Today I have another nice little giveaway for you as part of the Soil Association's Organic September initiative, but as is my wont I also have an inspiring little tale which is an encouragement to those hurtling towards the half century and feeling washed up on the shores of motherhood, gazing in a bemused fashion at our wrecks of CVs and wondering what on earth a middle- aged woman with a patchy employment history might do to earn a living.
Well, I have been talking to a lady called Linda Moss recently, and her tale stands as an inspiration to us all. (In fact, she has just been made an Eco Hero here.)
A dozen or so years ago she was looking for a place to stay for her holidays - she had been working for an organic veg box scheme and rather fancied going somewhere a bit eco-friendly which served organic food. She couldn't find anywhere, or even a website or directory to guide her, so she thought to herself, why not start one up?
Linda wasn't deterred by her lack of computing skills or lack of experience - she went to an evening class to learn how to use a computer, and just ploughed on ahead, setting up a website, Organic Holidays, now one of Times Online's Best Travel Sites, and publishing a book, Organic Places to Stay, which has gone into several editions, and won the People's Book Prize Award last year. Linda says modestly, 'If I can do it, anyone can.' I found her can-do attitude to inspiring, and a real antidote to that feeling of 'if only I could'. She shows that, actually, there is no need to write yourself off because of your age, or perceived lack of experience or ability - just get on and do things, be determined to follow your dreams and ideas, and you will get there in the end.
I first came across Linda when a friend with a lovely off-grid B&B recommended the Organic Places to Stay site as a great one for marketing small B&Bs of an eco-friendly turn, and so we joined up, but I have also gone on to find this website a really useful way to find special places for holidays and short breaks, as well as courses in all sorts of crafts and skills. It list both B&Bs and self catering cottages, and covers locations all around the world.
Linda has very kindly offered to give away three copies of her award-winning book to my lucky readers. Anyone can join in - and at the same time you can give me a little help, if you please, as I am in need of a bit of inspiration.
To enter the giveaway, just pop over to the Organic Holidays website here - and then come back and tell me in a comment where you think that I and the Head Chef should go on our long wished for holiday, somewhere nice where we can get a bit of peace and quiet, and also go on a few outings (easy-peasy!).
The giveaway will be open for one week - I'll give you an extra chance if you blog about it or link to it in your sidebar, but don't forget to tell me that you have.
I am looking forward to seeing where you think I should go on my holidays - a nice little end of summer season break would be just the thing!