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    Online Raffle With Amazing Prizes!

    (Fundraising for Amy’s Angels)


    Not so long ago, I made a big hoo-har about My Return To Blogging, heralding this minor miracle with a month of posting nothing but positivity. I announced I was going to get back on the wagon and get back to posting as regularly as possible whilst not putting pressure on myself to spend my entire time attached to my laptop.


    Then life happened and my free time suddenly became not-so-free as I received some news which filled my brain and, instantaneously, my evenings and weekends.


    A good friend of mine, someone I have known since the age of 11 (that’s 19-years… I’m so old) contacted me to let me know that her daughter, Amy – aged just 7 – had been diagnosed with Cancer. Not only that, but the form of Cancer she has is so rare that the treatment she needs (Proton Beam Therapy) isn’t available in the UK. This means they need to go to America.


    I’ll be honest, when I got the news about Amy, it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Her mum, Carly, and I have been friends through so many ups and downs in the nearly-two-decades (sob) that we’ve known each other and, although we can sometimes go months without seeing each other, it’s one of those friendships that is solid. You know the kind? When you just know it’s a friendship that is going to last the test of time. She’s one of the most giving, friendly, helpful, caring people I know and I honestly believe my life is better simply for having her in it. And likewise, I love both her children so much, having watched them both grow from teeny little babies into the half-pint-size humans they are today.


    So, to see people you care for so deeply going through something so awful… well, there’s not really any words for it. It’s beyond upsetting, it’s heart-achingly awful.


    But, Carly and Amy are beyond brave. The way they have dealt with this has honestly left me speechless. Amy is on her second round of chemotherapy at the moment and, at just seven years old, having lost most of her hair, having had an operation, and going through everything she’s going through… she hasn’t stopped smiling. The kid is an absolute powerhouse!


    And Carly? Well Carly is, once again, proving to me why I’ve always said she’s the strongest woman I know.


    Now, obviously the cost of getting Amy to America for treatment is going to be high and, at the moment, they are awaiting the ins-and-outs associated with it. The doctors are going to reassess Amy at the end of her chemotherapy here in the UK as to what the next course of action is going to be, but they have instructed them to be ready and able to fly straight over there and get the treatment started. We are – of course – crossing our fingers that Amy will somehow manage to beat this horrible disease just with her UK treatment, and there is a slim chance she will, but in the meantime we are working on raising money so that if/when the doctors do tell her she’s got to hop on a plane over to the States she will be ready to go.


    So, as I did a couple of years ago to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust, we are now hosting an INCREDIBLE online raffle to raise funds for Amy’s Angels (as we have called ourselves) to get her overseas for the treatment she needs.


    (Please note this important point – any money raised that is above and beyond what Amy and her family need, will be donated for research into the rare form of Cancer she has – Rhabdomyosarcoma – so all monies raised will be going to a good cause either way!)


    As it stands, the raffle has over 40 prizes that can be entered for, although we are having more prizes donated almost every day! Tickets are just £2.00 each and you can enter for as many prizes as you like, and as many times as you want to. There’s everything ranging from hair and beauty, vouchers for clothing brands, flowers, gym memberships, cinema tickets, food and drink, homewares, dog food, hair extensions, photography sessions, family days out, a Forest School experience and so, so much more!


    The raffle itself is only open to UK residents and some of the prizes are location specific, but these are all listed in the details so you can work out if it’s somewhere you’ll be able to travel to.


    At just £2.00 a ticket, it’s definitely got to be worth entering and chancing your luck at winning any of the prizes that interest you. There’s a few I would love to win, but obviously I can’t enter!


    Whether you choose to enter the raffle or not, we would be so grateful for any support you can give us. Amy has already been featured in UK national newspapers (Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Sun) and on ITV News, plus lots of local newspapers here in Essex too, but we need to spread her story far and wide to get the family the money they need to help their little girl get better.


    If money is tight for you then please don’t worry, we know things like this aren’t possible for everyone, but a simple ‘like’ of the Amy’s Angels Facebook page, her Twitter account, and visiting her GoFundMe page will do us the world of good.


    Amy’s Angels on Facebook –

    Amy’s Angels on Twitter –

    Amy’s GoFundMe Page –

    Amy’s Big Raffle –


    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this – sorry it’s a big of a long rambling post, and I’m sorry for my absence on here, but I’ll be back soon, I promise!!



    Penny xx


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    Tara’s Guest Post: Reading Your Way To Happiness

    As much as I tell people that reading is powerful for your soul, they don’t always seem to believe me. Words-on-a-page versus the ample videos, images and interactions on the world’s biggest web, is something of a David and Goliath battle. Reading has become a dying art form but soaking up and absorbing what’s between the covers is needed now, more than ever before. There is a growing body of research showing that reading benefits you in so many ways including your mental health but rather than quote the academia to you, I’m going to show you how mindful reading really can help you find your happy place!


    Continue reading…

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    Dane’s Guest Post: Ten Top Tips for Writers and Bloggers

    Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain and I’m a writer, blogger, and a friend of Penny’s since way back when – I guess it all got started in June 2014 when myself, Penny and another blogger had a live chat about a book called The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, that the three of us had all been sent.


    Back then, I was an unpublished author and Penny’s blog was called Lilies and Love, so a lot has changed since then. But what hasn’t changed is that it’s a lot of fun to work together, and so when she was casting about for guest bloggers and she asked me to contribute, I answered the call and – well, here we are.


    There are a lot of similarities between bloggers and writers, and so I thought this would be the perfect place to take a look at them, and to offer a few suggestions on how to be the best you can be, whether we’re talking about content creation or marketing. So let’s get into it!


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    Karen’s Guest Post: The LOVE Enthusiast

    Greetings to all of you here on the lovely Penny’s blog. I am honoured to be a guest contributor for her Internet home and virtual family.


    I’ve been asked to share a secret with you. But before I do I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Karen Geraghty and I am a Yankee Doodle Paddy. A what you say? That’s what I call myself because I am a dual American and Irish citizen. While I am enjoying living in London, my own blog was born out of a longing for my “yankee doodle” and “paddy” roots so I decided to bestow that name with its own URL.


    I am a trained chef and baker, and also a cookery teacher. But the truth is that my purpose in life is to spread LOVE. And that is a subject I actually want to share on here today.


    I once heard that in order to be a success at something you need to be an expert at it. Malcolm Gladwell spoke of this in his book Outliers. It is estimated that ten thousand hours spent honing a skill will lead to being an expert. Even bloggers can be experts at a particular talent, issue etc. Some may be experts at fashion, makeup or cooking. Some may be experts at overcoming debt or a debilitating illness. But when you become an expert in an area, people come to you with questions, seeking your guidance or maybe just for curiosity.


    Well, I’ve become an expert at love. I have been sharing my love through my food for years and now as a blogger newbie I try my best to do the same in my little corner of the Internet. At 51 years old though I am late to the social media world I am making up for lost ground. But in the short span of time I have been involved I have met some amazing people like Penny.


    Yet, it isn’t my profession, age or gender that people remember about me so much as my purpose in life, which as I said is to spread love. On my Snapchat stories, you’re bound to see hearts galore and hear talk of love along side some yummy cupcakes of course. I share quotes, books and thoughts on love and even demonstrate ways to spread the love. I’ve even hosted #lovefest competitions whereby people find hearts or love images in their world and snap them to me to win a prize. So while some have called me an expert on love I prefer to use the moniker LOVE Enthusiast. However, for the sake of this post I will use the term expert.




    How do I claim to be an expert in love? Well I believe that our highest purpose in life comes from our deepest pain. And that is why I have spent most of my life researching and practicing the art of love. It is my response to the amount of pain, trauma and hate I have endured in my life. And so that is my mission, to share with others this life affirming reaction to the negative things that have happened to me.


    To sum it up for you, love is a verb, an action word. And it is also another type of language, which can be foreign to some. But we can all acquire another language no matter our age or learning disability.


    Love is actually a combination of 5 different languages according to Dr. Gary Chapman. The key is to figure out what language we speak. And to have successful relationships, it is important to know how to speak the love language of your partner. Here are the five types of love languages:


    Physical touch
    Words of Affirmation
    Acts of Service
    Gift giving
    Quality time


    Why is it important to speak the language of your partner? Well if you love them, you want to be able to communicate with them. If for instance you are someone who speaks the language of gift giving and you bring home flowers everyday and souvenirs from business trips, yet your wife speaks another language she might not seem as though she is appreciative of your thoughtfulness. She may speak the language of quality time, and all she really wants is for you to sit with her on the couch in front of the fire without you playing on your mobile device. You love each other but feel totally misunderstood and this “lost in translation” can be very detrimental to a successful relationship!


    Sometimes the notion of love can seem overwhelming with the world in its current state of affairs. But if you start by spreading love right where you stand, with the people immediate to you and those you come in contact with, I guarantee you will see a shift. Besides you feeling better, you will make someone else feel loved. Whether it is doing an act of service to help an elderly person carry his or her groceries, or paying for someone’s coffee in line behind you. Sadly many people have become numb to niceness and have become accustomed to cold and disconnected human interactions. But you have the power to change that by surprising someone with the warmth of a loving gesture. A smile, a complimentary word, or even a hug can make a huge difference. It works for me and is like a joy generator. I get asked everyday what is my secret for being so happy. Yet, my secret isn’t a secret at all. It is out there in the open for anyone to accept.


    So I would encourage you to act with love! Let’s all start a LOVE-olution!


    “Love is the force that transforms and improves the face of the world.”


    Thank you Penny for this opportunity and I’m sending you all lots of LOVE!


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


    Want to follow Karen?


    Snapchat: blissbakery

    Twitter: @yankeedoodlepad

    Instagram: @yankeedoodlepaddy

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    Jessica’s Guest Post: Be Good

    Hello! I’m Jess, 33, married, midlander, Forest School Practitioner, spaniel wrangler, currently sporting pink hair…yes I think that about covers it!


    I feel somewhat awkward (almost always, but specifically now) ‘taking over’ a blog post on the legend that is ‘A Penny for them’ but if you’ve made it this far I’m sure we’ll be fine!


    It’s unsurprising for anyone who knows me that the ‘good news story’ I want to share is connected to my experience with Forest School.


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    A New Essex Girl’s Guest Post: #Flawed

    At the time of writing this I have been blogging precisely three weeks. Normally I don’t do anything as fancy as writing lots of words. Instead, my blog is dedicated to doodles I do in the evening after my baby and husband have gone to bed. Within a week and a half of starting it my work was featured in the local paper and after that came out I was interviewed on radio too. So it may come as a surprise to you when I confess, I can’t draw.


    Well, that’s what my art teacher told me when I was fourteen. From then until now (I’m thirty, let’s not make a big deal of it) I didn’t draw, not even a doodle whilst on hold to the electric company or in boring business meetings. I was no good, why bother?


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