A Little Tinkering…

Well peeps it’s been a cosy, curled-up-indoors kind of Sunday here at Gidday HQ. I’ve done chores (well, some), read a little, sorted some pics I took in London yesterday, had a chat with Mum and carried out a little virtual redecorating. Yes, in the spirit of trying out new stuff and beginning a shiny new chapter, I have been tinkering away to give Gidday From The UK a bit of a lift. 

This year is about new horizons for me, whatever they turn out to be, so I wanted a ‘eyes up’, skyward theme. But I also like the relaxed feel of Gidday – a bit like I’ve invited you over for a cuppa and a chat – and didn’t want to morph into something that just wasn’t…well, me. So I’ve decided to use a picture of my very own street in Fabulous Finchley as the backdrop to all things Gidday.

Taken from the footpath right outside my front door

The last year has also seen me out and about a bit and I’m quite chuffed about this new notoriety. And I wanted to acknowledge the generosity of my fellow adventurers in the blogosphere for saying nice stuff about Gidday and for some especially brave souls, letting me loose on their patch to witter on about stuff.  So I’ve added a new page, Going Walkabout.

Gidday has played host to some Special Guests this year too. I love the variety it brings to the Gidday journey and so am putting this out there now – if you’d like me to write a guest post for you on…erm…something, I am completely up for it.

Speaking of putting stuff out there, I told you yesterday about another new page, Mind The Gap! designed to capture all that’s sublime and ridiculous about charting one’s course through the Queen’s English in Blighty. Please feel free to contribute your stories – the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned (and thanks to Michelloui for her LOL tale of #expatfail on yesterday’s post).

The Book Nook (previously the 50 Book Challenge until I got to 50) will remain at large and in the last few months has featured the scribblings of two of you, Charlie Wade with The Bailout (No. 51) and Jack Scott with Perking The Pansies: Jack and Liam Move To Turkey (No. 57).

No doubt there’s more to come and not just from Jack and Charlie. You (well some of you anyway) seem to like my mini-reviews so I’ll keep ’em coming for 2012.

As for the rest, we’ll see what transpires as the year progresses. I already anticipate much travelling and a fair amount of fossicking in old London Town so some new themes may emerge on this front. In addition, the new Gidday HQ offers many opportunities not available in my previous super-small abode. I can see a few soirees of the outdoor variety taking place on the sizeable patio/in the grassy bit of the garden (which may or may not overshadow any future baking exploits). And let’s not forget that Gidday HQ is guest-ready – Mum will be here in just 37 sleeps.

And speaking of Mum, she’s is a stickler for manners that one – I may never meet HRH but Mum is comforted by the fact I at least know how to behave well. So thank you for all your reading, laughing, scoffing, following and commenting. Let me assure you every one of your comments is eagerly opened as I make my daily commute to and from work. This is the place where I put little old me on the page – whatever that may be at the time – and being cheered, supported and surprised by your feedback can really transform an often lacklustre commute.

That’s it for now so I hope you enjoy Gidday From The UK’s new duds. I look forward to more exciting travels through the blogosphere with you and if you are ever actually in London and fancy a face-to-face with an irreverent Aussie sheila, just let me know.

Turkish Delight…

Not a week has passed in this magnificent new year and already Gidday from the UK is bringing you delight from around the globe – Turkish Delight that is.

Jack Scott is a fellow expat – an Englishman in Turkey (Bodrum in fact) – and he’s written a book. His blog, Perking the Pansies is his catalogue of daily thoughts on the world of two gay men in foreign land – in turns thought-provoking and funny, always witty and honest. 

And now there’s the book…

This is not just a collection of blog posts. Rather Jack weaves the tale of the dichotomous life of an expat with poignancy and humour. The wondering where you belong, what ‘life’ to build and how to bridge the gap between life BE (Before Expat) and the unfamiliar ‘now’ remains as relevant to me now as eight years ago when I arrived in the UK and I look forward to finding out what happens next for Jack and Liam.

So without further ado, I am proud to present Gidday’s first guest for 2012, Jack Scott.

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Gidday from Turkey

Here on Gidday from the UK you’ll read about an Aussie girl’s life in Blighty and beyond, her thirst for reading and her need to scratch those itchy travelling feet. Her writing is eloquent, varied, fun and informative. I’ve always got along with Antipodeans. We share similar cultural roots and laugh at the same things, but our cousins Down Under aren’t afflicted with the same level of debilitating cynicism that stalks many Brits these days. I find this refreshing. To my eternal shame, I’ve never been to Oz. My partner, Liam, has. He loved it and wanted to stay. Forever. He even considered re-training as a hairdresser to gain enough points to emigrate (crimpers were in short supply at the time, apparently). From civil servant to coiffeur would have made a dramatic career change. He thought better of it when he realised it was a gay cliché too far. That was before he met me, of course.

When Gidday writes about London, it’s like a magical trip down memory lane for me. I enjoy our current lives as a wanton Lotus Eaters here in Turkey, but London Town is my home town and it’s where my heart is. I love Turkey but I’m in love with London. This ‘here and there’ tension is one of the recurring themes of my new book, Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. Were we insane to sell up, chuck in the jobs and move lock, stock and barrel to a Muslim country? Well, we’re still here but it’s been a rocky road. When I was recently asked to sum up our time in Turkey, I struggled to paraphrase the complexity of our experiences and emotions: ‘misery and joy, bigotry and enlightenment, betrayal and loyalty, friendship, love, earthquakes, birth, adoption and a senseless murder.’ Life in the Smoke was never this eventful. You couldn’t make it up.


Thank you so much to Gidday for featuring Perking the Pansies on the Book Nook list. I’m in elevated company. If you like what you see, the book is available on paperback and Kindle at Amazon.co.ukand Amazon.com.
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ps…If you want to see what I thought, pop over to The Book Nook and check out No. 57. Alternatively, if you are looking for a veritable pantheon of praise, I and many others have spread the word on Amazon so you can click here for that.

Turning Points…Blogging and Beyond

One of the best things about blogging is that you get to open up your world to all sorts of amazing, generous, interesting and talented people that you just might not bump into when immersed in the minutae of day to day life. Linda Janssen is one such person for me – amazing that is, not minutae!

An American living in The Hague in Holland, Linda is the lady behind the fabulous blog Adventures in Expatland where she charts her particular journey as someone who wants to make a difference: as an expat, a wife, a mother and as an aspiring writer. 

But wait…aspiring no more. She IS a writer. And as you know, I love to support those who are brave enough to reach for what their deepest heart desires so I am both completely thrilled and deeply honoured to play host to her virtual book tour here at Gidday from the UK.

So here’s to you Linda – chin chin! And for all you aspiring…well anything you want to be’s …out there, read on to see how inspiring reaching for your dreams can be.
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Blogging and Beyond
by Linda A. Janssen
On the latest stop of my ‘virtual book tour’ I’m here in London at Gidday From the UK. I’m visiting  a number of my favorite blogs to share a little about the writing journey that has led to the publication of a book to which I’ve contributed. 
Specifically, I’m in Fabulous Finchley in Northern London today. A big thank you to Kym for hosting me in her new abode so soon after moving, but she’s a brave gal and not one to let a recent move keep her from having company.
Last week was the launch of Turning Points: 25 Inspiring Stories From Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Turned Their Careers and Their Lives Around, and it’s been a roller coaster ever since. The book is edited by Kate Cobb, a women’s business and executive coach (www.movingforwardyourway.com) and Brit now living in France. Our publisher is the formidable Jo Parfitt (www.joparfitt.com) who runs Summertime Publishing, a niche publishing house that specializes in fiction and non-fiction books by and about expats and international living.
I’m new to the publishing arena, and while I did a fair amount of research beforehand into what I could, should and would do to help get the word out about the book, I wasn’t entirely sure how it would all go. The answer in a word is fabulous. But I would credit the book’s concept for that more than anything else.
Turning Points is an inspirational collection of uplifting personal essays in which women from all over the world, living different lives and working in various fields, reach a pivotal moment or series of events that triggers within them the acknowledgement that they simply cannot continue on in the same manner. Change in their professional and personal lives is demanded and inevitable.
Each woman shares her own situation, how her particular turning point came about, and  the manner in which she responded. Even better, each contributor offers the resources (books, websites and the like) that helped her implement change, and lessons learned along the way.
I’ve been reading Kym’s posts for quite some time now, and it’s difficult to point to just one aspect that pulled me in. She’s witty and amusing with an eye for the absurd yet isn’t afraid to display her romantic side. She’s a voracious reader who kindly shares her mini-reviews; I enjoy the range of titles and authors, constantly adding to my own ‘must read’ list. I’m drawn to her story (arriving in the UK for love and courageously choosing to stay when it didn’t go as planned) but am liking her ending even more.
When I started my blog, I was in the early stages of ‘coming out’ as a writer. I’d hidden my dreams and aspirations for too long, and knew that in order to move forward I’d have to put my writing and myself out there for all to see. Like Kym, I started writing articles, book reviews and interviews and slowly began to build up my published portfolio.
We can’t do it all. In truth, who can? So we choose to do the things that bring us closer to our goals. I’m writing a non-fiction book about the importance of emotional resilience in living in countries and cultures other than your own. Contributing a chapter to Turning Points was a fork in the path, an opportunity that presented itself, another decision point.
I helped start a writers’ group along with some other wonderful writing women here in The Hague, and over time I’ve come to trust their instincts and feedback. Now I share my deepest secret with them in the form of sections of a novel I’ve begun to write. The pace is slow, almost glacial at times, but just the fact that my words are seeing the light of day is enough for now.
Blogging is the public portal through which many a writer now steps. As Kym states herself in her Gidday bio, sharing bits and pieces of everyday life has ‘reignited her passion for writing and she now wonders where it all might lead.’ With a writer as talented as Kym, it will be fun to watch.
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If you’d like to find out more about our book, please take a look at the website www.theturningpointsbook.com, or follow along on Facebook’s The Turning Points Book page or on Twitter @Turning_Points. A portion of all sales will benefit www.seedsfordevelopment.org.

Narcissism? Let Me Check My Blog Stats…

It would appear that I am not alone in pondering the navel-gazing nature of blogging… please give a huge Gidday From The UK welcome to my special guest, author Nancy Stewart, who’s been giving narcissism a little thought herself!

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I’ve been thinking lots about narcissism and blogging and attention to one’s web site. Is that the very definition of narcissism? Maybe.

Picture books are a passion of mine, and I’ve been writing them for five years. My first one in a series of three, One Pelican at a Time, was published by Guardian Angel Publishing last week. All three of them took much time, thought, critiquing from my writer’s group and self-doubt right up to the end.

Never, though, during that process, did I run to the computer after having been away for an hour to look for comments or pour over stats. This realization may say something to, or perhaps, about me. Oops. There goes that narcissism word again…

The shift from creative writing to blogging/web site production may carry with it the need to be more personal, more introspective, more in tune with one’s own psyche to convey who we are to our readers and, perhaps, to define our own worthiness to ourselves. And with that may come some narcissism by task default. I certainly hope that’s what it is.

In the meantime, I’ll continue writing picture books, consult with my publisher, meet with my writing group, revise, edit, use my Thesaurus endlessly and only occasionally be deeply introspective. That is, until it’s time to write another entry for my blog. Oh, yes.

And even when it’s posted, I’ll pour over it from every angle, perhaps move a photo a centimeter or two, recheck links to be sure they’re working, read my witty words for the zillionth time and be, well, narcissistic.

Please excuse me now. I have to check my stats.

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If you like what Nancy had to say or you’re basically just a bit of a stickybeak and want to find out more about her, visit her website, www.nancystewartbooks.com Or for more soulful navel-gazing (just kidding Nancy!), check out her blog!