Red Alert #1 guest Jim’s fabulous RED Africa shots set the bar so high I wondered if I’d EVER sign up a Red Alert #2 guest. It was a big ask – after all, my guest would need to be a bonzer bloke/sheila*, have been beyond the Black Stump** a few times AND be as game as Ned Kelly***.
Where would I find such a person?
Well … Annabel Candy has slept free in Germany, run out of her room naked after a bad dream in Greece and hitched rides on a fire engine in Turkey, a gravel truck in Zimbabwe and a donkey cart in Tunisia. She’s traveled the globe to spot animals in the wild and then ended up sharing her home with scorpions, bats and birds. She lives with her husband and their three children in Queensland, Australia where she runs a web design and copywriting business, walks on the beach daily and dreams of zipping back to Africa for an extended safari. Annabel writes travel stories on her blog Get In the Hot Spot and shares blogging tips at Successful Blogging.
I found Annabel’s blog via a funny travel photo she’d submitted to the Travel Tart. I followed her link to find excellent free blogging advice – and great stories – that I’ve been a follower – and fan – ever since.
RED: These impressive credentials make you uniquely qualified for Red Alert #2, Annabel! Thanks for joining me and sharing your RED photos! The magnificent Crimson Rosella is one of my favourite Aussie birds – where was this photo taken?
Annabel: That was taken in the Bunya mountains where gorgeous birds and wallabies abound. The Bunya Mountains are about a five hour drive inland from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where I live. It’s a peaceful place with interesting wildlife and lovely walks. Just my cup of tea and the climate is much cooler than on the coast so me and the Candy family enjoyed getting rugged up and sitting round a real wood fire in the evenings.
RED: I loved the Bunya Mountains so much on my first and only visit – time to schedule another one! The Rosellas look like they’re waiting to be fed – unlike the superb King Parrot in your next shot. Was this in the same spot? And is that you feeding it?
Annabel: Yes, they seem to be very tame and quite used to being hand fed. There’s only one shop there which sells bird seeds to feed them but then afterwards I noticed signs not to feed the wild animals so I felt bad. My son came home with a tick so I guess that serves us right. But it would be hard to resist feeding those gorgeous birds when they all line up on your deck looking cute. That’s my friend feeding the bird. I’m usually chief photographer.
RED: Are you a ‘twitcher’? What’s the most exotic bird you’ve seen in Australia?
Annabel: I love birds, probably because I was a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird’s young ornithologists club when I was a kid growing up in England. My bird watching efforts are severely hampered by my three noisy children these days although my youngest does point out interesting birds to me so maybe she’ll be a twitcher too! These bird pictures are probably the most stunning birds I’ve seen in Australia but of course I love our iconic kookaburras and kingfishers are special too.
RED: That’s killing two birds (oops – I mean figuratively!!) with one stone – the kookaburra is a member of the kingfisher family! How about overseas?
Annabel: We lived in Costa Rica for over a year which is a bird spotter’s heaven. We had toucans in the garden and often had to relocate gorgeous hummingbirds or mannikins out of the house and back in the wild. Scarlet Macaws, lineated woodpeckers and violaceaous trojans are all gorgeous. I’d pore over my bird book for hours because some of the bird names are as colorful as the bird themselves.
RED: Wow! They sound impossibly exotic – but then I guess the Aussie birds are also exotic if you’ve never seen them before. Do you have a favourite?
Annabel: It’s so hard for me to choose one favourite bird but if you put a gun to my head I’ll choose the kingfisher because I grew up in a watermill and that was the most exotic species I ever spotted as a child.
RED: Haha, no need for a gun! Red food always gets me salivating! What’s on the menu here?
Annabel: A delicious berry, granola and yoghurt breakfast with cranberry juice. A winning combination of healthy and delicous.
RED: HHHMMMmmm… unlike MY current RED food favourite – Blood orange gelato!! What’s the most delicious or awful red food you’ve eaten?
Annabel: I may be adventurous in some ways but not with my food so I always politely refuse vile looking and sounding dishes when traveling. The most delicious food ever is fresh strawberries picked and eaten right there in the field!
RED: Pyromaniac Pilchard LOOOOOVES a good campfire – the redder the better! What’s the best fire experience you’ve had??
Annabel: Oooh I can relate to that:) I have accidentally set fire to my house and my car (not recommended and separate incidents) but the best fires I remember are huge bonfires for Guy Fawkes Day in England. They make them a storey high with a guy on top and the blaze is so hot you can’t get anywhere close to the fire. Then of course there are fireworks and sparklers with none of the safety regulations we we have now so that was always a fun night.
RED: OK, so you take the Pyromaniac Prize … The night Pilchard set my sister’s tablecloth alight with melted wax from birthday candles seems positively tame in comparison!! These look like Flanders Poppies, Annabel. Is that a clue to your background?
Annabel: Now I’m impressed! I can’t tell one poppy from another. I’m actually from England so not that far away from Holland.
RED: Actually, I was just guessing! Perhaps one of my readers can identify them? But of all the red flowers in the world, the Flanders Poppy is possibly the most evocative to Commonwealth nations, especially on 11/11. What do they mean to you?
Annabel: What you call Remembrance Day here in Australia we call Poppy Day in England. You could buy a felt poppy to pin on your clothes for a fund raiser and they were quite lovely. Now they’re all cheap and plasticky but the sentiment is what counts.
RED: That’s a FINE red dress!
Does your husband, the Mucho Man like a woman in red?
Annabel: Why thank you! I love red so I’m sure the Mucho Man does too.
RED: What made you settle in Australia?
Annabel: We moved to Australia because we’re spoilt and wanted to live in a gorgeous place where we could swim in the sea all year round. Now we do and we count ourselves very lucky. Ever since I left England I’ve lived in gorgeous places in New Zealand, Laos, Zimbabwe and many other countries and I always appreciate my surroundings.
RED: What’s the best thing about living in Australia?
Annabel: The best thing about Australia is the weather but the people and food are pretty good too;)
RED: You got that right!! What types of blogs do you like reading (apart from mine, of course)?
Annabel: I do love reading travel blogs and personal stories. I get inspired by your blog to visit more of Australia as I’ve only seen a tiny corner of it. I also love reading blogs for writers, for bloggers and anything by anyone who can tell a good story.
RED: Can you recommend any travel bloggers to my readers?
Annabel: These are just a few hot women bloggers who I read regularly: y travel blogger Caz Makepeace, gutsy writer Sonia Marsh, memoir writer Barbara Hammond, stylist Nikki Parkinson, expat Karen Van Der Zee, cartographer Linda Fairbairn, crafty homeschooling mum Se7en, author and hilarious writer Seana Smith, plus a new discovery fearful girl Torre Roche.
RED: I see a couple of my own favourites in that list – and look forward to checking out the others. What’s the most common mistake bloggers make??
Annabel: Well I changed blogging platforms and domain name three times each time losing readers and that’s quite common. So I’d say choose your blogging platform carefully and, for business blogs invest in your own domain name.
RED: If a blogger could do just one thing to improve her/his blog, what would it be?
Annabel: Phew! That’s hard without seeing the blog but I’d say improve your storytelling and make sure it’s a very personal. I’m always working on improving those things on my own blog because they both come with practice.
RED: Well, take it from me – and MANY others – it’s working!! Any final RED words of wisdom?
Annabel: I chose red for my logo at Get In the Hot Spot because red is the color of passion and excitement. That’s how I try to live and write. There’s enough grey around so we should all try to be a bit hotter, a little bit more red.
RED: Absolutely! I hope my Red Alertseries helps make that happen!! Thank you so much for participating in Red Alert – I’m looking forward to your travel stories on Get in the Hot Spot; and my blog is already so much better than it was thanks to Successful Blogging****!!
Annabel: Ah, that’s the best compliment. I’ve had a lot of benefits and joys from blogging. It’s gone from being a silly experiment to a driving passion so I love helping other women, writer and business people improve their blogs too. Keep up the good work. I wish us both many more years of happy travels and blogging!
* A man/woman of excellence, integrity and good looks!
** Beyond the back of beyond
*** Aussie saying meaning ‘up for anything’
**** Of course, anything you DON’T like about my blog is due to my inexpertise, NOT Annabel’s advice!!
Got some RED shots from your adventures? Share them on Red Alert as my next guest!!