Celebrating My Dad This Father’s Day.
I’m completely on board with celebrating the gift of a loving parent. However, I’m aware that this can be a difficult time for those who don’t have their father around, so if this is a trigger for you, please click off now and take care to be kind to yourself this weekend. I know how lucky I am to still have my father with me and this post is to honor him and share a little about our loving relationship.
My dad walked me down the isle in July. As a mature bride I was so fortunate that dad was able to take part in the celebration of my marriage to Sam. At eighty-seven he’s endured two hip replacements and a knee replacement. If he has to walk any distance, he uses the aid of crutches. He was determined to walk me down the isle. I think, in some part, he still sees me as his little girl.
At the reception, he managed to dance a gentle waltz with me so I'd have a special father-daughter moment with him. After he was again seated at his table he said, “I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.” But he was smiling broadly. It makes me emotional to recall this because it shows how he’d pushed himself because he knew what it would mean to me.
His whole life is centered around his family. His children are very important and he always admired mum for the wonderful job she did with looking after us all. But he was there, providing for his family and guiding his children with his wisdom.
As the baby of the family, I was indulged. I sat on his knee to watch TV until I grew too tall. He played ballet music on the stereo so I could dance to it. When I’d tried to make myself stilts (they were all the rage with the kids at the time) with nailed together bits of wood, they kept falling apart so Dad made sturdy ones that were screwed together and braced. I had heaps of fun walking around on them.
Widowed two years ago, his focus is now on his two daughters. He alternates Sunday nights with me and my sister. We make a roast dinner and send him home with enough leftovers for two more meals for dinner during the week. We visit during the week and each night we take it in turns to call him and have a chat about our day. But he's very independent and still does his own supermarket shopping and brings homes treats for us to enjoy when we have lunch with him.
I find at this time of life I’m also grateful for what I’m able to do for dad. Like my sister and brother in law, Sam and I take dad on holiday with us. We enjoy going out for lunch and visiting attractions. Dad is happy to do whatever Sam and I like and of course we're happy to take dad to see the things he would like too.
In my romance writing dad inspires my heroes. They hear the call to action that fatherhood requires and are sensible of the responsibility that it carries. Angus, from 'The Scottish Billionaire's Secret Lover', is a father in waiting. He has the welfare of orphans at the center of all he does and is a father figure to a little boy in need of surgery to repair disfigurement. He thinks he needs an aristocratic, arranged marriage but subconsciously he really wants a wife who possesses a nurturing heart, with whom he can make the family he always wanted.
Alessandro, from 'The Italian Billionaire's Secret Baby', was a boy when he lost his father in a racing car accident. Determined not to put a child of his through the same ordeal he refuses to have children while pursuing the same career but he discovers he has a toddler son. He immediately wants to step up and be a hands on father, but he has to understand what that really takes in order to win a place in his son's life and the heart of his estranged wife.
Dad showed me what it is to be a father who takes that responsibility to heart. He loves his children and supports them to the best of his ability. This Father’s Day, it’s my pleasure to have dad for Sunday dinner. My sister and husband will join us and it looks like my kids will be coming too, as they usually do on Sundays to see their grandad. It will be a roast, probably lamb, which is an Australian staple, with apple sponge and ice-cream for dessert. Dad will be the guest of honor and I can’t express how lucky that makes me feel.
Dora Bramden writes heart-melting, passionate romance.
It's a lovely day to celebrate all the wonderful women who raised us. Yes, they are a part of us now. All the love that they gave us resides within and will never fade. Every school lunch they made and every night they sat up with us when we were sick was love in action.
It only takes a moment to think of your Mum on Mothers' day. If she's like mine, it creates a warm glow that lights up your heart and spreads to your cheeks.
Two years since my mum passed and I'm doing okay. I miss her like anything. A hug and a cup of tea with some of her home baked cake would be truly heaven. However the light she shone in my world continues to glow in my memory and I'm blessed with many wonderful times to remember.
If you still have your mum here to visit on Mothers Day take a moment to be really grateful for the time you're sharing. Give her an extra hug from me.
I know that lots of readers have children of their own, as I do. It's your day today also and I hope you've planned some downtime to enjoy being spoiled by the next gen. I'll be putting my feet up after dinner and let my visiting children clean up.
If you're stuck for some last minute gift ideas here's a few of my favorites and they were my mum's too. It's lovely to receive presents and I think the inexpensive ones are best. A picture of my kids in a frame is always a winner with me. A home decorating or gardening magazine that I can flick through with a mug of tea is a treat. Speaking of tea, special Twinnings tea bags are also an easy pick up from the supermarket. You should also be able to snag a card there too.
My children sometimes make a card which is soooo special and they write a little bit of how special I am to them. This is the absolute best part of Mother's Day. So take a moment to really think about what you're grateful to your mum for.
I hope you all have a really lovely day on Mother's Day and enjoy the special moments and celebrate the amazing work mothers have done and continue to do, loving, guiding and raising the next generation.
Dora writes heart-melting, passionate romance
The Healing Power of Flowers
Since I blogged last week, I’ve had a Birthday and was lucky enough to be given a lovely bunch of pink roses. They are a delight and have been giving me a lot of pleasure, which I’ve needed because I’ve also been struggling with the run up to the anniversary of Mum passing away on March 20th 2017. I’ve been in need of all the uplifting flowers can do this week. Those roses have been in my dining room reminding me of the dear friend who gave them to me and her a warm, loving hug that accompanied the gift of the flowers. She knows that birthdays are a little bit hard for me now.
The garden has been barren of blooms for a while, but has finally put on a little early autumn show which entices me out to smell and admire the rose bushes each morning. It helps to lift the veil of sadness I’m waking up with every day. I picked some roses and made a posy which, you might have seen if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram . Each time I walked past that posy I smiled.
Roses have always been my favorite flower. There’s something so romantic about this drama queen of flowers. Scented roses are the most heavenly smell on earth. I have to shut my eyes as I inhale their sweetness. They’re so spectacular and attention grabbing that they bring me into the present and provide relief from somber thoughts.
The grief I feel over losing Mum is less than it was at first but this anniversary is accompanied by a physical pain in my heart. Two years since I heard her voice. Two years since she put her arms around me and I held her in mine. Two years of Mondays without our regular morning phone call to chat about our weekend.
I feel her with me in other ways and that is very comforting, but I miss her physical presence Only after she was gone did I become sensible to how big a place she filled in my life. The emptiness is huge. So a thoughtful bouquet of flowers from a friend is felt deeply.
The gift of a flower arrangement was a special treat that Mum always enjoyed. So I’m glad my sister rang this morning and asked if I’d like to go for a coffee and buy Mum some flowers for her grave. We chose a stunning basket of flowers. It’s consoling to be able to still buy flowers for Mum.
I’d planned on taking a posy of roses from my garden, and I still will, as I think she’d like that also. She loved gardening so much that not only did she keep a gorgeous formal English style garden looking beautiful she also used to weed my garden and my sister’s as well. She was always ready with gardening advice and no visit was complete without a tour of the garden.
Before, I said that I feel her in other ways, it’s usually when I’m meditating or when I’m in the garden, I can feel her essence nearby. As if she’s there next to me but I’m not looking at her. So I have many reasons to believe in the healing power of flowers. They help to uplift me through inspiring appreciation for the present moment and create connections, between friends and sisters and to my dearly remembered mother.
Dora Bramden writes Heart-Melting, Passionate, Romance
Memories of Musical Childhood
My current work in progress is set in the music industry. It's a story that is partly inspired by my time working in administration for a rock music venue. I met some famous people, which was wonderful but most interesting was learning what when on behind the glamour. I've always loved being where music is playing, so it seemed a good fit when I was invited to work there.
I'm not surprised that I was drawn to work in the music industry, having grown up with music playing much of the time. Besides my father playing classical records on Sunday mornings, my older sister played records like the Bee Gees and the Beatles every day. But live music was also a huge part of my early life, performed by friends and family on our heirloom piano in our modest lounge room.
I can still smell the Mr Sheen as I polished my great grandmother’s piano. The carved scrolls enchanted me with their fairyland quality, as I revealed warm glossy hued timber swirls from beneath their coat of dust. For me it was the magical center of our house. Not only did it look majestic and beautiful, from it came sounds that transported me to another world.
Aunty Bev, Dad's sister, played by ear. She would say, "Sing the tune for me," and then she could play it straight away. Family gatherings were common, a highlight would be when she'd sit at the piano and begin playing the songs we all loved. Her brothers would gather around with their wives and all my cousins and we'd sing together. I was aware of belonging to a warm and loving family and felt happy, oh so happy.
I also loved it when my sister played for me. Mostly she had to practice her lessons but sometimes she play for fun and I’d sing along standing next to her. I wanted to learn but couldn’t make my hands work independently of each other. I learned guitar instead and could play and sing as often as I wanted.
As time went by, I developed thick calluses on the end of my fingers from playing so much, but I didn’t mind. I did very well at playing beginner chords and even achieved a first place certificate for best in the class. However as soon as I needed to play the more advanced bar chords it got too hard for me. My wrists weren’t strong and they didn’t toughen up. But I continued to play adapting songs and fudging the chords a bit. I enjoy the guitar sound so much, because like the piano, it is the strings vibrating that makes the sound.
Dad’s best friend loved creating beauty around him, gardening and painting, but particularly music. He was a concert pianist during the second world war and played many famous classical pieces on that old piano in our lounge room. His music somehow became a part of my soul. I can recall, all these years later, how it felt, how it sounded as if it were yesterday.
I’d stand at the end of the keyboard and watch his fingers move incredibly fast across the ebony and ivory. How was he able to strike so many correct notes in perfectly timed succession? The sound waves vibrated inside my lungs as I breathed the music in, closing my eyes. I’d think only of the sound and let it become a tangible living thing inside, transporting me to another dimension where only beauty exists.
I hear those tunes now when my father plays his recordings, and it uplifts me as only something loved and familiar from childhood can do. It can’t be the same experience I had as small child, standing beside Uncle Keith, with the sound waves of uplifting beauty reverberating through my body and flooding my senses. But music still transports me to a world of magic and beauty.
I'm so fortunate to have had that experience at a young age, and while we lacked some things, in regards to music our family had an abundance. It had a healing effect, soothing worries away and bringing joy. In the novel I'm currently writing, music is the hero. Helping to bring a woman home to where she remembers the joy music brought her in childhood and into the arms of a Country/Rock-star that needs her to love him.
While I write I'm drawing on the memories of my child self, listening in wonder to the magic of music and the strong family connection it holds for me.
The first Easter I remember was all about chocolate eggs that the Easter Bunny had left overnight. The smell of the chocolate wafted up as I opened the foil wrapper before breakfast promising pure delight. But more than this was the supreme indulgence of having chocolate for breakfast. I can still remember the thin chocolate melting into creamy, chocolaty sweetness on my tongue.
I was the sort of child who couldn’t resist the eggs. By dinner time I would have eaten all three of them, one large, one medium and a small one. I never could ration myself so that I could enjoy them for days after. The best I could do was only eat the small one first, then the middle sized one and last of all, the big one. But one year I got so much Easter chocolate, and I was so unwell that I had lots left over at the end the of Easter Sunday.
When I was nine, I was diagnosed with a kidney condition. I was admitted to the Royal Children's Hospital, I think in February. I was still there when I had my tenth birthday in early March and then along came Easter. I’d been in the hospital for many weeks at this point. The staff were wonderful but I was wondering when and whether it would all end. But Easter brought chocolate. Not just from the Easter Bunny but from our extended family and friends too. There were many of the treasured eggs but also chocolate rabbits and a chocolate hen sitting in a chocolate basket.
Boy, I felt so spoiled, but more importantly, it let me know that while I was away from them all, they hadn’t forgotten me. For many days I enjoyed little bits of chocolate, and it lasted a long time. Eventually, I started to feel better, and all the eggs were gone by the time I came home. The condition couldn’t be cured, and I would have to live with it for the rest of my life. But the gift of the Easter chocolate had been a bright spot during a difficult time.
I wish I could say that was a turning point for me, in regards to having discipline around chocolate, but it wasn’t. As soon as I was well again, my appetite returned, and I was back to my old tricks feasting on chocolate on Easter Sunday. Whenever my condition makes its presence felt I lose my appetite and drop some weight. For the last couple of weeks I haven’t been well, and so I dropped a couple of kilos. Don’t worry I have plenty more to spare (she chuckles) but aside from that, I’m feeling well again now and will be able to enjoy some chocolate this Sunday. As you can see in the photo above, I'm prepared.
This year, while I’m enjoying my traditional chocolate breakfast, I’ll be grateful that I’m still here after all these years, and for the love of the family and friends that I have about me.
Thank you for supporting of my blog; it means so much to me that you drop in each week to see what musings I have to share. I wish you and your loved ones a very enjoyable and healthy Easter.
I wonder if it's possible to write an Easter Romance. I'll have to think about that one. It would have to include chocolate. That reminds me, I hope you get lots of chocolate!
For the love of grandmothers
My grandmothers listened, guided and helped me where they could. They didn’t have the important responsibility to raise me or pay for my shoes or doctors’ appointments. They’d done all that with one of my parents. Now was their time to enjoy children and to offer unconditional love and a wise word here and there. When creating my heroines, I always seem to think about not just her mother and what she was like but also who was her grandmother and what influence did she have. In my latest book, Katrina’s mother was a successful artist and worked a lot, so it was her grandmother who provided the stability and attention that little Katrina craved. Having had a close and loving relationship with both of my grandmothers, who were there for me when my mother couldn’t be, enriched my life beyond measure. I like to share a little about them with you.
My Nana (Dad’s mum) lived a few houses away in the same street. She was the social outgoing type who always came to see me dance at my annual ballet concert. I would call in and see her whenever I liked and was welcomed with a warm smile and offered a packet of chips, a treat that I promptly ate. She had fun loving friends who came to play cards. Sometimes I would call in after school and find them laughing and sitting around a card table in the lounge playing ‘Stop The Bus’. A chair for me would be pulled up and a pile of copper coins placed at my disposal. Under the window sat a coffee table. On here she had photos of her seventeen grandchildren displayed under glass. She called all of us ‘Dear’ because she used to get our names mixed up. Parties at Nana’s were a highlight at Christmas with all her children and grandchildren arriving for a sing-along and sometimes there was dancing. I used to love playing in her crystal cabinet. I was actually dusting it, but it was like playing to me. She left me that cabinet (see the photo above) and I will cherish it always.
My Granny (Mum’s mum) lived in the next suburb but it was there I had many sleepovers when Mum and Dad went out. She was an older grandmother and had been the head Sister in a country hospital before she married. She was a quiet woman who liked a simple life and kept her country ways even though she now lived in a big city. She taught me how to knit and crochet and to make paper pieced patchwork. A wood fired stove turned out scones and sausage rolls and an open fire in the lounge room was a special delight. There was a pot of tea with cups and saucers brought into the lounge on a tray, and Cadbury milk chocolate for supper.
I remember asking her some of the big questions. Like ‘Aren’t you scared of dying now that you’re old?’ I cringe now when I think about my young self being so tactless, but she gave me an answer that has stayed with me all my life. She explained that she wasn’t scared because she’d lived a long life and was tired now. She also told me that I didn’t have to worry because I’d be ready too when I was old and my time came. I stopped worrying about what lay ahead in all areas of my life. I assumed I’d be ready when the time came. She let me play with her makeup and I’d put on her red lipstick and bright rouge although I never saw her wear it and I assume it was kept solely to entertain her granddaughters. I was allowed to look through the jewelry that she kept in a crystal bowl. She left that bowl to me and I keep it in my study where I write.
I’ve dedicated “The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ to my grandmothers because of the love they gave me, and all their grandchildren, for the stability and quiet confidence that came from being family women who’d lived through all the stages of womanhood. They knew what lay ahead for me and did their best to help me see a light inside myself. They were giving in their time and showed how happy they were to see me whenever I visited.
Katrina, pretty ballerina, as I like to call her, had a close relationship with her grandmother. Because of this she wants her son to get to know his grandmother in Italy. I believe I could write this lovely lady from the heart because I had some wonderful women to inspire me.
If you’d like to order a copy of The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby.’ Follow the links below.
Kindle e-book buy link
Paperback buy link
So It's our first Christmas together and Sam and I have bought a house. We're thrilled and can't wait to get into our new bigger place but we'll have a little while yet to wait.
We don't settle until January and there are renovations needed so I've been driving myself crazy with a Pinterest addiction. I can't stop my fingers from wanting to scroll on my phone through the many possibilities that I could use to decorate our new home.
If you follow me on Facebook you'll already have that news along with my extended family that my house has sold. My family had our once a year catch up/Christmas party last weekend and everyone was thrilled for us having read our news online. After the excitement of my auction was over, we moved Sam's furniture in to my house. It went from spacious luxury to cramped elegance. But it's worth it. We now have two TV's. That is heaven. I love watching home reno shows that are on at the same time as Sam's favorite Sixty Minutes or Sunday Night.
We decided as it's out first year living together we'd like to do a combined family lunch so we will be setting up tresle tables in the loungeroom and serving Turkey and Ham buffet style. It feels strange to be having Christmas in a house I've sold. It's a kind of limbo land, living in a house that won't be mine for much longer. It's promised to another family and I feel like a caretaker on some level.
I'm finding a way to decorate in a more restrained way this year, going for red and white mainly, Pinterest is full of inspiration and motivation. Sam and I have collected a few ornaments during our excersions to Christmas shops and they are on a smaller tree than I usually have. So the house feels a bit different this year. But once the family arrive and the bon bons are snapped it will have the feeling I love.
Not all our loved ones will be at the table this year. Some have other places to be and one very special person has gone to heaven. But I know that the love we have stays constant no matter where our loved ones are. We'll drink a toast to absent family and enjoy the company of those who can be sitting at the table with us.
I don't know if we'll be hosting next Christmas in our new home or who will be able to join us but I know one thing for sure, I'll be spending it with Sam and some of our family somewhere, and that's what Christmas is all about. Because I love it so much I couldn't help putting a Christmas scene in the epilogue of 'A Dance with the Laird'. There's something about family coming together to give to each other that makes me happy and want to cuddle someone. Even though I'm having Christmas in limbo land, I'll have the company of people I love and it will be just fine.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.