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Happy BD

It seems another birthday cropped up on me. How did this happen? Didn’t I just have one? This is my second birthday in Spain. Last year I celebrated at a historical Spanish Finca turned into a restaurant. I wrote about it here. This year hubby took me to a Thai Restaurant called the Papaya Tree where we were joined by my in-laws and friends, including my sweet nine year old friend Ana-Lucia. We had a great time. The food was delicious and the company wonderful.

The birthday guests

Special birthday guests

Haley AnaLucia

Enjoying her dessert

Enjoying dessert. Don’t you just love her crown.

The cocktail bar next door had a special drink just for me (or so it seemed!)


Here are a couple of pictures from past birthdays.

12th BD

My twelfth birthday with my curious brothers. The gift I’m opening was my very first watch.


My son found this one from my nineteenth birthday!

I have been blessed with many fabulous birthdays over the years. They are always best when shared with good friends and family. I was overwhelmed this year by the many birthday wishes I received from all over the world via social media. I felt so loved!

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. Madeleine L’Engle


I was fortunate indeed to have been introduced to Inka Piegsa-Quischotte by a fellow Canadian travel writer, Ruth Kozak. Inka became my very first new friend when I moved to Spain a little over a year ago. She is an incredibly talented individual, is well travelled, has lived in a number of countries and can speak several languages. You must check out her blog  Glamourgrannytravels for interesting and informative travel articles on unique places and events you may not have heard about.

I was very pleased when she agreed to be featured as a guest on my blog.


My first BFF in Spain.

Interview with Inka Piegsa-Quischotte

Tell us a little about yourself.

Born in Germany, I went to University in Bonn, Freiburg and Berlin, but started out in Basel/Switzerland, reading international law. I spend the first 30 years of my life as an international attorney, running my own law firm in London, England and Marbella, Spain.

During the course of my first professional life, I travelled the world, seeing absolutely nothing. From airport to hotel to offices and back. I have been to the most exotic places and never had a chance to savour the culture, the sights and the ‘real’ people.

One day, I just woke up and decided: enough is enough. I still want to travel but now I want to really SEE things. So, I sold my firm, my house, bought a small apartment in Turkey just to have a pied a terre and started to do what I really wanted to do.

It helped that I have no family which makes me totally independent and that I had a few bucks stashed away.

When I didn’t have to write briefs, I have always written short stories and the odd poem, so I decided to share my travel experiences with like minded people and started the glamourgranny.

As the title indicates, I like to travel the world in some style and comfort. Back packing is not for me, but I’m perfectly able to adapt to circumstances.

  1. You are a well-travelled person. Can you tell us the places you have been to. 

Many years ago I went on my first big trip: six months by car from Algeria to Ivory Coast and then across the continent to Kenya and Tanzania, then down to South Africa. That’s when the travel bug bit and I have been to all counties in Europe except Scandinavia. I have also been to New York and Miami, Turkey, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Hong Kong Sharja, Russia and Lebanon. I love Arabic culture and return to the Middle East as often as I can.

  1. What is your favourite place and why?

I have two: Istanbul and New York. What both have in common is the absolute limitless possibility to discover new aspects and sights. They are also big cities and I’m a city person as opposed to a country girl.

  1. Tell us about the books you have written.

I have written two novels and two guidebooks. One is a guide to Galicia and the other a literary guide to Istanbul following the footsteps of three authors. My novels are just entertainment. I started out writing short stories and the odd poem and only later turned to travel writing. But, human nature holds great fascination and it’s just fun to invent characters and let them loose in my imagination.

  1. Do you have any plans to write another book? 

Yes and that’s a more serious and complex enterprise. It’s a historic novel about Roxelana, the wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, title Queen of Intrigue. The book requires a lot of research to make it historically authentic, something I haven’t got around to yet, but am working on it.

  1. I love the name of your blog, The Glamour Granny. How did you come up with that clever name?

Thanks for calling it clever. My blog is meant for female travellers, solo travellers, baby boomers and those who love style and comfort. I had to come up with a name encompassing all the above and in a flash of inspiration, the glamourgranny was born

  1. What inspires you?

Books, images, other people’s travel tales. I see something that fascinates me…I have to go and see for myself.

  1. Can you tell my readers how you manage to keep that spirit of adventure?

Easy. I’m born with it. I cannot imagine to stay in one place forever, that’s why I change countries to live in every two or three years. Any time longer and I get restless.

Forever young!

Forever young!

Blog http://www.glamourgrannytravels.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lilygogo

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/inka.piegsaquischotte?fref=ts

Books by Inka  Piegsa-Quischotte


City of the Green Eyed Beauty A delightful literary guide to Istanbul


Sweet Revenge

Thank you so much Inka for sharing a bit about yourself with my readers, and a huge thank you for your friendship.

It is my pleasure to welcome Sally Cronin as my special guest. Sally has a daily blog covering a variety of subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music, which is apply called Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life. Sally is a generous person who shares blog posts and promotes other writers. Please check out her site and say Hello. Her Christmas grotto has some wonderful gift ideas.

DSC_0869 a

Without further ado, here is the lovely and talented Sally Cronin!

Thank you Darlene for offering me the opportunity to talk about my new book and also some background on my life and those that have influenced me.

1. You have had a very interesting life Sally. Can you tell my readers a bit about yourself.

My father was in the Royal Navy and we travelled with him whenever it was possible to do so. This meant a disruptive but fascinating childhood living in Ceylon which of course is now Sri Lanka, Malta and South Africa. By the time I was fourteen I had been to seven different schools and enjoyed some amazing experiences.

After school I trained as a dental nurse but then moved through a number of industries including hospitality, retail, advertising, telecommunications and radio and television broadcasting. I have always been interested in health and nutrition so trained as a nutritional therapist nearly twenty years ago and I have worked with clients in Ireland and the UK. My own weight issues led to my first book which in turn led to forming Moyhill publishing in 2004. Since then I have not stopped writing and hope that will continue until I drop. It is one of the few jobs that you do not have an age or physical limit.

Since David and I married in 1980 we have lived in the United States, Ireland, Belgium, UK and of course currently in Spain. That has added a wonderful richness to our life and as a writer I treasure all of it.

2. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is Tales from the Garden. Fairy stories for all ages from five to ninety-five with the usual fairy princesses, monsters, magic and romance. As it has 80 illustrations I hope it will appeal to children and those that like to read a good bedtime story.

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

3. What inspired you to write this book?

We will be leaving our home for the last 16 years here in Spain once the house is sold. The garden is large and has several small areas that are mostly hidden from view. We inherited several large stone statues that we uncovered when cutting back hedges and bushes. Most are very heavy and there is no way that we can take them with us unfortunately and I decided to write stories around them. I now have a book that contains happy memories that I can take with me wherever I go.

From Sally´s garden

From Sally´s garden

4. You have written other books, perhaps you could tell us something about them.

My first book in 2001, Size Matters, was my story of how I became morbidly obese at over 330lbs and my journey as I studied the human body and nutrition and designed a programme to lose 150lbs. This led to a family health manual, Just Food for Health which was also the name of my diet advisory service that I opened in Ireland and then in the UK. I have always written short stories and this resulted in Flights of Fancy and other fiction including two novels, Just an Odd Job Girl and Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story. I have gone back to health in two other books including a health manual for men and an anti-aging book, Turning Back the Clock.

5. What sort of books do you read?

I love to escape into the books I am reading and tend towards thrillers, epic novels that span centuries and adventure. I also enjoy reading non-fiction; usually science and health.

6. What are some of your all time favourite books?

I love all of Wilbur Smith’s books but in particular the sagas of the Courtney family that take you through the challenges of settlers as they explored deep into Africa. Jean M. Auel has written an amazing series Earth’s Children with six stunning books set around 25,000 years ago. The series follows the life of a girl called Ayla from childhood through to motherhood and is captivating. I had my DNA tested in one of the genetic ancestry programmes when they first began and discovered that I was related to a woman whose bones were found in a cave in Southern France 20,000 years ago. This began a fascination with that era and those that inhabited the dangerous environment.

7. Who has influenced you the most in your life?

That is difficult because there are so many people and events that have impacted on the way that I feel, live and write. From my first teacher, Mrs Miller who slipped me more advanced books to read to my husband David who believes that everyone should have the freedom to be the best they can. I have had some great role models and mentors in my various careers and personal life and I am grateful for every one of them.

8. What is your idea of a successful life?

My perception of success has changed over the years. When I was younger of course, there were a few things that needed to be ticked off the list including money, status, nice house, car etc. I was quite prepared to work for them and over the years most were achieved. However, by that time I realised that in fact there were other much more important goals in life including health, great relationships, good friends and a constant access to new ideas and experiences. I feel incredibly successful and it has nothing to do with material wealth but down to simple pleasures that we can all enjoy if we choose to.

9. Anything else you would like to tell the readers.

First and foremost I am a reader and I would be devastated if I did not have access to books in any format. I am so grateful for anyone who picks up one of my books and enjoys reading the story. I hope that readers understand how vital and appreciated they are. Without them what would be the point of writing? Also avid readers are potentially the top writers of tomorrow and I encourage everyone to get their stories written on a blog, novel, short story or poetry collection. It is an excellent way to get your voice heard.

10. Where can we find your books?

I have my own bookstore which is accessed through any of the individual book sites. The latest book Tales from the Garden can be found on http://moyhill.com/tales/ and because it is my own store the Ebook is discounted by 50%.

My books are available on Amazon and the quickest route is through my author page.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/author/sallycroninbooks

Thank you very much Darlene for featuring my here today… I always love an opportunity to talk about myself and my books.
Social Media Links
Blog: smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Thank you, Sally for making an appearance on my blog site. All the best for your exciting new book.

I just returned from a trip home to Alberta, Canada, where I attended my grandson´s graduation and a large family reunion, visited many friends and relatives and spent quality time with mom, my son and his family. Needless to say I had a wonderful time. I´ll let the pictures tell the story.

Proud Grandma

Proud Grandma

A proud family!

Proud parents and brother

I did it!

I did it!

So glad I could be there for this important occasion.

Calgary friends

Long time Calgary buddies

A friend I haven´t seen for many years

Catching up with a childhood friend I haven´t seen for many years

We worked together 35 years ago.

We worked together 35 years ago. Where does the time go?

Dinner with the grandsons

Dinner with the grandsons

My sweet great granddaughter

My sweet great granddaughter

With my other sweet great granddaughter at the reunion

With my other sweet great granddaughter at the family reunion

my other sweet great granddaughter giving her great great grandmother a ride in the garden

Giving her great great grandmother a ride in the garden


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With Mom and her sister at the family reunion

I saw many relatives I hadn´t seen for some time, including my 91 year old great aunt and her husband in Calgary, my dad´s 90 year old brother and my 86 year old great uncle in Medicine Hat. Always good to see them and hear their wonderful stories, some of which I plan to share on this blog.

I´ll write more about the family reunion which deserves its own post.

I´ve put together a short video of our travels in 2014. Great times with great people!

We are blessed with so many good friends and this past while we have had the pleasure of spending time with many of them. I’d like to share some pictures with you.

We have lived in this area for fourteen years and only just discovered a wonderful place called the Riverhouse Restaurant. It is so lovely to sit on the patio, watch the sunset over the marina, and share a delicious meal with good friends.

Dinner with friends at the Riverhouse Restuarant

Dinner with friends at the Riverhouse Restuarant

Outside the restuarant

Outside the Riverhouse Restaurant

Watching the sun set as we eat

Watching the sun set as we eat

A romantic table for two

A romantic table for two

We enjoyed a fabulous barbeque at our friend’s acreage. We were greeted with a welcoming sign which I believe means “Home Forever More” as we pulled in the driveway. It was a lovely day with boccie ball, lawn darts and croquette organized, plenty of interesting people to chat with and an amazing display of food all in a picturesque setting.

A welcome sign to greet us.

A welcome sign to greet us.

Beautiful flowers everywhere

Beautiful flowers everywhere

Even an owl to oversee eveything

Even an owl to oversee things

A mare and her filly in the pasture

A mare and her filly in the pasture

A civilized game of croquette

A civilized game of croquette

Great food!

Great food!

Making sure everyone goes the right way!

Making sure everyone goes the right way!

Another fiend invited us to a salmon barbeque in her lovely back yard.

A beautiful backyard

A beautiful backyard

Opening the sparkling wine

Opening the sparkling wine

Dinner under the pergola

Dinner under the pergola

We have been so lucky this summer; plenty of good food, good weather and great friends!

A wonderful blogging friend of mine, Debra Eve, has a great blog called Late Bloomer.  I met Debra when we were both guest authors on Gary Doi’s blog, A Hopeful Sign. Recently she posted a moving story about High River, Alberta; a town damaged by the terrible floods last summer.

Debra also has some stories in a recently published book complied by Gary Doi, Inspiring Hope One Story at a Time,  All net proceeds from Inspiring Hope will be donated to the Asturias Academy Library in Xela, Guatemala—a private, non-profit Pre K-12 school dedicated to helping the most vulnerable students in the community.

Inspiring Hope One Story at at Time at LaterBloomer.com

Please hop on over to her blog and read about the town, the book and an update on Momo the amazing cat.


I love my copy of Inspiring Hope and everyone loves Momo!


Amanda in Alberta

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Amanda in Spain

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Amanda in England

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Amanda in Alberta

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Pig on Trial

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