My family are confused, and it serves them right! They didn’t have to look at my to-do list and order list, which I am happy to admit has a folder all to itself because this isn’t just any to do list. This is a list of things that I want to do so that I can make our home into my Victorian House Near the Sea, which is a place that I’d want to go and stay if we were on holiday.
My dream house has a little restaurant and bakery attached to it where the innkeeper (this is my dream so I’m promoting myself) cooks delicious meals using local ingredients wherever possible. There is cake or homemade biscuits in the tin waiting for the hungry, the diffuser makes the place smell gorgeous if there isn’t anything baking, it is warm, cosy and welcoming and gentle music is playing in the background from a curated list of CD’s which I alter to suit my mood. It’s not a show home but somewhere you can kick your shoes off and settle down with a mug of frothy coffee with a heart on top or a cup of tea from one of my favourite specialist suppliers. At the moment, it's Dorset Breakfast in the morning and Spiced Vanilla Chai or Earl Grey in the afternoon, but soon it'll be Christmas tea and my husband has become the best barista and an artist with those posh stencils and I've got some thoroughly posh coffee too!
It’s an ever-growing project because have you noticed how the more you clear, the more you seem to need to sort out? Or is it just me? It’s not about throwing out things I love because I’ll never be a minimalist, but it is about saying ‘we deserve nice things but not so nice that I have to worry about them.’ So my china has been collected from eBay and charity shops and I both love using it and am sad to think how much of its life was spent in a cupboard while it waited for a best that never came. After all, why shouldn’t every day be the best I can make it? And why shouldn't I share the things I love with the people I love? If they get broken then so be it. It’s got to be better than ending up in a charity shop, as good as new, hasn’t it?
In this fantasy I always remember to put an apron on while I’m cooking. Amy inherited her love of sewing from me, and there are only so many quilts a woman can make so I’m expanding outwards into banners, door curtains and now aprons. I’ve found some lovely cotton ones on eBay (shops being out for me due to my immune system) and some water soluble fabric so I can embroider suitable motifs and phrases on them.
Which brings me to the point. (See, you knew I’d get there in the end, didn’t you?) The firm that makes the water soluble fabric is called Sulky, so it’s on my orders in progress list as ‘Sulky fabric’. And now my family want to know why it’s sulking and why I’m letting it sulk when I don’t tolerate them sulking.
They’ve also just spotted the Halloween pumpkin tins I bought and have now positioned. They light up when you turn them on! Do you think I’ll ever grow up? Probably not, because I’m having too much fun to want to be sensible all the time and I hope you aren’t always sensible either.
Today’s picture is of my domesticity, so you can see the lanterns and the chocolate swirl bread (inside it’s all like a Swiss roll with chocolate hazelnut spread, and the chocolate chip shortbread is fresh from the oven.) If you’d like to see recipes in the blog, please let me know.
But I shall be sensible now and tell you about my new release and sale items for the week. As always, the sale items are on at 99p or 99c.
The first two Shadows romantic suspense which I write as Eleanor Neville are out in one anthology - Angels Unawares, as a way for people who don’t get deals and haven’t got Kindle Unlimited to try a new series cheaply because about half my readers aren’t in the UK or US and it’s not fair to leave you out, is it?
And on special offer, I have some nice cosy, gentle books to curl up with when the world isn’t kind and the weather makes retreating indoors with a hot drink and cake, biscuits or cookies seem the only sensible thing to do.
The second three Lavender House books - A Time to Fight, Sunshine and Shadows and Love, Always.
A lovely old house on the Sandbanks peninsula overlooking the sea, converted into some posh homes and some affordable ones for local people. Beautiful gardens, a refuge for people who need it and a ghost who’s been sent to give people the happy ending she couldn’t get. I know I’m biased, but my favourite is Love, Always, when we find out why the ghost is there and if she can get a happy ending of her own…
The second three Windy Bay books - Endings and Beginnings, Building a Future and A Healing Time
On the other side of the Harbour from Poole is the Jurassic coast and the gorgeous Studland peninsula. Everyone knows about Sandbanks and Lulworth Cove, but there are other, lesser known little villages where time goes more slowly and people are kind and always interested in what’s going on. And, if you use your imagination, you can find Windy Bay, which is a little village a mile away from the sea. And in that village lives Kath Conway, who’s making a new life while dealing with old secrets. Jess comes to stay there to renovate an old house after her mother’s death and has to uncover secrets of her own and vet Nicky King is angry after her mother’s long drawn out death, lashing out at all the wrong people and swearing not to fall in love…