Black Mountain Pass

Otherwise known as the A4069, this road runs from Llangadog to Brynamman over Black Mountain; the western portion of the Brecon Beacons.  It’s a high, winding road where sheep run wild and winds are strong.  It’s a great driving road, as long as you’re not afraid of the drop!🙂

“Mountain hair, don’t care.”  I actually don’t mind the windswept look, gives me an excuse for my usually messy hair😉

“Baa, Ram, Ewe!  Baa, Ram, Ewe!  To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true!  Sheep be true!  Baa, Ram, Ewe!”

3 Years (+8)

Today I’m celebrating being hitched to my best friend for three whole years.  Three years doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but when you tack on the eight years we were together for before we skipped the broom then we’re talking just over a decade in total.  The first three years of our marriage were very much a baptism of fire; in a very short space of time we lost a very dear friend of ours (our maid of honour) to cancer and two grandparents – but we’re still here, and still very much the silly nineteen-year-olds who went for a 2am walk along Swansea Beach on a whim and then barely a month later became inseparable. (Just minus the pink hair and with an added glorious beard…)   :-)

The Red Kite Feeding Centre

The Red Kite is Wales’ favourite bird.  Every Easter when we travel up to Talley keeping an eye out for their forked tails and rusty plumage circling over the fields is something we always do.  Apparently they used to steal clothes from washing lines to make their nests, referenced by Shakespeare in King Lear; “When the Kite builds, look to your lesser linen”.  They had a tough time surviving in most of the UK, but in Wales they reign supreme🙂

Anyway, up in the fields near Llanddeusant there’s a Red Kite Feeding Centre where every day at 3pm (in summer, 2pm in winter) you can watch them eat.  It only costs £4 for adults (£2 for kids) and is worth every penny, even if you’re not much of a bird watcher!

We took our cameras and went into the hide on the edge of the field and patiently waited in silence with our eyes to the skies…

Then at exactly 3pm they appeared, just as a full bucket of meat and scraps was flung out into the field.  I expected to see a couple maybe, but there were probably at least a hundred circling and swooping!  And once the meat was down it turned into a feeding frenzy!

After about twenty minutes, most of the Kites flew off and so did the other people in the hides with us.  But thanks to a tip off, we stuck around for a little while longer on our own.  The Kites wait for everyone to leave and then they come back for more, and actually come down to land on the field.
So I handed the camera to Sunny, settled down for a cwtch with my new friend and watched the encore.
As well as the Kites we saw a couple of Swallows darting in and out of the hides…

…and it was only when we looked up that we noticed the nest above our heads!

If you’re up in the Brecon Beacons, or around Llandeilo or Sennybridge then it’s absolutely worth taking a detour to visit the Feeding Station.

Five Questions to ask yourself when you lose the will to Blog

A couple of Sundays ago I was curled up on the sofa catching up on a bit of Mr Robot with the hubs when I realised that – for pretty much the first time since I started this whole blogging malarkey – I didn’t have a post scheduled for Monday morning. I’ve strictly stuck to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule since November, always making sure I was scheduled a week ahead, and up until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t found it that difficult. But bam! Out of nowhere I found myself lagging behind. Funnily enough, I think Sunny was more stressed about it than I was (he’s more into page views and numbers than I am – weird), “What are you going to write about?” he asked, and despite having a whole stock of ideas for just such an emergency, I just shrugged.

Friday came and went. Nothing went up. The likelihood is that nobody really noticed. But I did, and it bothered me.

Let’s be clear. This is not writer’s block… it’s more like I’ve suddenly run out of steam.  I’m all out of motivation not just to blog, but to keep up with the promotional side that’s all part and parcel of the whole blogging game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a blast. Blogging is great fun, albeit a lot of hard work. But, I think every blogger reaches that point – probably in the first year – where they suddenly get fed up and question what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how their little corner of the online world fits into the ever growing blogging “community”…or not.

So these are the questions banging around in my head as I try to get my blogging mojo back.

1. Why did I start Blogging?

You know what it’s like; there’s that initial spark – that rush of excitement – when you first start blogging. Setting up your blog is a lot like decorating your first apartment, and those first comments, likes and follows give you that buzz and the validation to power on and keep doing your thing. Then, a few months down the line you’re exhausted. You’re buffering posts like crazy and scheduling your dinner around Twitter chats and have completely forgotten why you even started in the first place. Asking why you became a blogger should help realign your focus to what matters most and work out what your blogging “reason d’etre” is.

2. What do I want to get out of this?

Definitely linked to question one; asking yourself what you’re hoping to get out of blogging might help create some goals to work towards.

3. What kind of Blogger am I?

As soon as you start blogging it’s easy to feel like you’re a very small fish in a very big pond. It’s er… a bit crowded, let’s be honest. You start comparing yourself to other bloggers and then you might even start adjusting what you write about to suit what everyone else is writing. I recently came to the honest conclusion that when it comes to blogging, I’m a square peg in a round hole (not that’s a bad thing..!). I’m a thirty year old with split ends who cares far more about that little avocado seed sprouting on her windowsill and history books about dead people than about rose gold sunglasses and NARS sheer glow.  #Luxelife I most definitely am not. I’m just not that kind of blogger and if I tried to be, I wouldn’t enjoy it. When I started out I unknowingly branded myself as a mud-loving, welly-wearing writer, and that’s who I need to stay true to. It’s 100% likely there will be people of there who don’t want to read about that, and would probably rather read about rose gold sunglasses than my muddy walk. Oh well. You can’t win ’em all. The lesson? Write as if no one’s reading.🙂

4. Do I need to make a change?

There’s nothing wrong with feeling you need to change something. Maybe there’s something that’s just not working. Maybe you’ve been sticking to a three day schedule and just can’t keep up. Maybe you’ve started a series that just isn’t working out how you thought it would and you’re sooo ready to ditch it. Maybe you’re bored of your layout, your photography. Maybe you’re fed up of WordPress and want to move over to Blogger, or vice versa. Change is good.

5. Do I need a break?

Sometimes you just need to take a step back. For me, I was sick of the promotion side of blogging and felt like I needed a break from it. Twitter chats had begun to infuriate me because I started to feel like I was just answering the same question over and over again. The whole point was to “connect” with other bloggers but for me it had suddenly felt like I was just regurgitating the same answers to the same questions and getting the same “YES THIS” response over and over again. I actually turned my phone off (for real, the actual off button) when one chat asked what I’d do if my Instagram account got deleted. Umm… I’d live? I was ready to type out 100 characters of full on snark. That was my wake up call. I was  bored and fed up and needed a break.

What do you do when you lose the will to blog?🙂

Poke Bowl

If you read that title as “Poké Ball” then I’ve got news for you, my friend. You’ve been playing a lil’ too much Pokemon Go. We’re not talking about the little red and white ball you’ve been using to stash that Jigglypuff you caught round the back of ASDAs – although funnily enough it’s pronounced in exactly the same way – we’re talking about Hawaiian Fish Salad.

“Poke” means “cut into pieces” in Hawaiian, and refers to the little pieces of fresh fish (Tuna, Salmon, Octopus) that make up the dish – which is basically, whatever you want it to be.  As long as you’ve got the fish, rice and salad you can adapt as you like.  I marinated tuna steak in a Teriyaki sauce (Mirin and Soy Sauce) and a shot of Malibu for an afternoon and then fried them for a couple of minutes on both sides with some sesame seeds.  I added boiled rice, chopped pineapple, spring onions, lime juice and sliced avocado and then drizzled some soy sauce over everything to finish.  :-)  Yum!