Liebster Award


(In true acceptance award style) – Firstly, I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad, for making this possible, my teachers, for teaching me to write, WordPress for providing a platform for this nomination…ok ok enough of that!

But seriously, I am truly honoured to receive three nominations for the Liebster Award, and would like to thank Stranger in a Strange Mind, Once Upon a Hot Flash and Breath of Freshness for the nominations (and for the welcome distraction from my Uni assignment.) 😉 Please do check out their blogs because I think they are all absolutely awesome writers, not to mention the fact that they are genuinely cool people indeed!

Here are the questions I was asked:

From Stranger in a Strange Mind:

  1. What’s the last thing you think about before going to bed? I usually fall asleep to a guided meditation. I have trouble switching off otherwise – I think it’s nice to begin and end the day on a peaceful note. I highly recommend Glenn Harrold (think a cockney Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels accent – but with less swearing and more inspiration) 😉 I highly recommend meditations before sleep if you experience trouble sleeping (something I was plagued with for almost a year some time ago) I found sleeping tablets made matters worse and meditation has helped greatly! Even if you sleep easily – it’s a great way to end the day on a peaceful and positive note.
  2. What’s your favorite word, in any language? It could even be a made up word, like flurble, for example. No, I don’t know what it means. I love the word Sacapuntas. (It means pencil sharpener in Spanish.) That – and the word ‘sponge.’
  3. Would you want to live forever? Why, or why not? No. I’d like to join my Dad in the afterlife when my time comes – I want to experience heaven and to see my loved ones once again.
  4. Describe your childhood pet (or the one you wish you had). Alex was our big, white, fluffy Samoyed. He’d been part of our family since my sister and I were babies – he had the most wonderful temperament – when we were toddlers, we used to ride him like a horse! (Poor Alex – no wonder his back legs eventually gave way…) 😦 I remember having to say goodbye to him in the back garden when I was 11 – I clutched hold of our gentle white fluff ball and cried my tears, not wanting to ever let go.
  5. What minor thing bothers you more than it should? General untidiness. Messy rooms affect my mood a little more than the average person. I wouldn’t say I have OCD (or at least, not diagnosed anyway : / ) but I can’t sit in an untidy room and feel at ease…My Mum says I was the only kid in the world with a tidy bedroom (I actually remember polishing my shelves from a very young age…Ok – now this is getting weird!)
  6. What food will you absolutely not eat? And I don’t mean due to allergies or any other conditions, just food you plain don’t like. Cucumbers (and water melons). They sort of have that same weird taste. I will eat anything but those two things! I think it stems from my school days when I never touch a salad or a vegetable. I forgot my packed lunch and Mrs White (one of the dinner ladies) made me eat a ham salad sandwich – the first thing I bit into was the cucumber and I puked on my pinafore. I’ve tried and tried again to like it as I’ve gotten older, but it’s just not happening.
  7. What does the word ‘comfort’ mean to you? A bubble bath, tea lights and relaxation/meditation music playing in the background. Then fresh clean sheets to climb into afterwards with a nice book 🙂 Oh – and stew with dumplings! Yumminess.
  8. What makes you smile, no matter how grumpy you’re feeling? People with no inhibitions. My Dad would always cheer us up by acting daft – and if I’m down in the dumps, I never fail to laugh at a daft lass (or lad).
  9. What personality trait or quirk of yours do people notice the most? My easy going nature? People tend to confide in me a lot (my friends, my colleagues, even the children at school seem to seek me out to tell me of their troubles, great and small!) I’ve been told that I am easy to talk to, and give good advice.
  10. Is it really better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? Yes! A life without love is a life without true meaning or substance (and I mean all kinds of love – for your family, your pets, your friends) – and even if that love is lost and brings us deep sorrow and pain – the memory of loves greatness is forever imprinted in our hearts and will always remain. Love truly has the ability to heal.
  11. Also, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (Ok, ignore that second question) Well – as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood! 😉

From Once Upon a Hot Flash

1.  Why do you blog? I have always loved writing and figured the only way to get a true idea of whether or not people will respond to my words, would be to write publicly! I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a child, and blogging seems the perfect way to commit to a daily writing practise, to receive feedback from other bloggers and to grow as a writer!
2.  What is your favorite song? I like a lot of songs and it’s hard to choose just one favourite, but I often play this track by Queens of Stone Age – I Sat by the Ocean. I saw them live at Leeds Festival this year and they were out of this world! I also like Wish You Were Here by Incubus – I played this a lot when I was on my travels and thinking of my family. But I guess my all time favourite song would be Forever Young by Bob Dylan.
3.  If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? Hawaii – I really want to wear a coconut bra and a grass skirt and dance around a fire!
4.  What is your favorite day of the week? Saturday.
5.  What did you want to be when you grew up? An author and illustrator.
6.  Morning person or night owl? Morning person – I’m usually tucked up in bed by 10pm.
7.  What is your motto in life? ‘The grass isn’t greener on the other side – it’s greener where you water it!’ and ‘Be kind whenever possible – it is always possible.’
8.  Dog or cat or neither? Dog. I really want a dog called Spencer.
9.  Five adjectives that best describe you? Loyal, geeky, optimistic, passionate, kind
10.  What is your most favorite thing to do? Walking in nature, cooking good foods, writing, reading, yoga, lifting weights, playing the drums, belly laughing and spending time with loved ones.

From Breath of Freshness:

  1. Which famous person from the past would you have lunch with. Why? Siddhartha Gautama – I think it would be a very peaceful and enlightening lunch date.
  2. What do you consider to be your superpower? My ability to remain fairly optimistic in the face of adversity. I believe every dark cloud has a silver lining. We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose how we respond to circumstances.
  3. What character would you like to be in a novel? Hero, Villain or Other? Piglet. Hanging out with Eeyore, Tigger and Pooh Bear would be ace.
  4. What would you like to invent? An umbrella that doesn’t blow inside out.
  5. Which is better Marvel or D.C comics? I don’t know either of those comics – but my favourite comics as a kid were Beano, followed by Asterix and Obelix, then Dandy.
  6. Have you ever howled at a full moon? Would you? No, I haven’t. And yes I totes would!!!
  7. What is your favourite movie of all time? The Lion King.
  8. We don’t choose our names, if you could choose what would you name yourself? I used to really dislike my name – but it’s grown on me as I’ve gotten older. If I had to change it I’d probably use my middle name which is Jade – but since I have finally accepted my first name – I think I should show it some love and loyalty and remain a Hayley. (Although being called Jet or Storm would be pretty cool…now they were some impressive female Gladiators!)
  9. Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Half full.
  10. What is your favourite comfort food? Meatballs and noodles. And sausage butties…and Haagan Daaz Vanilla and Cookies ice cream. (Believe it or not – I tend to eat fresh wholefoods – but if I’m feeling wicked and sinful – I’ll bosh on these bad delights!)

Here are the people I nominate (sorry if you’ve already been nominated) – I figured you could just add my questions into your current Liebster post (if you wanted) and answer away! That way people can learn even more about you! I’d love to hear your responses!

1. Diary of a Little Bird
2. Tales of Liberty and Lesser Things
3. Stranger in a Strange Mind
4. Bali Info
5. All That Chatter
6. Shine On
7. Still Life with a Grad Student
8. Sweet Aroma
9. The Scribbling Stone
10. Beyond Beirut

To my nominees! Here are the questions I pose to you:

  1. What is your favourite colour? Do you associate that colour with anything in particular?
  2. What is your most embarrassing moment? The one your friends and family like to remind you of!
  3. If you could change one thing from the past, what would it be? Or do you prefer to live with no regrets?
  4. What is the funniest joke you’ve heard in a while? (Don’t worry if nobody else finds it funny – as long as it makes you laugh!)
  5. What is one of your first memories from your childhood? It can be the simplest memory, or one which stands out for a particular reason.
  6. How would you like to be remembered?
  7. What is the most inspirational book you have read (fiction or non fiction) – or the one that has left the biggest impression on you?
  8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
  9. What makes you literally laugh out loud? (and I mean full on belly laughs!)
  10. Finish this sentence: “I wish…

Here are the rules:

  • Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  • Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer the ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make ten questions of your own for your nominees.
  • Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.

Buon Appetito!

Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!
Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory. Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.


If I am honest – when I first read the prompt for this assignment, I thought – Oh crap! Really?  And for a teeny tiny nano second – I even considered inventing a believable tale of how my sister and I would help Mum to rustle up oodles of home baked goodies in the kitchen, mesmerised by the tantalisingly tasty treats on offer; of how we would revel in that childish privilege of licking the spoon clean, whilst our fingers and faces became all mucky and sticky with chocolate, butter and flour; or even a story of how we would watch Mum in her pretty apron, humming a song as she basted the chicken ready for roasting – the aromas of gravy and stuffing sending our senses into a wild spin of anticipation. Later we would gather around the family table, talking about this and that, sharing our highlights of the day over our shared love of great food… But, (and I know Mum wouldn’t mind me saying this – she’d be the first to admit it) the truth is – Mum couldn’t cook for shit!

I know that sounds a little harsh, maybe even a little ungrateful – but it’s the truth! Mum’s cooking has been the brunt of our family jokes for years – so why disguise the fact that my childhood memories of food are anything less than, shall we say, unsavory? The thing is – we were never really a meat and two veg family, and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t touch a single vegetable until I was fifteen years old! (That’s when Gran decided to put an end to our dietary disasters once and for all.) We weren’t even an easy spaghetti bolognaise or lasagna kind of family – the only spaghetti we ever ate came from a tin and were shaped like rubber rings. Pizza? No problem – Mum would pull a pizza straight out of the box from the freezer, bung it in the microwave for two minutes, and buon appetito! Italian city eat your heart out! …Except, we would then bite into said pizza, and the hot cheese (which was now a melted, microwaved mess) would slide off the top, flop onto our hungry little chins and burn the crap out of us in the process! Not bad if you’re in need of a chin wax – but at six and eight years of age, that most definitely wasn’t the case.

Since pizza wasn’t working out, Mum tried her hand at chicken burgers. What could go wrong with chicken burgers? Well – let’s just say, that after Mum had finished with them – the chicken content, which was punching around zero to begin with, was now pushing well into the negatives. Mum would cook the breaded burgers for so long, that any chicken that once existed had completely evaporated into thin air – leaving behind an empty black sack of breadcrumbs (which she would then disguise under a dollop of spaghetti hoops.) Mum got good at hiding her crispy concoctions beneath hoops and beans. She regularly told us that charcoal was good for us!

So with Mum’s culinary skills leaving much to be desired, it might explain why, for four entire years of my childhood life, each night for tea I ate nothing but chicken flavoured two minute Super Noodles and Campbell’s tinned meatballs in gravy. I know I know, I am hanging my head in shame as I write this. (I must also point out that I wasn’t force fed such mush day in day out – I actually asked to be served this less than palatable dish.) To put it bluntly, it was the only meal that Mum didn’t screw up! If you’ve ever cooked instant noodles, you’ll know that over cooking them simply produces a sort of noodle soup. The same is true of canned meatballs (which, I remember, had an unnatural resemblance to the food our cat was eating at the time – and a similar sort of smell) – but they had just enough jellied gravy to withstand a good intense stewing before running the risk of total cremation. So this is what I lived off for four years. Partly because Mum was a pushover, and partly because she had so much trouble mastering boxed freezer food, that all refusal from my sister and I to eat anything remotely resembling a vegetable, simply relieved Mum of the arduous task of producing a home-cooked dinner!

Well, it all came to a head when I was fifteen. Gran, who had grown tired of making Christmas dinners only to be asked by Mum to serve, for me, a separate plate of Super Noodles (‘super’ merely referring to their miraculous inability to burn!) with Campbell’s tinned meatballs (which were not, in fact, balls of meat), and to leave any vegetables off of my sisters plate, finally said to my Mum – “That’s it – if these children won’t eat proper food, then they will eat nothing at all!” My sister, who at the time was edging the strategically hidden swede to the side of her plate, almost cried. And so it began, Gran made it her mission to teach Mum how to cook and to invite us round for tea once a week so that she could wean us onto real food.

Not long after, when I turned seventeen I moved to Spain, where my love of real food and full flavours blossomed and bloomed even further. I delighted in Mediterranean dishes such as Paella’s, Tapas, calamari and albondigas (that’s Spanish for meat balls – and yes! They contained actual meat!) It was in Spain, that I discovered my love of seafood, salads and all things fresh. I also learnt how to cook, since my job as a waitress required me to help out in the kitchen if we were missing a chef. I cooked carbonara, omelettes, entrecôtes and bocodillos – so many delightful dishes that, up until then, were completely alien to me. There was no end to what I was willing to try. My fussy food days were over!

As my travels expanded, so did my palate. In Australia I discovered fresh sushi and Japanese food (available on every street corner and one of my absolute favourite dishes); in Thailand I fell in love with the harmonious combination of flavours that constitutes Thai cooking (and thus, my love of curries and all things spicy grew); my love of spice led me to try Indian cuisine, which I simply adore for its rich and succulent mix of diverse flavours.

As for my Mum, you will be pleased to know that she has also graduated from crispy charcoal and microwaved mush! She has been a vegetarian for eight years now (whether that’s a firm stance against cruelty to animals, or a ploy to avoid the responsibility of rustling up a joint of meat, I have yet to decide!) Just kidding…Mum genuinely loves animals – and whilst some of her dishes do arrive straight from a frozen Linda McCartney box – she has mastered a handful of home cooked meals – one of which is Christmas dinner! And yes – we all gather around the table, my Gran included, talking about this and that, giggling at the memory of Mum’s disastrous cooking.