Tag Archives: competition

A Writing Contest and a Chance to Save the Wolves!

Wolves in a snowy landscape

Writer and wolf-lover extraordinaire, Kate Johnston, aka 4am Writer, is running a fun writing contest over on her blog. Help Kate save El Lobo, the Mexican gray wolf, and write a 250 word story which features a wolf in some way. But I’ll let Kate tell you the rest, so hop on over there, and hurry, the deadline is 31 March – Contest link.


Writing Competition Alert!

Sully the award presenter

Alert! Alert! Just a quickie today to alert you to a fabbo writing competition over on the wonderful Mike Allegra’s blog. Join in, write something, win some prizes – click here.

I’ve closed comments here so that you can comment over there if you have anything to say.

Is This Hat Ridiculous Enough Carrie?

Vanessa in a colander hat

If you missed my last post because you were Christmasly absent, you still have time to enter to win a prize! In short I’m asking people to suggest silly, frivolous things I can do over the year, and show on my blog. Carrie Rubin suggested that I count the new year in down from 10, and then finish with a tuck jump, wearing a ridiculous hat.

Well ok then! Here is the video of me doing that – for obvious reasons it had to be done in one take, so it’s not…erm…COMPLETELY perfect. First the video starts from me counting 9 not 10, secondly I seem to be having trouble holding up the right number of fingers as I count down, next my tuck jump is rather pathetic, and finally my son interpreted in his own way my request that he throw a handful of sparkly stars over me at the end. But at least it was fun, and that was the objective!

If you want to join in, and be in with a chance of winning, you have until 15 January to do so, pop back over to the previous post and leave your suggestion in the comments there (but don’t forget to leave a comment here first about how hilarious you found the video, not for my benefit you understand, just so that Carrie feels her suggestion was appreciated! Yep, that’s the reason, for Carrie’s benefit, I’m fine, but she needs that kind of reassurance you know).

What fun have you had so far this year?

So, Who Identified the Truths Correctly?

Last week we played five truths and one lie on here, and lots of you had a go at guessing. I can now reveal that the lie was…the juggling! I’m afraid I cannot juggle five balls. It’s true that juggling is a skill I would love to have, but I don’t have it. Seven of you guessed correctly, and the randomly selected winner from those was Darla from She’s a Maineiac! Hurrah, congrats Darla!

I’ll give a bit of a run down on the list in a moment, but first, as promised, here is your prize Darla, a poem written and recited for you, by me…

The run down on the votes was:

1) The juggling, 7 votes.
2) The knitting, 12 votes.
3) The Piccadilly line, 3 votes.
4) The scary sea experiences, 3 votes.
5) The changing schools tale, 7 votes.
6) The stand-up comedy, 2 votes.

Regarding the knitting – this one received the highest votes, with several of you saying that you just don’t see me as a knitter. I figured this one would receive the highest votes because I don’t really see myself as a knitter either! And yet I love it. As I mentioned, I just don’t have time to do it these days, which is probably why it’s never come up on my blog. My grandmother was a great knitter and she taught me when I was a young child, so maybe there’s something comforting about knitting that reminds me of happy childhood memories with her.

Regarding the Piccadilly line – yes, I know it off by heart. It’s not the most interesting of party tricks to watch, so it’s best just done in my head.

Regarding the scary sea experiences – not much to say here, they happened as described!

Regarding the changing schools tale – this one received quite a few votes. It seems that several of you believed I could do that but you found it hard to believe that anyone would allow me to change schools without parental approval. I know, it is pretty hard to believe, and yet they did! We’re talking 30 years ago though, I doubt that could happen today.

Regarding the stand-up comedy – yes, I twice put myself through it. I’m pleased only two of you voted for that one though, or I’d have been all insecure like “Nobody thinks I’m funny enough!!!” The reason I did it a second time even though I found the first time unbearably nerve-wracking was that I wanted to see if the second time around the enjoyment would go up and fear would go down. It kind of did, but not enough to make me want to pursue it further. I’m not saying I would definitely never do it again, but I don’t think I would.

Well, congrats again to Darla, if you don’t already follow her fabulous blog, then go check her out, tell her Vanessa sent you. And if you have a go at this game, do let me know so that I can come and have a play!

It Was All Jen and Tonic’s Idea!

Last week, over at Sips of Jen and Tonic, Jen did a fun game to see how well her blogging followers know her. She told us five truths and one lie about herself, and invited us to guess which one was the lie. She then suggested that others might like to do the same thing on their blogs. Several others have already, and now I am!

I’m also offering a prize with mine, oh yes! Is it cash? No, it’s something better. Is it a gift certificate? No, much better. Books? Wine? Chocolate maybe? No, no, no. Far more exciting than that. One lucky winner will get…wait for it… the fantastic prize of me writing a poem specifically for them and posting a video of me reciting it on my blog! Da-daaaa!!! You’re welcome! If only one person gets the right answer, they win. If more than one person does, then I will randomly select one from those. If nobody gets it right, then I will randomly select someone from all those who guessed. One way or another, someone who makes a guess will get a poem from me whether they like it or not.

So, read the six things below about me, and guess which one is the lie, and answer in the comments. I’ll get my poker face ready…

Vanessa doing poker face

Is it still acceptable to play poker in your PJs in front of a big flower while going a bit cross-eyed? It’s so long since I’ve played, I don’t know what the etiquette is any more.

1) I’m quite a proficient juggler. It was something I’d always wanted to do, so several years back I bought a kit that came with an instructional video, a tips ‘n tricks book, and some juggling balls. I managed to work up to juggling five balls, and was very pleased with myself! Every so often I dig my balls out and have a little practice to make sure I don’t lose the skill.

2) I’m not really one for doing practical crafts, but I do love knitting; I find it very therapeutic, and am fairly good at it. I barely ever do it anymore because of time, but when I was pregnant I knitted baby blankets, cardigans, loads of unusual booties and some teddy bears. A few years ago I knitted chunky woolly hats for my friends for Christmas. I plan to knit a lot when I retire.

3) I can recite the whole Piccadilly line off by heart. I learned it over 25 years ago when I lived in London and had to travel on that underground line to and from work every day, and have never forgotten it. Staring up at the map helped me avoid catching anyone’s eye. It looks like this:

The Piccadilly Line

4) As a child I had two scary sea experiences that I’m pretty sure are the reason I’m nervous in deep water. When I was 5, I and three adults got stuck in a horrendous thunderstorm when the motor on our motorised dinghy broke while we were way out at sea, and it started filling with water. When I was 10, I and two other kids and one adult almost got stuck on a large raised area of sand when the tide was out, and we didn’t realise it had started coming back in around us and cutting off our access back to the beach. We only realised when the lifeguard came rushing out to help us get back!

5) When I was 13 I decided I didn’t like the school I had been going to for two years and wanted to change. While my Dad was away in Greece for a fortnight, and I was being looked after by my gran, I told the school I was at that I wasn’t coming back, went to see the headteacher (principal) of the school I wanted to change to and told him I wanted a place there. I made all the arrangements myself, and by the time my Dad got back from his trip I had already started at the new school, and he had known nothing about it!

6) Last year I twice performed some stand-up comedy at two pubs in London having never done it before. I did get lots of laughs which was quite a buzz, but unfortunately the extreme cramping nerves I felt leading up to it far outweighed any pleasure I derived from it.

To be in with a chance of winning the unique poem written and recited for you (again, you’re welcome), please  leave your guess in the comments below by end of play this Friday, November 29. And if you found this fun, why not do the same thing on your own blog! (You don’t have to do the poem bit).

P.S. Only one entry per person! (I’ve had to add this after Bulldog was very naughty).

Random Tuesday

Vanessa as a WeeMee

This is my WeeMee, created for me by my daughter, using Apple’s WeeMee Avatar Creator. What do we think? Does it look like me?

A few matters of business to go through today. I’ve brought coffee and doughnuts for everyone. Please find a seat quickly and settle down. And don’t eat all the doughnuts, save me a couple, ok?


A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed the author Mike Allegra, and he kindly donated a copy of his book, Sarah Gives Thanks, to be given to one randomly selected lucky commenter on that post. I cut out all the names of those who commented (apart from you Mike, I know it wasn’t specified in the rules, but you weren’t allowed to enter the draw to win a copy of your own book. Sorry ‘n all)…

Strips of paper with bloggers names on

I put all the strips into a big brown envelope, then danced around the room, shaking the envelope, and singing Shake, Rattle and Roll, because that was the only song I could think of at the time that had the word “Shake” in it. I then shut my eyes, reached in, and pulled out…

Strip of paper that says The Hook

Congratulations to The Hook! Mr The Hook, if you could please contact Mike direct using his contact form, then he will get the copy of Sarah Gives Thanks sent out to you pronto!


Yesterday I wrote a guest post over on the wonderful blog of The Mercenary Researcher. My post is about education, and is part of series of posts she has been featuring over there relating to education. You can read mine by clicking here! And while you’re over there, have a general browse around her blog, you’ll find plenty to amuse, interest, and delight you!


I’ve set up a new page on my blog called Books by Bloggers to help promote the books that have been written by bloggers who I interact with; please go and have a browse…There are probably a few blogging author buddies I’ve missed off there who I should have remembered. I’ve already had a couple of middle-of-the-night-springing-bolt-upright moments of “Oh no! I forgot X’s book!” So if you’ve written a book that I know about, and I haven’t included it, please don’t take it personally, I just forgot! There’s a form on that page to tell me about it.


Well?…I’m waiting…

Win a Prize at my 100 Posts Day Party!


Happy 100 posts day to me!
Happy 100 posts day to me!
Happy 100 posts day dear Vanessaaaaa!
Happy 100 posts day to me!

Yes folks, this is my 100th post, and I’m having a bit of a party here today to celebrate. The party has only just started, so grab a drink and join in, and you even get the chance to win a prize! This actually shows as my 99th post, but that’s because I deleted one of my early posts several months after posting it, so this is the 100th post I’ve published. Oh dear…now I’m wondering though if my next post should have been my 100th post party? What’s the protocol in post number counting celebrations? Well actually I don’t care, it’s my 100 post day party and I’ll have it when I want to!

I originally thought that for my 100th post party I would do a little review of my blogging journey, talking about the wonderful people I’ve virtually met, and looking at my blog stats – nothing says ‘party’ like a bit of statistical analysis does, right? But then I thought, no, I’m just going to kick back and let you provide a party for me. Several people have held virtual blog parties before, and if you’ve attended one you’ll know they can get pretty wild and CRAZY!

Crazy partyIn exchange for joining in with the party, one of you gets to take a prize home at the end…

A £10 Amazon gift certificate
(or equivalent in your currency, e.g. = approx $15 US).

Can I hear an “Ooohhhh!!!”?

What do you mean it’s like I’m bribing people to come to my party? It’s NOTHING like that!…Well ok, it’s a LITTLE bit like that, but blogland is notoriously quiet over the summer, so cut me some slack ok?

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is bring something to the party in the comments section below. I’ve provided a few suggestions, so pick whichever one you like (you can do more than one if you choose, but that won’t increase your chances of winning I’m afraid). Well, what are you waiting for? The party’s started! Pick one of these, or heck, you can even come up with your own idea! And comment below…

Party Girl

– Tell us your favourite party food/drink, or even better, provide the recipe.

– Is there a song that always gets you in the party mood? Give us the YouTube link, so we can all have a listen.

– Describe your dream party (if money were no object).

– Share a true story about something that happened at a party you have held or attended (preferably not something bad!).

– Or why not entertain us with a hilarious joke? (Make sure it IS hilarious).

– Tell us about a fun party game you like to play.

– Describe what you’re wearing to the party.

Which one will you pick? The party is on until 11pm on July 3, 2013, so comment before then to be entered. A winner will be randomly selected after that date. Let’s get partying people!


photo credit: x-ray delta one via photopin cc
photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via photopin cc
photo credit: *Zephyrance – don’t wake me up. via photopin cc
photo credit: Tal Bright via photopin cc

One Gentle Night

Having just read a beautiful poem by Dr Nicola Davies on her blog, I was inspired to post a poem I wrote a while back called ‘One Gentle Night’. It was one of the runners up in the 2008 Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year competition. I’ve had to post it as a picture below because I’m having trouble figuring out the line spacing on here (bear with me folks!) –

Poem entitled 'One Gentle Night'