Z is for Zagreb ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

Z is for Zagreb
2018 #AtoZ Challenge

The #AtoZ Challenge for 2018 has drawn to an end. For the final stop in this year’s tour, we’re in Croatia in the city of Zagreb. Bet you didn’t think I could cover every letter of alphabet with this subject.

What can I tell you about Zagreb? In addition to being the capital of Croatia, it’s also the country’s largest city. It dates from the Roman times to today, so there’s lots of history there.

Z is for Zagreb
By Nick Savchenko from Kiev, Ukraine (Zagreb) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Zagreb is an important tourist destination but it quite often overlooked by people going to vacation on the Adriatic.

The city numerous shops, boutiques, and shopping centres. Offerings include crystal, china and ceramics as well as wicker and straw baskets. Let’s not forget the Croation wines and food products.


Even though this has only been a ‘virtual’ world tour, I’m ready to rest and relax and get over the ‘jet lag.’ I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.

See you next year!

Y is for Yakima ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge


Y is for Yakima

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re back the US today in the state of Washington for Y is for Yakima day on the #AtoZ Challenge.

Located southeast of Mount Rainier, the city, lies in a fertile valley known for its apple, wine and hop production.

Y is for Yakima
© Steven Pavlov / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Senapa

The largest employer in the area is the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital followed by the Yakima School District and Walmart.

Sadly, downtown Yakima has undergone many changes since the late 1990s. Three department stores and an entire mall, now closed, have been replaced by a Whirlpool Corporation facility, an Adaptis call center, and several hotels.

X is for Xiamen ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge


X is for Xiamen

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re in China today for our only stop in the country. We’re visiting the city of Xiamen.

Beginning at the top of the montage – Xiamen’s CBD, Xiamen University, Gulangyu Island, South Putuo Temple, beach on Gulangyu Island, and Haicang Bridge

X is for Xiamen
By Jonipoon [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Xiamen is known for its mild climate and low pollution levels.

In 2006, it was ranked 2nd in “most suitable city for living” and in 2011,  China’s “most romantic leisure city.”

The centre of the Chinese tea trade, Xiamen ships hundreds of thousands of tons, yes tons, of tea to the Americas and Europe.


W is for Westcombe ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

W is for Westcombe

W is for Westcombe

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re back in England today in the tiny village of Westcombe in Somerset on W is for Westcombe day of the #AtoZChallenge.

W is for Westcombe

While difficult to read, the text in the arch of the fountain reads “To commemorate the coronation of H.M. King George V and H.M. Queen Mary.”

W is for Westcombe

Westcombe Dairy, a cooperative, makes cheeses using milk from the member farmers’ cows. When we visited this area in 2005, we stopped in the village at the dairy’s shop and bought a small piece of their cheddar cheese which we enjoyed on the rest of our journey.

The cenotaph, information point and quintessential British telephone box in the village is pictured below.

W is for Westcombe
Barbara Voules / Westcombe

V is for Vancouver ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

V is for Vancouver

V is for Vancouver

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re on the west coast of Canada today in the Province of British Columbia for V is for Vancouver on the 2018 #AtoZ Challenge.

Surrounded by mountains, Vancouver is is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities.

The downtown neighbourhood of Gastown is home to the Steam Clock pictured below.

V is for Vancouver
By Kelam [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Vancouver has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Its Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.





U is for Ulm ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge

U is for Ulm

U is for Ulm
2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re back in Germany today in the city of Ulm on U is for Ulm day on the #AtoZ Challenge. Located on the Danube River in the southwest portion of the country, the city is home to universities and the magnificent Gothic cathedral below which is Ulm Minster. The steeple on this church is the highest of any in the world. 529.95 feet!

U s for Ulm
Patrick Six [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
In the aerial shot below of the city, you can see how the Minster takes over the landscape.

U is for Ulm
By Franzfoto [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Did you know, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm?

T is for Toronto ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge


T is for Toronto

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re back in Canada and the City of Toronto today for T is for Toronto in the #AtoZ Challenge. Today the city takes in a number of boroughs and is known as the GTA (greater Toronto area).

The city has many museums, galleries and parks. It is also home to the CN Tower. In recent years, they’ve added the tower walk, where you get harnessed up and can walk around the exterior of the tower near the top. Yikes! Not for me.

T is for Toronto
Toronto from the ferry to Centre Island

The white ‘dome’ in the left of the photo is the Roger’s Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome. The Toronto Blue Jays play baseball here. During the most recent ice storm, the roof was damaged which forced the delay of the ballgame by one day.

Toronto even has its own castle! Located in the heart of the city stands Casa Loma

T is for Toronto
By paul (dex) bica from toronto, canada (casa loma) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

S is for Stirling ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge


S is for Stirling

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re staying on this side of the world today as we make the flight north to Scotland and the city of Stirling on S is for Stirling day.

Stirling is known as the Gateway to the Highlands. From here you can see the landscape change as you travel further north.

I visited this city back in 2000 and am looking forward to spending time there on my next trip.

Stirling Castle (pictured below) is under the care of Historic Environment Scotland. The day we visited, a wedding was taking place on the grounds.

The city of Stirling and the distance you can see the National Wallace Monument on the hill.

A spiral staircase of 246 steps takes you to the very top of the monument. It’s well worth the climb because the views from the top are spectacular!

S is for Stirling

Bloody Scotland, a crime writers’ event that brings together the best of Scotland’s crime writers, takes place in September.

THE GIRL I USED TO KNOW by Faith Hogan #womens #fiction #giveaway

girl i used to know

THE GIRL I used to know


Faith Hogan

girl I used to know

Genre: Women’s Fiction

How many Pages? 298

Release Date: 1st Dec 2017

Publisher: Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus)

A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan. 

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.


Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HavtuH

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Hcqxp4

iBooks: https://apple.co/2ItGWon

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2q7pcrv

BookBub: http://bit.ly/2H9W6jc




Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit, charm or emotion thanks to its modern vibe.

Faith was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel ‘My Husbands Wives’ is a contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Dublin, published by Aria Fiction in 2016. Her second novel, ‘Secrets We Keep,’ is published in February 2017 – it has been included on the Netgalley ‘Hot List 2017.’ Her third novel – ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is out in December 2017.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a rather busy chocolate Labrador. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/

Twitter: @gerhogan

Goodreads Author Page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15109450.Faith_Hogan

Website: www.faithhogan.com


A SIGNED COPY OF THE GIRL I USED TO KNOW (open internationally)

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R is for Rome ~ 2018 #AtoZ Challenge


R is for Rome

2018 #AtoZ Challenge

We’re globetrotting again. This time we’re headed back to Europe and the boot-shaped country, Italy. Our destination is Rome, the capital city.

This ancient city has been around for the better part of 3000 years, being founded in April, 753 BC. That’s old.

R is for Rome
By AlexTref871, Jebulon, Diliff, Keith Yahl, Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de, Jebulon [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rome is also home to the Vatican. Below is St Peter’s Square, where earlier this year a snowball fight took place for the first time during a rare snowfall.

R is for Rome
By Johann Kleindl (Klettermaxe) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
The historic centre of Rome has been been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.