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Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Christmas Gift

I wanted to share my short story that is included in the wonderful anthology A Festive Feast proceeds of which go to Cancer Research UK. Please read and enjoy, I hope it gives you a giggle on this cold wintry night :)

To read "It's Not Elfing Funny" - please go to my 'Short Stories' page.

Please download the book to enjoy all of the excellent short stories - and at the same time help make a small difference to the charity :)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Pamper Night

My run up to Christmas always feels like such an incredible mountain to climb. This year that mountain has grown even bigger, and I am, quite frankly - frazzled.

I have left all my tasks to the last minute and am now suffering the consequences. Late night shopping was a chore last night, which is a shame as I would normally enjoy it. I did manage to get something though, but sore feet don't count apparently.

To add insult to injury, I was informed that I was to blame for my lack of organisation, that I should have started earlier. Hmmm....Saying that to an already frazzled woman who should, it seems be superwoman,
is quite likely to land the 'perpetrator' in hot water -  at this point I was more than willing to lower myself to shouting obscenities and resorting to some physical violence.

But, as a lady (!) I refrained of course. I have some standards to uphold.

Well, following a dismal attempt last night, I have resided myself to the fact that I will be one of those "Christmas Eve Shoppers," the panic buyers, the shoppers that I used to think were really silly, those I would ask "Why have you left it so late?" 


Of course the other inevitability about the run up to Christmas is that, like most Mums I imagine, I fail to consider my own mental health and physical well-being. So tonight I am redressing the balance a bit. My lovely daughter Danika is training to be a Nail Technician and I have the opportunity to be her guinea pig client - for a wonderful Luxury Pedicure. Ooh...that will do wonders for my aching feet! Can't wait. 

Perhaps tomorrow I will be refreshed enough to make another attempt at purchasing gifts...or maybe I'll just relax and put my feet up with a good book...

Saturday, 7 December 2013


Honestly, it's true... ;)

So, I will continue to tell you about my lovely visit to Totnes with my daughter...

 Narnia - something that started as a joke, because really it's is twinned with Vire - has grown in popularity, with T-Shirts and the like all being available to buy from the town.

One of the shops is also called Narnia and houses some wonderful retro items.

 Spotted a number of typewriters!

After spending a while in here, with numerous shouts of "Oh my God, my Mum had one of those,"
we left to explore some more of the town.

 It is a market town which has an amazing vibrant feel to it, lots of diverse shops and people. We had an encounter with an owl
and I had to have a jig with the busker - much to my daughter's embarrassment!

It really was a great day - so much fun, and right on our doorstep. It really made me appreciate where I live. And as an aside, the talented Nicholas Evans lives near Totnes too - unfortunately I have yet to bump into him (but I did see Rick Mayall in Morrisons once).

Anyway...to add the icing on the cake (well, actually it had nothing to do with icing) our last stop was the Fudge shop...yum!!

We were lucky enough to see the special "Christmas Pudding" fudge being made - and I can assure you, it was spot on! :)

The next visit will be for the 
 late night shopping, which is always a magical evening - can't wait.

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Purr-fect Experience- You have to see this!

Totnes Cats Cafe

Well, carrying on from my earlier post - I need to update you on our trip to Totnes.

It was a lovely bright, but cold, crisp morning when we arrived - so a hot coffee was definitely required. 

Me and my daughter were pretty excited about getting to have a cuppa with the Cats - and we weren't disappointed!

As the first of its kind in the UK, having originated in Japan, it is obviously an attention grabber and apparently, there remains some confusion about what exactly it is. Talking to the "Human Servants" (as they lovingly refer to themselves) I found out I was not the only person who had thought that it was a cafe you took your own cat to! (And some had actually attempted to take theirs in). Phew - thought I was the only one. 

The idea behind what is known as the "Therapy Lounge" is that it is a place to come to, not only for relaxing - but for those who would love a cat but due to their environment, personal circumstances, finances and the like, are unable to. 

There have  been some disappointed little ones though, as due to the cats not being used to children, as well as space and insurance issues I imagine - no children are allowed to go in. However, there is a window through, and the cats can easily be seen at play.

Mango checking out the high street

We were the only people in the cafe to begin with, so could be entirely selfish and hog the 6 cats currently in residence. We were served with our drinks and Rocky Road (had to be done) and the cats all became highly interested in us. 

They were so well behaved, gorgeous and clearly well looked after. We were able to give them a few treats - so of course we were their new best friends.

I think I had all 6 on me at one point :)

Do you remember the title of my first post today - 'A Purr-fect Place to Write'? Well  - if you don't have a single treat on your being, then I guess it could be. But, I don' think I could ignore the lovely cats and concentrate on writing!

After the initial fun and games, the cats became a bit more relaxed with us being there, and we too could just sit back, chat and chill.
Jet - cat napping

It's not a huge cafe, and had got quite busy by the time we were tearing ourselves away. Nevertheless, it was welcoming, different, fun, and I can see that as a regular visitor it really could be therapeutic and a wonderfully relaxing environment. The cats appear to enjoy every bit of fuss (of course) but if they get tired or fed up with the attention, there is a quiet place where visitors are requested not to disturb them.

I'll finish this post with some other lovely pictures of "The Team" at play.


Felix on top 

I hope the Cats Cafe continues to provide this unique refreshment and relaxation experience - if you ever get the chance to pop in for a coffee - do! There is also a small shop attached that sells a range of cat inspired gifts. Purr-fect.

Here's the link again:

Totnes Cats Cafe

Tomorrow I will share a few more charming finds during our visit to Totnes...which, by the way, is twinned with Narnia... :)

A Purr-fect Place to Write?

I'm very much looking forward to some quality time with my daughter today - and we are off to the lovely Totnes - the quaint town that I'm lucky enough to live near, to partake in a cream tea and browse the bookshops, particularly the used book shop I love. 

I did have in mind the cafe we were going to visit today, however my daughter just happened to mention the "Cat Cafe." Sounds strange, but intriguing. Do you take your own cat? 

I quickly googled said cafe. No, you don't take your own (I did see a problem with that concept - cat fights anyone?), they have their own 'professional' cats! Loving that. 

Will definitely be having my tea with cats today then, I adore cats, it'll be amazing I'm sure. 

I will tell you all about our experience later, and hopefully I'll have some great pictures to share, but for now the link to the cafe is here :)

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Feels amazing to have a short story in this months Take a Break's fiction feast!
"Unpicking the Past" is on page 19, nestled among some short story greats such as Wendy Clarke  and Della Galton

I am also proud to announce that I  managed to breezily go in, retrieve the magazine, have a quick flick - because even though I knew it was in there, I had to make doubly sure - all without whooping, screaming, or any other attention drawing things that may have got me banned from the shop.

It is a shame that my local Post Office didn't have TAB FF in today - I was a bit deflated, having built myself  up (as well as everyone else!) to go in and buy it as soon as I could - but, hey - I can re-live the experience tomorrow when I go back in to buy the one I put back :)

It may only be my second published story in a magazine, the first having been in Candis a couple of years ago, but it seems like a massive success to me anyway - and I will celebrate accordingly! 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


A quick link to the lovely Vanessa Wester's blog about the Short Story Group's anthology. Vanessa also has a wonderful trilogy - check it out! http://vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk

Time to Escape...: OUT OF DARKNESS - SECOND EDITION:  I have to admit that I have spent many, many days (yes, that's how long it takes) updating both "Love is in the Air" and &q...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Book Club Babes

   Inspiration comes in many guises. For example, book club – great for general chats about the current book -and some in-depth analysis - but even more so for the chit-chat that comes after the ‘book talk.’ Honestly - the diverse range of topics that we manage to cover are truly amazing. I think that tonight we have gone from neutering dogs, to unreasonable ex-husbands (who equally, should be neutered), from stress fractures to Alzheimer’s. I should have taken out my notebook. But, unfortunately as the wine was flowing, my creativity was ebbing.

   I sit here now, writing this - following a bottle of cava. I have the usual ‘comfortable story’ that I deserved a night out, that I deserved a bit of a tipple - the usual story I guess. But, I do deserve it, it’s been a difficult, challenging time. But, to be honest, the most therapeutic thing I have found so far is not cava, but writing. Writing heals the soul. So, armed with a new arsenal of weapons (by which I mean material) I go forth into a new day with fresh ideas and a passion to transfer my ideas into words that perhaps someone else will read and enjoy.

   I hope that when my book-club buddies read my stories that have been inspired by tonight's ramblings, that they will realise that to be immortalised through words is the greatest form of flattery…

If not, I think I may be looking to join a new book club...