28 February 2011

My Oh My! Glamourous Jewels

It's Monday and in these parts that means I share a little bling to zing up the start of your week.

I'm really excited to introduce you to a most talented Australian jewellery artisan, Annette Piper.
Annette's store was one of my gifts of serendipity last week [thank you Millie for the tip] and I was beside myself when I opened 'the doors'.
As soon as I saw the sign that said 'Bringing Glamour Into Your Life' I knew this was the place for me!


Annette has the most stunning array of jewels and such a talent for combining them to create pieces that range from classic to contemporary with all sorts of gorgeous in between.

If you're a regular 'Gifter' you will know that my taste tends towards pearls and blue stones but Annette has cleverly swayed me to consider amethyst's and citrines.  I mean look at the pieces on this page, stunning right?


That's the thing about Annette, she not only creates the most amazing jewellery, her enthusiasm for gems means that when you visit her store you find yourself being intrigued by colours and names of stones that you may never have encountered before.


In addition to finding new favourites, I've bookmarked Annette's store as a one stop 'go to' for all things gem related.  I was delighted to learn that amethysts are actually one of my birthstones along with aquamarine, moonstone and jade.  If Captain V. ever needs to buy me something from her store, he can  go to the ring size guide and check it against something that I already have, likewise for necklaces.

For the fashion forward amongst you, Annette has a section with all of the Pantone colour forecasts for both Northern and Southern hemispheres - seriously I love this store!


Just when you thought that it couldn't get any better, Annette has a present for one lucky 'Gifter', a pair of classic white pearl studs. These are the perfect accessory in any woman's wardrobe and I'm so excited to think that it might be you who receives them.


To be in the draw just follow these simple steps and I will announce the winner this time next week.

1. Be a follower of this blog - I would like these beauties to adorn the ears of one of my 'Gifters'

2. Visit Annette's store and come back to comment on which pieces caught your eye

3. For a second entry, include details of the giveaway on your blog [leave a separate comment to let me know that you did this]

4. For a third chance leave another comment letting me know what your two favourite birthstones are

Good luck, we will close the barrel on Sunday 6th March at 2pm [AEST].

27 February 2011

A 'Double Burst' of Inspiration & A Little About Me

I know, it's Sunday and I never post on Sundays, but I've had a double-burst of inspiration so here we are.

My friends Cate & Naomi are the beautiful 'double-bursts' and they have inspired me to write a list of 12 things that I like about myself.  This is actually timely as it's something that I had put down on my '52-in-52' list and writing this post will enable me to tick off one more thing that I've achieved this month - thanks girls!

As someone who has been battling anxiety and depression for many years, writing this list doesn't come easily and there is a very loud voice in my head as I type yelling "Who do you think you are, no-one's going to want to read this, 12 you can't think of 12!". Rack off Gobbler of Good Thoughts!


1.  My name means happiness and I have a big smile, laugh and heart to prove it

2.  I have the capacity to inspire others with my enthusiasm - if I truly believe in something I will bring a huge amount of energy to make it happen and convince others too that it's a great idea

3 - 7  My parents have gifted me with many lovely qualities that I'm thankful for - my lovely long locks, big eyes, shapely calves and quick mind.  My mother has imbued me with an awareness of 'presentation' and this has enabled me to create my own style. For these and many other gifts, thanks Mum & Dad.

8.  My capacity to heal - I have had some big blows physically and emotionally over the last several years and I'm still here!

9. I have an appreciation for the inherent beauty in all creatures and things

10.  Public speaking is something that I enjoy - which is probably one of the reasons why I first became a teacher then a consultant. I've received lots of positive feedback from my students, parents, work colleagues and clients - so thinking that I do this well can't all be in my head!

11. I come from a long line of 'quality' people whom I'm proud of - I like that I can tap into that

12. Creative expression has always been a pleasure for me whether writing, drawing or making something. Although I'm still finding my 'voice' on my blog, I do enjoy creating this space and hope that it brings something to others.

So there you have it.  Thank you Cate and Naomi for the inspiration - it was a nice way to start my day.
Now, I'm off to amend my '52-in-52' list then make some ginger tea and Vegemite toast.

I hope you have a sparkling Sunday and may have been inspired to write your own list!

26 February 2011

Gathering Gratefuls - A Precious Piece of Plastic


Today as we gather with Maxabella to open up our 'Grateful Lists' I'd like to share with you one of the most valuable items I own for which I am truly grateful.

It's 8.5 cm x 5.5 cm.
Rectangular.
Made of hard plastic.

It lives in my wallet.
Has enabled me to escape to amazing destinations, decorate my home & meet new friends.
I used it yesterday and may even use it again later this week.

Any ideas?

It's my library card! 

No, seriously it is. You may have gathered from my sidebar that I love to read. Possessing an appetite for books (which another rectangular plastic card in my wallet can't keep up with) I've rediscovered my local library.

Yesterday I borrowed novels for myself, something to interest Capt. V, DVDs for everyone and the icing on the cake is a flier for a free workshop titled "Let's Get Digital" all about maximising social networking tools!

We have a hip new library in our neighbourhood which, like all bibliotheques offers books but so much more!  If you're ever visiting the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Cooroy, stay for a little while longer, drive to the end of the main street [heading North] and you will be struck by the architectural beauty of the new library. It's worth a visit even if the library is closed and you only get to stand on the grass rooftop.


So. with over 4, 500 activities happening in my local libraries this year, there's bound to be something for everyone.  It made me wonder how long has it's been since you've visited your local library?
If you haven't been in a while you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. It even makes a great place for peaceful blogging with their free WiFi facilities and plenty of inspiration!

Who knows, you may even be offered a precious piece of plastic of your very own!

To whet your appetite for reading right now, you must pop on over to Maxabella's and open a grateful list or three - it really is a wonderful part of my week and I would love for you to share the joy.

PS: Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes yesterday - I'm on the improve and looking forward to sharing my surprise with you next Friday.

PPS: For all of you who left a note last weekend and want to know how Captain V. fared, I've written a postscript for you here

Another card that I wouldn't mind having in my wallet - click on the image to find out more.

25 February 2011

Indisposed

Hello friends, a quick note to advise that the surprise that I was going to share with you today will be delayed until next week.  It seems that there is a nasty bug doing 'the rounds' and it found me, meaning that I'm going to be indisposed for a little while.



Too much information?
Terribly sorry, I didn't think I'd ever be sharing an image like this on my blog. I've a definite case of c'est la vie!

24 February 2011

The Art Of Living - A Gift of Blossoms


Today I picked the last of the Agapanthus blooms from our driveway border gardens.
Hoping to double their life, I've placed them on our sideboard in front of a mirror and they are delighting me with their cheerful faces each time that I go down the stairs.

I hope that you enjoy this gift from my garden as much as I do,

23 February 2011

Word Of The Week - Evanescent


Do you feel like your vocabulary could do with a little zhushing?  Then this is the space for you!
Each week I will unearth a new word to play with.  If you would like to join in, write a post incorporating this week's word, then come back and leave a comment with your link so what we can all read your work.
To make it easy for us to find your WW entry, incorporate the button into your post.

........................................................

Evanescent
[adj] Fleeting, ephemeral, momentary or transitory.
Fading away quickly. Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapour.
Barely there, almost imperceptible.


This beautiful word has delighted me many times of late. Whether written in a novel, evoked whilst reading your poignant posts or as I watched the bright moon fade behind a cloud the other night, it aptly describes the fleeting nature of life in its many forms.

I hope that it resonates with you too, perhaps you may use it in your own writing.

Before you write your comment today I'd like to you consider this. I know that there are many 'Gifters' who delight in words and enjoy playing with them in their various shapes and forms.  If this sounds like you and you think you would be interested in hosting a 'Word Of The Week' segment I'd be delighted to hand over the reigns for a week. Send me an email and we'll chat about a date for publication.

Until Friday, keep your eyes and ears open for evanescent moments,

22 February 2011

Two For Tuesday - Gennine Zlatkis

Tuesdays are my favourite day of the week where I like to share a gift of art with you and to play a game.
With great originality (hmhm) I've titled this activity 'Two For Tuesday'.

New 'Gifters', or those of you who are just popping in for a peek might like to have a look at the art which has been showcased on previous Tuesdays. This can be found in the 'Art To Enjoy' section on my sidebar.

Now for the game, this is how we play:

I present you with two pieces of art.
In thirty words or less, you share a thought about how they relate to each other or to your own life.

Today's pieces are from the studio of one of my favourite artists, Gennine Zlatkis.
Gennine lives in Mexico with her husband and young family.  
She blogs almost daily about her life as an artist and the wonderful landscape and home that she lives in.

Finding Gennine through blogging is one of my greatest gifts of serendipity because I absolutely adore  her work, particularly her birds.
It is a generous artist who allows us to to peek behind the scenes into their gallery and the world which inspires them and visiting Gennine is just such a treat. I'd encourage you to visit her - I'm sure you'll be inspired!

Choosing just two pieces from my huge list of favourites was another challenge this week but I present the following for your commentary....



...I'm sure that you'd love to see more of Gennine's art, pop on over to her Etsy store and enjoy!

21 February 2011

My Oh My! - Necklace, Ring or Earrings?

It's Monday and time for some more delicious bling!

I have gathered a selection of lovely jewels over the years, mostly in the form of earrings, rings and bracelets.
Lately I've noticed that there aren't many necklaces.  I do have a few that I treasure and they are mostly pearls. In fact, when I think about it, I don't have any sets of jewels.
For the most part, if given a choice, I have always selected something to adorn my ears, wrist or fingers.

Today's gems have been created by the immensely talented Artisanlook.
This team of Canadian artisans have created a mouth-wateringly gorgeous Etsy store with the most incredible handcrafted jewellery.
I particularly loved this set titled 'Emotions', for its beautiful simplicity.

If you were to choose just one selection from this set which would it be, necklace, ring or earrings?

Here's to a sparklingly gorgeous start to our week!

18 February 2011

Gathering Gratefuls - Loving The Skin You're In


Thinking about the title for this post I was considering a cowboy & western inspired theme.
You see I have joined a family of 'pale skins' and for an olive complexioned girl it has opened my eyes to a whole range of interesting new insights around the topic of freckles.

Fortunately we live in times where sun safety and skin protection are becoming more acceptable.
The children must wear hats to play in their lunch breaks at school.
At the beach, it's 'the norm' to see kids in rash shirts and zinc - a rarity in my childhood & teens.

When it comes to skin tones in our home, the Gifts have assorted shades of pale to accompany their variously hued hair - strawberry blonde to auburn.  Freckles?  Well they each have their share.

Every morning before school Cpt. V has to check, "Have you got your sunscreen on?".
Invariably the Biggest Gift says "Aw Dad!" and is reminded that one minute spent applying sunblock [within her 45 min morning hair routine] is us actually 'doing her a favour' rather than us trying to punish her!

Recently, we all had a salient reminder of the true dangers that sun damage to our skin can cause.

Captain V has very pale skin and although he is vigilant with sun protection, I am forever scouring him for signs of changing spots.  I'm very happy that I do.

Recently he has had two very nasty ones cut off his back.
The specialist who removed them was concerned that they might be melanomas and had a second, then a third opinion to ensure that he was correct in deciding that they weren't.
Of course, Cpt. V didn't tell me any of this until he had the 'all clear' which kind of peeved me but I understand that he did this out of love, not wanting to worry me needlessly.

This Thursday he returned to his specialist to have another cut out of his arm.
They had to cut a big chunk out of the muscle and he will be wearing a sling for the next couple of days. If this small inconvenience is the worst that we have to deal with, then I'll be very happy.
We I will wait anxiously for the results, fingers crossed they are all clear again.
So this week, as we gather at Maxabella's to share our lists, I am immensely grateful for the following:

1.  That we live within a culture that is starting to accept the need for smart sun protection

2.  That our family has a terrific GP with all the modcon equipment to check our skin for changes

3.  That our GP referred Cpt. V to a thorough terrific specialist

4.  That the offending 'freckles' were removed in time

5.  That the Cancer Council Australia website has brilliant information for everyone to access, to ensure
     that we can all be sun smart.

And two bonus gratefuls...

1.  I am also immensely grateful to all of the wonderful Blogeristas who jumped on board with
Maxabella and I to share their love stories and bling for Valentine's Day.

At my last count, there were 25 gorgeous stories, so if you haven't already done so, please take some time to read at least two, each one is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Thank you Bella for getting this ball rolling, I've enjoyed it immensely!

2.  I was overwhelmed by your lovely comments about my story with Captain V.
I'm so pleased that some of you listened to 'Our Song, it has special meaning for our journey together.

As I type this I realise that it has a poignant connection to today's post.

The person who introduced me to the singer of 'Our Song' Christie Moore, was a young policeman in the small town that I was teaching in.
His wife was my closest friend [we created 'Word Of The Week' together] and they had just got married before their country posting.
A couple of years after they arrived, I was transferred almost a thousand kilometres away.
I still recall leaving them in a bubble of joy, waiting out the final months before their first child was to be born.
Eighteen months later my friends' husband had passed away.
He had a melanoma smaller than the head of a pin on his skin which snatched him away from his young family.

I know that this isn't a very upbeat way to end this post but I've included this story as a salient reminder of the ferocity of this disease and the need for vigilant skin care.
If you haven't had your skin checked recently, I hope that this is the gentle nudge you needed to do so.
It would be another on my list of gratefuls to know that you were loving the skin that you're in.

Enjoy your weekend and the biggest of hugs!

Postscript - One Week Later
Just in case you were wondering how Captain V. has faired, he returned to the specialist on Thursday for the prognosis and to have his stitches removed.

The happy news is he got the all clear = Yeah!!!
However with these two scares he has been told that six monthly skin checks are on the cards for the forseeable future. Of course I'm VERY happy about this and little do they know that I'll be scouring him like a hawk too!

I hope that everyone who mentioned that they had been prompted to get their own skin checked has made their appointments - X & O your friend Fizz the worry wart.

A Language To Dream In



Have you ever been plagued by a recurring dream or nightmare?
For decades after leaving high school I was regularly visited by a dream in which I was being teased by my peers because I had failed my final French exam and was destined to spend another year at school.  My plans for study, travel....life, all put on hold because I had failed one subject. The irony being that in real life, not only had I passed this subject but enjoyed a deep love of the language.
There were many nights when I would wake up in a cold sweat or be woken by my partner because I had been yelling in my sleep. This was weird!


Little did I know, but this was all to change when I attended my 20th school reunion.
Having just arrived, I was standing at the front desk chatting to some friends when two of our senior teachers walked up the stairs.  My heart began to thump as I recognized my French teacher, Mrs O.
I welcomed her and thanked her for the years of French immersion that she had guided me through, all the while noticing her perplexion as she obviously tried to remember who I was - I hadn't stuck my nametag on yet. 
In the end I had to tell her, which was a bit of a kick in the pants as she'd taught me for five years and although I was a solid student I mustn't have made the impression on her that she obviously had on me.  
This was reinforced when she turned to a guy standing beside me and exclaimed "Paul! I remember you!".  To which he reverted to a gangly teen and mumbled his hellos.
When she'd moved on to another group, I cornered him and said "Paul, I don't remember you taking French in senior."  To which he replied "I didn't. I had Mrs O. for one term at the start of high school, but I must have been so bad that she still remembers me."


And there it was, my safe passage to restful slumber.
My French teacher remembered the 'naughties', not the bunker-down-hard-worker-boring types like me.
The bad dream has never returned and I'm left with a love of all things French, especially the language.








Something that I love to do every now and then is to use the 'Found In Translation' tool on my sidebar to  change a posting into French, then read it aloud.
I love the mellifluous nature of this language and although I am VERY rusty, I hope one day to be able to spend a long stretch of time in France enjoying all of its cultural splendours.
I've also been known to do the same for Spanish and Italian just to hear my writing in another tongue.


Where I live on the Sunshine Coast , we are  bit culturally isolated. Unless we're blessed to have been born into a family where there is more than one tongue spoken, live in a multicultural neighbourhood or are required to learn another language at school,  we don't regularly hear nor speak other languages and are, more often than not, unilingual.
Australians do have a great love of traveling however, and it is often in venturing off to distant shores that we are given a taste of the joy that is involved in communicating with someone in a language other than English. Whenever I travel overseas, learning the language is one of the added joys of my preparation.  My most treasured trip happened when I turned thirty. I was fortunate to spend six weeks in Argentina and by the end of that magical trip I even found myself dreaming in Spanish.


All of this got me to thinking about who reads my posts and in which languages.
Popping in to look at  my 'stats', to my delight I found that there were people from all around the globe stopping by. For some of you who are visiting today from beyond my shores, I have a little message for you below. To my English-only 'Gifters' have a squiz and see if you can work out the country of origin for the following:


A.  Et pour vous doux »Gifter« merci pour votre visite et écrit beaucoup de belles notes. 


B.  I wam słodki "Gifter" dziękuję za zatrzymanie się i pisania wiele uroczych notatki. 


C.  És a te édes "Gifter" köszönöm, hogy benéztél és az írás sok szép jegyzetek. 


D.  그리고 당신은 친절 'Gifter'에 의해 중지하고 사랑스러운 메모를 많이 쓰기 주셔서 감사합니다. 


E.  Und um Ihnen süß "Gifter" Danke fürs Vorbeischauen und Schreiben viele schöne Noten. 


F.  En aan julle soet "Gifter 'dankie vir die inloer en skryf baie van die pragtige notas. 


G.  とすることは甘い'Gifter'がで停止し、素敵なノートのたくさん書いてくれてありがとう。


H.  E a voi dolce 'Gifter' Grazie per l'arresto da e scrivere un sacco di belle note. 


I.  Y a ti dulce gifter "gracias por venir y escribir un montón de notas encantadoras.


So, how did you fare?
Were you able to translate the sentence because your native language was in the list, or because you have a second language that you can draw upon?
If not, I said "And to you sweet 'Gifter' thank you for stopping by and writing lots of lovely notes."
In no particular order, these are the non-english speaking countries from which I receive my most visitors:
A.  France  B.  Poland  C.  Hungary  D.  Korea  E.  Germany  F.  South Africa  G.  Japan  H.  Italy  I.  Spain.
Thank you one and all for visiting and leaving lovely notes, it is a joy both unexpected and lovely.
Pop in again next Friday, when I will be revealing a new project that has been whizzing around in my imagination.


Biggest of hugs!

16 February 2011

Word of the Week - My Favourite Word - Serendipity


Do you feel like your vocabulary could do with a little zhushing?  Then this is the space for you!
Each week I will unearth a new word to play with.  If you would like to join in, write a post incorporating this week's word, then come back and leave a comment with your link so what we can all read your work.
To make it easy for us to find your WW entry, incorporate the button into your post.
This week is a bit special because I'm revealing my favourite word of all time, so without further ado, here it is....

........................................................

Serendipity
[nAn unsought, unintended, and/or unexpected discovery 
and/or learning experience that happens by accident and sagacity.
In the case of this blog - mostly of the 'lovely' vairety.

This word has been on my lips since I was quite little.  
The memory of when I first discovered it has gone now, but I can tell you it has been a constant friend.
I love its musicality, the way it bounces off the lips and of course there's the fact that it rhymes with my tongue-twistingly long name - Felicity....serendipity!


If you love words the way that I do [I'm winking at you Jane], you'll be interested to learn that this one is quite modern.

It was first coined by Horace Walpole in 1754 in 'The Three Princes of Serendip", the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of."

This is resonant with my blogging experience, I can't tell you the number of discoveries, new ideas, wonderful people and beautiful things I've accidentally stumbled upon.

So eight months ago, when I decided to take the leap and create my own blog, the name came fairly quickly.....well almost.
I originally had the title as 'Six Gifts of Serendip' and if you receive an email from me, you will see 'giftsofserendip' in the tag.  "Why six gifts?" I hear you ask...well I know that Kym will be anyway, here's a quick explanation.

I'd filled notebooks with ideas about what I wanted to do with my blog. There were lots of drawings and scribblings.
My original banner was going to be a sideboard adorned with six gifts of various shapes, sizes and wrappings.
There would be a new gift added on six days of the week and each of these could be unwrapped or opened by clicking on the image to reveal something unexpected and lovely.

So what happened? 
Well I must admit, that I haven't totally abandoned this idea but writing a blog post six days a week is no mean feat and as for the banner, well the truth is my imagination outstripped my technology skills and so a simpler version was devised.
If you are one of my original Gifters [Kerri, Jules, Tina, Julie and Jeanne] you may even recall this image which I had for quite some time - a pink blossom hiding in the robin's nest.


Now dear friend, you see the lovely butterfly alighting onto the rose as my heading.
This image captures for me the everyday or little gifts that are given to us if only we have our eyes, hearts and minds open to receive them. Usually these gifts are simple & lovely, even more so if they are unexpected.
In real life a butterfly landing on or beside me is one of my favourite gifts of serendipity, that, and finding colourful feathers on my daily walks. 

As for the number of gifts - well I still try to offer you four to unwrap each week. 
If you haven't worked out the gift-giving schedule, it goes something like this:

On Monday's - there's usually something gorgeous and sparkly to open and perhaps you even exclaim 'My Oh My!"

Tuesdays - there will always be art that I've discovered during the previous week and can't help but share.

Wednesdays - well of course you know that this day is all about zhushing our vocabulary.

Thursdays - sometimes I'll share a little snippet of my life with you.

Fridays - this has previously been a rest day but I have something whizzing around in my imagination and it involves you, so keep your peepers open!

Saturdays - Of course any discerning blogger knows to pop on over to Maxabella's on Saturdays because this is where we gather to share our grateful lists.

Sunday - Ah blessed Sunday. If you receive a gift from me on Sunday, it will be mighty special because this day is designated for hammocks, beach swims, family and baking - joy!

So there you have it, my favourite word and the reason why it encapsulates what I'm doing on my blog.

I would usually close now by encouraging you to use serendipity in your own blog writing, but I thought we might try something different.  Instead of writing a post with serendipity or serendipitous in it, as I see many of you doing regularly, do you think you could write one about your own favourite word?  If you do, remember to pop the 'Word of the Week' button on and encourage your own readers to zhush up their vocabulary.

Let me know if you do, you know that I love unwrapping a new word and next week I'll share them with everyone.

15 February 2011

Word Of The Week - Leitmotif

It's back! 'Word of the Week' has returned and I'm looking forward to zhushing our vocabulary together this year.

If you're keen to find any of the fabulous words that we played with last year, you can either try the summary page under the 'WW' logo on the sidebar, or scroll down to the 'Seek A Gift Here' search box.

Now for our very first WW for the year, one of my alltime favourites...

This word was introduced to me by the fabulous father of a friend and it captured my imagination straight away for its lovely musicality.

Of course you'll be able to think of some classic leitmotifs for favourite villains and heroes but if you had to choose a leitmotif of your own, what would it be?

A portion of the following by Kapsburger would be mine...



I would dearly love to know what you think of our word this week and challenge you to use it in your everyday vocabulary or to zhush up your blog writing.
If you do pop it in a post, I'd be thrilled if you linked back to this one.
As for my leitmotif.  It's found a home amongst the other 'Happy Making Tunes' segment on my sidebar.

Happy day!

Two For Tuesday - Eric Zener

Tuesdays are my favourite day of the week where I like to share a gift of art with you and to play a game.
With great originality (hmhm) I've titled this activity 'Two For Tuesday'.

New 'Gifters', or those of you who are just popping in for a peek might like to have a look at the art which has been showcased on previous Tuesdays. This can be found in the 'Art To Enjoy' section on my sidebar.

Now for the game, this is how we play:

I present you with two pieces of art.
In thirty words or less, you share a thought about how they relate to each other or to your own life.

Today's pieces are from the studio of Eric Zener.
I would highly recommend that you view these on the largest screen possible as they are truly sumptuous.  The way that he captures not only the look but the feel and 'sound' of being immersed in water is truly inspirational.

You probably roll your eyes every week when you read that I had great difficulty choosing 'just' two pieces for this post, but this week I really did!  The first is titled 'The Beginning', the second 'Adrift'.



If you reside in the Southern Hemisphere I hope that these lush paintings bring cool relief in the heat.
For my 'Gifters' in more northern climes, here's something to look forward to!

For me the two images have resonance with yesterday's celebration of love.

"Taking the plunge into a loving relationship can be akin to standing on a diving board.
 There is the risk of hurt but also the deep allure of buoyant joy!"

If you didn't manage to read everyone's blingy love stories yesterday it's well worth a peek....perhaps you could even jump on board!

As for today's game, I'm looking forward to reading your views as you play along.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

14 February 2011

Life Is An Ocean And Love Is A Boat


If you are a regular visitor you will know that I'm sharing my life with a wonderful man to whom I've given the pseudonym Captain Valentine or Cpt. V.

Many of you have written to asky why I call him Captain.
Some thought that it might be because he's a pilot, others a naval captain.
In truth he is neither but I'l share some of our story with you which might help you to understand why I chose this name for my man on this blog.

First of all valentine comes from the latin valentinus which originates from valens meaning worthy, strong and powerful. Each of these is a great descriptor of my man.  He is also very romantic but not in the soppy gooey way that you might imagine. In a thoughtful, I truly want to make you happy way.

When Cpt. V came into my life he was raising his three children [the Gifts] on his own with great love and calm guidance.  He reminded me of the Captain from "The Sound of Music" - although I hasten to add he was more like the version at the end of the movie than the beginning!
There are lots of other uncanny parallels with our life and this movie which I will tell you about another time, for the moment let's just say that I've made an outfit from curtains for the Biggest Gift.  No doubt  that will keep you wondering!


Forgive me I digressed, back to Captain V.

Not long after we started dating, I was whisked away for a week of bareboat sailing through the magical Whitsunday Islands.  Our yacht, the 'White Pearl' was our romantic haven and the first among many vessels which we've adventured upon.

Although Cpt. V was the most experienced sailor of the two of us [my sum total of guiding a vessel being zero], he was a very patient captain indulging me in my stubborn need to control the wheel whilst he calmly read out our coordinates.  Although we laugh about this [often recalled] memory from our holiday, I dare I say this was a precursor for some of what was to come.
Most particularly, the level-headed Captain supporting his First Mate through unknown waters.


My next snippet of insight into my 'Captain my captain' is the first Christmas gift he ever gave to me.

To put some context around this, I'll let you know that Christy Moore is one of my favourite Irish baladeers.
On our sailing holiday I'd told Cpt. V that Christy's rendition of the following beautiful lyrics was very special to me and that I thought it held wonderful resonance for our relationship.
In the spirit of giving something special to someone you treasure on this day, I'm sharing these special words with you. If you'd like to hear it played as you read, click on the title.

I am a sailor and you’re my first mate,
We signed on together, we coupled our fate, 
We hauled up our anchor determined not to fail,
For the hearts treasure together we set sail.

With no maps to guide us we steered our own course,
We rode out the storms when the winds were gale force, 
We sat out the doldrums in patience and hope,
Working together we learned how to cope.
Life is an ocean, love is a boat,
In troubled waters it keeps us afloat,
When we started the voyage, there was just me and you,
Now gathered round us we have our own crew.
Together we’re in this relationship,
We’ve built it with care to last the whole trip,
Our true destination is not marked on any chart,
We’re navigating for the shores of the heart.
Johnny Duhan
Beautiful right?
I've sung this tune many, many times over the last couple of years as we have navigated together the often turbulent waters of blending me into Captain V's family.

With all of this in mind, you can imagine my absolute surprise and delight when many months after our sailing holiday Christmas morning arrived and I was presented with a HUGE parcel.
It contained a stunning piece of framed art by the renowned nautical photographic artist Michael Kahn.

The 'Gifts' who had been gathered around in anticipation of my reaction were totally confused as I burst into tears. They thought their father had really 'mucked up' and I had to explain several times that my tears were of complete happiness and this was THE most wonderful present ever!  Here was our boat.

Life is an ocean and love has most certainly been our boat.
There have been all sorts of seas - calm to rough, but always I've been able to trust in our boat and its Captain to guide us safely through.

This special piece hangs in our living room and is a constant reminder of our commitment to each other.


So there you have it, a roundabout explanation of why the love of my life is known to me as Captain V. and of course I'm the First Mate, although you won't be surprised to learn that I often try to wrangle the wheel.  All of this said, we are coming into our fourth year together and the words to Christy Moore's song still ring true.

Oh, and although there isn't any sparkle on my finger yet, I'm enjoying dreaming that perhaps something like this beauty below will sit in a ring catcher like the ones at the start of this post upon my bedside table.


So dear Gifter [and any readers passing through], I've shared this snippet of my life with you as part of the 'Bling On Love' blog hop that I'm co-hosting with the truly special Blogerista Maxabella.

In the spirit of celebrating romance vs commercial schmaltziness it would be lovely to hear your stories of love and take a peek at your own bling!
You were so enthusiastic to share enticing snippets about your engagement rings after reading my post about aquamarines, that we thought that it might be a fun thing for all of us to share the bling we're in today.

What girl doesn't love to ooh and ahh  over lovely jewels, so grab your camera, find a patch of sunshine to 'bling it up' and snap away. Tap out a favourite moment from your life with the one you love and away we go - Bling On Love!  If you'd like further inspiration, pop on over to Maxabella's and read her story here.

Come on girls, jump on board and add your own bit of loving razzle-dazzle, I'd love to know your story.
Does it involve a boat or a tale of adventure?  Do you have a song?  Do share it with us....