Exploring the world through the web

Experiencing life in any way you can.

Long time no write! April 26, 2012

Filed under: Blessing Blog 2012 — Claire @ 11:29 pm
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Sorry I have been a bit quiet recently, I haven’t vanished into thin air, well not completely! I’ve been fairly overwhelmed with life – I think I may have been a bit overambitious with the number of projects I’ve taken on! Problem is there all things I really, really, really want to do! And they all have time limits on them so I have to do them now or not at all….

Mum and I went away for a long weekend to Bury, which was brilliant; but exhausting. A shock to still find that I can’t travel more than about an hour in a car without getting a symptom flare up. It was still nice to get away, even if we spent most of the time in the hotel room. We did discover an amazing vine yard – Wiken Vineyard. Now I’m not into wine; but they had an incredible farmer’s market and they did breakfasts that were out of this world!!! I had blueberry pancakes with bacon and maple syrup and hot chocolate. Wow that’s making my mouth water just remembering it…


Award winning hot chocolate at Wiken Vineyard. I was too hungry to wait to take a picture of my blueberry pancakes!

I took a social media break while we were away – my first in about ten years, I didn’t even look at texts! It was weird not blogging and I kept thinking of things I wanted to paste on Facebook; but it was also kind of nice to be present in the moment. It made me decide to take a break from blogging daily as I was running out of things to say – who’d have thought it?!!!

I have kept up writing though, I’ve gone back to my novel and set myself the goal to write daily which I’m loving; but writing this post has reminded me how much I also love blogging. I thought creative writing/fiction was what I needed; but I think I’ve realised I need to do both. So here’s to blogging at least once a weeek. 🙂


Blessing 80 – Lighter Evenings and Singing Birds – Spring is Sprung. March 20, 2012



I’ve been gradually noticing the lighter evenings; but tonight for the first time I really appreciated that spring was here. I’ve even been able to sit out in the garden the past two days which has been wonderful! The spring flowers are out, with lots of brightly coloured daffodils and the fresh green of new leaves is emerging on the plants and shrubs. It feels really hopeful.

I’m making the most of the nice weather while it lasts, since we had a great spring and then a poor summer last year. You feel like you have to be out in the sun as much as possible, I’m doing all I can to up my vitamin D levels. I even took the laptop out and sat writing some of the virtual London trip today. Topically I did the day set in Kensington Gardens and drew on the sounds and senses around me, including some very chatty blackbirds, to help imagine the experience. I did visit the park years ago; but I’m going to be roping in some of my London friends and traveller contacts to help add some more details to the virtual experience. I’m going to create some virtual Olympic games events to do while at the park, that will also be living room /bedroom friendly. That’s tomorrows task – I’m hoping I’ll be able to get outside again, I feel much more creative when I’m in the open air!

Spring is probably my favourite time of year. Everything feels so much more hopeful, anything seems possible and there’s the promise of a beautiful, warm summer ahead. Let’s hope the weather listens and delivers on the promise this year!




Blessing 42 – Escapism, freedom for the soul February 11, 2012

We all live to escape, whether it’s through books, television, films, the theatre, music, art, video games, the imagination, even travel. We lose ourselves in another world, a world where things are different, where somebody else has the highs and lows, where we can watch from afar, safe from the hurt and heartbreak. As humans we’ve been doing it for as long as we’ve been telling each other stories, passing on tribal law or ancient legends. We enjoy living vicariously through others, it brings us joy and adventure in a controlled environment. Society is founded on our desire to escape from reality.

We spend billions of pounds every year to escape from the lives we have. Does it bring happiness? Absolutely. Does it allow us to cope with the pain and the fear of the great unknown we face every day? Definitely. Does it bring long-lasting satisfaction? No.

It’s why we always crave more, another good book, the latest film, the next episode on television. The need to escape is like an addiction, you need the next fix, the next installment to get you through the day, through your life. Take it all away, the books, music, films, everything and make everybody go cold turkey, living reality 24/7 and the world would come to a screeching halt. I don’t believe we’d be able to function without it.

Is it wrong to want to escape? I don’t think so, because of my ME, I’ve spent the majority of my life wishing I was somewhere else, living another life. In fact the whole point of Holidays From Home is the ability to escape your reality and go to another place, it’s helped me through some horrendous times; but wouldn’t it be amazing if the life you were living was enough, that you had all that could possibly need without slipping into someone else’s reality.

I don’t believe it’s possible to remove our desire for escapism, it’s just not how we were designed. The world would be a duller place without the generations of great story tellers, who have transported us and helped our spirits soar, whatever their choice of medium.

Science and technology is credited with the success of humans, our ability to create and solve problems; but maybe it’s really down to our imaginations and our ability to withstand the challenges and suffering we face, by emotionally escaping real life, if only for a short while.


Blessing 26 – Generosity of Spirit January 26, 2012

People in general get a bad reputation, there’s a very cynical sense that everybody is out for themselves, not interested in anybody else. When you have a bad day, with difficult people, it’s easy to feel disillusioned; but there are so many great people in the world. I’m reminded of this all the time; but especially when I work with volunteers, who help to produce virtual day trips for places they have visited.

They get in touch because they like the idea of Holidays From Home and normally they are travellers who love to share their adventures. They often have one country that they are particularly passionate about and you can tell because their whole face lights up when they talk about it. It pulls you into the place and you started to get excited to. I’ve added so many places to my list of “one day holidays” because of the volunteers.

Friends and family can get bored hearing all about your holidays; but with Holidays From Home, the travellers have a captive audience who want to hear about the different places, what they’re like to visit. The trick is to capture their enthusiasm and experience, and then get them to write the holiday describing the places as if it’s the reader who is actually there. It’s all about their experience, bringing them as close to the atmosphere of the destination as possible.

Today I met up with Derek who produced the virtual trip to Switzerland. It’s fantastic, I had so much fun reading it and then finding web cameras and other related sites to add to it. The singing marmots were one of my favorites! Derek was so pleased with the final result and so excited to share the day trip with everyone he knew, even publicising it to some different magazine’s he reads. Doing the publicity for me!

I get so much from Holidays From Home, it’s lovely to see other people benefit in the same way and that’s not even thinking about the people who read the virtual holidays, they are normally ill or disabled and can’t physically get to the places, so this is the next best thing. I’m so grateful to the volunteers who give up their time to help others, I’ve met some lovely people because of Holidays From Home, people I would never have met otherwise.

If you have been somewhere that you would love to share with people who are house bound and unable to travel then please get in touch. If Derek and the other volunteers are anything to go by you’ll have as much fun writing it as people will reading it.


Blessing 7 – Winning a ticket to Be the Change Event! January 7, 2012

Great news – I won a ticket to Be the Change Event! http://bethechangeevent.com/

Bad news – it’s in Florida and I’m housebound in the UK. 😦

I’ve been taking part in a series of free webinars this week, run by Darla LeDoux called Profit SOS. www.profitsosevent.com There have been two calls a day with some really amazing and inspiring speakers, talking about life and business. It’s been brilliant, really interesting and aligns with so many things that I’ve been thinking during the past few weeks, not just personally; but also for Holidays From Home. It’s helped to focus me and find my path again. I think the best thing I got from it was to trust myself and do what feels right, it sounds so obvious; but what feels right to me is often very different to what most people do, so it’s hard to trust your gut at times like that. I mean who on Earth does virtual holidays and parties? That’s insane right?! Yet somehow it works.

Anyway, I tweeted or re-tweeted a lot of things from the calls, keen to share the information with others, because I found it so helpful and thought others would too. By doing this I was picked as one of the two winners of a ticket to Be the Change Event, so exciting; but heartbreaking as well because not only is it in Florida, the top place on my to visit list;  but the conference is over my birthday, the exact time I’ve been wanting to go to Florida. It’s just so frustrating.

It is a blessing to win though, out of all the hundreds of people who were taking part in the calls, so I am trying very hard to be grateful and believe that something positive will come from it all.


Blessing 2 – Free Stuff – aka My Word of 2012 – Abundance! January 2, 2012

I’ve heard of quite a few people choosing a word for the year – I did it in 2010 and this was what I chose:-

“After giving it some thought I’ve decided my word for 2010 will be Awakening.
I want the world to awaken to my business Holidays From Home and the idea of virtual holidays. I would also like to awaken my own potential and skills.”

I don’t remember doing it for 2011, last year; but I think if I did then my word would have been Challenge, I faced a few, some of my own choosing, some not so much; but I definitely learnt and grew because of them.

For 2012 I’ve decided my word will be Abundance, well positive abundance. It seems to some up for my huge desire for more of so much :- energy, health, money, social life, friendships, people helped by Holidays From Home, travel, fun, love, opportunities. I just want more, I’m ready for more! Good things that is, just more good things. I know I already have a lot of those things; but I want to grow and expand further, do more, be more. The word abundance covers that.


a·bun·dance [uh-buhn-duhns]


1. an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply: an abundance of grain.
2. overflowing fullness: abundance of the heart.
3. affluence; wealth: the enjoyment of abundance.


Anyway that brings me on to today’s blessing – free stuff! I seem to be attracting a lot of that in the last two days and for me it’s a sign that the abundance is already manifesting, maybe not in the way I expected; but certainly in a way that I’m enjoying! Mum and I did some sales shopping on New Year’s Day – our tradition and we managed to get some great bargains; but we also had Boots points which we used on a perfume selection to share and we found some book tokens! I get a very strange thrill of joy entering a bookshop, wandering round looking at all the books. Unfortunately it’s recently been tempered by a guilt over spending money on books when I can get them for free from the library or cheaper online. Having tokens meant I could shop at my leisure and there was a sale on so the books were cheaper anyway! Joy of joys!

If you saw my choice of books I think you’d assume that they were for a few different people; but no they were just for me. I’m an eclectic reader! I got A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (teen-fantasy), California Dreamers by Belinda Jones (chick lit) and The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins (science). I love the feel of a new book, one that nobody else has read. The way the covers slightly squeaks as you open it and then the peeling sensation as the first blank page turns to reveal the title, before you get to that first glorious page of text – so exciting!

The abundance continued today when I found a £10 token I had for a local craft shop that was due to expire on 16th. I’d had it for six months and had completely forgot about it so I was thrilled to find it! I treated myself to some gorgeous material for my quilt. I’m feeling quite creative at the moment and really want to get down to some crafting again.

We did visit a pine shop and I fell in love with a pine four poster bed! It’s not my normal style; but it was gorgeous. Unfortunately it’s £750! So now I’m putting it out there and hoping the abundance continues and one day I’ll be able to go back and buy it!

So today I feel very blessed by all the free things I’ve received. Free – that’s definitely my favourite price!


Would you rather… December 7, 2011

Topic #328: Would you rather have £50 million (changed to £’s so I got more money 😉 ) or live for an extra 50 years?

I would rather have £50 million and improve the quality of my life and those I love, right now, than have 50 extra years and not be with my family and friends. Especially if it was 50 years getting older and older, becoming more and more frail, that wouldn’t be fun at all.

Plus fifty extra years of living with ME would just be awful, I’d much rather live a normal life. If however I could be guaranteed health and youth then I’d be slightly more tempted by the extension.

There’s a lot of things I would love to do with £50 million, travel, buy my own house, invest more in Holidays From Home, outsource projects to my dream professionals, support my family and do the things that only money can buy, like hot air ballooning, staying in luxury hotels, VIP tours. I’d also be able to invest a tonne of money into biomedical research into ME and then maybe I’d get the good health too! Perhaps I’d invest in research to live another 50 years . 😉