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Huge thanks to all of you for visiting and commenting. You have made 2016 a year to remember, not least from visiting your blogs and relishing your art, your writing and your humour.

May 2016 bring you everything you need for a peaceful and happy life.

Take care and keep laughing!


Valley Rose Countdown Calendar
Valley Rose Countdown Calendar

Once upon a time, as older followers will know, I used to pop over to the blogs of new followers to say thank you. Since the end of November, it has been impossible to keep up, partly because I had no computer or internet connection from then until mid-to-late January and partly because you’ve followed me in your droves! I am immensely grateful for your support and this post is a long-overdue thank you.  I hope you will accept these virtual chocolates and Jelly Belly beans as small tokens of my esteem.

Eat Me! Jelly Belly Candy Tins
Eat Me! Jelly Belly Candy Tins

I adore Jelly Belly beans and as soon as I knew my niece was flying out to stay with me last month, I asked her to find and bring me some as I have not been able to find them in our Cretan neck of the woods. She couldn’t find them in her part of London either…until, that is,  she walked into duty-free at Gatwick! Needless to say, I’ve now eaten them all and am having withdrawal symptoms!

Get Out, Greedy Guts! Jelly Belly Candy Tins
Get Out, Greedy Guts! Jelly Belly Candy Tins


I’m also taking a leaf out of Jason Cushman’s book by offering the floor to all of you. Post a comment with a link to one of your posts that you’re particularly proud of and let’s get to know each other.

Keep Calm and Then Scream Chocolate Countdown Calendars
Keep Calm and Then Scream Chocolate Countdown Calendars

Take care and keep laughing!


A Thousand Thanks 3 Ring Binder
A Thousand Thanks 3 Ring Binder

Take care and keep laughing!


A Bountiful Thanksgiving

It’s a funny old world and I never thought I would feel this way but all of you have become very important to me – I think of you as my blogging family (pass the sick bag, Monica—quiet at the back!). I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving where I come from — well, there’s the Harvest Festival in the UK but it hasn’t been made much of for years except by the Church). However, I wanted to use this day to thank you all for your sterling support and encouragement. It’s extraordinary how loving and warm it feels to have you around.

When my computer (instead of me, just for a change) went to hospital in April, I missed our conversations — the funny as well as the sad. When my ex-husband died in September, I was overwhelmed by your compassion here and on Rogues & Vagabonds. I had not expected to feel quite as distraught as I did at his passing so that when so many of you propped me up with your comments, it made a world of difference.  So…


I leave you with this delightful scene from The Marx Bros’ A Day at the Races which sees Groucho making sure to mind his Ps and Qs! If you didn’t recognise the allusion in my title (yes, I know you did, Maedaz!), this clip will explain.

May all your Thanksgiving celebrations be warm and wonderful.

Take care and keep laughing!



No, well, the Oscar doesn’t go to me, nor does the BAFTAEmmy or any other performing arts award. When I was young, I’d written that Oscar speech before I’d even been to the audition.  As yer do.

I wouldn’t cry, unless I could manufacture one delicate teardrop down my right cheek. I wouldn’t thank everyone by name, thereby boring everyone knicker-rigid, and I certainly wouldn’t go on at length, ad infinitum, till the cows came home. As Groucho once said, I’d rather stay with the cows till you came home.

The speech would be short and simple, and discussed endlessly. I’d be in the media for a goodly time for the exquisite gown I would have worn. Probably something like this—but in black and with a scattering of tiny, real diamonds—none of yer paste jewellery, thank you very much.


Ok, so that’s not going to happen. In any case, why should I care when I have, in the last year, received so many blogging awards? I’ve not had time to do anything about them, hence this post, which is to explain that finding the time to do all that’s required of an award is always going to be beyond me.

And I also feel rather as Phil Taylor does:

Let’s get this one right out of the way now. It’s not an award if it requires you to do anything you normally wouldn’t,  like turn around and give it to fifteen other people.  There’s no other awards in life that require you to do work. “And the Oscar for Best Actress in a Drama goes to Meryl Streep, but only if she can name fifteen other actors that deserve it!”

This post is my apology and thank you to the lovely fellow bloggers who have showered me with all manner of trophies from the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, the Influential Blogger Award, and One Lovely Blog Award to the Inspiring Blogger Award, the Versatile Blogger Award, the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, and the Liebster Award. (That’s quite a mouthful—I’m not sure that even with my diction (exquisite, darlings) I’d not stumble over them in a public speech.

This a long-winded way of saying, as you may have noticed from the image in the sidebar, that I have become an award-free blog. My special thanks are to the following beautiful bloggers for giving me such delight. In no particular order, I give you:

The Crazy Bag Lady
Moorezart (two awards!)
Chronic Conditions & Life Lessons
Los caprichos de Julie Delpy
Magpie Creative Writing Services
Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life
Writer’s Notebook
The Linden Chronicles
Andrés Cifuentes
Rebecca Bond – Classic Re-tellings of Modern Tales
Alex Raphael
Yesterday After
Kyrosmagica (again!)
Charles French Words Reading and Writing (for one of my other blogs, First Night History)
Gringa of the Barrio
Cooking with Reena
Wild Star Landing

I do hope I haven’t forgotten anybody. If I have, let me know!

For anyone who doesn’t see the Award-Free logo and nominates me, I will do the next best thing by adding a link to your blog by updating this post.

Take care and keep laughing!


Purple Silk and Satin Thank You Greeting Card
Purple Silk and Satin Thank You Greeting Card by FirstNightDesign

I’ve always been a little dubious about the efficacy of Twitter and Facebook when it comes to promoting my wares. Perhaps I should think again for no sooner had I promoted this Thank You Greeting Card on both networks, than I sold eleven customised copies: a delightful turn of events.

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F Kennedy

“Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.” Marcus Aurelius

“Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.” Anonymous

Take care and keep laughing!



This new design is dedicated to you, yes, you!

A day I was looking forward to and rather dreading has arrived and that’s because you have followed and liked First Night Design on this blog, on Facebook and on Twitter to the extent that I can’t keep up.  I’m delighted, of course, but….

It galls me that I don’t have the time or the stamina to thank you all individually and explore your blogs and Facebook pages and websites.  Forgive me.

Saying or writing ‘thank you’ was a big thing in my family.  Even now it seems wrong to say ‘thank you’ by email so even if no one else does, I shall be buying not a few of the above greeting cards!

Bless you all for your support and encouragement and comments.

Oh, by the way, the woman in the photograph is the Hollywood actress Norma Talmadge (1894-1957) and is from The Library of Congress.

Director Clarence Brown once called her “the greatest pantomimist that ever drew breath.  She was a natural-born comic; you could turn on a scene with her and she’d go on for five minutes without stopping or repeating herself”.*

Take care and keep laughing!


Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings & All Things Wonderful for 2013

A huge thank you to all my followers and customers everywhere!

Take care and keep laughing!



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