Inspired by the Seaside

Ah, the seaside! Such a lovely place. We are fortunate to live within driving distance of many beautiful, sandy beaches along the British coast.

Talacre Lighthouse SpookyMrsGreen

Our favourite family destination is Talacre Beach in North Wales. It is dog friendly all year round, there is a quirky old lighthouse that always fires my imagination, and the beach is surrounded by sand dunes to explore. Every time we visit, I come home feeling refreshed and invigorated. Wading into the shallow waves along the shore, feeling the cold sea water wash over my feet, I drink in the natural healing powers of the ocean. And then I walk across the soft sand, allowing it to warm my feet and tickle my toes. Bliss!

It is no surprise that most of my novels are set in seaside locations. The Redcliffe novels, for example, are set in a fictitious holiday town in Cornwall. The location was inspired many years ago when we used to holiday down there at a friends’ hotel. I spent many hours wandering along the beach, exploring the working harbour, and climbing higher up to look out over the bay, all the while picturing my werewolves and vampires hunting around the area.

More recently I turned my attentions to a classic Victorian seaside holiday destination. Blackpool is a town with a chequered past, to say the least. It was established by the Victorians as a place to visit the sea, take in the fresh air, and revive the senses after long, hard days spent working in the industrial factories of the North of England. Nowadays, Blackpool draws in crowds of families, and it is a popular destination for hen parties and stag parties (I had my hen weekend there, years ago!). Read Vampire of Blackpool for my take on contemporary English Gothic, and see what you think.

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10% Off All Orders at English Heritage Shop

At English Heritage Shop you can get 10% off all orders! Simply use code 10EHS40 at checkout.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, aiming to support a great charity or just looking to treat yourself, we have you covered. Code expires 3rd October 2021. Excludes sale and Barbour.

Stoneglow Coconut Lime Zest Tumbler Candle

Sit back, relax, light this candle and scent your home with tones of coconut and lime zest. Delicate violet leaf brings a floral subtlety whilst warm, sensuous vanilla and tonka bean give a depth and mellowness to the fragrance. The candle has a burn time of 60 hours and is packaged into a ceramic botanical leaf print container with a matching lid.

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Glass Decanter

Add some sophistication to your drink cabinet with this glass decanter. The perfect size to fit a 750ml bottle of your favourite spirit, the decanter takes away the miss match labels of the original bottles and adds effortless style.

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English Heritage Biscuit Duo – Fruit Selection

Choose from strawberry and cream shortbread or orange and lemon biscuits to create the perfect complement to your afternoon cuppa.

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English Heritage Banquet Mead

This high-quality traditional mead is made in small batches with great care for English Heritage by the award-winning Lyme Bay Winery. Mead is probably the oldest known alcoholic drink and was much loved by Vikings and revellers at medieval banquets.

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Acorn and Leaf Necklace

Suspended from a dainty silver curb chain, this Acorn Pendant is so beautifully detailed it looks like it’s dangling from a real oak tree.

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Ruthi Round Drop Earrings

Add the finishing touch to your outfit with these Ruthi drop earrings. The earrings feature an effortlessly stylish drop loop that is crafted from gold toned brass.

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Stonehenge Top Trumps 30 Things to See

This special edition Stonehenge Top 30 Things to See Top Trumps pack is filled with fun and interesting facts about the iconic stones of Stonehenge. From the individual stones to artefacts found around Stonehenge, which has the highest ‘Historical Importance’ and which card wins for the highest level of fame.

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Sleepy Sheepy Pillow

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‘Yes, She Can’ Embroidery Hoop Kit

Yes, She Can! This embroidery kit makes a great gift for someone that loves all things crafts. The kit comes with everything needed to create the embroidery, including: a hoop, printed fabric, needle, thread, wadding, instructions and a backing disc to finish off the piece.

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Noble Isle – Rhubarb Rhubarb! Hand Lotion

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How To Pick An Outfit To Make You Look and Feel Great

Do you wish you knew how to dress for every occasion?

No more wishing! In this post, we will show you how to dress in a way that makes you feel confident, brave, and ready for just about anything. 

People can tell a lot about who you are by the clothes you wear. The clothes that you wear – and the accessories you use to dress them up or down – reveal a lot about who you are, where you are from, what you do, and how you perceive yourself and others. What you wear or dress sends nonverbal cues to other people. It may invite people to ask about what you do for a job, where you live, what the triple spiral symbol on your sweater means, and so on. 

Clothing can have a significant impact on the impression that a person conveys and is thus a powerful communication tool. What you wear plays an important role in creating positive first impressions when it comes to communicating confidence and ability. Whether you agree or disagree with the statement, clothes do make the man (or woman!). 

Image

So, how can you enhance your first impression?

Colour: The way you use colours is an excellent way to leverage the power of fashion in your first impression. Do not just choose colours at random; instead, consider how you will use them as part of your overlook and the message that you want to convey.

Fit: People’s perceptions of you are influenced by how you tailor your clothes and the shape of your clothing.

Styling: For both women and men, an accessory can completely turn an outfit on its head. Shoes, watches, scarves, and hats are all simple ways to change the impression of your style.

Branding: If you struggle to comprehend fit and colour on your own, let brands do it for you! Go to brands that embody or demonstrate your ideal style and let their styles make the decision for you. For example, Ralph Lauren gives off a preppy vibe.

How to choose the right outfit for the occasion

The weather: The weather must be one of the most important factors to consider when selecting an outfit from your wardrobe.  How could it be any other way? Would you rather melt into pools of sweat just because that leather jacket that you bought is so pleasing and it is super flattering? No, of course, you wouldn’t. You should also consider the weather when selecting the appropriate accessories. Everything from how you style your hair to the shoes you wear should be weather appropriate.

The occasion: While those skinny jeans and faded band tshirt might feel great and be uber flattering, if you rock up at a formal wedding in it, you are going to feel self-conscious because it is not the right outfit for the occasion. Whether we like it or not, different occasions require different outfits. 

While it is true that wearing a beautiful and appropriate outfit can greatly boost one’s confidence, the opposite is also true. The ability to carry oneself with complete confidence, regardless of what one is wearing, go a long way toward making the outfit stand out as well.

Photo by Abhishek Gaurav on Pexels.com

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When Will We Learn that Prevention is Better than Cure?

Do you live with underlying health challenges, maybe something that requires medication, hospital treatment, regular contact with doctors and nurses? Me too.

I have come to the conclusion that our NHS is not designed to help. It is designed to try and save lives when we reach crisis point. In my experience, medical professionals are not interested in helping if you have concerns about your health. They are only interested in working on you once the situation becomes serious. Now, I’m sure nobody would admit to this fact, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but that is my lived experience.

I have been trying to get help with my rare congenital disorder for the past ten years or more. Throughout my twenties I was quite blasé about it. I attended my hospital appointments, I used the ointments and eyedrops that were prescribed, and I was treated sporadically for other illnesses as and when they appeared. Then I reached an age where I wanted to have children, so I requested genetic testing to see if I would pass on my condition to my babies. There was a 50/50 chance of this happening, but fortunately both my children do not appear to have inherited the recessive gene that I carry. Phew!

Since having children I have not been able to fully focus on my condition. Whenever I asked doctors about the heart defect possibilities they dismissed my concerns and made me feel like I was making a fuss about nothing. So I gave up chasing. I was busy trying to cope with chronic eye pain anyway, trying a large variety of eyedrops and ointments, experimental medications, and occasional day surgeries to remove ingrowing eyelashes. I am now reaching what I consider crisis point in my mental and emotional health. It is exhausting having to repeat myself and explain my illness to receptionists, administrators, nurses and new doctors. It is demoralising when they look at me blankly and then tell me I am fine, it won’t kill me, get on with it. OK, they don’t use those exact words, but that is what I infer from their demeanor and response to my concerns.

I feel something is not quite right. I know I am experiencing clinical stress. But because it has not brought me to the point of complete collapse and I have not been rushed to hospital in an ambulance, the medical professionals dismiss me and tell to get over it. Now my only option is selfcare. I am practicing mindfulness, reiki self-healing, trying to regulate my diet and exercise, and doing what I can to find appropriate alternative treatments. Will I succeed in preventing my body from developing serious illness? Time will tell.

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Now Up to Half Price in the Rohan Summer Sale!

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Lammas Tarot Card Reading

This weekend we celebrate Lammas, the harvest festival. I felt drawn to work with Druid Craft Tarot and the tarot spread is called Leaving the Past Behind. It was more light-hearted than my vampire tarot card reading from last month, but it continues along the same personal themes. Read on and see if the Tarot card reading resonates with you.

Tarot Card Reading

1, What I Need to Leave Behind – The Lovers

On a personal level this card leaves me feeling sad. I no longer experience the passionate love that I once enjoyed. It is in the past. I may hold the memories dear, but I must move on. What do you need to leave behind? It might be something that you have been closely involved in for a while, perhaps a project that has reached its conclusion. Maybe you need to finish what you started and move on.

2, What I Need to Take with Me – The Wheel

The perfect card for this reading, I see this as a reminder to reinforce my boundaries and keep my own counsel. I move forward with wisdom and knowledge, and I welcome a new Wheel of Life. Are you aware of your boundaries? What have you learned recently that you can take with you on a new adventure?

3, Negatives to Discard – The Magician

In this card I see the message that I must go forth with confidence in my own abilities and knowledge. Other people may think they know best but I know what I need. No more masculine influence taking charge. This is my time. I will do it my way. Think about who has influenced your life in recent years and months. Who or what really needs your time and attention? What do you do for yourself?

4, Positives to Look Forward To – Eight of Cups

There is a bright new future ahead and I welcome it with an open heart. My cups have been refilled and I have a new sense of self-awareness. I might take a break and have a holiday of sorts. Everything has reached its natural conclusion and is moving along steadily. While I have yet to tie up some loose ends, I am confident that I know how to break away from unhealthy activities. How do you feel now as we move through the pandemic? What relationships have changed around you and how do you respond to the world?

5, Why a Fresh Start will be Good for Me – The Hanged Man

Perhaps I would benefit from a new perspective. Try something different, loosen my control over everything. There are new experiences to explore. I just need to put myself out there. Have you been hiding recently, or putting off an activity that you know will be good for you? We are all guilty of staying stuck in familiar places and patterns of behaviour. Having the courage to break away and relinquish some control could prove beneficial for yourself and for others around you.

Summary

This Lammas Tarot card reading is perfect for the harvest season. It talks about growth and rebirth, moving on and preparing for a new future. We take what we have learned, and we grow. There is no going back. Once the crops are harvested, they cannot be returned to the ground. They can only be transformed into something tangible, something we can enjoy. We must move forward with confidence and wisdom.

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Clarks Back to School

Back to school season has started. Whatever their playground, make it awesome!

It’s time for kids to get back to doing what they love doing best. Playing, discovering, laughing, learning, and just hanging out with their best mates. It’s time to get back to school! From nursery to middle school, kit them out in our brand-new back-to-school collection designed to make every moment awesome.

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Hunting the Hunted – Currently Seeking Representation

Sometimes I forget that not everybody knows my characters in the same way I do. My Redcliffe series has given me a whole new group of fictional friends that live in a part of my psyche where their lives are real, at least in some alternate universe.

It is the same for my characters from other novels, including Vampire of Blackpool and my latest manuscript, Hunting the Hunted. I finished writing this novel a few years ago and have been submitting it to agents and publishers without much luck. Some advised that it reads more like a literary novel than commercial fiction. I wonder if it is a crossover and the world isn’t ready for it yet. Or are they?

Excerpt

We watched our hunters race along the pavement, disappearing from view as the uniformed police officers followed them. The police were fast. They sent their armed officers after the hunters, and the others quickly closed off the street and worked to ensure their precious human civilians were safe. I leaped up onto the roof of the high building, and Lottie followed. We strode across the base of the sloping roof, and I reached out telepathically to locate my prey. I sensed William almost immediately. He was running down a narrow alley between a hotel and an office building, with his sister close behind. The police were still following them. And they had reached a dead end. I leaped across the wide expanse of road, high enough that the humans below would not see me, and I landed on a high balcony just in time to see my hunters being arrested. William was shouting at them not to grab his injured shoulder, and Samantha was shouting something about them being private investigators. It didn’t help. They were bundled roughly into the back of the waiting police van, having first been relieved of their weapons by the law enforcers. I stood in the shadows and observed the spectacle.

“There you are,” Lottie said as she swooped down to land beside me, “You are fast, for an old vampire!”

Discover the Vampire Hunters of Northern England

This book is one of a collection I am calling my vampire hunters’ series. They can be read individually although I am writing a sequel to Vampire of Blackpool and there will be a sequel to Hunting the Hunted. It seems that once my characters are discovered, they cannot shut up!

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Terrys Fabrics Biggest Ever Summer Sale

Our Summer Sale is now on with amazing discounts of up to 77% OFF ready-made curtains, up to 73% OFF bedding, up to 71% OFF blinds, up to 58% OFF Fabric and up to 52% OFF Made to measure curtains. These deals are available on over 5,000 products but are only available for a limited time, so be quick before they’re gone!

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