Thursday, 26 July 2012

Liebster Award

Exciting News!  Abby over at Back at Square Zero has chosen me to receive a Liebster Award!  I'm really thrilled about this for a few reasons.  Firstly, it's a way of sharing some not so commonly asked facts about myself with all of you, and secondly, it means that (hopefully) I get to learn a lot more about all of you too!  So, here it goes...

So what is the Liebster Award:
The Liebster award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they've tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs.

11 Things About Me:

1.  I’m originally from Indiana, but moved to England at the age of 18 with my university (Ball State University).
I still have no idea what's in the box!
2.  My husband and I used to be penpals.  He’s British and when I moved to England to study, I turned up on his doorstep!  This in itself is a bit of a miracle because he hadn’t written to me in a while and so all I had was an old Christmas card with most of his address – [  ]8 Marlborough Road… I knew that I was missing the first number, so I proceeded to walk down Marlborough Road and knock on all the doors that ended in 8!  He lived in the last house!
3.  My husband and I are passionate about amateur dramatics – we have our own club, Mustard Seed Players.
4.  I love Twilight – the books and the films.  I’m not proud of this, it’s taken me quite a while to own up to it, but now that it’s out in the open I feel so much better!  In case you’re wondering, I’m Team Edward without doubt! 
You are the glow...
5.  I love curry.  I love to cook it, I love to eat it.  I actually think I should have been born in India I love it so much!  Oddly, I never actually tried it until about 8 years ago when I worked in London.  A colleague of mine was Indian and took me to the most amazing restaurant called Bombay Palace (I later discovered that literally every other Indian restaurant in London is called Bombay Palace!) – but this one was fab.  It was the start of a lifelong love affair with spice!
6.  I am an only child.  Growing up my parents decided that they would like to host a foreign exchange student, so when I was 14 years old my ‘sister’ Nina from Germany arrived!  She was 18 and we fought like cat and dog for the year she lived with us!  But, 22 years later (yes, I am 36 now), we are still in contact and either she comes to visit me, or we go to visit her in Germany at least once a year.  She became and always will be my sister :-).
Me, Nina, and Will & Kate (and a plate of chips!) at the Royal Wedding
7.  My favourite place on earth is the English Lake District.  It’s in the north of England, about a 6 hour drive from where I live.  We go there at least once a year and climb the mountains there.  The mountains, or “fells” as they are called in the Lake District, are quite small by most standards (ranging from 1000-3300 feet), but they’re still quite a challenge to climb.  And the views from the top are utterly amazing.  I can’t think of a more rewarding experience than climbing a mountain.  There is sheer beauty and utter silence.  It’s an unforgettable experience!
Buttermere Lake - doesn't get much more perfect than this
8.  I love to sew.  My mother passed this passion onto me.  I’ve made various things to sell from time to time, mostly for church fairs, but I have sold some pretty amazing cushions in London!  I went through a period of making wedding dresses to earn a bit of extra money, but the stress that this put on me was SO not worth the reward!  I still make myself and my daughter dresses in the summer and handbags from time to time.  I love vintage fabrics.
One of my own handbags
9.  My favourite colour is green.  I think this stems from my love of nature and being outside.  I grew up in rural Indiana and played among the dogwoods.  I had loads of toys, but nothing captured my attention more than just running outside and playing in the mud!  One of my favourite things is to walk barefoot through the grass – I love the cool feeling of the soft grass between my toes on a hot summer’s day!

10.  I am completely and utterly terrified of flying.  I appreciate this sounds totally absurd coming from someone who clearly had to get on an airplane to get to where she is today – but at the time I came to England I didn’t have the fear.  It only came later and it wasn’t really anything in particular that triggered it, I just suddenly decided that I liked to have both feet firmly planted on the ground!  I never let it stop me going somewhere I really want to go, or need to go, but I am a nervous wreck the entire time!
11.  I have two tattoos.  One is an ankh on my ankle which I got when I was 17 and went to Australia for the summer.  The other is horrendous and I wish it would go away!  It’s a very ridiculous Egyptian eye shade around my belly button (seriously, what was I thinkin?!), which has been stretched and distorted over the years through weight gain, weight loss, stretch marks, pregnancies, blah!  I can’t tell you how many times I heard a midwife say “that’s…interesting” when I went for antenatal checks or scans during my pregnancies!  I’m not anti-tattoo – I still love the one on my ankle – but I wish that someone would have made me think about the implications of getting a tattoo on your tum before you have babies!  Maybe eventually when I lose all the weight I’ll be able to have a tummy tuck and they’ll just cut it off!  Here’s hoping :-)

Abby's Questions for me:

1.    Why did you start blogging?

I actually started blogging after I came across a very inspirational blog called Runs for Cookies.  Katie was such an inspiration to me both in terms of her weight loss and her journey to become a runner.  I really loved how her blog chronicled that journey.  I thought a blog would be an excellent way to keep a record of my weight loss and fitness journey, but also a way of connecting with other people who are going through the same things.

2.    What has been your favorite part of the experience so far?

My favourite part of the experience so far has definitely been connecting with so many amazing people!  It has been so encouraging to read about other people’s experiences, trials and victories!

3.    If you could gain one thing from blogging what would you hope it brings to you?

Well, the main reason I blog is to help me mentally through the weight loss journey, so if I could gain one thing from it I would hope it would be an understanding of how to maintain my weight loss for good.  I have previously lost 100 pounds, but gained most of it back because I didn't incorporate permanent changes to my lifestyle.  I am hoping that by blogging it will keep me on the straight and narrow!

4. What are you most looking forward to right now?

Without doubt, my holiday in the Lake District in August!  I am already planning which mountains we're climbing and studying maps!

5. What do you do when you are stressed?

In times gone by I would have binged.  I would have gone out, bought a huge bag of Mars Planets chocolates and many Dr Peppers, along with pretzels, popcorn, etc and eaten the lot - probably in one sitting.  Now I either go to Pinterest (somehow looking at pictures of stuff I can never afford relaxes me!) or I go out for a walk/run.  In addition to this, I will generally talk it out with a friend.  Nothing compares to good friends when you need to relieve some stress!

6. What is one food you could not live without?

As mentioned already above - CURRY!  I love ALL Curry, chicken curry, prawn/fish curry, beef and lamb curry - from Kormas right up to super, knock your socks off spicy Vindaloos!  And most of all - the Peshwari naan.  God bless the little Indian man (or woman) who thought to put coconut in naan bread!

7. If you could only watch one TV show a week what would it be?

Hmmm... I'm not a big TV watcher.  What my husband and I tend to do is to buy whole series on DVD's and then watch them in bulk.  This is mainly because all the good American TV shows take ages to get over here, whereas they're available much earlier on DVD.  If I could choose only one, however, it would have to be The Office.

8. Where is your dream vacation?

I would love to go to New Zealand.  I went to Australia when I was 17 and loved it, but having seen so much of the New Zealand landscape (confession: via Lord of the Rings!), I would love to go and spend a good month down there just exploring!

9. What is one goal you are currently working towards?

One goal I'm working towards is actually becoming an Interior Designer.  I'm doing a course at the moment through KLC and will have a qualification at the end of it.  It's quite tricky fitting in the time to study with kids and everything else that goes on in my crazy life - but I'll get there eventually!  I love design, fabric, colour and everything associated with it, so think this an ideal career for me!

10. Do you have any children or fur babies?

Yes!  I have two children.  Josh is 12 and Verity is 10 years old.  They are both equally as crazy as I am and I love that about them!  Josh is without doubt more like me and Verity is more like her dad - both in terms of personality and looks.  Josh is very easy to panic (ahem.... yes!), he worries about things (again... yes!), but he's also very outgoing and determined (yes and double yes!).  Verity is incredibly artistic - a trait she gets from both her parents, but she's also very quick tempered (dad!).  The kids get along well together as a general rule and I'm pleased having grown up as an only child, that they have each other.

11. Favorite ice cream or fro-yo flavor?
Favourite ice-cream flavour is coconut!  I love good ol' plain chocolate too - but coconut is awesome!

And now my questions to all my lucky recipients:

1. What inspired your blog name?
2. What do you like most about blogging?
3. What was your dream job when you were a child?
4. Where is the furthest place you've ever travelled?
5. What is the strangest or most exotic food you've ever tried?  And did you like it?
6. What is your favourite film?
7. Who is your favourite TV show character?
8. Do you have a crazy, far-fetched ambition and what is it? (for example - mine is to be an Oscar winning screen writer, or to climb Mount Everest!)
9. If your friends could describe you with one word, what would it be?
10. If money were no object, where would you live and why?
11. What is your favourite book of all time?

And finally here are my chosen recipients for the Liebster Award!

Does this scale make me look fat?
Eating Away Ernie
Minus One hundred
Hello Fitness…We Meet Again
Can I borrow that?
Losing It
Burning lbs by Bridge
Goal of Losing
Spicing up my life
Skinny Sonja


  1. Thank you so much for the including me in your list of recipients of this award! You are the third person in the last two weeks to give me some kind of blogging award!!! I'm flabbergasted! Every time I publish a post I'm thinking...ugh...that was so poorly written or that I rushed...and that no one is going to keep reading my blog for long. I am very honored...thank you again. :)

    1. Thank you for your fabulous blog! You're very honest in what you write and as someone who is new to running too, I find it really helpful and inspirational :-)

  2. I loved getting to learn more about you. I still think it is very cool we both went to Ball State. The story about your husband is amazing, like straight out of a story book and I too have recently discovered curry and love it and think coconut makes everything, including ice cream, better.

    1. Thanks Abby and thanks for passing the award onto me - I think it's such a fantastic way to get to know people better!

  3. Thanks so much for the award Mary! This is so exciting and such an honor :) I love learning more about my fellow bloggers and am an only child too!

    1. Thanks for your amazing blog, Laura! The more I read, the more I realise we've got SO much in common!

  4. You make me want to travel to the English Lake District. Right. Now. You're picture is so peaceful and lovely! thanks for sharing! I enjoyed learning more about you!

    1. Thanks Margot! Get on a plane - now! The thing about the Lake District is that SO many people visit there every year, including loads of foreign tourists. But they mainly go to Hilltop Farm and all the Beatrix Potter attractions. Not many venture out onto the fells, and it's a shame because that's the best part! If you want to totally fall in love with it, get the books on fell walking by Alfred Wainwright. He devoted his life to mapping the mountains in the Lake District - his maps, drawings and writings are truly inspirational!

  5. Thanks for giving me the award! I plan to do it soon--I've just had one of those crazy, headache-inducing weeks. Ugh! Anyway, I love your lists!