Smorgasbord Health Column – #Headaches – Possible triggers and the nutritional factor by Sally Cronin

I have had a few emails recently from people suffering from headaches. It is important that is a headache persists for more than a day or two that you consult a doctor as there could be a number of underlying health issues that could be the cause, including high blood pressure.

Stress, Man, Hand, Flames, Burn, Fire, Face, Old

Headaches have been the subject of many jokes by comedians over the years mainly related to women and sex. However, headaches are no joke and men are just as likely to suffer from them.  If you have a balanced and healthy diet with at least 30 minutes brisk exercise a day it is unlikely that you will be making a good effort to stay fit.

Additionally the vast majority of headaches are simply a reaction to a passing event. It could be dietary, hormonal, a pulled muscle in the neck, the result of a little too much alcohol the night before or lack of fluids.

It used to be that it also indicated that you had high blood pressure but the thinking on that has changed recently although having experienced blood pressure problems when I was morbidly obese I do believe headaches are associated with the condition. However, it can also be a combination of all of the above including high blood pressure. One of the reasons for this is stress.

First some of the common causes:-


Many experts will now tell you that it is a myth that you need to drink 2 litres of fluid a day. I am afraid I am not one of them. I have seen the devastating effects on both very young babies and the elderly who are very vulnerable to dehydration. If you have a child that is irritable and fractious at certain times of the day then they are probably dehydrated. If an elderly person is snappy and has very dry skin then they are dehydrated. The elderly get stuck in a routine of a cup of tea four times a day and that is it. Keep a close eye on this if you are caring for an elderly relative.

It is not just the elderly who fall into this habit. A lot of people will tell you that they are drinking 6 cups of tea and coffee a day and that is all the fluid they need. Well, too much caffeine in tea and coffee may relieve a headache in moderation but too much can cause a headache and if you suddenly stop both, you can get one because of withdrawal.

We don’t just lose fluid through peeing – we also lose moisture through our skin and through breathing. If you are a man with an active job, or you in an overheated office and only drink coffee and tea throughout the day, you will become dehydrated and prone to headaches.

The headaches being the symptom that you are most likely to notice.

The truth is that if you do not stay hydrated your blood will thicken and every organ in your body will begin to dry out causing the following symptoms.

Dry mouth, dry eyes, muscle cramps, palpitations, nausea and vomiting, light-headedness, decreased urine output. And as the thickened blood fails to reach your major organs, coma and death.

So – at the first sign of a headache and before you reach for a couple of painkillers, review your fluids for the last 24 hours.

If you think you might be dehydrated drink a glass of water every half hour for two hours. If you usually have a coffee every morning at 10.00 and have missed your cup today, it may be a sign of a slight withdrawal. By all means have a coffee then, but you need to review your overall fluid intake to ensure that you are indeed properly hydrated.

My suggestion is that you have the following daily.

  • Hot water and lemon juice first thing to stimulate your digestive system and rehydrate.
  • Drink teas and coffees but also a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal and 90 minutes afterwards.(the reason for drinking fluids 90 minutes after a meal is so that you don’t dilute the gastric juices in your stomach as they process the food you have just eaten. Particularly as we get older.)
  • If you have an active job or are in an overheated environment have a litre bottle of fluid on your desk and sip from it throughout the day.
  • For every 45 minutes of intense exercise increase your fluid intake by a litre. –

You can overdo fluids, particularly if you are not very active. I suggest that you monitor your intake and if you are drinking over 3 litres a day, including teas and coffees you might consider reducing. If you take in too much fluid without the exercise to sweat it out, salt and other electrolytes in your blood become too diluted and if this happens quickly it can be fatal.

Taking pain medication.

Although one or two over the counter pain killers taken occasionally are effective, taking them long term can result in headaches. It is estimated that at least half of migraines and around 30% of ordinary headaches are due to overuse of pain medication.

With chronic pain we tend to take our two tablets every four hours over an extended period. The body gradually builds up resistance to that particular medication and we then move to a stronger analgesic such as codeine. However, we begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms as the drug wears off after two or three hours and one of those symptoms is a headache.

The problem is that most of us do not get an accurate diagnosis of the headache – as I have mentioned there could be any number of reasons for the pain – and taking pain medication will not help if the problem is caused by a food trigger or dehydration. If you do not resolve the cause of the headache they will continue, and you will build up the resistance to pain medication.

If you are on long term pain medication and you are experiencing frequent headaches, consult your doctor and see if an alternative might be more tolerable.

Irregular food intake.

If you have been a regular visitor to the blog you will know that I don’t advocate crash dieting where calories and more importantly nutrients are drastically reduced during the day.

Well, of course, food is not quite as essential as fluids, as it can be about 6 weeks rather than 6 days before we succumb.

However, we need to have a steady supply of energy and by not eating the right foods and supplying our bodies with the ingredients to make the fuel mix we require, our blood sugar levels drop. When they drop we can get a headache.

If you regularly develop a headache around 11.00 in the morning or mid-afternoon you may be suffering from this type of headache. Especially if you have an active job where your requirement for energy is higher.

Whilst I am a fan of intermittant fasting and don’t usually have anything to eat before 10.00 in the morning. I am not getting up and rushing around for an hour getting a family ready to go to school and myself off to work.

Exercising is best on an empty stomach but it is important to make sure you are hydrated before you go out for a run first thing in the morning. Then make sure you have breakfast when you return.

If you off to an energetic start every morning then I do recommend you have breakfast and it is important to have a mixture of both slow burning carbohydrate and protein as this will help maintain a balanced blood sugar level. Then maintain your energy levels throughout the day with a combination of food and fluid.

For example:-

  • A bowl of porridge with a handful of raisins and milk, followed by an egg, boiled, poached etc. on a piece of toast. –
  • Have a mid-morning snack – banana with a handful of nuts.
  • Lunch – whole grain bread and tuna or egg sandwiches and a piece of fruit.
  • Mid-afternoon – a hard-boiled egg – wholemeal crackers.
  • If you have had an active day then you can get away with having brown rice or pasta in moderation in the evening with meat, fish or poultry.
  • At the same time drinking fluids regularly during the day.

Food Triggers.

There are certain foods that can trigger a headache or the more debilitating migraine.

Nitrates tend to be the biggest culprit found in cured meats. The amino acid tyramine found in mature cheeses, cured meats and some beers can also trigger an episode.

Generally though the problem is a bit like that with the painkillers. We like a food so we eat it regularly. Over an extended period of time the toxic part of the food builds up in our liver or system until it causes a number of symptoms including a headache.

It is unlikely that if you drink alcohol that at some point you have not experienced a hangover and the headache that goes with that.

Congeners are chemicals in distilled drinks and the darker the drink as a rule of thumb, the more congeners. So Brandy, whisky, rum with Vodka having the least. Red wine has more than white. Some beers depending on the brewing process. So if you drink every night and you have a persistent headache first thing in the morning it could well be connected.

I am one of those who cannot tolerate monosodium glutamate (MSG) and I love Chinese food but have to always ask them to take out the MSG. Unfortunately it is also in some salty foods as well and vegetarian prepared dishes.

For some people the wonderful taste of warm fresh bread can trigger a headache as can some other yeast products. Usually when still warm so let cool completely before eating.

For some it may not be the taste of food that triggers a migraine but just the smell of certain foods or chemicals. These might range from powerful detergents to hair colour.

Finally aspartame in fizzy drinks and used in other ‘diet’ products can effect pain receptors and cause a headache.

Keeping a Food Diary

I suggest that if you are getting headaches regularly but at different times of the day and they are not continuous then you keep a food diary for a week and record everything that you eat and drink.

Look for the food or foods that you eat or drink every day and if it is one of the usual suspects such as cheese, fermented dairy products, chocolate, red wine, peanuts, bacon, ham etc., then you should try going without for five days and then introducing again one at a time.

The body is designed to remove moderate toxicity efficiently but it can be a five day cycle so this is why it is a good idea to eat these foods occasionally if you are reacting to them.


We all experience stress in different ways and there are two types that most of us experience at one time or another. Acute Stress and Chronic Stress, and both have very distinctive patterns.

Acute Stress  is a short-term response by the body’s sympa­thetic nervous system and the response may only last for a few minutes or a few weeks. How many times have you said that your heart stopped or your stomach lurched during a moment of intense stress such as an accident? We have all heard stories of mothers and fathers who have been suddenly infused with superhuman strength and able to lift cars and other heavy objects off their trapped children. They are empowered to do this by the actions of their body in a moment of crisis.

Blood sugar levels rise and additional red blood cells are released to carry strength giving oxygen levels a boost. The pulse quickens, blood pressure rises and the digestive process stops to enable the focus to be entirely on regaining safety.

Chronic Stress is when this acute stress response is repeated on a continuous basis. Whilst the body, after a hundred thousand years, is well able to handle the occasional stress response and in fact uses it positively, if the response becomes a normal way of life, other parts of the brain and body become involved leading to long term damage.

For example, on-going stress causes the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which are the master controllers for the body, to release a chemical called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce and release cortisol which disrupts sleep patterns leading to increased levels of stress. Our bodies are simply not designed to live at high alert for sustained periods of time; it just wears it down leading to illness. Headaches is one of the side effects of this chronic stress and it is therefore very important to pay attention to what is essentially a warning shot across your bow.

There are various forms of chronic stress from relationships, financial, work etc. But the most common is too much time at the computer which causes eye strain and also poor posture leading to tension headaches. Make sure that apart from keeping hydrated that you get up every 40 minutes or so and have a walk around. Better for your circulation in general as it will increase blood flow around the body as well as to your brain.

If the stress is on-going, you are going to need to find some methods of reducing the burden on your system. This may require you to seek professional help. Although exercise, eating well and taking in fluids are essential at all times, a constant level of mental or emotional stress does need to be dealt with. Over time chronic stress can lead to cardiovascular disease and other health issues.

Stress can also lead to High Blood Pressure

If you have a blood pressure around the 120/80 mark then it is considered normal. If you are above 140/90 it is considered to be high blood pressure. There are certain conditions where it is important to keep the blood pressure lower than this, such as with diabetics, or people with kidney disease, whose blood pressure should be below 130/80.

Usually a doctor will take your blood pressure over a period of time to determine if it is continuously high or just elevated for a specific reason before prescribing medication.

When your blood pressure is high it means that the heart and the blood-vessels are working too hard, and if left untreated it can lead to heart attacks and strokes. This is particularly the case if blood pressure measures more than 160/95 all the time.

As we get older our blood vessels suffer from wear and tear like the rest of our bodies. And particular after menopause for women when our body loses the protection of our hormones.

One of the common symptoms of high blood pressure is a headache and if you also find yourself being short-tempered and agitated then it would be a very good idea to get your BP checked. I have written a number of posts on how diet and exercise can support and may reduce your blood pressure so please email me on and I will send you the links.

Other dangerous headaches.

If you are suffering from headaches all day, every day for more than two days you should consult your doctor. You can also focus on your environment to ensure you are not putting yourself at risk.

One of the first places to check is your kitchen. Not for a food trigger but for carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have gas cooking or central heating you should have a censor in the room and also check with other family members.

I got caught when looking after my mother in her house; I used the kitchen as my living room and spent a great deal of time in there. I had a headache for three days with nausea and developing respiratory problems. I thought I was starting the flu but it was only after being rushed to hospital in agony that we got the gas board in to test for Carbon Monoxide levels. Which were dangerously high. I was lucky but many others have not been so. Get a censor immediately and if you feel that you have any of those symptoms and stomach cramps or vomiting seek medical attention immediately.

A stroke.

If you suddenly experience a blinding pain in your head, or a headache which feels like it is about to take the top or your head off or it is accompanied by the following symptoms you need to get immediate medical assistance.

Confusion, confused speech, stiff neck, blurred vision, dizziness and unable to walk, inability to raise arms above your head.

If you do not have someone with you try to attract attention, if you cannot reach a phone but someone is in the house try to knock over some ornaments or piece of furniture (provided it will not hit you).

Do not make assumptions about constant and severe headaches. It is better to take the time to get an expert opinion than wait until something as drastic as a stroke takes place or rarely the result of a brain tumour. The earlier you are treated the better the outcome.

©Sally Cronin 2022

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 21 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Spiritual Awareness – Fey – Cutting Emotional Cords with Archangels by D.G. Kaye

Explore the spiritual side of our natures as D.G. Kaye shares her experiences and research into this element of our lives.

You can find Part Two of the Angel series: Fey – Angel Messages Part Two – Earth Angels and Lightworkers

Cutting Emotional Cords with Archangels

Welcome back to my Spiritual Awareness series. While we’re still on the topic about angels, today I’d like to share with you a method of how to remove internal negative energies, or energetic form of attachment, with the help of two of our highest Archangels, Michael and Raphael. We are all connected to higher source through vibrational energy, and we refer to ‘connected’ by way of etheric or psychic energy cords. But what are these invisible cords? And how can we eliminate them to help release a negative energy connection we prefer not to keep within us?

We can learn to practice the art of cutting these invisible cords. And to help with the releasing of these cords that sometimes drain us and sap our energy unknowingly, we look to Archangels Michael and Raphael. Michael is the highest in the order of all seven Archangels. He is recognized in Christianity, Judaism and in Islam. Raphael is regarded as the angel who possesses God’s healing powers.

The energy cords we’re most linked with are people in our close circles, and almost always, family. These same cords also connect us to profound events in our lives that remain in the back of our sub-conscience – some good, some bad. And it’s those unhealthy attachments we want to eliminate.

All the negativity we carry because of unhealthy cords that bind us should be cleared from within every once in awhile, just as we cleanse ourselves and our homes. If you find yourself continuously carrying bad feelings, harboring negative energies, reliving unpleasant events of unfavorable conditions, or taking in energies from someone close to you, allowing them to take up too much residence in your head leaving you feeling unsettled within, it’s probably time to begin cutting.

There are various methods we can use to cut the cords that weigh us down, but the first step is to relax, do some deep breathing, and meditate for a few minutes to bring on the calm. Then we are ready to call on Archangel Michael to assist us by closing our eyes and concentrating and asking Archangel Michael, to please remove the cords that bind me.

It’s also important to recognize where your energy is draining you to specify the cords you want severed. Again, you can ask Archangel Michael to help to open up your awareness and to help find the draining cords. Then follow the cord(s) in your mind’s eye beginning by visualizing the cord from the top of our heads, following through to the heart, and feel this cord, then visualize Michael’s power of white light surrounding you. Keep the visual of white light around you to stay grounded. Visualize the heavenly archangel using a laser beam of light or by Michael holding a handheld vacuum (this one works best for me) penetrating through your head right down to your feet then visualize the act of burning or cutting, or sucking out these cords and being drawn and released through the top of your head. When you feel the cords have been released, ask for Archangel Raphael (the healer) to seal the open wound from where the cord was removed by focusing on thoughts of joy and love in your heart. By severing these cords, it makes room for peace and clarity.

Our angels are always with us, but they will never impose themselves in our lives unless invited to. This is known as free will. We need only ask for their assistance and keep an open heart when summoning. It’s almost like when we pray. If we don’t consciously pray, our angels are still always around us. But when we encounter times when we need help and pray to the angels, they hear our thoughts and are invited in with our calling.

Below is an example of what you can say. Don’t get all caught up in wondering if you’ve used the right words – speak from the heart. You may speak verbally or silently in your thoughts. Spirit speaks through thought. You may use any variation of calling your angels you feel most comfortable with. Just remember to close off the wound after the cord cutting.

Example for calling on our angels:

Archangel Michael, please pull on the roots of the cords connecting me to (name or situation) by using your light and sword. Release the roots and cord to divine light.

Now envision a shower of divine light all around you and the person you’ve just cut the cord from to send off the negative energy. Then you can ask Raphael to seal the wound, which should leave you feeling more centered, balanced, and feeling lighter within.


  • You can always call on your angels to ask for help.
  • Keep track of your feelings before and after cutting cords.
  • You can always hold or surround yourself with your favorite grounding stone while doing this.
  • Smudging yourself and/or your surroundings after a cord cutting session helps to remove the negativity after the cord removal.

You can learn more about the various types of cords that become attached to us:
Asking Angels – Psychic – Cut Cords

I found this helpful video to give you an idea about how to perform the cord cutting with angelic diviner, Melanie Beckler

I hope you enjoyed learning how to help yourselves from being drained by negative energetic attachments. Are any of you here familiar with this process?

©D.G.Kaye 2022

My thanks to Debby for another fascinating post on the spiritual side of our natures. I know she would love to hear from you.

About D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies)

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.


“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the reviews for Conflicted Hearts

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars I found this an inspiring journey  Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2021

“Conflicted Hearts” is a wonderful insight of a girl growing up with an unavailable mother and father lost in that world. I could easily relate to the role of caretaker being thrust on a young girl and the guilt she carried. The blame her paternal grandparents had toward her because her father had to marry her mother was heavy, as was her parents’ on and off living arrangements and mother’s self-absorption toward her children. The guilt followed Ms. Kaye into adulthood, as she always tried to do the right thing. I appreciated how mistakes made had given her the lessons needed.

One situation that made me cringe was during a trip to Greece and a broken foot. But people came into her life just when they were needed. I found that very heartening. It was hard to read about the abusive relationship she ended up in, and I was relieved when they parted ways. I loved watching the author make her way to her happily ever after. I found this an inspiring journey of how Ms. Kaye navigated her home life and then left it behind to find herself and love. I highly recommend this memoir. 

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads – Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – Twitter: @pokercubster Linkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Debby’s post.. thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 24th -30th October 2022 – Tapestry, WIP, 1940s Hits, Kiri Te Kanawa, Food ‘J’, HMS Beverley, Poetry, Book Reviews, Health and Humour

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I hope you are well and have had a good week. We have been catching up on the dry month of September and first two week’s of October with inches of rain and high winds. I have a feeling Halloween will be a bit of a washout and not much fun ‘trick or treating’. To be honest we don’t get much out where we are as it is quite sparce on houses, but it was a great excuse usually to get a tub of Quality Street in just in case!  I have avoided the temptation this year and of course the door bell will chime to prove me wrong.

I hope that if you are celebrating Halloween you have a great time and get more treats than tricks.

I am in the last stages of my current tapestry and my WIP. Both of which now undergoing line by line editing. For the tapestry this involves finding the odd stitch that has been missed, which is easy to do, the back of the canvas then needs tidying with loose threads being snipped back and then a steam pressing to make sure completely flat before going to the framers. I will take a photo when it returns. I have another half finished canvas of a large bowl of cherries which is next and I must say I am enjoying getting back to the stitching.

My WIP a combined poetry and short story collection should be available by the end of November and more news on that nearer the time.

Contributor News this week.

William Price King joined me for The Breakfast Show for the next in the series on hits from the 1940s and the last in the post on the extraordinaryly talented Dame Kira Te Kanawa. Coming up on Friday a new series on the music legend Tony Bennett. You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ is here on Monday morning with her next post in her Spiritual Awareness series on Angels….and she joined me for the laughter post on Tuesday with some Halloween funnies. Over on her own blog you can enjoy Debby’s Sunday Book Review for The Second Mrs Astor by Shana Abe, and a link to her wonderful interview with Christy Birmingham- Reyes. Follow the link to Debby’s posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was here on Wednesday with her  A-Z of food with the letter ‘J’…on her own blog you will find Monday Musings looking at some innovative ways to recycle waste, Ricotta, blackberry and walnut toast for a breakfast treat, a post on walking which is healthy exercise both free and effective, a launch post for Jacqui Murray’s recent releaze, a look at more edible roots and Saturday Snippets exploring the world of ‘lost and found’.  Here is the link to Carol’s round up Carol Taylor’s round up 23rd – 29th October 2022

Thank you too for all your visits, comments and shares during the week. As always very much appreciated…♥

 On with the show….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1940s – Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Vera Lynn, Nat King Cole-

William Price King meets the Music Legends – #Classical – Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – Part Three – Career Highlights

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘J’ for Jelly Beans, Jalapenos, Jack Fruit and Jerky all with a little Jus

Podcast – #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Halloween and The Witch’s Handbook

beating heart GIF

Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – The power of sleep when losing weight and to be healthy by Sally Cronin

Memoir – Life on the Ocean Wave – Part Four – 1942 – HMS Beverley – American shipmates and rough seas by Eric Coleman

Dorothy Cronin (1949- 2006) – Emer’s Song

#Comingofage #Fantasy – Knuckleheads: Dreamer’s Alliance Book 1, by Dan Antion


Previous Reviews 2021 – #Dogs #Mountains #Humour – Olive, Mabel and Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs by Andrew Cotter

Previous Reviews 2021 – #Poetry – Son of Booku: More Halloween Haiku by Annette Rochelle Aben

#Fantasy #Comingofage – Realms of the Mist by Jude Itakali

#SocialMedia #Cyberbullying – The Bubble Reputation – Alex Craigie

#Historical #Medieval #Romance – The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker

#Espagnol #English – Chile: Southern Cross for the 1st Time by Rebecca Cuningham

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Trick or Treating and Halloween Puns

Top 8 : Halloween Day Jokes For Adults | Just Quikr presents birthday ...

Fright Night Halloween – Host Sally Cronin and the Senior Team


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week… Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Podcast – #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Halloween and The Witch’s Handbook by Sally Cronin

Over last few weeks I have shared some syllabic poetry and 99 word flash fiction from my collection Life’s Rich Tapestry…woven in words

Today – a poem and piece of flash in celebration of Halloween


Halloween – The Spell

the month when those,
living in shadows,
stir in unholy crypts.
plans are afoot for mischief.
the victims are those that breathe air,
can survive the bright glare of sunlight,
and are unaware of the doom to come.
but there is a spell to thwart the demons.
potent when spoken by a young child,
more so when they are in costume
with fangs and a devil’s tail.
so remember humans
on that special night
always respond
not with trick
but with

The witch’s handbook – Spell # 356 – Removal of inhibitions.
The Devilish Mojito

• Ten fresh picked Strawberries
• Juice half a lime
• Six crushed mint leaves
• Two ounces white rum
• Two ounces dark rum
• Pour over crushed ice
• Dash of club soda
• Sprig of mint to decorate.


1. One drink will increase desire to wear frivolous clothing.
2. Two drinks will increase desire to dance on tables.
3. Three drinks will increase desire to remove frivolous clothing.
4. Four drinks are not advised.

Disclaimer : The handbook accepts no liability for consequences resulting from over indulgence of this potion..

©Sally Cronin 2022

One of the reviews for Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words

Apr 26, 2020 John Maberry rated it Five Stars

The book lives up to its title–indeed, Sally Cronin has woven a rich tapestry of life in words of many kinds. A variety of poetry–in forms unfamiliar in name to me, microfiction and short stories. What’s more, the graphic imagery of the short poems is inspiring to a person like me who has never really found poetry either appealing or easily understood. This time, for a change, the words grabbed me. I found meaningful passages that could be useful as well in prose writing as in poetry. Examples I must return to in settings or other places where showing and not telling is essential.

The microfiction and short stories were equally compelling, all the more so for me who is focused on those forms of writing. So, perhaps I too should consider the combination of ingredients that Sally Cronin published in this book. She is a writer worth reading

Thank you for listening and if you would like to know more about my books and their reviews you can find them on my books page Sally’s Books and Reviews 2022


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Dorothy Cronin (1949- 2006) – Emer’s Song

Over the last few months I have been sharing the stories of my father-in-law Geoff Cronin and now I would like to share the poetry of another member of my extended family, my sister-in-law Dorothy Cronin who we sadly lost in 2006. Dorothy did however leave behind her stunning poetry that we published in a collection a year after her death.

Dorothy’s family were well aware of her many attributes but it only took a few minutes on meeting her, that these became apparent to others as well.

David and I met on September 16th 1980 in the hotel where I was working in mid-Wales. It was all very formal until the 28th of September when he asked if I would like to spend my day off with him in Harlech. On September 29th he asked me to marry him and I said yes. I was expecting a reasonable length of time before planning a wedding but my husband to be came back to our flat three weeks later with a bunch of roses and a date at the local registry office for November 15th.

This of course presented all sorts of logistical problems – David immediately rang his mother, Joan and dropped the first bombshell which was that he was getting married – and the date. Joan assumed it was a year ahead until he dropped the second bombshell that it was in two weeks!

The horrendous and nauseating ferry trip from Liverpool I will leave to another day but safe to say, I was very nervous about meeting my future in-laws. Despite David’s assurances that it would be absolutely fine I was very worried that being a Protestant, English, Divorcee was probably not what they had in mind for a wife for their eldest son!

Well, I could not have been more wrong. I had the most wonderful welcome, open arms and not a misgiving in sight. I am sure that there may have been some but they put their trust in David and also their strong family bonds.

This welcome and acceptance and love was also apparent the next day when we traveled to County Wexford where Dorothy was living with her family. Again I received a warm and loving welcome and it was the first time I encountered Dorothy’s wide smile, infectious laughter and skill at baking.

Her love of family extended to her poetry and on the birth of her niece Emer – she wrote this beautiful poem.

Emer’s song

Once upon a caterpillar dream
A butterfly flew a prayer
Into the sun.
Once upon a skylark’s song
A butterfly was snatched from the dark flames
To be born again in a garden.
Once upon Gethsamene
Roses in benediction bloomed
That children
Might chase dream painted butterflies

©Dorothy Cronin Rainbows in Amber 2007

About Dorothy Cronin by David Cronin

Dorothy was always a prolific writer, and in the introduction to an earlier collection she wrote … “As long as I can remember, words and the rhythms of speech have fascinated me. I was drawn early into reading poetry, but did not begin to write poetry until I was 13. I was instantly hooked, and, through dry and fertile periods, have remained so…” She has produced some wonderful work since then, and this collection holds just a few of these jewels.

In the year before her untimely death, in April 2006, Dorothy and I had discussed the publication of a collection of her poetry, and she was in the process of selecting poems and creating a number of short, themed groups for publication. Unfortunately, that process was cut short and we shall never know her final choices. However, this collection comes mainly from her own personal favourites.

I believe that anyone who reads these poems cannot fail to be moved: be it to tears, laughter or just a wry smile. They show a keen observation of the world she lived in; a profound insight into the people about her; the perception to find beauty in the simplest of things; and above all, the ability to encapsulate a moment of feeling in a package of words.

My one regret is that she is not here to see the impact that her words will have.

I will be sharing a number of Dorothy’s poems in coming weeks in tribute to a remarkable woman and friend.


Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Comingofage #Fantasy – Knuckleheads: Dreamer’s Alliance Book 1, by Dan Antion

Delighted to share my review for Dan Antion and his debut novel Knuckleheads: Dreamer’s Alliance Book 1.

About the book

Zach and Billy didn’t ask for the paranormal powers that were beyond their capacity to understand, or control. Zach, interacting with his lucid dreams, and Billy, “gifted “with shadowy glimpses of the future struggle to make sense of the world around them. Adults in authority in the nineteen sixties have no time for what they consider mental outliers of the baby-boom.

The boys are institutionalized, marginalized, and ignored. Zach’s father learns of the challenges they face as children and knows the dangers they will face as adults. With no way to comprehend how these boys perceive and move within their world, he must find a way to guide them.

If you like speculative fiction with a touch of technology, humanity and a bit of sarcasm shared among men, you will enjoy this book.

My review for the book October 29th 2022

This is not just a coming of age story set in the 60s, with teenagers coming to grips with life, tragedy and the challenges of finding their way in the future. It is an intriguing exploration of the world of those with special gifts.

Zach and Billy are destined to be outsiders. Both have a gift that sets them aside from their peers from early childhood and bring them to the attention of the ‘experts’ who are keen to label them and manipulate them into the accepted normalcy.

It is hard enough to find your place amongst your peers during these early years but even more challenging when you cannot reveal your true nature for fear of rejection and possible institutionalisation.

They do have an ally in Zach’s father who does his best to shield both of them by employing them in his bowling alley and teaching them street smarts to avoid detection. He is a good man who is open-minded and his approach to their gifts enables both the boys to develop them in reasonable safety and for the benefit of others as well as themselves.

The characters are interesting and relatable, as is the time period for those readers brought up in the 60s and 70s, even in other countries. Told from Zach’s perspective and in dialogue with his daughter following his retirement, the story takes the reader to the end of the school years and with a hint of what is to come next for the two boys.

I was engaged from the first page and connected with Zach and Billy and their fascinating abilities. I think most of us might think having lucid dreams where you could visit anywhere you wished or be able to foretell elements of the future, would be exciting and filled with opportunities, but as the story unfolds it becomes clear is not necessarily a gift but sometimes a curse.

It certainly does not make it easier for the boys as they navigate the teenage years or come to terms with loss of friends.

The author has done a great job with this debut novel and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series to discover how the lives of Zach, Billy and family and friends continue to develop.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon CA Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Dan Antion

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  And: Amazon CA –  And: Amazon UK – More reviews: GoodreadsBlog: Dan Antion – Facebook: D. AntionTwitter: @DAntion –  Instagram: Dan Antion –  Bookbub: Dan Antion – LinkedIn: Dan Antion – Youtube: Dan Antion

About Dan Antion

Dan Antion was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up and attended college in the area around western Pennsylvania. Dan has written and published the popular No Facilities blog since 2011. A lifelong interest in writing became a reality after he retired from a successful 42-year-long career in information management.

Knuckleheads, published in June 2022, is the first book in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series. This story introduces the main characters in this series, in which the next two books will follow in late summer and early winter 2022.

Dan lives in Connecticut with his wife, a few pets and all the wildlife they can feed.


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be much appreciated if you could spread the news about Dan’s book.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – #Memoir – Life on the Ocean Wave – Part Four – 1942 – HMS Beverley – American shipmates and rough seas by Eric Coleman

Following on from the memoirs by my father-in-law Geoff Cronin, The Colour of Life, and Milestones Along the Way, I thought I would end the year with part of my own father’s memoir about the family and in particular his life at sea from 1937 until he retired in 1971.

In part three my father described his part in Operation Fish; the secret mission to transport the National Treasures to Canada for safe-keeping and to also pay for ammunition and supplies to support the war effort: Operation Fish to save national treasures and a Wedding Day

After parents married in 1940 and my mother travelled from her home in Wickham in Hampshire to meet my father’s ship when they docked briefly one side of the country or another for the next eighteen months. She told us terrifying stories of a longer stay in Liverpool where his ship was docked for a number of weeks for repairs, where they were subjected to bomb raids night after night.

Part Four – 1942 – HMS Beverley – American shipmates and rough seas

HMS Beverley

There were four Destroyers tied up, in two pairs alongside, in Halifax Dockyard. They had four funnels, a very tall mast and very narrow beam. Not the best combination to face the rigours of the Atlantic weather. The mess was in the bows, with bunks for sleeping and not hammocks. In fact everything for maximum discomfort at sea. The equipment was all American and we spent a week getting familiar with its operation and location. The mess coffee pot was never switched off.

I had a bunk in the gyrocompass room, in the centre of the ship, which was much more comfortable than in the bows.

We had lots of assistance from a small crew of US sailors and the second week was spent at sea, making sure all was well. We then sailed for the UK with the other three boats, via St Johns, Newfoundland. Three made it, one returning to Halifax with engine trouble. My guess about the sea-going qualities soon proved correct, as during the trip to St. Johns we seemed to do everything except turn over.

HMS Beverley – photograph from the book by Geoffrey Blewett – HMS Beverley – A ‘Town’ afloat and the Town ashore – 1940 – 1943

We eventually arrived in Belfast, where quick repairs were carried out and various pieces of RN equipment fitted. These included a very early Radar set with the aerial on top of the mast, which was rotated by a hand-wheel in the office, through a “bowden” cable.

We joined an escort group and started convoying duties across the Atlantic, between Halifax and Londonderry. I occasionally managed to get to Wickham for a couple of days, which involved a train from Londonderry to Larne then ferry to Stranraer then train via London to Portsmouth time of arrival unknown due to delays etc. The stay was generally short, but very worthwhile and I usually managed to bring a few goodies from Canada.

Unfortunately I was somewhere in the Atlantic when our eldest daughter Sonia was born on 27th February 1942. Mollie had managed to join me in Newcastle for a short spell during a refit and also in Liverpool, during a short spell when the ship operated from there. They were very happy times we enjoyed them to the full. I left Beverley on 22nd March 1942 and early in 1943 she was torpedoed in the Atlantic and there were only two survivors!

A return to Portsmouth and family life.

I spent a very welcome three months in the Barracks at Portsmouth and was able to get to know Sonia and enjoy home life at Wickham and on 31st July I was sent to Roedean School at Brighton, which with St Dunstans had become the new HMS Vernon, due to the bombing in Portsmouth. I found a lovely place in Rottingdean for Mollie and Sonia to live and I did my qualifying course for Chief Electrical Artificer, which lasted for two months. Then I had to wait to see where my next job would be. When I was told, we were delighted. I was to join HMS Forth a submarine repair and depot ship in the Clyde 14th October 1942.

My father died in 1996 and so was unable to attend the memorial service for HMS Beverley and her crew in 1998.  There was a wonderful book written by Geoffrey Blewett, my mother had number seven of 200 copies.

Buy the book HMS Beverley : Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

©Eric Coleman 1994

I hope you are enjoying this slice of history and as always welcome your feedback as always.  Thank you Sally

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – New Book on the Shelves – #Historical #Medieval #Romance – The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven by Jennifer Ivy Walker

Delighted to introduce you to Jennifer Ivy Walker and her debut novel The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

About the book

In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks.
Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?

One of the recent reviews for the book

JanS –4.0 out of 5 stars A dark fantasy tale  Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2022

There are so many things I loved about this book. The storyline is fantastic. Who couldn’t love a story with King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot as side characters, not to mention the Elves of Avalon? The tale opens with twelve-year-old Issylte getting prepared to meet her widowed father’s betrothed. She’d much rather be riding her horse across the fields of Ireland than dressing like a royal princess. The joining of King Donnchadh and Princess Morag of Scotland creates a powerful alliance between the two kingdoms. But things take a quick turn when Issylte meets Morag.

Morag’s exquisite beauty doesn’t hide the iciness of her touch and the evil in her eyes. Two years after the royal wedding, Isslyte’s father is called away on business. It is during his absence, Morag makes her move, first sending away Isslyte’s nursemaid who’s been with her since birth, which breaks the young girl’s heart. That’s only the beginning of Morag’s devious actions. When Isslyte is escorted on a ride through the forest by two guards, they reveal the evil queen’s plot to have them kill her and bring her back the girl’s heart. But the guards are unable to perform such a horrific act, and Isslyte flees into the forest. It’s the beginning of a long journey for her.

The story bounces back and forth between the castle of Tintagel and an ambitious young knight, Tristan, who is the heir to the kingdom of Cornwall, ruled by his uncle, King Marke. Tristan competes for a chance to travel to King Arthur’s court and become a Knight of the Roundtable. It is there he trains under Sir Lancelot and becomes a fierce warrior. The story takes a long way around, covering several years as Isslyte struggles to avoid death. People Isslyite loves, get killed along the way. She is forced to change her name first to Eglantine, then to Lilee. As the years pass, she is trained by fairy witches and becomes a gifted healer. Her powers grow to great proportions, and she develops the gift of sight. It is in a vision she knows her father, the king is dead. She must regain the throne. But how? She is but a young girl with no army.

The story culminates close to the end when Tristan is brought to Lilee to be healed, and they finally come together. The author does a fabulous job of describing the settings as well as showing incredible knowledge of herbs, oils, and healing gemstones. The ending of the story segues into the next book, and I will look forward to reading it. My only critique of this story is that it seemed too drawn out with some repetition that could have been tightened up. For a debut novel, it’s fantastic!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – More reviews: GoodreadsAnd: BookbubWebsite: Jennifer Ivy Walker – Facebook: Jennifer Ivy Walker – Twitter: @bohemienneivy – Instagram: Jennifer Ivy Walker Author

About Jennifer Ivy Walker

Enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic, Jennifer Ivy Walker always dreamed of becoming a writer. She fell in love with French in junior high school, continuing her study of the language throughout college, spending summers in France as a foreign exchange student, exploring medieval castles and troglodyte caves in the Loire Valley, sites of pilgrimage such as le Mont-Saint-Michel, eventually becoming a high school teacher and college professor of French.

As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, “Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête”–an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of “Tristan et Yseult” and the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”, enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.

Her debut novel, “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven”–the first of a trilogy– is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a retelling of the medieval French romance of “Tristan et Yseult”, interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldy elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic.

Explore her realm of Medieval French Fantasy. She hopes her novels will enchant you.


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the post.. Sally.