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The smell of memories…

My family are such avid Doctor Who fans that we planned a holiday round a visit to the Doctor Who Experience when it was in Cardiff four years running and went to look at the locations and eat at the Doctor’s table in a brilliant diner. So I suppose it was inevitable that amongst my treasured kitchen tools are cutters for Daleks, Cybermen and Tardises. (Don’t worry if this doesn’t mean anything to you, there is a point coming along in a minute or two.)

I introduced my then baby brother to Doctor Who when my husband and I were courting and my mum was out teaching evening classes, leaving me in charge (poor kid!) He had a choice between an early bath and watching it with me or an early night. Unsurprisingly, he chose Doctor Who and he is far more of a fan than I am, so I was thrilled for him when he got tickets to the sixtieth anniversary concert in Cardiff.

On Sunday night it was /will be broadcast on Radio Two. It’s available on BBC Sounds and it will be up on iPlayer at some point. So, Saturday morning found me getting out my tattered and treasured Delia Smith book of cakes, with all my scribbled alterations to the recipe on it. (I swap syrup and treacle for honey because it’s got a lower GI and it was what gingerbread was originally made of. I also add a little more ground cloves than she does in memory of years living in Germany)

Now, as I type this, the smell of the dough is clinging to my fingers and bringing back oh so many memories because this was my go-to recipe on wet days with the children when they were children. (The youngest is 21 now and six foot three which is why I decided that I had to lose my baby weight last year.)

I’ve got a lot of different cutters because they follow their interests through the years. Halloween ones, which will be used soon, and we’ll make gingerbread bats and dip them in melted plain chocolate because you’re never too old to enjoy those. Christmas cutters, when I up the spices even more and we make gingerbread houses. Sometimes, they’re 3 dimensional. More often, they’re flat, because I have a lovely set of cutters that have a basic house shape and then doors and windows. Dinosaurs, obviously. Transport. Dragons. It almost feels as if I can see their lives again through their interests and remember them at the kitchen table, eating as much mixture as they shaped. (It’s okay, the recipe doesn’t have egg in it and is so long-suffering that it’s basically edible play dough.)

Today, I made them without any little helpers, but I’ve left the glass jug I always make them in for them to scrape because there’d be a mutiny if I didn’t. And on Sunday night we will listen (have listened? You know what I mean) to the concert, relive memories, and make new ones as a family.

Does that make me slushy? Well, I write cosy romantic and crime fiction so it’s pretty much in my job description. And if it makes you laugh, then there isn’t enough laughter in the world so that’s good too. So today’s picture is freshly made gingerbread. I wish I could share it with you all, my lovely readers.

And now on to the sales stuff.

All this ties in with my new release this week, which is the next Windy Bay story. It’s called ‘Elf n Safety’ and it follows on from Vintage Girl Summer, so if you haven’t read that one yet, why not have a look. There’s a heroine with a complicated past, a hero with a scandalous past and a Christmas attraction that’s had its Santa and Elves lured away… Oh, and at the start of the book the heroine is hanging off a ladder, dressed as an elf. So no problems there.

And on 99p and 99c offer this week (And hooray, I’ve got the US and UK to synchronise!) are…

The First 3 Lavender House books

House of Dreams

Ghost of Dreams

Ghost of a Chance

A beautiful old house on the exclusive and expensive Sandbanks Peninsula. A stubborn young woman chasing her dream to bring them back to life. An even more stubborn landscape gardener. The people the place comes to shelter, and a resident ghost on a mission to give people the happy endings she couldn’t have.

The First 3 Windy Bay books

Starting over

A Fresh Start

Second chances

A beautiful village near the sea on the Studland side of Poole Bay, where time goes more slowly, people care about each other and happy endings are possible for anyone who’s brave enough to believe in them. These 3 stories are set from just before Christmas through to spring and focus on a set of self-catering cottages and the people who run them and live in them. There’s an unexpected baby, an unexpected new start and a couple trying to fall in love again after the stress of bringing up an autistic child pushed them apart.

And Echoes - An Amy hammond cosy mystery

This one’s one of my favourites. Set at the start of lockdown, with memories of VE Day and wartime and a development I know a lot of people have been waiting for.


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