The World Around Us – Making Sense of Things


by Donna Alward

This month’s theme is “The World Around Us”. It’s one of my favorites because it’s one of the easiest things to do – connect with the world that surrounds us. What “fills” our own personal wells varies, depending on what you find enjoyable. I know some people who love the city and can’t imagine the quiet of the country. Others who are indoor people and not outdoor. In case you haven’t noticed, neither of those people is ME. LOL. I’m a nature girl. Well, minus the ticks and spiders, but I love being outside and away from commotion and clutter (aka not much of a city person).

Last month my daughter and I attended WORD ON THE STREET, a literary festival that happens across Canada every year. After we had lunch, we walked back to our parking spot through the Public Gardens…much nicer than a congested sidewalk, don’t you think? This picture is from an earlier visit.

I also walk between 3-5 km a day (depending on weather and how sprightly the dog feels). For a bit, I was putting in ear buds and listening to music. But then I felt like I was missing out on something.

Iris Refund 009I live in a “country residential” area, so things are pretty quiet around here. Lots are large, lawns are *still* green, there are tons of trees and well-kept gardens. I stopped using the earbuds because music was all around me. It was just in the wind in the trees, the chatter of squirrels, tweets and squawks of birds (depending on if it’s a junco or finch or a bluejay, lol). It’s in the sound of my feet on the pavement and the occasional shush of tires as a car goes by. It’s in the sound of my breathing.

The other great component of my outdoor walks is that I can use my senses so much more (hence the blog title). I smell fresh cut grass or blooming flowers or, at this time of year, the autumn scent of fallen leaves. One morning I was coming up a path and saw a yearling buck staring at me from the woods, not thirty feet away. Heck, I can even bring taste into it now and again, when the blackberries are ripe along the path. I’ve been known to stop and snag the odd one.

Christmas-at-Evergreen-Inn-by-Donna-Alward-300I’ve really started to appreciate those walks as a time out and a way to really stop and notice what’s happening.

So. I’ve heard in lots of places that it’s good if you can find a way for your blog subject to tie into your current release. And I can! Go me! Here it is: in CHRISTMAS AT EVERGREEN INN (releasing tomorrow), Todd convinces Lainey to get a little Christmas Spirit by wandering around Jewell Cove with him. She’s been boycotting the holiday as much as possible, but it’s hard to resist crisp, cold snow, hot chocolate, and fresh shortbread. The day leaves Lainey with a new appreciation – for Christmas, for Todd, and for herself.

CHRISTMAS AT EVERGREEN INN hits digital shelves tomorrow. :) You can read the first chapter HERE.



The World Around Us: Getting Out of My Comfort Zone by Barb Wallace


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I was learning to lighten up.  That’s only one of my recent life goals. Another is to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

As you’ve probably guessed, I am driven by a desire to remain interesting, vibrant and relevant during my elder years.  While I can’t stop time from making me older, I can keep my world from becoming so small that I am unable to see beyond my own doorstep or needs.  That I believe, is the danger when we fail to challenge ourselves.

Untitled design-2Thing is, challenging ourselves is hard.  (Hello – that’s why it’s called challenge.)  It’s also scary because challenge brings with it the very real prospect of failing.  Who likes to fail?  I don’t that’s for sure.  Failing flies in the face of every pragmatic, prudent lesson of my childhood.

(By the way, lest anyone think I’m blaming my parents for everything, I’m not.  I prefer to think of it as using them as inspiration.)

Anyway, staying safe does keep you from falling flat on your face.  It also keeps you from dealing with pesky nerves and anxiety – both of which I suffer from in spades.  I am, after all, a champion catastrophizer. (Don’t believe me? Read last month’s post.)

Sadly, it also means you never grow.  “Who cares?” you might say.  “I don’t have a problem with not growing.”  And maybe you don’t.  But I’ve seen what happens to people who refuse to push beyond what they know.  The world around them changes and they get left behind.  Their world becomes smaller and smaller.

For a long time I resisted change.  I had a therapist once tell me that the reason I had so much trouble fighting my depression and anxiety was because being unhappy was my comfort zone.  It was too uncomfortable for me to do the things necessary to make myself happy.  (Because change is uncomfortable.)  I really hated that she had a point, and for a long time refused to acknowledge her wisdom.

But then I turned fifty and had that time is getting short thought.  I was getting dangerously close to the point in my life where I was too old and set in my ways to push myself.

So I’ve started stepping out of my comfort zone.  Some of this involves trying new things, like new foods. Some involves pushing myself to take on new challenges, like tackling a new writing genre or running for the national board of RWA.   And some involves much smaller things, like swallowing my discomfort when the house isn’t as clean as I would like or the guilt when I tell my husband we’re having sandwiches for dinner because I’m on deadline.  (Those challenges are the hardest by the way.)

Supposedly, by doing this – stepping out of my comfort zone that is – my comfort zone is growing.  We’ll see if that’s true.

What about you all?  What’s the last thing you did that was outside your comfort zone?  What would you like to push yourself to do?



Barb Wallace’s latest book, BEAUTY AND HER BILLIONAIRE BOSS, a sweet romance from Harlequin Romance, features two people who need to enjoy life more themselves. You can purchase your copy through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Harlequin and iTunes.


Top ten list of must-sees and must-dos for my neck of the woods


This month’s theme is: The World Around Us. So I thought I’d share some of the reasons why I think you should all come and visit my part of the world. Where is my part of the world, you ask? I live in Newcastle on Australia’s east coast, just a short two hours north of Sydney. While I might be a touched biased, I think Newcastle is the perfect base for experiencing some of the best the state has to offer.

  1. The Beaches! Sapphire seas and glorious stretches of golden sand abound in Newcastle. Most of them are patrolled by surf lifesavers in the summer months. These two are the closest to me—one is five minutes away, the other is ten minutes away. When you live in Newcastle, you’re never too far away from a beach.

This is part of the Merewether, Dixon Park, Bar Beach strip…there are three different surf clubs along this particular beach, and an ocean baths at one end.


Iconic Nobbys Beach

  1. Newcastle has a thriving art scene. There’s an annual literary festival, the This Is Not Art Festival, the Young Writers Festival, a film festival, not to mention museums, theatres and a plethora of art galleries.


  1. The Hunter Valley vineyards are only 45 mins away. Some of the best wine tasting in the country is to be had here. Plus rolling green hillsides filled with grapevines! It’s a beautiful sight. Happy sighs.


  1. Port Stephens is an easy hour-drive north and is one of the prettiest places on the planet. It’s the go-to place for dolphin and whale watching (not to mention an abundance of any kind of water sport you can think of). When I need to get away just for a day, to unwind and fill the well, this is where I head.
This is just a fraction of the bay taken from the Gan Gan Lookout.

This is just a fraction of the bay taken from the Gan Gan Lookout.

Fingal Bay (one of my fave spots in the world)

Fingal Bay (one of my fave spots in the world)

  1. Newcastle Cathedral. It’s not grand on the scale of historic European cathedrals, but history buffs will love it. Also, for $2 you will be given the key to the belltower. You go up, up, up the stairs…and then a spiral staircase…and then a ladder… Believe me, it’s worth it. The views are spectacular.
The cathedral is on top of the hill. This is the view from the other side of the harbour.

The cathedral is on top of the hill. This is the view from the other side of the harbour.

  1. Lake Macquarie is a mere fifteen minutes away. It’s the largest saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere. At 110 square kilometres (42.5 sq miles) it’s twice the size of Sydney Harbour. You can hire a boat, take a lunch or dinner cruise, or just picnic on the banks in one of the many parks.


  1. Newcastle is a mere 2 hours north of Sydney so it’s easy to get to the state’s capital. There are good rail links between Newcastle and Sydney. You can enjoy the best of both worlds—the cosmopolitan hubbub of a bustling city (Sydney) with the more relaxed pace of Newcastle.


  1. The Harbour: Newcastle Harbour is a working harbour. There’s nothing quite like lunching in one of the many restaurants or cafes along the foreshore and watching the tugboats bring a ship into the harbour.


  1. The Hunter River and Morpeth: take a lunch cruise up the Hunter River to the historic township of Morpeth—a National Trust classified river port whose days were effectively over by 1890 (when a road system was established between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley). The town’s comparative isolation means that its historic shopfronts, wharves and even the hitching posts along the main street have survived intact.


  1. Have you ever wanted to meet a koala face-to-face? If so, head to Blackbutt Reserve—182 hectares of natural bushland in the heart of Newcastle. There are nature trails, picnic areas, wildlife exhibits…and the chance for a close encounter with koalas (and reptiles if you’re game).


So you see, there’s a bit of something for everyone. :-)


Have you ever visited Australia? If it’s on your bucket list, is there something in particular you’d like to see? And for those of you who do live here, what’s your favourite thing about living in Australia?


The World Around Home


Happy Monday everyone!

This month’s theme is notice the world around and I have to admit this is the first year in a long time that I’ve been appreciating the world a bit closer to home. I’ve traveled to a lot of places and appreciated some beautiful places around the world.

Here’s a picture from 30 years ago where I caught a rainbow over some English countryside:





But there’s one place I continually failed to appreciate – home. I’ve always been the type of person looking for that next adventure, that next place to explore. After four years in Michigan, I’ve started to realize there’s a lot here to explore and appreciate.

I used to dread the harsh winters. Now, I’m looking forward to it. (Part of me is wondering if this happiness with winter is a function of my snow blower actually starting this weekend.)

The driving can be tricky at times but the cool air brings about a feeling of content. I’m not a hot summer person. I love watching the first snow blanket the ground. This weekend, grey clouds covered the sky and it rained a lot. I didn’t stand out in the rain but I opened my garage door put a chair to the edge and read a book while enjoying the weather.

This coming weekend I’ll be hiking with my youngest and his scout den. Looking forward to the scenery and fresh air.

I will try and share some pictures with my next post.

Is there anything about your home that you’ve learned to notice (or appreciate) over time?

Abbi :-)

Binge-Watching and Binge-Reading



I’m one of those people that when I get hooked on something new, I want ALL the episodes or stories, and I don’t want to wait. Take “Breaking Bad,” for instance. I’d heard about it for years, with friends raving about the show. Then one winter break, I was home alone and on deadline with a week before the family returned, and there was a “Breaking Bad” marathon on. i DVRd the entire thing, and watched three or four episodes a day after I finished writing for the day. Finished all the seasons in the course of one week (and one long marathon day of watching, after I turned in my book).MEMES-youve-watched-7-years-of-television-in-8-days-and-thats-never-meant-to-happen

I’ve got a long list of shows I’ve done that with: “Orange is the New Black,” “How I Met Your Mother,” etc. All I can say is thank God for Netflix, because it lets me binge watch in peace. :-)

I did the same thing with books like Stephen King’s The Green Mile. I knew if I bought each one as it came out, I’d be dying in between for the next one. So I waited for the compilation (same with Wool by Hugh Howey) and read it all in one sitting. Right now, I’ve got a new series from Dennis Lehane waiting for me to finish the series I’m currently reading. Then one book after another, I’ll work my way through these characters who become such a part of my days that they are almost real.

I know my readers feel the same way when I write a series and it’s a few months between releases. That’s the great thing about ebooks–if you want the past books in the series, you can instantly download them on Kindle or Nook. Instant gratification! I only wish I could write them as quickly as readers want to read them!

Tell me, do you binge read or binge watch? If so, what’s the last thing you did that with? Or do you prefer to wait for the next week’s episode or next month’s release?


tycoons Proposal(and if you want to binge on  my Barlow Brothers series, the latest one, THE TYCOON’S PROPOSAL, is out right now!)

The Glamorous Life of a Writer


view from Hotel room 1Normally, when I say this, I’m being sarcastic. Today I am not. :) Here’s where I am.

It’s a writer’s conference. Basically, we come to Ninc to learn the latest and greatest technologies, including ways to help you find our books.


Still this…

view from hotel room 2



being here…Doesn’t hurt. :)

I hope to come back with great news and insights. If not, I had a margarita for everyone. :)


And btw this fits into the happiness project because every “class” for work should take place in such a fun place.


Happy Reading…


susan meier

Read Chapter 1 of D.L. Eagan’s The Liars for Free


Today’s guest chocolate is author D.L. Eagan.  She’s here to introduce her new dystopian series, The PostPlague Trilogy.  I’ve read the book and it’s fantastic!  And I don’t like dystopian fiction.  She’s provided a free first chapter.  I urge you to check it out!  (Barb Wallace)


I’ve been writing romance, specifically historical romances, as Denise Eagan for 20+ years now. I never thought I’d work outside of the genre until I saw The Hunger Games in 2012. Like 3 times. And then read the entire series. More times than I can actually count. And then saw all 3 movies (I can’t wait for the last in November!). And then read the Divergent series, and then The Maze Runner series and then The Giver. Somewhere around mid-Maze Runner I realized I didn’t just want to read dystopian fiction. I wanted to write it.

I truly don’t have the voice, however, for young adult fiction, and I’m not at all certain I have the creative mind for it. When I started to develop this series, then, it was for adults and of course I had to add romantic elements because that’s just who I am. Mostly, though, I wanted to explore the parts of dystopian society that seem to be typically left out of the mix—what it’s like to be a member of the dystopian government (a government gone wrong, which is sort of the definition of dystopian society—a society that is supposed to be utopian, but is pretty much the opposite). In this case, I wanted to answer the question: What if the only person who can take down the authoritarian government and its brutal dictator, is the woman who is married to him?


Freedom is the first lie. . .

274 years have passed since hatred, greed and corruption created the plagues that took down civilization. Out of the chaos comes a new religion, Reyism, and an ideal government, the Temple. The Temple generously provides all citizens with daily injections of life-saving serum, and an ideal test to assign them to their ideal jobs. They have achieved utopia, or so the Prophet preaches.

It’s a lie.

Neri Symmes’ survival depends upon lies. She must lie to stay alive. She must lie to keep her sanity, because anyone who challenges the benevolence of the Temple, or her husband, the Prophet, risks savage punishment and execution. Then Neri discovers that two friends, one of them an old flame, are embroiled in a desperate scheme against the Temple. Joining them might mean true freedom, but it also means deceiving her sadistic husband, who has all the power—and all the serum—on his side.

Download Chapter 1 for free right now:  The Liars

And for updates on other available platforms, giveaways and promotions, progress on the rest of the trilogy, and just random thoughts about coffee, chocolate and life, visit D.L.  at:

D. L. Eagan Facebook
D. L. Eagan Newsletter
D. L. Eagan Twitter @DLEagan
Or my blog: postplague.wordpress.com

Upcoming release: Christmas at Evergreen Inn


In a few weeks, the last Jewell Cove story goes on sale. It’s a bittersweet thing for me. I’m just wrapping up the first book in a brand new series set it small-town Vermont. I’m really excited about that, but I hate to say goodbye to Jewell Cove, too. It’s a special place, with special people. Maybe I’ll get to visit again someday.

Anyway, Christmas at Evergreen Inn wraps up the secret of the rumored treasure that’s been a part of each book. And of course there’s romance (first and foremost) – this time between handsome cop Todd Ricker (we met him in last year’s Christmas at Seashell Cottage) and Lainey Price, who runs Evergreen Inn. Last year’s hook was “baby in a manger” – this year it’s “no room at the inn”. Fun or what?

Here’s the info… and I’m in love with this cover. :)

Christmas-at-Evergreen-Inn-by-Donna-Alward-300CHRISTMAS AT EVERGREEN INN  

Jewell Cove Digital Exclusive

October 2015

Amazon / Barnes and Noble iTunes Kobo

Welcome back to Jewell Cove, where this holiday season, there happens to be no room at the inn…

When a December Nor’easter roars up the eastern seaboard, Jewell Cove cop Todd Ricker spends his day off being a Good Samaritan to stranded holiday travelers. But when the roads close and Todd can’t make his way home, he discovers that the Evergreen Inn is full up. Until another Good Samaritan opens her doors and offers him a place to stay…

Lainey Price is not looking forward to Christmas, but just because she’s not filled with the holiday spirit doesn’t mean she’s going to turn Todd out into the stormy night. Even if it means offering the handsome police officer the couch in her tiny cottage. But when the weather takes a turn for the worse, the two are snowed in for a wintry evening by the fire. With Christmas only a few days away, can Todd convince Lainey to open her heart to the season…and love?

Now how about a teaser? Lainey’s just explained why she has no Christmas spirit this year – her Christmas wedding last year was cancelled at the 11th hour, because the groom had already moved on…


He turned around and their gazes met. The alcohol had mellowed her quite a bit, reinforcing some of her barriers but breaking down others. She shouldn’t be staring at him so boldly. She’d deflected his questions but she knew she hadn’t fooled him at all.



“Why aren’t you in the mood this year? The real reason. Because most people at least put up a little tabletop tree or a wreath on the door or something.”

She swallowed against a lump in her throat. Damn him. He wasn’t teasing now, either, and it made him harder to put off. His dark eyes were soft with understanding, even though there was no way he could know. If he’d just been nosy, she might have been able to brush it off. But instead, it was like he cared.

“It’s just . . . well, I don’t know if you remember or not, but last year this time Jason broke off our engagement. It kind of ruined Christmas for me.”

“Right.” His eyebrows pulled together as he frowned. “Why did he do that again?”

She shrugged. “He said he’d found someone else. That it wouldn’t be fair . . .” Her voice wavered and she cleared her throat. “Oh, I’m not getting into the gory details. Let’s just say it tainted my view of the holidays.”

Todd nodded. “Well, if it helps, I think he’s an idiot. And because he’s an idiot, you’re better off without him.”

She stared into the fire, oddly touched by Todd’s declaration. “Intellectually I know you’re right. If he was in love with someone else, getting married would have been a disaster. It’s just that in the middle of all the Christmas joy and happiness, I was canceling wedding plans. We were having a Christmas wedding, you know. Everything had been bought. Dresses, flowers, decorations. Place cards had been printed, centerpieces made up, a wedding-night suite booked. And everything had been green and red. Ugh. Anyway, every time I see all the decorations and hear the carols and all that, it brings me down.”

“Then we need to bring you back up.” He stood back and crossed his arms. “You can’t let one person ruin the most magical time of the year. You’ve got to come out swinging.” It was a declaration, and one that sounded like he was about to do something about her scrooginess.

Please, no. She just wanted to get through the holidays in peace.

“Hey, I tried. A girl can only eat so many cupcakes before her pants get a little too tight.” She sighed. “You know what the worst part is, Todd?” She didn’t quite know why she was confiding in him so much, except that maybe she’d had a little too much whiskey and the fact that she no longer felt like she could vent to her girlfriends, who’d been so supportive in the early days. She knew they all expected her to be fine now and had probably gotten sick of her being such a downer. “The worst is that for the longest time I kept asking myself what she had that I didn’t. Was she prettier? Smarter? Funnier? Sexier?” She shook her head. “Man, I sound so stupid saying that.”

He took a step toward her, uncrossing his arms and relaxing his posture as he turned his back to the fireplace. “Not stupid. Human. You are pretty, and smart, and funny.”

“Yeah, my door’s being beaten down daily by men looking for the perfect woman.”

“I didn’t say perfect.” He smiled while the fire crackled and popped. “Know what else you are?”

She looked at him, waiting for him to continue.

“Sexy. Sexy as hell.”

It wasn’t fair how he said those words and her whole body seemed to respond. Darts of arousal shot through her body, centering in her core at the sound of his low, smooth voice. Something was definitely simmering between them.

“I wasn’t fishing for compliments, you know.” Her voice sounded a little hoarse. She hated that he could have this kind of an effect on her . . . and loved it at the same time. She’d needed the boost so badly.

“I know that. I thought it needed saying anyway.”

He took another step and was really close now, so close she could reach out and press her hand against the breadth of his chest if she wanted. She did want, but fear of making the first move held her back. Her breath was shallow, her body taut with anticipation as he lifted his hand and put it along the side of her face.

“Todd,” she warned, and made the mistake of looking up into his eyes. They were dark and seductive and oh God oh God oh God.

“Shh,” he responded. “Let me show you. Don’t move.”

She didn’t fight it, even though she knew she should. His lips touched hers, gently at first, soft and tasting like warm whiskey. They teased and nipped at her mouth until her lips opened on a glorious, surrendering sigh.

As soon as she melted just a little, he slid his other arm around her back and pulled her close. At the same time he deepened the kiss, his tongue tangling with hers.

Lainey didn’t think. Instead she disobeyed his order to remain still and slid her hands inside the hoodie, up over the warm, smooth skin of his back. Her fingers played over the firm muscles and she felt them shift as he tightened his embrace. His mouth slid away from hers and swept along the curve of her jaw, right to the sensitive point on her neck, just below her ear. A sound came from her throat, half moan, half gasp, and she felt him smile against her skin.

“So. Damn. Hot.” He breathed it against her neck.


Learning to Loosen Up by Barbara Wallace


Barb - pretending she isn't freaking out

Barb – pretending she isn’t freaking out

It dawned on me recently – probably during one of my monthly visits with mom – that I have, at best, two or three decades left on this earth. That’s not very long, when you think about it. And especially not long enough to spend it all worrying.

Unfortunately, for me worrying is kind of an Olympic sport. I was raised by a champion. My mother would – and probably has – worried about her role in solving Third World hunger. (I suspect the answer was something along the lines of cooking overly large meals and not finishing the left overs.)

Being a chronically uptight worrier pretty much sucks the fun out of things. While everyone else was having a good time, I was busy stressing out over whether I should be eating so much queso dip and whether were we being too loud for the neighbors. It’s kept me from fully embracing any experience, and from treating myself as well as I deserve to be treated.

So, while my fellow bloggers have been spending their time learning languages, doing yoga, and taking fun field trips, I’ve been dedicating the last couple of years to learning how to relax and, dare I say, loosen up. Take, for example, Wednesday night. I had a cocktail before bed, and ignored the voice in my head that says such behavior is a gateway to problem drinking. The other night for my anniversary, I went ahead and ordered the meal I wanted, rather than order from the middle of the menu like I normally do. And next weekend, when my husband and I visit Florida, I said yes to buying Florida Gators tickets without thinking about the cost (or about how spending money might lead to us becoming homeless and living on the streets.)

You may laugh, but these kinds of changes aren’t easy. A lot of them involve living in the moment, enjoying without overthinking. Problem is, human beings are programmed to think. It’s a necessary evil, lest our entire society drop into a cesspool of stupidity and hedonism. (I know, some of you are saying we already have.) For most of us – even those without anxiety disorders – our thoughts tend to snap back to one of three things:

  1. What could go wrong
  2. Mistakes I’m making
  3. Successes other people are having.

And I could add a fourth: All Three At the Same Time. (That’s my own special category.)

So how do we loosen up. Well, the key is to learn when it’s appropriate to think and when thinking is just killing your good time, and then apply good old self talk. Jon Kabat Zinn, author of Mindfulness for Beginners, calls this Adjusting your Default. A lot of times our “worries” are simply ingrained patterns of thinking. For example, my being convinced buying the higher end foundation will result in homelessness. Of course, I don’t actually have that exact thought. Usually it’s more an overwhelming sensation of guilt. Thus, as soon as I feel that rumbling of guilt hitting my stomach, I give myself a counter argument. Such as “Barbara, you have money in the bank account. $25 won’t bankrupt you.”

Slowly but surely, I’m getting better. Maybe by the time I finish the next 25 years, I’ll be truly enjoying myself.


Barb Wallace’s latest book, BEAUTY AND HER BILLIONAIRE BOSS, a sweet romance from Harlequin Romance, features two people who need to enjoy life more themselves. You can purchase your copy through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Harlequin and iTunes.


Paris might be t9780373743544_LPhe city of love, but it makes trainee chef Piper Rush feel lonely! It’s only the tentative bond she forges with her boss, brooding billionaire Frederic Lafontaine, that gives her the sense of belonging she’s always craved…

Gradually losing his sight, Frederic keeps everyone at arm’s length. But as Piper brings laughter and light back into his heart, she also opens his eyes to what life could be like…together. Can Piper convince Frederic that she is the missing ingredient to his happily-ever-after



Learning Italian and not getting the common cold…



can-stock-photo_csp8040842This month I’ve been seriously impressed by my fellow Chocolate Boxers’ enthusiasm to go out and try news things, learn new skills despite their incredibly busy lives. Most of them have children at home – demanding teens or even more demanding new babies. Some have older relatives that need their time. Some have a day job.

Writing is an odd occupation in that we completely immerse ourselves in the lives of our characters and the temptation is to spend every spare minute sitting at the keyboard spinning out their stories. Sometimes we have to do that — the muse calls and we obey. Sometimes, however, the muse deserts us, the well runs dry and that’s a reminder that we need stimulation, other stuff, life to prime the pump.

Writers who have a day job don’t usually have this problem. They have stimulation coming out of their ears; they drive, they ride public transport, they have the fun and frustration of a public life as well as all the kid drama.

Those of us who are empty nester stay-at-homes have to make more of an effort. This month I started an Italian class. I love Italy, I love writing about Italy and already, in week one I’m being stimulated by my classmates. Three of them are learning because of weddings with an Italian connection. How perfect is that? One is going to Sicily because her son is marrying into a Sicilian family. One is having half of Sicily coming to Bath for her son’s marriage to a Sicilian girl (the son – gorgeous! – is also taking the class) and another man’s daughter is getting married in Italy next year and he wants to know how to say “That is too expensive…” 

flu-common-cold-treatment-home-cute-cartoon-woman-sick-her-bed-ice-pack-thermometer-box-tissues-34727854My other learning experience this week was a talk by a Medical Herbalist (she’s a qualified doctor, a biochemist and a fully trained medical herbalist). She had a lot of stuff to say about treating the cause of illness rather than the symptoms, the useful stuff in your kitchen cupboard, but I thought her most interesting comments were about the common cold.

She treats them as “optional”. She has to; her audition talk for the WI was on the common cold and the fact that she never gets them. From that point on she could never cancel a talk because she had a sore throat! And she has never missed giving one of hundreds of talks in the intervening years.

Here’s how she does it.

At the first sign of cold (the little tingle at the back of throat and nose) she takes echinicea. It has to be really good stuff; if it doesn’t tingle on the tongue it’s useless. She also keeps a pot of onion syrup in her fridge and takes a teaspoon every time she passes. There are a load of recipes on the ‘net for the syrup. Here’s one I made earlier. 



Have a cold free winter!

Buon giorno. Arrivederci. Molto baci…

Liz Fielding has just spotted this new anthology at Amazon UK


Overseas readers can buy the book at The Book Depository – who charge a little more for the book but do not charge postage!

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