A Good Home, Author's Homes, Personality Profile

At Home With Sally Cronin

 

Sally Cronin  makes me want to stand up and salute.

An icon among independent authors and bloggers, Sally is host to more than 32-thousand blog followers, supporter of hundreds of authors around the world, author of eleven books,  gardener and wife.

Blog Photo - Sally CroninMCU

She and her husband David live in Ireland.

But let’s start at their beginning.

“I was assistant manager of a hotel and took David’s booking for 10 days starting on September 16th.  I commented to one of the receptionists that I loved his accent and that I thought I would marry him… joking!

Blog Photo - david and sally

“He arrived and I organised some business meetings for him. He was due to leave on the 26th but booked in for another two nights. He invited me for a drink after work and we chatted for about an hour.

“He asked if I would have lunch with him the next day.  We had lunch and walked along a windswept beach in the rain. That evening, he met me after work with a Chinese takeaway and the next day he came to say goodbye. He confessed that he had booked the two extra nights so he could ask me out, because he had fallen for me right away.

“We married six weeks later on November 15th, 1980.”

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Blog Photo - Sally flowers

Since that remarkable beginning, Sally and David have lived in 17 houses — some rented, some bought and restored — in countries as varied as Sri Lanka, South Africa and Spain.

Each one has had a different location or character but all were home because we were living there. For me, home is where the heart is and that means David and me.” 

They recently returned to Ireland after several years in Spain. The two share a large home office.

Blog Photo - Sally Workspace

“I also love the kitchen-diner where I create meals and we entertain our family and friends. However, I have to say that I love our little library. Every time I walk through, I can see my collection of books from Wilbur Smith and other favourite authors.”

Blog Photo - Sally Library

Sally’s own books range from novels to non-fiction, sometimes inspired by her own life.

“My first book, Size Matters, was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70 kilo. I have written another ten books since then. I am an Indie author and proud to be one.” 

Blog Photo - Sally Book-covers-10x

Sally took a break from writing books when her mother became ill and died in 2012. A qualified nutritional therapist, she started her blog (Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life) “as a place to write about health, humour and any other subject that interested me.”

Her blog also provides a platform for other authors — a place where they’re introduced and their books promoted.

“After twenty years as an Indie author, I understand how difficult it can be to keep your latest book in the spotlight… Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing an author that I have promoted receiving a comment stating that ‘I have bought your book’. Job done.”

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Blog Photo - Sally garden

At home, Sally and David always seem to have something on the go. They’ve been working on the garden. And Sally’s new book, inspired by the couple’s return to Ireland, launches this spring. It’s the sequel to Tales from the Garden. 

Blog Photo - Sally Tales From the Garden - Cover

“Tales from the Irish Garden continues the story of Queen Filigree and her court as they seek exile in Ireland in the garden of the Storyteller. The stories are linked and fall into the four seasons, peopled by new characters, resulting in some tears and I hope quite a bit of laughter.”

Her own life has included personal disasters, triumphs and suprises. 

“Around every corner there has been the unexpected. I have pushed open some fascinating doors which led to where I am today.

“Although we are now well into our 60s, we still believe there are a few more doors to push open and a few more places to visit. For example, we love our current house, but in a few years it will be time to move on. As long as we are together, wherever we end up will be home.”

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A Good Home, Buying a Home in Toronto, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Living in Toronto, Multicultural Toronto at Home, Personality Profile, Toronto Homes

Selling “Home”

These days, Toronto is well-known for two things: an extremely multicultural population, and a very hot real estate market.

Blog Photo - Roncesvalles Street

It’s an interesting time to be buying or selling homes.

Blog Photo - Loraine Story Neighborhood and tree

Loraine Lee visits nearly 200 homes a year. Her clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Blog Photo - Toronto neighborhood2

“The first thing that strikes you is the cuisine.  Once you enter the house, you can tell who lives there – by the smell of the cooking. Although nowadays, sellers are very aware and try to either open windows to get rid of the smells or by masking them.”

Blog Photo - Loraine CU2

Born and raised in Jamaica of Chinese parents, Loraine and her family moved to Toronto in the 1970’s.

She’s a gifted writer and former publisher who decided to pursue her passion for real estate 10 years ago. Doing so has opened up the world’s cultures to her, right here at home in Toronto.

The first time she saw an altar in a linen closet, it surprised her. Now, it’s just one of the many religious practices she sees in Toronto homes.

“At one home, the wife was from the West Indies and the husband from India. She had Hindu and Buddhist statues, but also crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary. I think she was trying to cover all bases.”

Blog Photo - Loraine and Tree2

With Toronto’s large Chinese population, Feng Shui beliefs about design dictated what houses some people would buy.  But that’s changing. Blog Photo - Condo bath

“In the last three to four years, the market has been so hot because of low inventory that Feng Shui seems less important. If the price is right, no one seems to be bothered anymore about the number 4 or that the house is a T-Junction house. There are remedies for those “blockages”, so it’s no longer an issue.

There are many ways of creating a home. Loraine appreciates them all.

“Some men putter around continually – either willingly or at the behest of their wives – painting, changing floors, renovating bathrooms, laying stone walkways, etc. Some people’s homes are always spotless.  There are the folks who spend hours in their garden all Spring and Summer, and the beautiful colours reward them.”

Above photos by Hamlin Grange

Loraine loves figuring out the diverse needs and values of her clients and her clients’ letters show that they value her going the extra mile:

Blog Photo - Loraine and clients at home

“Loraine had a way of making us feel as if we were the only clients she had! She really took the time to know us and understand our needs and budget!! With Loraine we didn’t only find a new home… but also a new friend!”

Congrats, Loraine.

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Dedicated to everyone who is trying to buy/make a home in Toronto’s complex housing market and to realtors who do their best to help you.