author interview

25 random facts about me, plus some photos of Cornwall and other things

A belated Happy New Year!

Apart from eating and drinking far too much, I’ve spent the Christmas holidays doing nothing except read and read, but I did also keep up with lots of my favourite bloggers. I came across the idea of answering these 25 random questions after reading one of my favourite blogs, Jaffa Reads Too. I thought it would be a fun start to the new year, and a way to introduce myself to new followers – and not too taxing – hopefully!

So, here goes, with 25 random facts about me…!

What is your middle name?

My middle name is Bernadette. (I’m one of three daughters, and my mum is also one of three daughters. My sisters and I took my mum and her sisters’ names as our middle names (if that makes sense!) and my middle name is after my auntie Bernadette.)

What is your favourite drink?

Tea! I drink copious amounts of it during the day.

romance, suspense, jane richardson

What is your favourite song at the moment?

My favourite Christmas song is Johnny Mathis – When a Child is Born. Even though I’ve heard it loads these past few weeks I still never get tired of it. I know all the words, and sing along every time I hear it (even when I’m with crowds of strangers out Christmas shopping, which sometimes gets me funny looks)

helena fairfax, a way from heart to heart
Image from pixabay

What is your favourite food?

My favourite meal is either Christmas turkey dinner with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter, or – when it’s not Christmas – a curry. I live near Bradford in the north of England, which is regularly voted Curry Capital of Britain. I have a post here all about going for a Ruby if you want to find out more :)

What was the last thing you bought?

The last thing I bought was a book. (And I expect that answer surprised no one!) I bought Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend yesterday. It’s a massive bestseller and I wanted to find out why. No one even knows who Elena Ferrante really is – apart from that she’s Italian and lives in Naples (probably). So I’m intrigued to read this novel and find out why people love it.

What is your favourite book of all time?parade's end, ford madox ford, helena fairfax

That varies quite a bit. At the moment it’s Parade’s End, by Ford Madox Ford. It was recently adapted for television by the BBC. I thought the cast was perfect – especially Benedict Cumberbatch – and the acting was superb, but the TV series didn’t have anything like as much depth as the book and it skimmed over a lot of things, which was disappointing. I love the book – a lot! – and it will always be one of my favourite books of all time.

What is your favourite colour?

I used to have bright ginger hair (which has faded now) and so when I was younger there were only wear a few colours I could wear that wouldn’t clash with it. I used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t wear bright red, but now I’ve actually grown to love autumnal colours – greens, browns, and gold.

helena fairfax
Me and my ginger top, in Kenya, on Mombasa beach with my Dad

Do you have a pet?

Yes – my bonkers rescue dog, Lexi, who is very affectionate with the people she knows, but very distrustful of strangers. She also hates other dogs with a passion. We walk on the moors together every day near my home, where she can relax in the solitude and can terrorise the pheasants.

helena fairfax
On the moors with my dog, Lex

What is your favourite perfume?

I don’t often wear perfume as I’m not keen on strong scents. I like the smell of my moisturiser, which is a type of Royal Jelly, but that’s about as strongly scented as I like.

What is your favourite holiday?

Somewhere in a cottage by the seaside, with lots of books and walks with my husband and dog on the beach. We’ve just come back from a week in Cornwall and it was bliss.

cornwall, helena fairfax

cornwall, helena fairfax

cornwall, helena fairfax

cornwall, helena fairfax

Are you married?

Yes, to my lovely husband, Bob.

Have you ever been out of the country?

Yes, very often. Also, I was born in Uganda and didn’t even come to live in Britain until I was six. The next place I’ll be travelling to is New Zealand, to visit my daughter who lives there.

Do you speak another language?
Yes, I speak German fairly well as I spent some time in Austria and Germany. I also speak French, but both languages are quite rusty now.

How many siblings do you have?
I had two sisters and four brothers growing up. Sadly one of my sisters died from cancer eight years ago. I still think about her a lot.

What is your favourite shop?
My local bookshop, which used to be part of an old woollen mill. Here’s a photo, and I have some more photos of it here.
books are my bag, helena fairfax
Collection of books, plus the old woollen mill machinery
What is your favourite restaurant? A curry restaurant just down the road from me. They have no alcohol license and so you bring your own drink, or you can nip to the pub next door and they’ll let you take your drinks through. The food is delicious.

When was the last time you cried?
After my son died in 2011 I cried every day for eighteen months. Now I just cry on the inside.

What is your Favourite Blog? I have so many I love, I couldn’t choose just one. Book bloggers have massively changed the way I find great reads and I’m really grateful for all the work they put in.

What is your Favourite Film? I have two favourites – High Society, which I watched again recently, and a French film called Au Revoir les Enfants, which is a true story and very sad, and so I can’t watch it often.

seven basic plots

What is your favourite TV Program? I was a big fan of Downton Abbey. I’m sad it’s finished but I think it finished at the right time.

Pc or Mac? PC

What phone do you have? A small Samsung. I used it to take the photos of Cornwall in this article.

What is your favourite pastime? Reading, reading, reading! I also like knitting and walking on the moors with my dog, and meeting up with my friends.

 Can you cook? Yes.

Do you have any tattoos or piercings? I’ve only had my ears pierced.
* * *
Phew. That’s the end of my random facts.
Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful 2016!

22 thoughts on “25 random facts about me, plus some photos of Cornwall and other things

  1. I’m truly sorry Helena to learn of your son dying. I can’t even imagine that.

    I am also from a family of seven children. I am the youngest. Where do you fit in the mix?

    I don’t understand you British…lol…at all! I’ve mentioned this before on a post here. It seems like almost everyone that you have interviewed from the UK is content to vacation in the UK!!! If I had the money, I would always be adventuring out of my country.

    Great post!


    1. Hi Susan, I’m number five in my family and I have two brothers younger than me.
      That’s interesting what you say about the British being content to holiday at home. Actually, the opposite is true. Most people I know will take at least one holiday a year abroad – mainly because of the sunshine. Spain, Portugal and Turkey are favourite haunts of Brits on holiday, and with cheap flights to Europe everyone has a passport. I guessed that these questions were originally American – I changed “store” to “shop” for example – because it’s extremely rare on this small island so close to Europe for someone not to have a passport and not to have left the country at least once in their lives.
      I used to love travelling, but I think my wanderlust has died now and I’m happy to stay at home. My two daughters definitely have the bug though – one of them lives in NZ, as I mentioned, and the other works for a travel company and is off to Kenya in a couple of weeks! They trot the globe, but I’m happy now with my dog by the seaside :)
      Thanks for your interesting comment and for your condolences. Wishing you much travelling in 2016!


      1. Helena, I misspoke. Please excuse me. The authors that I have seen on your posts when they say their favorite place in all the world to visit, it seems to me like they mention somewhere in the UK.

        I also could easily see vacationing in the UK each year. :)

        Have a wonderful day.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. Susan, you’re right – a lot of the authors I’ve interviewed say their favourite place is in the UK. Perhaps they’re choosing the place they feel at home, but would maybe choose somewhere else for a great holiday. I expect I’m one of the few that also likes to holiday here, too – especially after the thoroughly dismal winter we’ve been having!


  2. I enjoyed reading this, Helena. It’s wonderful to learn a little more about you. Walking on the moors, everyday…how lovely.

    So sorry to hear about your son.That has to be the worst experience a parent can go through. Hugs to you, dear.


  3. Hi Helena,

    Thank you for this blog. I agree with Susan– the loss of a child is something no parent wants to face.

    Next time we go to England, we are definitely spending some time in Cornwall. But I always thought that East 6th Street In Manhattan was the curry capital of the world. :-) And let’s not forget Curry Hill (not far from Murray Hill).

    Ken Hicks


    1. Hi Ken, thanks for your lovely comment and for dropping in.
      I’ve been to Manhattan twice but I’ve never had a curry on East 6th Street. How did I miss this?? I would have been very interested to try it. Next time I’ll ask your advice!
      I think you will love Cornwall if you visit. If you’ve watched the TV series Poldark it might give you an idea of the coastal landscape. Cornwall is out on a limb on our island and the people have their own accent and even spoke their own Cornish language at one time. It’s well worth a visit. Hope you make it back soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s great to learn more about you, Helena, and share both your joys and sorrows. Downton Abbey’s final series has just started here in the US, so thank you for not giving any spoilers. Your photos are beautiful. They make me even more determined to visit the UK someday!


    1. Hi Heather, I hope you do make it over here soon, and that the weather is way better than what we’ve been having recently. Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment. Hope you enjoy the last of Downton!


    1. Happy New Year, Kate. I’m really enjoying My Brilliant Friend so far – I’m about a quarter way through. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever read. Thanks for dropping in. Best wishes for 2016!


  5. Lovely to get to know you a little better, Helena, but gosh, you have had some tragedy to go through, losing both your sister and your son. I had no idea, and can’t even begin to imagine xx


  6. How lovely to read more about you, Helena, and I can only add my own sympathies for such loss. Although I’ve lost a couple of brothers and my father when young, I can only imagine the heartache of losing a son. Really interested in what you say about Parade’s End as I loved the TV adaptation but have never read the book. And I feel exactly the same about perfume! Wishing you great success this year.


    1. Thanks for dropping in, Rosemary. Hope you had a great Christmas, despite the floods. Parade’s End is quite a long read – it’s really four books in one. If you do get chance to read it I’d love to know what you think.
      Wishing you much success in 2016 and hope to see you at an RNA event this year!


  7. My heart squeezed when I read about the loss of your son. You are a strong woman to get through the experience and move on.The questions were a great way to get to know you, even down to not wearing perfume. Me either. The photos were perfect for the writing. I too would love to visit Cornwall, Saltaire,the moors, and see the changing of the guard in London. Ooh, so typical of American tourists, eh? Most visitors to the US from other countries want to see Niagara Falls when Lake Michigan is just as magnificent to me and only 20 miles away from us. (no falls though!! LOL) I’ll look into your favorite books to read. You always have great suggestions. Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year, JQ! Thanks so much for your kind comment. I’m not sure I have moved on from losing my son but I do find writing is a great therapy and distraction.
      It’s interesting what tourists like to see. I’m a tourist when I go to London, and I take photos of the guards at the Palace the same as everyone else! I’d love to see one of the great lakes. I can’t imagine what it must be like. The lakes in the UK’s Lake District are tiny in comparison. I think I heard that one of your lakes is actually as big as England!
      Thanks so much for your interesting comment. So much of the world to see!
      Happy New Year to you and family!


  8. Rather took to a bay called Porthcurno in Cornwall once.

    Might either move back to Shifnal or down that way one day…

    Sorry for your loss.

    Best wishes, and all the best for the new year.



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