Friday, 7 August 2020

My Bouquet with Dot Scribbles

This year has seen unimaginable changes to our lives and for many it is a time of uncertainty and anxiety, but despite all of this we are finding ways to cope and get through. My Bouquet is about putting together all the things / people that are making you feel good, that make you smile, that make you feel loved and that life is about trying to make the best of everything, no matter how steep the hill is to climb.

Today, I am delighted to have the lovely, Dot Scribbles share her beautiful bouquet, so please help yourself to a glass of bubbly and settle down in a comfortable chair and meet my lovely, special guest.

My name is Dot and I live in Leicestershire with my husband, 8 year old daughter, 2 dogs and a tortoise! I have been blogging about books for over 5 years and I can't imagine going a day without reading!  The Coronavirus pandemic has tested us all in very different ways but these are the things that have kept me going:

The NHS!- My husband is a frontline doctor so I have had so many mixed emotions, veering from feeling sheer pride one minute to serious anxiety about him going into work. Many of our friends work within the NHS and their bravery and care has really lifted me, to see them meeting such difficult challenges everyday and going above and beyond to care for their patients has been very humbling to observe.

Books- In the first few weeks I really struggled to read as I was so distracted by what was going on which was very frustrating but then I soon reverted back to finding reading a huge comfort. I have been drawn towards psychological thrillers during this time as I have found that they have really held my attention and helped me to switch off.

Cooking- I love cooking and baking but this has been so important to me during lockdown. I have had more time to try recipes that I had been saving and we have tried to make a bit of a fuss of some meals, especially at the weekends. For the first few weeks we had themed meals on a Saturday night where we had certain food, music, costumes and entertainment, we had Italian, French, Greek, American, Chinese and Indian and they were all a lot of fun!

Running and Walking- We have two dogs so I have to walk everyday or our labrador in particular would go bonkers! Walking has been something we have very much done as a family when we could and then other days it has just been myself and my daughter Darcey. We are so lucky to live in beautiful countryside and the pandemic has made me appreciate it even more as we have often talked about how we would have felt if we'd lived in a city or without a garden or outdoor space. I'm quite new to running but this activity has been a great way to take time to myself during these months and it has done me the world of good to have that time during the week.

Friends- I think this time has been a real test to many people's friendships and it has really shown who your true friends are. My friends have been a huge source of comfort during this time, from Zoom chats, to swapping recipes, socially distanced chats from across the road or at the bottom of drives, lengthy whatsapp chats, rants about homeschooling, book recommendations and good old fashioned snail mail, my friends have really kept me going!

Twitter: @Dot_Scribbles

Instagram: dotscribbles 

A huge thank you, Dot for sharing your beautiful bouquet with us today. Also a big thank you for calling by. I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.

Pauline x

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

A Meander along the River Wensum

Today, I've been invited to Kit Domino's wonderful blog and we are meandering along the, beautiful, River Wensum, please come along and join us...

The Wensum is the principal river on which the city of Norwich was founded in1659 by settlers from Saybrook. The source of the Wensum lies between the villages of Colkirk and Whissonsett in northwest Norfolk. The river flows westward initially, close to the villages of South Raynham, West Raynham and East Raynham, passing Raynham Hall, home of the Marquis Townshend. The Wensum then turns and flows north through a number of small villages until it reaches... Click HERE to enjoy your meander.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Challenge complete!

I have finished the Great Run Solo, 28 day, Challenge I signed up for. with 77.9kms. 
Now should I sign up for another one?

Friday, 31 July 2020

Shining a Light on Charities with Madalyn Morgan

For many it is a very tough time. For charities it is also a very scary time, for some their income has dried up. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing stories that will warm your heart, make you smile and maybe have you reaching for the tissues.

Today, I am delighted to have top selling author, Madalyn Morgan talk about the charities that are dearest to her heart.

Hello Pauline. Highlighting charities on your Blog is a lovely thing to do. Thank you for asking me to Shine A Light on the charities I support.

Madalyn Morgan

I was an actress for thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. I now write novels, articles, and present radio.

I’d like to begin by saying that my parents were very generous people and they encouraged me to give at a young age. Dr Barnardo’s was a charity my parents and I supported when I was a child. I was brought up in a pub and, like all pubs in those days, we had a charity tin on the bar. Our tin was for Barnardo’s, the children’s charity set up by the Irish philanthropist Thomas Barnardo, in 1870.  “No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission.” Every Saturday night I was allowed to go round to the public side of the bar with the collection tin. Our customers were very generous.  
     But it was the run-up to Christmas that was the most fun. For me, Christmas began in November. Mum and I would spend an afternoon wrapping up the toys I’d had for my birthday, or the previous Christmas - as long as they were in good condition - and mum took them to the local orphanage.
When I was an actress in 1985, I made a promise. I was invited to join a charity called The Leukaemia League of 365. The volunteers were all women from one branch or other of showbusiness. The aim was to raise £365,000 - £1,000 for every day of the following year to help children with Leukaemia.   
    One of the prizes was a Jaguar in Harrods-green with gold plated wing mirrors and door handles. It was a joint donation from Harrods Department Store and Jaguar Cars. The Jaguar stood in front of the main entrance doors in the foyer of Harrods in Knightsbridge and we raffle ticket sellers were placed strategically around it. I remember Liverpool comedian Jimmy Tarbuck coming into the store. I approached him, smiled and pointed to the car. He did a double-take and said, ‘But I’ve only come in for a pair of socks.’ He made a contribution and waved away the raffle tickets. Another day the late Ronnie Corbett came in. He donated to the cause, which he said was a very good one, and then began to laugh. ‘A Jag would be no good for me,’ he said, ‘my feet wouldn’t reach the peddles.' Ronnie was a big talent, but he was only five feet tall.

The second prize was a fabulous dolls house - an exact copy of an 18th Century country house near Box Hill on the North Downs in Surry.

“ORMOND HOUSE” In aid of the leukaemia Research Fund

The interior of “ORMOND HOUSE” Decorated by nine of Britain’s top interior designers.

I was delighted when I was asked to demonstrate the doll’s house. It stood in the foyer of Decorex, the biggest event for interior design professionals in Europe. My job was to describe each room and say who had decorated it. It was the hottest summer on record and on the first afternoon I was so hot, and my feet ached so much, I kicked off my shoes.
     There was always muffled background noise as people entered and left the building. It didn’t bother me, but sudden silence did. I turned to see why it had gone quiet and looked straight into the eyes of Princess Margaret. She smiled graciously and nodded for me to carry on, but all I could think about was not having any shoes on. The following afternoon I took off my shoes again, and again there was a sudden hush. This time it was Princess Michael of Kent. ‘I had a doll’s house like this when I was a child in Austria,’ she said, towering above me. That was the last time I went barefoot.    
£365,000 was raised and I received an invitation from the Lord Mayor of London to attend a charity supper at the Mansion House. I didn't have a dress for the occasion and had to buy one. It was simple but it was lovely and, more to the point, it was reduced to an almost affordable price.    
      The food looked delicious. I say looked because I was too nervous to eat anything. An auction was held after the meal and after that a fashion show by Laura Ashley. Laura Ashely had died the day before, but her family insisted she would want the fashion show to go ahead. I’d never been to a cat-walk fashion show before and really enjoyed it.
     At the end of the evening, The Mayor presented the cheque to a representative from Leukaemia Research. It was then that I made a promise to two women from Cancer Research. I said one day I’m going to write a book and when I’m a published author, I shall give 10% to Cancer Research.  And, when my first novel was published in 2012, I kept my word and set up a standing order. I support other charities, but my main charity is Cancer Research.  


One of the other charities I support is a local hospice called LOROS. My beautiful cousin lost her battle with cancer and spent the last weeks of her life there five years ago. Loros is a warm, friendly, caring, hospice that gives one-to-one care. It depends entirely on donations. Apart from the trained medical staff, the hospice is run by volunteers. To raise money there are shops, a lottery, raffles and, like me, Friends of Loros who help financially because they are not able to help in a practical way.   

Another charity that I support is Christians Against Poverty.  It’s unbelievable how many people in the UK, especially the elderly and young families with children, live below the poverty line.  And now, because of the Coronavirus pandemic forcing businesses into bankruptcy, mounting unemployment, schools closed, the numbers of people who need financial help is higher by tens of thousands.

CAP also helps people to get back on their feet. As one young man said, “CAP helped me to kick-start my life.”

In 2012 I published the first novel in The Dudley Sisters Saga. I have written and published eight novels altogether. The first four books - Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue and The 9:45 To Bletchley - tell the stories of four sisters in WW2. The four novels that follow - Foxden Hotel, Chasing Ghosts, There Is No Going Home and She Casts A Long Shadow, are stand-alone sequels that take place between 1949 and 1959.    

Madalyn’s social media links:

Thank you Madalyn for coming along to PBHQ and sharing about your charities. In our frightening and uncertain times, sadly all need help.  Our world is a better place for having lovely people like you in it.

A huge thank you to you, lovely, visitor for calling by. I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Press up Challenge Completed!

I have completed the Press Up Challenge! *Phew* I was inspired by the lovely, Sarah Percival, to take on 25 press ups each day for 25 days to help increase awareness of mental health and suicide. Please keep an eye on your friends and family to make sure they are coping in our scary World, mental illness can be silent and invisible and sadly affects far too many.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

My Bouquet with Cathy Helms

This week I launch another special feature on my Blog, My Bouquet. This year has seen unimaginable changes to our lives and for many it is a time of uncertainty and anxiety, but despite all of this we are finding ways to cope and get through. My Bouquet is about putting together all the things / people that are making you feel good, that make you smile, that make you feel loved and that life is about trying to make the best of everything, no matter how steep the hill seems to climb.

Today, I am honoured to have the wonderful Cathy Helms share her beautiful bouquet. Please help yourself to a glass of bubbly and settle down in a comfortable seat and meet my lovely, special guest.

Hello readers!
I am Cathy Helms, book cover designer and owner of Avalon Graphics, and an avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and dreamer. Life during this global pandemic has certainly become more challenging for me personally. But like everyone, I am finding ways to cope with it all and carry on. I certainly am fortunate to have a lot of flowers in my bouquet!

Fortunately, I have not lost my job due to COVID – quite the opposite – I have been busier than ever as my clients find more time on their hands to write and market their books. So, that is a blessing for me personally as a graphic designer who specializes in book cover design.

Personally, I have found moments of joy and peace any time I can walk down to the neighbouring horse ranch and spend a little time communing with the resident horses. I have my favourites among the herd, and I always take a bag full of sliced apples to hand out too. I have loved horses since birth thanks to my grandfather. And nothing is more calming to me than petting, grooming, and loving on an animal. Horses are incredibly elegant creatures and extremely generous once you earn their trust.

I also have a sweet house cat named Bella that will curl up in my lap every morning while I begin my day. She’s never far from me throughout my work day either – my furry supervisor!

Coffee sustains me and ice cream keeps me content as well. And I like to have a treat from time to time from a local cupcake shop called Smallcakes. They are fabulous.

The obvious positives would be my close friends and family – thankfully all are safe and healthy.

I wish all of you good health, be safe, and always make time for yourself – mental health is every bit as important as our physical health.

Thank you to Pauline for inviting me to share a bit about what keeps me sane in this crazy world!


On Facebook: AvalonGraphics
On Twitter: Avalon_Graphics or @cathelms (personal website)

A huge thank you, Cathy for sharing your beautiful bouquet and thank you lovely visitor for calling by. I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Friday, 24 July 2020

George’s Much Needed New Trike

George’s Much Needed New Trike

Today, Kit Domino, not only shares the story about little George, but asks for your help.
Time I brought you the latest news and update on little George, the son of one of my nephews, who’s almost 13 years old now and definitely not little. He’s turning into a very handsome young man.
Many of you may remember George was born with cerebral palsy and, at the time, doctors deemed he would have no quality of life, his hearing and eyesight were also not good and would have no movement or control over his body. But George proved them all wrong. His parents never gave up hope despite the hard work and constant fight to get him the help he needed. The first 4 years were spent in constant rounds of physio at the wonderful Footsteps Foundation in the UK, the family constantly fundraising to pay for the treatment. We had many enjoyable fundraising walks under the “George’s First Steps” banner.
It’s hard to believe it was 7 years ago when all the family were busy crowdfunding to raise the £55,000 in order to send him to St Louis, Missouri where he was offered the chance of a life-changing SDR operation. People climbed mountains, had heads shaved, did charity walks and ran marathons (read more), and thanks to the generosity of so many people, made it happen. The operation was successful but still hard daily rounds of physio were needed as he was still unable to walk without aids and was at times in pain. It later transpired he had misaligned hips too. Consequently, he had to undergo yet more major surgery to correct the problem. You may recall the photo of him with a metal frame pinned through his body. Yet, despite all the little lad went through, he was always smiling, always laughing, and a happy child who was fun to be with.
Last year, after 5 years of 3-monthly trips to the Bristol Children’s Hospital, major hip surgery, an incredibly tough rehab, setbacks and a pretty worrying time all round, in yet another operation, all the metalwork in his body was successfully removed. His hips had recovered 100%, his left leg completely healed, and a perfect hip Xray for the first time. At last, he had a good range of movement, leaving his surgeon and his parents very happy, especially being told George should never need any more surgery. It was the best news ever for his parents who have endured an incredible amount over these 12+ years. A lot of worry, expense, and hard work on all three’s behalf with the constant physio George needs. Help will be needed for life.
George always amazes us. He rarely complains, he pushes himself as hard as he can as he so wants to be able to walk and be as independent as he can be given the circumstance. He loves his little sister, enjoys jokes, playing games, teasing and having fun, like any child. He enjoys school and doing well, loves karaoke, and has lots of friends, then along came lockdown.
He struggled with it at first, like all teenagers missing his friends, the play and the fun, the lessons, not fully understanding what was happening in the world. And his parents miss his carer. He’s a big lad and heavy to lift now and needs a lot of help, so his parents have had their work cut out. I haven’t seen him since Christmas, but my niece tells me he’s now coping well and still the happy, giggly George we so love.
He’s settled down to doing his schoolwork at home, usually with his little sister sitting at the table helping him. But he does miss surfing, which he loves, always going into hysterics whenever he has a wipe-out, and can’t wait to go again. And he missed his outings to his favourite restaurant where he always has his favourite meal including a hot chocolate. I was delighted to hear last week that he could finally meet up with his PA, who took him there for lunch, and guess what he ordered? His favourite, oh, and a hot chocolate! So for him, and the rest of us, life is slowly getting a little normality back.
George and his family live in a lovely part of the North Devon coast, which has meant they have been able to have many pleasurable secluded walks, but because of being home all the time, not able to have his regular physio sessions, and due to the fact he has grown so much, his legs are stiff, making his walking extra hard work. What doesn’t help is that he’s also outgrown his trike which allowed him some independence, and he’s now in urgent need of a new one.
A Tomcat Bullet has been trialled. George loved it as he is unable to ride a standard bicycle. For the first time since hip surgery he was able to peddle independently. A huge achievement for him. A huge smile on his face. The beauty and benefit of this trike is it grows with him up to a maximum size of 6’2″, meaning he shouldn’t need another one. But like all things like this, sadly they come at a price. With his parents furloughed, money is tight and they need help. Charities here in the UK have been approached but because of Covid, they are not accepting applications. But not to beaten, the family are crowdfunding once more in order to buy one. We’re halfway to raising the required £5,000 thanks to the many donations already made. We’ve still a way to go, but we’ll get there. And no doubt, sister Daisy will enjoy rides on it too.
If you would like to donate, no matter how small, the family, and George especially, will be exceedingly grateful. Thank you.
Here’s the link:
Don’t forget, if you’d like to write a Guest Post for Kit Domino’s World, be it on Loving Life or about writing, books, reading, blog tours or book releases for Kit’s Library, please contact me.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Get Out There...

With no organized runs allowed and the cancellation of most if not all of the major runs in the UK, I was delighted to see that The Great North Run has brought out some amazing challenges to keep runners motivated and out pounding the streets. These challenges are known as the, Great Run Solo monthly challenge, and you can sign up for a challenge that best suits you.

Each challenge is for 28 days and you can sign up for… 50km / 75km / 100km / 150km or 280km. You even get a medal if you complete your challenge, and you can enter as many challenges as you like, so if you finish one and want to do another, just sign up again and off you go! Now how amazing is that!

I have signed up for 50km. This week I enter my third week and have already clicked up 43kms and still a few runs and 13 days to go. It looks like I could exceed my challenge.

If you are interested in taking on one of the challenges or just having a look, here is the link… Great Run Solo Go for it!

Good Luck!

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Shining a Light on ...

For many it is a very tough time. For charities it is also a very scary time, for some their income has dried up. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing stories that will warm your heart, make you smile and maybe have you reaching for the tissues.

I have known today’s guest for many years, Mo Marland is one of the kindest people on this planet. Her capacity to help others knows no bounds. I can recall many of the things Mo has been involved in, one was spending Christmas day helping the lonely enjoy a special Christmas dinner together so they were warm, fed and in good company. This is just one act of kindness from hundreds. I am more than delighted that Mo agreed to share a little about the charities she supports. It’s all yours Mo, take it away…

I’m involved in several charities and have been for more years than I can recall. The most regular one being my local Foodbank which I have worked with for many years. One of my tasks is to sort the donations from local churches and food stores etc. During the lockdown, I’ve been stood down as they wanted couples who were living together rather than single volunteers. I’ve received financial donations which I have used to purchase essential food supplies. At present the Foodbank is delivering only.

I’m a registered member of Royal Voluntary Service as  a befriender. I used to visit an elderly gentleman regularly. To be honest they were useless during lockdown. They kept asking for volunteers. I’ve already been checked and vetted and a member for years but they didn’t bother to get in touch.  

One of my main passions is CRISIS – please tell a little about this organisation. I’ve done loads of stuff for them over the years. Including volunteering at Christmas, throwing parties and running events, anything that brought people together.

Another charity I like to support is Parkinson’s UK. That involves an annual walk, I have clocked up a few hundred miles over the years with these sponsored events.

If help is needed, I try my best to be there to support and assist. I will turn my hand to most things, you can often see me, litter picking for Midhurst Parish, out shopping for locals, especially during lockdown, donning my trainers for walking and much more.

Thank you Mo for coming along to PBHQ, I know this story is only a glance at what you have been involved in over the years. Our world is a better place for having lovely people like you in it.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

My Bouquet

Coming here very soon, My Bouquet. You create your own bouquet by sharing who and what has helped you cope over the last few months. There will be some wonderful uplifting stories that will make you smile. If you would like to join in and share your bouquet, then please let me know.

Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you back here soon, and, I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.


Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan

Today, I am delighted to share an interview with Theo from Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan, please make yourself comfortable, help yourself to a drink and meet, Dr Tyler….

“Doctor Theo Tyler?  How do you do.” The interviewer sits down and puts her recording device on the table between them.  “I see from your webpage you describe yourself as a historian and a desk archaeologist. What do you mean by that?”

 “You can be historian without being an archaeologist, but you can’t be an archaeologist without being a historian.  My life isn’t spent excavating.  My archaeology is mainly theoretical. By interpreting landscape, place names and documentary evidence where it exists, a lot can be inferred about past events and where settlements might have been established.”

“So, what in your background drew you to this area of study? “
He smiles slightly “Most boys are interested in the Vikings, aren’t they? A boyhood fascination developed into a more general attraction to the period from the fourth to the twelfth century.
“The Dark ages?”

“A rather reductive term. It doesn’t mean the peoples of these islands were mindless primitives. Those centuries are only so-called because the documentary and material evidence from the period between the Romans’ departure and the arrival of the Normans is far more limited than before or after. I prefer early medieval.”

“You’re upbringing was unusual.  The debutante and the punk rocker…?” She smiles and arches her eyebrows at him.
“I have no wish to talk about my family. “

“But life was hard after your father died,” she pursues. “Your mother didn’t cope well….?
“It certainly wasn’t easy. My mother is … was…..” Theo clears his throat. “Needless to say, we survived the trauma and the press intrusion.  It took her awhile to come to terms with his death, but as I said, it’s not a time of my life I want to discuss.”

The interviewer clears her throat, “Fair enough. Um … you went to a rebrick university for your under-graduate years? You could have attended Oxford or Cambridge, but you chose not to?”
“My rebellious phase.”

“And that was when you began a relationship with Aniela Sobieralska? I’ve heard it said it was fiery?”
“Not at the start. It grew into a tempestuous association. But she’s moved on. I hope she’s happy now.” Theo lifts his hand and circles his finger-tips at his hairline, above his temple. ”I hope her husband has given her what I couldn’t, or wouldn’t.”

“To get back to your rebellious phase. You’re teaching here now. Do you repudiate your youthful idealism ….?””
“Not at all. I’m just older…”
“And wiser?”

“I’m more pragmatic. I have less energy to expend on trying to overthrow the class system.” 
“And yet you’re…?”
“Just a temporary university lecturer at Lancaster College, filling in for a permanent member of staff who is engaged in a research project.”

“You’re hopeful of tenure here?”
“One day.  Here … or somewhere else.”
“How did you react to Jane Smith, when you first met her in the Spring of 2016?”
“Jane?”  Theo pauses, his mouth quirks up at the corner. “It was a very brief encounter. There was no time to respond.”

“Your first impression then?”
Theo covers his mouth as if to disguise his expression, but then nods.  “I was a bit put out, to be completely honest. It was a surprise.  She and her associate were established in the room I usually use in the college.  The colours she was wearing were very … gaudy.  And she was…...” He shakes his head as if he’s decided against pursuing the subject. 

“It doesn’t matter.  Whatever I thought of her was unexpressed and I had no expectation of ever meeting her again.”
“So how did that come about?”

“A few months later we met in the pub over the road from Lancaster. It was a pure fluke that we were both there at the same time.  But if it hadn’t been for her free-range sandwich……….” I
“Can you explain that?”

“She mis-spoke.” He shakes his head and now there is a definite smile hovering around his mouth. “Jane was there filling in time before an appointment. We got talking, slightly unwillingly on her part. But I’d remembered she had been engaged by the NITP to organize a September conference at Lancaster College. As I was thinking about holding a conference myself, I thought her expertise might be useful to me. I decided to put aside any preconceptions and raise the subject.”

“And did she help?”  
“She gave me an overview of what I needed to take into consideration. But to be honest the subject rather went onto the back burner after she told me what her appointment was about.”

“Which was?”
“She was obviously upset. She’d come in to talk to Lancaster’s conference manager about an imposed change to her arrangements with college. Strangely her problem intersected with one of mine.  It raised my suspicions of an improper relationship between the hierarchy of the college, a developer, and the planning department of Beacon’s Hill council … for whom I’m the archaeological consultant.”

“That sounds complicated.” 
Theo nods.  “You could say that. Had it not been for that coincidence and the subsequent discovery that she had a strange story to tell about her own family connection to a wartime find of a Viking hoard … well, none of it would have happened….”

“I found Buried Treasure a compelling read. It was so many things: a love story, a hunt for clues to lost secrets, and a fascinating look at how our past experiences shape us, and how we can heal even after damage. The characters were wonderfully well drawn. ”
Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again. But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at
Contact Gilli at

Shining a Light On Our Ladies

Today, I am joining in the wonderful feature at Helen Hollick's fabulous blog in Shining Light On Our Ladies - Kitty ...

Pauline Barclay 

A wealthy widow, I am a strong, independent woman with my own successful florist business. I know my own mind and I see myself as confident. Little daunts me or stops me doing what I really want to, so when I met the charismatic, Bertie Costain, I was more than taken aback as he swept me off my feet. Something I could never have imagined..... Click HERE for more and meeting the wonderful Kitty and learning about what happened that would change her life forever, but was it happy ever after.... I don't think so!