Friday, 4 September 2009

Bits and Bobs

Hi everybody.  I don’t often make off-topic posts but I been wanting to say hi for a little while now and to share a couple of things.  Don’t worry – I’ll be back soon with a post on one of my most memorable and exciting experiences in New York!

Christmas Plans

I've just booked our Christmas stay at the Hawkwell House Hotel in Oxford.  That is the wonderful cosy hotel we stayed in last year while we were on our Road Trip around England. As you can see from the image below, I didn’t get a chance to take my own photo of the hotel and that is just not good enough for a budding photographer such as myself!

Picture courtesy of

So, the plan is to spend Christmas there and take the time to sit by that gorgeous fire and sip some hot chocolate and generally have a cosy, happy Christmas.  And to take some of my own photos of course.  We usually spend Christmas in Liverpool with my Dad but unfortunately have to stay near London this year as Stephen is on call.

Blogging friends

This blog has grown so much in such a short time.  When Emm in London was featured as a Blog of Note, my subscribers increased from 80 to over 750 in one week.  It has been crazy trying to keep up with that!  As you may have noticed, I respond to each and every comment on my blog (eventually) and I always visit commenter’s blogs to learn more about them.  But Google Friend Connect isn’t really user friendly and I’m struggling to wade through this buggy application to find the blogs of everyone now following me.

Let me just say that I appreciate everyone who reads, follows, subscribes and comments on this blog.  Thank you – you absolutely make it a pleasure to blog; I don’t take it for granted and I am humbled that people would take the time.  If you are following and have wondered why I haven’t visited your blog or noticed you then I do apologise.  If you do take the time to comment and introduce yourself then it will make it so much easier for me!  So don’t be shy!


Having said that, like most bloggers out there today, I do delete spam comments on my blog.  If you are unsure what spam is, then you can visit this excellent post.  Don’t let the article scare you away from commenting though; basically, spam is when you comment on someone’s blog and don’t really read what they say at all but leave a link in the body saying “visit my blog!” or “read my blog post!”.  It’s not really a nice thing to do and it’s a little rude.  I’m more likely to give people the benefit of the doubt but often have to delete spam comments from obvious spammers. 

Comment Form

There are pros and cons to using the comment form that I use.  The pro is that if you log in with your name and URL (blog address) you’ll get a link straight to your blog.  The con is that it is also buggy and it often gives you a nasty error message.  If you get that error message, just try press “post comment” again and it should eventually work.  Like I said, it’s just buggy.


In the past, I’ve always had my links open in a new window but recently I have been told that this is a bad practice and that the links get caught in people’s pop up blockers.  I use a tabbed browser and open all my links in another tab and carry on reading the original page, so I thought other people would do that too.  What do you think?  Do you prefer links to open in a new window / tab or do you prefer to click on a link and immediately go to that page?  I’ve turned it off for this post now but await your feedback!

Moving House (again)

I only moved to the UK in July 2007 and moved into our first rental in September 2007.  After a year, the owner decided to sell and we had to move.  This year again the exact same thing has happened and we have to move again!  It is crazy and I wish we had a little stability.  The good news is that we hope to be able to get on to the property market in a year, the bad news is I have to do my least favourite thing on earth – move. 

So, this is happening next week.  My posts might be a little patchy as I unfortunately don’t have a library of ready-made and scheduled posts waiting for me!!  Bad blogger!  Please bear with me over the next couple of weeks and I’ll be back with regular posts after that. 

The very good news is that I am moving to Dartford which is a lovely old town on the very outskirts of London.  Actually, I think it is officially outside of London.  Hopefully, I’ll get to do more adventuring and touring around Dartford than I managed to do around Sidcup.

That’s all I have to say today.  Like I said, I don’t often make posts like this but I did just wanted to touch base with people and say hi and thank you and don’t be shy but try not to spam. 



  1. With regards to your question on links, it is bad practice to hijack a user's browser and automatically open them in a new window if there is no need for it. I, too, take advantage of tabbed browsing so whenever I want to open a link, I simply RIGHT mouse click and select the option "open link in new tab". :D

  2. Hi Betty. Yeah, I know. We were discussing this in the CMF forums today and I realised that I myself don't like it when links automatically open in new windows so why would my readers? I'll leave it off in future unless there's a huge demand not to.

  3. Hi Emm!
    Since I came across your blog on the World Blog Surf Day I always enjoy visiting :).
    You ask about how the links should work...My preference is that they open in a new window...I want to continue reading what the original post is...if the links open in the same window I would lose track. I generally open each link in a new tab anyways. Never thought about the hijacking issue...maybe I should think about that as mine are always set to open in a new window.
    And GL on the move! I just moved last weekend, so definitely sympathise ;)

  4. Speaking as a blogger with a very low traffic rate may I say that your visits and encouragement are most appreciated. Thank you so much for helping me keep up the enthusiasm to keep on with the blog.

    I too use another tab for posting a comment or looking at a link and so have no real opinion on pop up comments boxes and links.

    Good luck with the move, I hope it is as stress free as possible, for such a stressful thing to do.


  5. Hi Emm

    Started following your blog about a month - 2 months ago and always enjoy viewing your wonderul photos as well as reading your posts. I am new to blogging and have a regular ranting blog (i guess you can call it lol) and a bookshelf which is where my book reviews are never knew how much work blogging took until i started lol

    As far as the links i like to open them in tabs better lets me navigate better. Hope your moving experience is as stress free as possible! :) take care

  6. Many congratulations for being Noted! Good luck with the move. Just take your time and everyone will be here waiting for you when you get back into the swing of things.

    We were expecting to have to move this summer, then we weren't, then we were again, and the latest is that it's all off again. I have no idea whether I'm coming or going!

  7. PS (sorry)
    I find all the comment forms buggy at times. I just try again and it generally works the second time around. As for the links and new windows, I prefer to open them in a new tab so I always right-click and do it that way. I'm afraid I don't like multiple windows.

  8. What wonderful Christmas plans you have! Oxford is such a beautiful place. I'll be thinking of you and your hot chocolate when we're probably sweating for Christmas as we often do.

    Good luck with the move, and I'll look forward to seeing photos of the new neighborhood.

  9. Emm as a bit of a nomad I must admit to quite liking a move, however I do understand the frustrations, especially when you are settled.

    I too am a "tabbed" browser but I quite like the open in a new window feature since its hardly browser hijacking as suggested!

    Purely on a personal basis, I find that when folk (not using tabs) continually open a page on my blogs (because they have followed an in-bedded link) it plays havoc when I am trying to figure out stats.

  10. I too prefer links to open in new windows, or in my case as is yours, new tabs. Who isn't using a browser with tabs these days?!? Internet Explorer 6 users, that's who. Anyone using IE6 shouldn't be allowed to have an opinion :)

    I hate Bloggers comments system. Blogger is otherwise fine, but the comments system sucks. Maybe I've recommended them before, but have an excellent comments system that you can integrate with your blog. Comments are threaded, like in a forum, so a proper conversation can develop. It works in real time and it's just generally cool.

    Good luck with the move!

  11. I think, I prefer to click to open new tab not's simply, no pop up...!

  12. Ciao Emm, I'll be waiting your posts! :)
    Take care, Italo.

  13. Wow, congratulations on being Blog of Note! Well done! Were you nominated? All those followers... very impressive, but well deserved!
    On a totally different note, what a fabulous hotel! Bet they know how to do Christmas! The Prodigal is a big Christmas nut, he starts early and ends late!

  14. The hotel in Oxford looks like a great place to be at Xmas. It kind of reminds me of a hotel I use to go to for a New Year break in Contin, which is in the Highlands of Scotland. Nothing beats sitting in front of real fire, when there is a blizzard blowing outside. I miss those days.

  15. Emm -- wow. ugh. sh*t. I HATe MOVINg....nothing worse in the world. well, except for perhaps going through a divorce; which some moves have actually caused. so, go figure.

    Love your blog (as a i've said several times in the past, so don't get too huge a head!), and really want to tell you that my ultimate dream for me and my two sons is a vacation (or perhaps I should say Holiday) in London for two weeks over Christmas/New Year's. Keep up the great work, and appreciate your nice sentiments to me earlier this week! -- Jg.

  16. Hiya Emmm ... your Christmas will be wonderful I'm sure of it. Look forward to your photos ... please include some of the snow! (if possible) ;)

    And I hope your big move goes as smoothly as possible. Its always a good way to have a huge clean out of 'stuff'.


  17. It looks like you will have a wonderful Christmas this year! & Good luck with moving, I know it can be quite stressful! :)

  18. Hi, it's long time no see you. I follow your posts. Love to read lots of your experiences thus far.

    For suggestion, why not to try pop-up window for the comments? It's simple and easy.

    Ok, anyway, keep update, and good luck with your moving.

    Have nice days. :)

  19. Wow, that is a lot of followers! I'm one of those who found you through blog of note and you've visited me so we've been introduced! I am still loving seeing all your photos of NYC as you were there much longer than I was and saw a lot more. I want to go back when I can spend more time so you've been kind of like a tour guide and have helped me figure out what I want to see for sure-especially the library since the photo made me practically drool! Also, the links seem to work fine for me.

  20. Have a wonderful Christmas in lovely! And good luck with your move :)

  21. The hotel looks lovely! I bet you'll have an amazing Christmas. I've got to put that on my list of things to do: spend a cosy Christmas in a charming little hotel with a fire. I've now officially always wanted to do that!

  22. Hi Emm,
    I do like a new pop-up window just becouse if I viewing your links in the office, I will close the new window quickily while the boss passing by. Hahaha!! Actually, all the ways you suggested are fine for me.

    Thank you to visit my blog and left comments.

    Good luck with your moving, and I will wait for your back!!

  23. Your Christmas plans sound so nice - we've been debating Christmas here - we can't decide between warm or cold weather.

  24. Fantastic Christmas plans! I bet it'll be cozy, like a Disney-christmas from the look of the nice house. :)

  25. Hi Emm...didn't know you made the blogs of note Congrats. I've been following your blog since your trip to SA and fact I think a little earlier...your lucnh breaks around the office kept me coming back for more
    I prefer a new pop-up window as it permits me to keep an eye on the main subject without having to go back...if you know what I mean
    Yeah...moving sucks...but at least you'll be moving to a lovely place outside London...

  26. What a lovely hotel! Hmm...I may have to remember that one for a future trip.

    Good luck with your move :)

  27. Hi Emm! I don't know what to respond to first, but good luck with that move. I hope this one sticks.

    I didn't realize that you had received Blogger of Note! GOOD FOR YOU. Too many followers; it's not a bad problem to have, is it? (Don't kill yourself trying to be conscientious, though. :)

  28. Your idea for Christmas looks like a excellent one.

  29. I used to use Disqus on my WP blogs for comments (threaded comments!) as LiveJournal spoiled me with their comment system. I am contemplating adding Disqus to my Blogger ones, too. You know, threaded comments!

    I alsp prefer links to open up in a new tab so I don't lose what I'm reading.

    Also: I love Oxford!

  30. Hi all, well the move wasn't as bad as I had expected and we finally have internet at home, so I'm just catching up!

    @ annuca: Hiya! I hear another World Blog Surf Day is taking place on 31 October. Can't wait! (link)

    @ BBE: Ha! Don't worry, a year ago I had a tiny handful of readers so just keep at it - blogs grow naturally over time!

    @ Jenna: Hiya! I've been following you for a couple of months too! Love your book blog.

    @ Sheila: Where were you moving too? Is France just a holiday?

    @ Kathy: Heh. After living in South Africa for 25 years, I am just so relieved to finally be back in a country where it is cold at Christmas!

    @ Mike: I used to love moving too and I also get itchy feet if I'm in one place for two long. The longest I have ever stayed in one place was five years but most were two to three years! But right about now, I hope I never move again (she says, already planning to move in a year and to another country within five years).

    @ Gary: Yes, Livejournal is like that too but I have grown used to this system at Blogger!

    @ Samarinda: Hiya! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    @ Italo: Thank you!

    @ Prodigal Wife: I know! I am very much looking forward to it! They just choose random Blogger blogs to recognise, no shortlisting.

    @ William: Oh wow - that hotel in Contin (plus the blizzard) sounds so wintery and romantic!

    @ JGregg: Cool! When you do come to UK, let me know and we can have tea! I must say, moving country put unimaginable strain on our marriage but thankfully we recovered!

    @ Suzy: Oh, if it snows, I'll take a million photos! Although, a white Christmas in the south-east of England is quite rare!

    @ Meg: Yeah - I can't wait! It is still lovely and warm in London so I'm looking forward to winter. <<< famous last words

    @ Minnie: Hiya! It is good to 'meet' you! I know that when I comment, I prefer this form as it allows me to leave my url and receive emailed replies so I think I'll stick to it for now. :)

    @ Missy: Ha! I am sure not many people actually read out of all of those! I just like the group of friends that I am slowly beginning to meet! And yay! I love the idea of being a tour guide - it is the whole reason for this blog's existence!

    @ Dori: I know! Doesn't it look lovely?

    @ Xoán-Wahn: A life long dream, huh? Hee hee, I know what you mean!

    @ Chen Yin Tzu: I absolutely know what you mean! I also surf at work and then quickly minimise windows!

    @ Julia: What are your hot and cold weather choices?

    @ Øyvind: Hiya! Thanks for stopping by on my blog! I am certainly hoping for a Disney Xmas!!

    @ Baron: Now you see... I was meant to go out every Wednesday for lunch. I didn't keep my promise which is hy I know exactly which lunch date you are talking about!

    @ Cowgirl: I would certainly recommend it!

    @ Bee: Heh. But my conscience makes me be s conscientious!!! I can't help myself!

    @ SA Expats: Certainly not what we used to go for in Jo'burg! Where in SA are you from // where are you now?

    @ Hevel: I'm also a Livejournal veteran!! I've had an LJ since 2001 and write all my personal stuff in there. I try not to eglect my friends too much but ths blog certainly takes my time away from my LJ!


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