Sunshine Blogger Award!

Apologies for lack of content recently. June has not been an easy month to put it mildly. Not all bad by any means, just crazy! Bookended by an exhibition in London at the start and then another this coming weekend was three weeks of stress from other directions. Around the middle of the month I was struggling for sure.

My friend Gill from Talking Thailand has kindly nominated me for this award. I am happy to accept and this is my first award post in a while. Thank you Gill!

Please visit Gill. Like may of us she is negotiating a period of adjustment in her life and writes so eloquently about her experiences.


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog so everyone can visit.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on their blog post.
  • List the rules and display the Award logo on your blog post.

Gill’s questions.

Why did you start your blog? Several reasons. I had just completed my Society of Botanical Artists diploma in early 2016 and wanted a way of publicising my work. Completing the course had left a void in my life and I was going through a very stressful period at work (and at home). I was also becoming more and more depressed and, frankly, lonely and in need of an escape from day-to-day stresses.

Sadly I did not have a clue what I was doing. I was too shy to visit other blogs and say hi or otherwise take part in the blogging community or even allow comments. After a few months of zero views of my blog I stopped blogging. Soon afterwards I had the breakdown which had been inevitable for a while. High doses of Citalopram boosted my confidence enough to start blogging properly again in the summer of 2017. I very quickly made friends in the WP community this time around.

What do you like most about blogging? The friends I have made through blogging have made the last two years amazing. Several of these friends are especially close and we talk and collaborate away from WP now too. The real (and joyful) irony for me is that I have been the catalyst of other friendships.

What is your favourite time of year and why? Spring. Winter is dreadful for me so the end of the winter every year is something to be celebrated.

What are your plans for the next year? A return visit to Montreal for sure. I have travelled there twice to meet up with blogging buddies and have grown to love the city. I had hopes to travel elsewhere too but if I am honest my confidence is not where it was a year ago and I might find this impossible for now. I also want to change gyms and am casually job-hunting also.

Further commercial creative ventures are planned, both solo and with my collaborators.

What would be your dream job? To have a shared art studio with my WFNC and Fashioned by Nature collaborators, Dominique and Lisa, so that we no longer have to work at a distance.

What is your favourite childhood memory? Early morning walks with my Grandfather to watch the wildlife near his home. My childhood has very few positive memories otherwise.

What would you do if money was no object? Build my own personal Eden Project and live in it.

I have been asking myself this question for some time if I am honest. I think the first thing I would do is leave the UK. Or at least leave England. I have been concerned by the political language for a while, and the influence of the right-wing media on voters. The Brexit vote was bad enough but coming home from work the week before the recent EU elections to find a leaflet for a (illegal – for now) neo-nazi group in the letterbox sickened me.

What is the best place you have ever been to? Why? This is a hard one to answer as I tend to categorize things. I have liked everywhere I have traveled to. For me as a plant enthusiast it has to be South Africa. For a relaxing holiday somewhere warm with good food (and also plants) then Crete. For friendship, culture and fun – Montreal. For stunning scenery – the Swiss Alps around Wengen.

What do you think about when you are alone? How long I might have before being interrupted….and therefore is it worth actually starting anything?

Are you scared of anything? Not living the life I now want to live and later looking back with regret.

What makes you happy? Hugs! And Indian food! Those who know me well would tell you how much good Indian food cheers me up 🙂

My Questions for Nominees

  1. What are your hopes for your blog?
  2. Are you friends with other bloggers in real life?
  3. What other social media do you participate in?
  4. Music or silence when you are writing or creating?
  5. If you have a day job, are you happy with it?
  6. Do you get cravings for any particular food?
  7. Do your family support your blogging?
  8. Your favourite city?
  9. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
  10. What fictional character do you most identify with?
  11. Any big life events coming up soon?

My Nominees

I’m not going to do this! If anyone would like to take part then please do so 🙂


I am now going to take a break for a while. I will return with a new When Fashion and Nature Collide in August.

During July I will participate in a music challenge that will see a new post each day of that month, these are scheduled automatically, but I might only check comments infrequently.

Anyone visiting the Lake District this coming weekend will find me in the marquee with the other associate artists from Lancaster’s King Street Studios at the annual Silverdale and Arnside Arts and Crafts Trail. Some of my work will be on display (and for sale) and I will be doing a demo/workshop at 2-3pm on Saturday.


  1. I sometimes think our part of the social media world is a complete anachronism. The blogging community seems largely made up of genuinely good people; that’s certainly my experience and it seems yours too. My 21 year old son doesn’t quite believe how kind we all are to each other.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wish I could come up to visit you workshop, Darren! Wishing you all the best for it!! 😄
    I really like the sound of that Eden project, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where money doesn’t matter and we could live and work wherever we like? And what horrible news about that leafletter! 😯 Tell me about politicians not taking the threat from these kind of groups seriously enough! That stupid racist party here in Germany is still legal! I’m so sick of it.
    I’m so glad that you found your way back to blogging the second time around and that has it brought so much joy to you! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Loved your answers Darren! And, job hunting?? That’s great! Any of those jobs include your artistic side🤞I hope so!! Best of luck with everything your doing, you’re amazing 🌟

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you😍. Job hunting is casual but I have decided I no longer have the patience to continue learning to use new lab kit after 12 years of permanent steep learning curve alongside two other roles that should really have full time staff doing them. Would be happy just to do QA management/lab auditing but my boss would not allow this even if I cut my hours accordingly. Nobody is going to pay me to be creative, sadly. Lots of other factors to consider too. X

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Oh I will for sure, and thank you. The ideal for me would be to take my pension (I just about qualify, albeit a reduced one) and work part time to top it up so I could dedicate half the week to creative things. Domestic negotiations are a bit delicate on this topic…

          Liked by 3 people

  4. So glad that you gave WP a second chance because you have definitely been the catalyst of many friendships, which lead to our collaborative project WFNC. All this wouldn’t have happened if you had not left a comment on my Bee Chic post in August 24th 2017. Can you believe it that since then we have been writing to each other every week? This was a big challenge for me as you know because English is not my first language, but through that experience my English writing skills have improve a lot, not to mention my knowledge of plants. I think a big thank you is in order here. BTW, I also dream about a shared art studio with you and Lisa. Here’s to many more years of friendship, respect and love collecting experiences and inspiring others. Much love and hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a beautiful comment, thank you. The moment I left that comment became a pivotal moment in my life, and apparently in yours too. I am truly thankful that I found your blog that day and left a comment. Our blogging journeys have followed a similar path too, even before our paths crossed.
      Your English has certainly improved far more than my French has!
      Indeed I look forward to many more years my lovely friend. Love and hugs to you too. xx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that such a small event like writing a comment can set off a chain of events that force us to change or at least see things in a new light. It’s a wonderful feeling actually and it should reminds us to trust our instinct. Keep smiling Darren. We -you, Lisa and I- are strong together like pearls on a necklace!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, I’m so glad to hear all of this. Such a lovely way to catch up with you. I wish you well with all your endeavors and look forward to reading and sharing more! I look forward to adding some more Artyplantsman photo inspired pieces. I miss that. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Darren I love this post. WP has been an amazing vehicle to fantastic life long friendships. So proud of all that you have done. I think it’s normal for our confidence to go up and down. I am so thankful to have met you and Do. You are a bright light in my life. I am cheering you on my friend. You inspire so many. I dream of that art studio, it would be the best thing ever. Do-is right, we are strong together.


  7. I loved reading this post Darren. And I honestly wish you all the best in achieving your Eden project. You know what they say, if you can dream it you can achieve it. Big warm hugs from down under.,


  8. For what it’s worth, I find your humor outstanding, as well as your photos, and your art work. The collaboration you three have is something very special and I consider it a blessing to be able to tag along via social media. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Winter is an ‘ugh’ful time for me too.

    Liked by 1 person

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