Tag Archives: #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge – U is for Unicorn


unicornA unicorn is a legendary animal with a large, spiraling horn protruding from its forehead. In folklore, it is always white but can look like a horse or a goat. This wild, woodland creature was a symbol of purity and grace and could only be captured by a virgin.

A mercat cross is the market cross which be found in many Scottish towns, cities and villages. The cross is a symbol of the right to hold a regular market or fair which was granted by the monarch, a bishop or a baron. It indicated a burgh’s relative prosperity and marked the settlement’s focal point. In many cases, these crosses are topped with the Royal Unicorn.

There are more crosses with the Royal Unicorn, but these are a few.

Aberdeen Mercat Cross:

Aberdeen Mercat cross with unicorn
Richard Slessor [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Edinburgh Mercat Cross:

Edinburgh Mercat Cross with Unicorn
By User:Kim Traynor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Glasgow Mercat Cross:

Glasgow Mercat Cross with unicorn and the Mercat Building
Thomas Nugent [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
And to end my post, here are the Irish Rovers to sing you out…

#AtoZChallenge – S is for SHADOWS FROM HER PAST

Shadows from Her Past

I’m currently sitting at just over 62,000 words in my first draft and my target length is 85,000. This book hasn’t progressed as quickly as I had hoped but I’ve not totally thrown in the towel yet, either.

I don’t have a cover to show you but as the book hasn’t progressed to that stage, I can’t.

a shadow in the past cover 500x773Here is the cover image for my first book. I see my name and the title Shadows from Her Past exactly how they are here. Keep the ‘author brand’ continuity if you will.

I also see the past and present being represented much as they are here but, shall we say, in a more modest setting. Present looking into the past and the two characters who are most important to the heroine appearing with her in the mirror’s reflection.

What do you think of my vision?

Blurb for Shadows from Her Past:

Sarah finds herself back in her time without her husband, Robert, and adopted daughter, Jenny. When she sees visions of them appear, Sarah doesn’t know if it’s her imagination or if they’re really there trying to break through the constraints of time and space.

David Robb, a student doctor at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary who has been assigned to her case, bears a familial resemblance to Robert. Sarah develops feelings for him but also feels like she is betraying her husband, despite them being centuries apart.

Will Sarah make a new life with David in the present, or will she find her way back to her husband and daughter in the past?


Keep coming back for news regarding Shadows from her Past. In the meantime, you can purchase book one in the series – A Shadow in the Past in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, and local bricks ‘n mortar bookstores.

If you’d prefer to buy it as an ebook, all you have to do is click on the logo of your choice to download it. The link for all the amazon domains is the same, you just have to change the .co.uk to your own.

#AtoZChallenge – R is for Reading



Whatever your genre, or preferred medium, curling up and reading a good book on a cold wintry day is fab and in my corner of the world, there have been a pile of them this season.

There are loads of genres to choose from – crime, romance, paranormal, Young Adult, New Adult, non-fiction, memoirs and literary fiction.

A great place to get your reading material is at your local independent bookstore. Mine is Leeds County Books. If I find a book whilst shopping elsewhere, I take down the details and then go here and order my copy, if it isn’t already on the shelf.

I also have a great collection of ebooks on my ipad in the Kindle app.

And I’m going to do a wee bit of shameless, self-promotion here. If you’re looking for a great read, check out A Shadow in the Past and The Consequences Collection, written by yours truly.

#AtoZChallenge – Q is for Quadratic Equation

Quadratic Equation

This algebra function struck fear into the hearts of many a high school math student. I don’t recall having to solve quadratic equations below grade 9, but from that year through grade 12 there was always a segment in the math curriculum for the study of these.

quadratic equation
By Jennifer Ledwith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Even though, once I got the knack and found quadratic equations easy to solve, I still hated them.

What memories of high school math set your teeth on edge?

#AtoZChallenge – P is for Paris


Looking out over Paris from Parc de Belleville taken on my first trip to the City of Lights in 2003

Known also as the City of Lights, Paris is the capital of France and the country’s largest city. And possibly most importantly, where my husband and I will be from today until 27th April! Woo hoo!

Places we’ll be visiting whilst on our trip (and in no particular order) include:

The Arc de Triomphe. When you climb to street level at the George V metro stop, the sight as this massive structure comes into view is truly breathtaking. This trip, I plan on going to the top since I didn’t get there on my only other trip. The views down the Champs Elysees should be spectacular.

Notre Dame Cathedral. I visited here in 2003 but didn’t get up to the gallery where the gargoyles that keep watch over the city reside. I think they are wonderous creatures and have to get at least one photo of me, and maybe even a selfie of hubby and me with a gargoyle and definitely one with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

And no trip to Paris would be complete without going to the Eiffel Tower. The views from the second and third levels are amazing and this time, we might even push the boat out and have a glass of champagne at the top.

And given my Scottish heritage, no trip would be complete without a trip to a Scottish Pub. My two favourites in Paris are The Highlander and The Auld Alliance.

Of course, there will be others but to find out what they are, you’ll have to come back to my blog each day as I plan to write posts from here every day.


#AtoZChallenge – O is for Oban


View Larger Map

Oban is a resort town in Argyll and Bute on the west coast of Scotland. Until the Victorian era, it existed only as a fishing village, when it became a popular departure point for the Western Islands.

Atop one of the hills in the town, and visible from almost everywhere, stands McCaig’s Tower – better known as McCaig’s Folly.

Oban - McCaig's Tower from the harbour
McCaig’s Tower from the harbour

Unlike most distilleries, the Oban Distillery is located in the heart of the town.

During the summer months, the population swells to over 25,000. You can find out more about the town here.

#AtoZChallenge – M is for Manhattan


Not the city of the same name but the cocktail.

ManhattanHow to make a Manhattan:

2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes (or into a cocktail shaker).
Stir well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with the cherry.

Variations on the classic version of the ‘manny’…

Dry Manhattan- Use a dash of dry vermouth and garnish with a lemon twist.
Perfect Manhattan- Equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Brandy Manhattan- Replace whiskey with brandy.
Scotch Manhattan- Replace whiskey with Scotch.
Southern Comfort Manhattan- Replace whiskey with Southern Comfort.

You can see more variations here.

So however you like your Manhattan, do enjoy.


#AtoZChallenge – L is for Libraries


I remember the thrill of getting my first library card and being able to borrow books from my local library. Located near the main desk, stood the huge cabinet that housed the card index.

libraries - card files
By Librarian_at_the_card_files_at_a_senior_high_school_in_New_Ulm,_Minnesota.jpg: David Rees (1943—), Environmental Protection Agency derivative work: Andrzej 22 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Nowadays, the card system is on a computer but it’s still based on the Dewey Decimal System.

Even with the wealth of information available on-line, there’s nothing doing your research in libraries. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it on the shelves, and if your local doesn’t have it, then it can be brought in through inter-library loan.

You can borrow more than just books from libraries. Music CDs, audiobooks, DVDs and ebooks.

Newspapers and periodicals can’t be taken out, but are available to read there.

Do you use your local library? Do you borrow more than just books?


#AtoZChallenge – K is for KNoobies


KNoobiesKNoobie pattern


  • Any 3 or 4 ply knitting worsted yarn may be used for the outer piece
  • Cotton, silk or other natural fibre for the inner piece e.g. Bernat Handicrafter 100% Cotton
  • Note: 111yds/100m will make 2 KNoobies.
  • 1 set US #6/4mm double-point needles for outer
  • 1 set US #5/3.75 mm double-point needles  for inner
  •  Small split ring marker or very small elastic marker
  •  Sharp tapestry needle
  •  Decorative shank button for “nipple” (vintage buttons work well)(optional)
  •  Stuffing (cotton fleece or polyester fiberfill)
  •  Small weight, like a smooth stone (optional)


Outer Piece

Nipple 1 – Using 4 mm needles, and whatever colour you like for the nipple, CO 3 sts. Knit 1.5 – 2 inches of I-Cord. This cord will be knotted when the boob is finished. It will look like a nipple through your bra.

Nipple 2 – Using 4 mm needles, and whatever colour you like for the nipple, CO 3 sts. Work 2 rows of I-Cord if you are going to use a button or bead. To finish sew on button/bead.

Nipple 3 – Using 4 mm needles, and whatever colour you like for the nipple, CO 4 sts. Work 3 rows of I-Cord.

Next row: knit 1, make 1, knit 1, make 1, knit 1, make 1 (6 sts.)

For all variations: Divide sts between 3 double-point needles, in preparation to begin working in the round. Place marker before first stitch.

Knit around without increases, holding the I-Cord up.

Next Round:  Knit 1, make 1, knit 1 on each needle.  3 sts increased.

Next and all following increase rounds: Knit to last 2 sts, knit 1, make 1, knit 1 on each needle

Continue increases in nipple colour to 8 stitches on each needle. Change to breast colour.

Repeat increase rounds to make a total of 60 (66, 72) sts. (20, 22, 24 sts on each needle).

Note: All breasts are different. There is no wrong in number of increases, only keep the stitches equal on the three needles. To make a fuller breast, increase stitches between the areole and the main body, mid-way on each needle. (An increase of 1 extra stitch per needle for 6 rows (18 stitches) will make a D cup.)

To make a longer breast body (for a full –figured woman) knit a few rows without increases once you have reached your base size.

Instructions continued

After your increases, knit one row.

Change to cotton yarn for inner and purl one row around.

Inner Piece

Change to smaller needles and knit one row.

Next and all following rows:  knit to last 3 sts on each needle, decrease by k2tog, knit 1. You are basically reversing all increases made on the front shaping.

Stop when you have 12 sts left (4 sts on each needle). Cut yarn, leaving a long tail to thread through the stitches and tie off.


Tack the inner and outer together in the centre to make the back concave.

Stuff filling in through the opening, more or less depending on fullness desired. Sew or tie shut.

The stone is inserted into the fill to provide weight for breast sag. Optional.

To donate:

Kelly’s Mastectomy Boutique – Diane Hayes
1747A St. Laurent Blvd.
Ottawa, Ontario 
Donations are used for the Kelly Project:


This pattern is adapted from Beryl Tsang’s pattern for ‘titbits’ found here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/PATTbits.html