An Award, A Baby And Two Reminders

So first the award.

My good friend Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe has very kindly presented me with a Happy 101 Award. In return she has asked me to write about 10 things that make me happy and 10 bloggers who brighten my day. I think that is a fair exchange and it is good to take the time to think about the positive things in our lives, although I have to say my life is pretty much overflowing with happiness at the moment.

10 Things That Make Me Happy

1 My baby

My beautiful little boy Cooper. He has brought so much joy into my life and he is changing and growing so much, every day in front of my eyes. His latest thing is to give big chuckley laughs. He is a very smiley little boy.

2 Sleep

As you can imagine, I am not getting a lot of this just now, but when I do, it is delicious! I look forward to the night when Cooper is able to sleep through the night and so am I. Oh, to wake up refreshed, with a spring in my step. Hmmmmm, wait a minute, I never woke up like that pre-baby, maybe that is too much to hope for.

3 A sunny day, a good book and a glass of chilled wine

Oh, the simple pleasures in life! One of my greatest joys in the summer, is coming home after a long, hot and suffocating day at work. (Air conditioning in my building, pah, I am sure that is an urban myth and why oh why did the architects think that glass roofs would be a good feature? Yes, it looks good and let's in lots of sunlight, but it cooks us in the summer). As I was saying, coming home after a long, hot and suffocating day at work and sitting in the garden with a good book and a glass of crisp, chilled white wine. The sun will be shinning, the temperature will be up, but of course there will be a light breeze, to make it comfortable to sit in. The book will be lightweight and give me a good laugh. The wine should be a large glass of chilled Oyster Bay, served by my husband and there will be a cat at my feet, purring. Mmmmmmm, fabulous, although I will have to work a baby into this set up now and borrow a cat.

4 Salsa dancing with my hubby Graham

I never in a million years thought I would be able to persuade Graham to learn to dance salsa. In fact, if you had asked me a few years ago, I would have cried with laughter. He has always stayed clear of the dance floor at weddings, point blank refusing to dance with me. So, when I decided I would like to learn, I didn't even ask if he would like to come with me.

So how did I manage it, you may wonder?

We were visiting Graham's parents in Cyprus and what do they love to do of an evening? Yes, you guessed it! But, it wasn't that easy Oh no! He refused to let his parents show some moves. Until one evening we joined them and their friends at their salsa class. It was a very social affair, good music and dancing, the wine was flowing and there were nibbles to enjoy along with lots of chat. Well, it would just seem churlish to refuse a lesson, wouldn't it? Although he did try. And what do you know, he could do it and it was fun!

Men - skill = enjoyment, if you don't think you will be good at it, refuse to try, I am sure that is how it goes!

Now we really enjoy dancing together, there is lots of laughter, a little skill and a baby enjoying the music from the sidelines.

5 Cooking, baking, eating and blogging about it

Say no more...

6 I love taking photos.

I am the scourge of my social group. I am always popping up with my camera and it's not always welcome. You see, I do believe in candid shots. They are always the best.

I love taking photos of the beautiful Scottish countryside. I continually trail behind when I am hillwalking, because I am so busy taking in the views and snapping with my camera. Luckily my friend Alistair is usually lagging behind taking photos too.

I love taking photos of architecture.

My holiday snaps are littered with buildings and doors. Especially doors with lots of rust, graffiti or peeling paint. Don't ask me why doors, they just appeal to me. The same qualities are good on boats too.

Taking photos of food for my blog is more about trying to get the composition right and enough daylight in the shot. Not such a joy for me. Give me a rusty door or boat any day!

7 Home

This is a truly sad one, but I would be remiss, if I didn't say it made me happy. I love it, I mean I truly feel happy when I have finished all the housework and the house is neat as a pin and sparkling. There is no better feeling! I am sad, aren't I? I can't help it, it makes me happy. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't particularly enjoy doing it, but the sense of accomplishment when it is done, is great.

I never seem to get to the end of it these days. I wonder why?

8 Making lists

Graham always finds this very funny. I am often the brunt of jokes when I say, "I must make a list!". I do have to make them, as my memory is shocking at times, but I have to admit, I enjoy compiling a list. I will make a list for anything. A to-do list, a shopping list, a list of books I have read, recipes, well they are just a list with instructions, aren't they, a list of ideas for my blog or recipes I want to remember to try, lists of birthdays, of gifts given, money spent, bills paid, places to visit, a list of the dvds I have and so it goes on and on and on. At any point in the house, I can quickly lay my hands on a notebook and pen. Which leads on to my next joyful obsession.

9 Stationery

Yep, I love stationery and especially notebooks. I have spent many a happy hour in Paperchase. I was overjoyed when Borders opened in Dundee, complete with a Paperchase concession and distraught when it closed down. 5 minutes ago, I discovered, they have an online shop. Yippee! Greetings cards, gift wrap, notebooks, pens. Lovely!

10 Water

I love the sound of the sea. Waves crashing against the rocks or lapping the sand on the beach. The sound of a waterfall or rain pattering against a window. It is so mesmerising and relaxing.

10 Bloggers Who Brighten My Day

As you can imagine, it is very difficult to choose from the many great blogs and great friends out there, so I would like to say you all bring me joy every day and this is but a small selection.

1 Johanna (Green Gourmet Giraffe), not because she gave me an award, but because I enjoy the daily glimpses into her life with Sylvia. I have a similar taste in vegetarian food, so a visit is always enjoyable and lastly, I count her as a good friend in the blogosphere.

2 CC as I call her (The Caked Crusader). Who wouldn't enjoy visitng this blog and drooling over all the gorgeous cakes? They never fail to please.

3 Wendy (A Wee Bit of Cooking). A fellow scots lass, who lives in a really beautiful part of Scotland. I just love her amazing landscape photos and reading the tales of her cute little dog Marco. The food is pretty darn good too :)

4 Charlotte (The Great Big Vegetable Challenge). I so loved going on a journey through the alphabet of vegetables with Charlotte and her son Freddie. If you are suffering withdrawal symptoms, then I encourage you to buy her book Great Big Veg Challenge: How to Get Your Children Eating Vegetables Happily. It's not just for children you know. It is full of yummy recipes.

5 Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream). A light and airy blog. A happy place, with some lovely cakes and a new baby called Rory.

6 Mangocheeks (Allotment to Kitchen). I was always impressed and a bit in awe of Mangocheeks with her ability to take fresh produce from her allotment and come up with amazing and different recipes every day. She is now working from a small kitchen garden instead of her allotment, but the delicious recipes just keep coming.

7 Dana (Dana Treat). Alongside her blog, Dana has a catering business and oh what delights she cooks up for her clients. They are very lucky, very lucky indeed. If you want truly gorgeous food, that is put together with flair, then this is the blog to visit.

8 Ruth (Once Upon A Feast). Ruth created the most amazing food event, you may be familiar with it, I am sure you are, but if you have been on another planet for the last three years, it is Presto Pasta Nights, an amazing weekly roundup of pasta dishes from around the world. Friday nights just wouldn't be the same without it.

9 Chele (The Chocolate Teapot). This is quite a new blog, one that I only discovered this year, but I am glad that I did. Lots of lovely baking and chocolate. Just what I am in need of on a daily basis. It's fab!

10 Sarah ( The Ordinary Vegetarian). I only came across this blog last September, when I noticed that Sarah had linked to one of my soups. I am so glad I did. Sarah is another vegetarian who cooks the type of food I enjoy the most. I do love seeing what her next dish will be.

Now for the boring bit. For my 10 happy place bloggers, if you would like to collect your award and think about joining in and passing it along. Here are the guidelines:

1. Copy the award image into a post
2. Then list 10 things that make you happy
3. Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day
4. Put in a link to their blogs
5. Notify the award receivers
6. Award recipients must link back to sender's blog

Now for the baby!

Oh how we laughed as he had his first experience of a baby bouncer. One that he should be too young to go in. Someone needs to tell him he shouldn't be able to support his head without help yet. How we rolled about the floor with tears streaming down our faces as he bounced around in cicles chortling as he went.

And last but not least, the reminders.

No Croutons Required - The Chickpea Round. Soups and Salads need to be emailed to Lisa (nocroutonsrequired@googlemailcom) by the 20th March.

Hotel Chocolate Giveaway. If you live in th UK, then why not leave a comment here for a chance to win a fabulously thick easter egg. Entries must be in by the 28th March.

Sorry for such a mammoth post. Thanks for bearing with me, it sort of gathered speed as it went!


Whoops! Mummy brain strikes again! I was planning to give an award to two of the blogs that are new to me and that I love. Chocolate Teapot and Chocolate Log Blog. I somehow managed to mix them both together. So here goes, my 11th award goes to:

11 Choclette (Chocolate Log Blog), another lovely blog where I go for my fix of chocolate and cakes. I can never leave without bookmarking her latest creation.


  1. My favourite thing about awards is getting pointed in the direction of some exciting new blogs. I'm looking forwards to checking out your recommendations (I already follow half of them) :)

  2. That is one cute baby you've got in your arms! He looks like an angel.

  3. Oh, we're laughing along with you at the pur wee bairn shoved into that horrible device of bouncy torture!

    Love the pic of you. Good cut!

  4. Well done on your award - well deserved. I LOVE your ten things - you write so elequently Jacqueline - you have a flair for it. Your son is just gorgeous. A lovely cheerful post :) Lucie x

  5. So many things to be happy about. Little Cooper is quite the out mamma:D

  6. Hi Rachel, I think that about awards too.

    He is Andrea, he is :)

    Och, he loves it David :)

    Thank you Lucie, you are very kind :)

    I know Val, he is charming everyone already. He smiles up at them, bats his long eyelashes and coos :)

  7. That cooper just gets cuter and cuter - I love seeing him in green and he looks so grown up in the bouncher - sounds like a great place to watch mum and dad dancing a bit of salsa and having a nice wine :-)

    Thanks for the award and I love your lists of happy things and bloggers - so much stuff I was nodding my head at - I have the photo bug too - now tell sylvia that we are having a little photo shoot and I have lots of fun trying to take photos of food while she tries to grab it - but I wish I could photograph beautiful old doors like you

  8. Congrats on the award, and love your list! I laughed at "sleep"--I don't have a baby, but love it, too! And so sweet that "home" makes you happy. Cooper is just adorable! :)

  9. Hi Jacqueline - I enjoyed reading your list - it's a good one. Thanks for nominating me for this award. The blog you have given, however, is not mine. Chele is the Chocolate Teapot to which you have linked and I'm more than happy for her to get the award. Mine is Chocolate Log Blog.

  10. Thank you, Jacqueline! Shall get to this soon.
    The wee one is looking cuterthan ever!

  11. thanks Jaq. you sound very much like me - housework, wine, lists....

  12. Thanks for the award - I am very pleased to brighten your day!

    As for your list - items 7-10 would definitely appear on mine!

  13. Dear jacqueline. Oh wow, I love the picturesque of wine in the garden. Lovely lovely! my rule with drinking is that I can't have my first glass until the Sprog goes down at 7pm (otherwise the first glass renders me too relaxed to get her to bed on time!). With a lovely long Scottish evening, I'd still be able to do that!

  14. ooh lots of lovely new blogs to check out - and a timely reminder to get my email in, cheers! :).

    Cooper's adorable :)

  15. Jacqueline, Cooper is so CUTE!

    Congrats on your award, well deserved.

    Btw I love Oyster Bay wine, good choice ;o)


  16. Cooper is SO adorable!!! I loved reading your list of 10 - I confess I take great joy in the results of housework too! :-) You're not alone... :-)

  17. Waw,...that's a lot of info about you, your husband & the baby!! Yeah!!

    it was fun reading more about you!!

    Greets from Brussels!

  18. Ouuuuu look at little Cooper. Give him a big hug and kiss for me :)

  19. Jacqueline,
    Firstly let me congratulate you on your Award.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and learning more about YOU, and your dear family. I so adore the photographs of Cooper, he certainly is growing and sure knows how to capture a girls heart with that gorgeous smile.

    Now may I Thank you so, so much for humbling and nominating me with this award. I am truly touched by your kind words. Your blog and Johanna's blog Green Gourmet Giraffe were the first two inspirational veg-friendly blogs I came across and instantly adored. That feeling still remains. I would like to repeat what I said to Johanna, Thank you so much for the kindness and encouragement you have shown me. It has been greatly appreciated. I have always been made welcome by you both and cannot tell you how much I appreciate that kindness.

  20. what an enjoyable and positive post. You're in a happy place for sure. Cooper is just adorable. I love seeing his photos on FB.

  21. Did you notice that Cooper has a Giraffe on his sleepsuit Johanna? I thought you would like that touch :)

    Thanks Ricki :)

    So sorry Choclette, I did make a booboo! See what happens when I don't make a list. I told you my memory was appalling. I have corrected my mistake. I did intend you both to receive the award :)

    Thanks Wendy, I think so too, well to me he is cuter every day :)

    Great minds think alike Beth :)

    Hi CC, I had to go back and remind myself what 7 - 10 were. See, it is that appalling memory again!

    Hi Little Miss Moi, yes I may have to adjust my set-up now I have a baby. Of course, I could have a night off and pass the baton to his daddy for the evening :)

    Hi Claire, oh, I do hope that means you have an entry for NCR :)

    I am glad you are enjoying Oyster Bay too, Maria, it is just so delicious, but pricey at times. I keep an eye out for it going on special.

    Hi Astra, thanks for making me feel less of a sad case or at least one in good company :)

    Thanks Sophie :)

    Will do Cynthia :)

    Thank you for your kind words too Mangocheeks, they gave me a glow inside :)

    Thanks Joan :)

  22. Lovely 10 things and such a delicious little one! Take it all in and believe me, you will eventually sleep again....and then the wee one will be a teen and you'll be up wondering where he is.

    Thanks for the award. I really appreciate it.

  23. Congrats about the award and what a cute post! Your baby is adorable. :D

  24. Cooper is soooooo cute! And I want a go in the bouncer - it's looks great fun!

  25. Congrats on the award! Love reading about you....I make infinite lists too. A big family joke! (I also find them years later stuck in cookbooks, mostly!)
    Your baby is a doll and having the time of his life!

  26. Thanks Joanne :)

    Yeah,I know what you mean Alex, I will be having a go on the swings once he is old enough.

    I'm glad it's not just me Barbara :)

  27. Awww, cute for sure! Aren't they lovely at that age?

  28. Thank you so much for the mention! I am honored to be in that group. Your little man is so adorable. I can't believe how big he is getting. I'm so glad you are enjoying him. It just gets better.

  29. Aw what a sweet photo of you and Cooper. I love making lists too! I make them all the time. It makes me feel so much more organized and productive even if I never complete the things on the list.

  30. Just got home and saw the notice for the award! Thanks so much for the award, I'm way flattered :) I really enjoyed your list, too, so many wonderful things to be happy about.

  31. So many things to be happy about. Little Cooper is quite the out mamma:D


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

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