must own these Liebster images, but I’m not sure who. I google image searched, and in the absence of any other source information, credit to http://www.selwaluke.com/, who also used this image.

I am truly touched, so big thanks to Tidlidim.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.


Liebster is a German word, with a variety of meanings roughly translating to dearest, sweetest, nicest, lovely and other similar kind words.  From a quick bit of research, the Liebster award seems to be designed to give warm encouragement to relative newcomers, get bloggers to connect with fellow bloggers, and encourage people to discover new blogs they like.  All for the good I would have said.  Awards aren’t everyone’s bag, which is up to them of course, but I am delighted to accept.  I feel both humbled and immensely flattered that someone out there likes my little corner of the blogosphere enough to come back for more and praise it to others.

This is my first foray into blogging, and it is all still relatively new to me.  After nine months I am beginning to feel like I have found my groove and (sort of!) know what I’m doing…most of the time…okay, some of the time.  But the gaping holes in my blogging savvy are smaller now than they were when I started, so I’m happy with that!  Technical difficulties and the occasional writer’s block aside, I have loved the journey up to this point.  The process of having an idea, putting words to it and then combining those with my photographs is such a deeply satisfying creative outlet for me.

I don’t mind admitting that praise and recognition from others makes the whole thing even more rewarding.  But integrity is important too, so when I reciprocate I try to be as genuine as a blogger as I would be in ‘real life’. ‘Like’ what you actually like, comment when you actually have something (nice) to say. That kind of thing.  Although I’m sure there are lots of bloggers out there who ‘like’, comment or follow only for their own exposure and benefit.  And I actually have a physical reaction to cringe when I see someone piggy-backing onto someone else’s post just to say ‘follow my blog here at …xyz…I follow back!!’.  Seriously?!  Surely it must be about more than that?!  I really hope so, and whoever came up with the Liebster Award in the first place obviously hoped so too.

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.

Ralph Marston

Having accepted my award, what exactly do I have to do?  The ‘rules’ seem to have changed over time, but I will go with the ones that Tidlidim followed:

  1. Link and thank the person who nominated you. (done already, but it never hurts to say thanks again, right? So thank you, Tidlidim!)
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator gives you
  3. Tag 11 bloggers who have 200 or less followers
  4. Ask the 11 bloggers 11 questions, and let them know you nominated them!

So, courtesy of some interesting questions from Tidlidim, here I go with my own five-minutes-of-fame, Mastermind moment.  My specialist subject: me and my blog…

  • What are you reading at the moment?

I am just starting The Return by Victoria Hislop. I’m short on reading time at the moment, so I was aiming for something readable, easy to stop and start, but not entirely mindless – I’m only about twenty pages in at the moment, so time will tell!

  • What is your favourite hobby?

Scuba diving. It is a hobby, a passion, and some of my favourite memories come from dives and dive holidays I’ve had over the years. There is nothing that soothes me more than getting my dive gear on and getting in the water.

  • What is the most crafty thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Not sure which sense this was meant in, but I’m not very sneaky by nature, so thinking crafty-creative instead I made a fabric kindle cover as a gift for my husband.  It was the first thing I’d ever made on a sewing machine. I was nearly crippled with indecision about fabric and decorative motif choices, I needed a lot of hand-holding from a very patient crafty friend, and some of the lines are decidedly wonky!  But my husband loved that I’d made something bespoke for him, and I caught the crafting bug on the back of it.  Christmassy bunting and felt tree decorations are next on the list!

  • You get a choice between not being able to see the sunshine forever, or not being able to see the moon and stars forever. Which one do you choose?

Not feel the rising heat of a summer’s morning and see the seas, bright and blue by daylight? No, I just couldn’t live without sunshine, so I would have to sacrifice the moon and stars.

  • Is there a blog you follow that you’d definitely recommend to everyone?

I’m so pleased that this question was included, because some of the blogs that I really, really love are way too big and well established to recognise with a Liebster Award.  Sarah Longes at Taking One Day at a Time has a beautiful blog. Stunning, inspiring photographs and a lovely, very interactive blogger.  I also find DeWetsWild a wonderful read. Fantastic photographs, and fascinating chronicles of a family’s experiences journeying into the wilds of Africa, and the wildlife and places they find along the way.

  • Where does the name of your blog come from?

I wanted a name that was unique to me and didn’t restrict me to one particular topic.  I like writing about a bunch of different things, because I like doing a bunch of different things. ‘Red riverbanks’ is a take on my married surname, which derives from Old English and means ‘red’ + ‘cliff’ or sometimes ‘riverbank’.  As I’m terrified of heights I opted for riverbank instead!  And the blog is full of things to read, by me…so readsbyredriverbanks it is!

  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to settle down?

I don’t think I’ll ever get to the bottom of this one, because our life keeps changing and we keep finding more amazing places!  But at the moment, East Bali is incredibly appealing.  Laid back, beautiful, lots of scuba diving hot spots, work opportunities, far from the madding crowds, but close enough to be able to get everything you need.  The good life, with sunshine.

  • Who is the most influential person in your life?

My husband.  Trite but true.  He is constantly supportive and endlessly patient.  He is the kindest man I know and he has given me confidence and an ability to laugh at myself that I never thought would be possible. I was never a shrinking violet, but I am a stronger, happier, more contented person with him in my life and by my side.

  • Where is the first place you look when you want to see “beauty”?

My daughter.  She melts my heart every time.  But the natural world around me comes a close second – flowers, trees, the sky, the sea.  What an incredible world we live in.

  • What’s the best foreign food you’ve ever tasted?

Italian pizza on an island in the Philippines!  Not exactly exotic, but I’d been on a tiny island doing shark conservation research work for five weeks, eating nothing but rice, eggs, fried bananas and water. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Every single day.  So it was only a simple margherita pizza and a glass of red wine, but believe me, it tasted like a little piece of heaven!

  • You’ve just snapped the one photo that would represent your life. Can you describe it?

Life at the moment is mainly about being a mummy, experiencing new things together and having fun. Babyhood and early childhood is so fleeting, so I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to spend so much time together, while it lasts. This snap is from a play date I recently hosted for a few toddlers and their parents. I thought a creative painting session would be fun. It took hours of preparation, thinking about and organising the different activities.  On the day, there was paint everywhere except on the sheets of paper, and my little girl couldn’t be less interested in painting and only had eyes for the snack table (hence her clutching protectively onto a snack bowl!).  The kids quickly decamped to the ball-pit and slide where they had much more fun than they’d had getting in touch with their creative sides.  Do you ever think that as parents we maybe over-complicate things?! Next time I’m just getting the paddling pool out!

Nothing comes between me and the breadsticks, have you got that mummy?!

Nothing comes between me and the breadsticks, have you got that mummy?!

Moving the spotlight firmly away from me and onto others, I found choosing nominees the hardest bit of this whole process.  How to choose only eleven from all the great ones blogs that I know and love?  I tried to follow the 200 followers rule, but I’m not sure that all of my choices fit, because not all of them share numbers.  Hopefully any of my nominees that are too big or would prefer not to accept the award will still see it as the compliment it was intended to be.  So my choices are:

For those of you who do accept my offering of the Liebster Award for being the brilliant bloggers that you are, I’d love to know your answers to these Monday feel good questions:

  1. If you could magic away one bad thing from the world, what would it be?
  2. Two songs that make you instantly happy
  3. The best comfort food you know for when you need a treat for your tummy and a salve for your soul
  4. Which photo from your childhood makes you laugh (or cringe) above all others? Describe it.
  5. Dream holiday destination. Have you been there or is it still on the bucket list?
  6. Your three best traits
  7. You wake up, open the curtains and see your ideal weather, your ideal day…what is it like?
  8. If you could live for a day as a fictional book character who would it be? And would you change anything or would you want to walk entirely in their shoes?
  9. City or country? (Why?)
  10. Is there one of your blog posts that stands out to you are being a favourite or one that you are particularly proud of?
  11. Money, talent, and time no object, you are organising a birthday celebration for your nearest and dearest (friend or family). What would it be like?

Phew, I did it!  The naysayers weren’t kidding about the amount of work involved in accepting awards.  This is my longest post ever.  By quite some way!  But still, it’s been a lovely start to the week.  And what a gratifying motivation to keep on writing and enjoying it.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Abraham Lincoln

Someone somewhere must own these Liebster images, but I'm not sure who. I google image searched and in the absence of any other source information, credit to http://inkchromatography.wordpress.com/ , where this image came from.

Someone somewhere must own these Liebster images, but I’m not sure who. I google image searched and in the absence of any other source information, credit to http://inkchromatography.wordpress.com/ , who also used this image.