|Posted by mandybaggot on December 4, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (2)|
This week on In The Sack I am welcoming Harper Impulse author, Erin Lawless!
I live a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys me books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, I write books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When I’m not doing that I read absolutely everything I can get my hands on, spend an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and run a fun-but-informative blog on British history.
Erin's brand new book comes out TOMORROW and you can one-click your way to a pre-order here!
‘So much more than a love story, more of a life story.’
If you fell in love with Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me at Hello and David Nicholls’ One Day, then this book is for YOU.
Beware false friends and the smiles of certain boys…
Miles and Nicky are getting married.
Unfortunately, their wedding party is a tangle of ex-housemates, ex-friends and ex-lovers.
Leigha, Sukie and Harriet used to be the best of friends.
Unfortunately, there are some things you just can’t forgive.
Adam and Harriet. They might have been something, once. But definitely not any more…
So this wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion.
The Best Thing I Never Had moves between 2007 and 2012 and seven characters to build up a compelling story, in turns funny and sad, but always honest, about friendship in all its forms and the practicality of second chances.
This is a relatively new handbag. They usually are. I carry way too much stuff around and always end up making the handles come loose, whether it's a Primarni special or a real leather, designer tote. I am the bag killer! As a result, there's not nearly as much crap in there as there usually is, hurrah! I know that lots of women have several handbags on rotation, picking the one that best matches that day's outfit, or suits the occasion. I wish I could be that organised. I'm usually in such a rush leaving the house that I'm lucky if I remember the handbag at all! I'm a shoe sort of girl, not a bag one..!
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
2013 and 2014 diaries: I went for a considerably larger diary for next year than I used this year, as I was constantly running out of space in the little one! Plus this one has a large notes section in the back, which means I don't have to carry a separate notebook around anymore.
USB stick: complete with my current WIP, my wedding planning spreadsheets and other important documents. Every time I can't find it IMMEDIATELY I panic.
My purse: It's a beautiful, buttery-soft purple leather; my mother bought it for me years ago and now the card pockets are loose and the cards slip out and the popper button doesn't stay closed, but I can't face looking for a replacement.
My keys: complete with Lego Dobby keyring. I have to have the huge Cath Kidson keyring too so I can grope blind for the keys at the bottom of the bag and find them quickly!
Paperchase multi-coloured biro: just in case the urge to write in pink, purple or green strikes me.
Owl mittens: (it's cold; they're cute).
Antibiotics: (I've got strep throat at the moment).
Magical amazing bag hook: that will hang my bag from restaurant tables, etc, so it doesn't have to go on the floor. Every woman should have one!
Oystercard in its holder: (despite the fact that I moved out of London in July - I just can't let go).
Lip balm stick: I don't tend to wear anything on my lips, I hate the way my hair sticks to them when I have gloss on, but the air conditioning in my office is murder, and I have to keep myself kissable!
"18p Russian handcream": My best friend is Russian and she always brings me loads of this bargainous olive oil based handcream when she comes back from visiting her family over there.
My Kindle touch in its Union Jack case: It's currently got 208 items in my "To Read" folder and 124 in my "To Read (soon)" folder; I think I need to have a word with myself about the definition of the word 'soon'...
My Nintendo 3DS XL: I purposefully got one in a 'gender neutral' colour in case my other half ever wanted to use it (he complained that my powder pink normal DS makes him feels emasculated when he uses it whilst we're travelling), and then proceeded to cover it with girly gel stickers. I have no regrets.
Thank you so much for coming on In The Sack, Erin. Next week I have Wendy Jones revealing all!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 27, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (3)|
This week, baring all on In The Sack is HarperImpulse author, Romy Sommer!
About: I’ve always written stories for myself, but didn’t even think of being an author until I realised that being over thirty and living in a fantasy world was a little odd. Writing those same stories for other people makes it a lot more acceptable!
By day I dress in cargo pants and boots for my not-so-glamorous job of making movies but at night I come home to my two little Princesses, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I live, and I get to write Happy Ever Afters. Since I believe every girl is a princess, and every princess deserves a happy ending, what could be more perfect?
The Trouble with Mojitos
Turquoise blue waters. Sandy white beaches. Mojitos... Film location scout Kenzie Cole has found herself in paradise. Working in the Caribbean for a week is just what she needs to escape the long line of exes in her closet. Though the last thing she expects is to be picked up at the resort bar by a disgraced former Prince!
Luckily for Kenzie, exile is suiting the man formerly known as Prince Fredrik very well. And it’s not long before his rugged, pirate charm is proving hard to resist.
But Rik’s been spending his time in paradise exorcising demons of his own and he has danger written all over him. If Kenzie was sensible she’d run a mile instead of lose herself to lust - although, they do say sometimes you have to get lost before you can be found....
The Trouble with Mojitos is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:
I bought this lovely leather messenger bag just a few months ago. Previously I had a branded work bag of about the same size with a disentegrating lining (also an around the neck & shoulder sling bag) which I used for film shoots plus a large, traditional mommy-style handbag. I was forever moving everything from one to the other, which was a real pain. This one is a perfect marriage of the two. Happy Ever After.
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
Lip ice (can't live without it!)
Loose tuck shop money for my kids
One very well-used moleskin notebook & pen
Very rarely used eyeliner & lip stick (where's the mascara gone?)
Thank you for letting us peek under your zipper, Romy!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 20, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (1)|
This week on In The Sack I am welcoming the wonderful writer of The Keepers series, Rae Rivers!
The Keepers - Rae Rivers
The Keepers is an exciting new Paranormal Romance series about three warrior brothers destined to defend a powerful witch. They are her fierce protectors, friends, and allies in maintaining the balance of nature. Three brothers, four stories and hot romance!
The Keepers: Sienna is the free Prequel to the series, followed by The Keepers: Archer. These first two books are about Sienna (the witch) and her Keepers and focuses on the blossoming but forbidden love between Sienna and her oldest Keeper, Archer Bennett. When two evil warlock brothers return to their small town of Rapid Falls, trouble starts to brew. Will their love survive the ultimate war?
The Keepers: Sienna
A full moon in Rapid Falls.
Sienna Beckham is a powerful witch, and along with her four fiercely protective Keepers, it is her destiny to maintain the balance of nature in this world. Tonight, it's the town carnival and everyone will be there: Sienna's family, her friends, her protectors. Archer. Laughter and flirtation await. But in a few hours, Sienna's life will have changed forever and her powers stretched to their very limits. For something is lurking in the forest…
Murder. Sorcery. Revenge. And no one sees it coming.
Find out how it all began…
The FREE PREQUEL to Rae Rivers' magical new series, The Keepers.
Rae Rivers Bio:
I’m an avid reader and writer with a passion for writing romance novels. I live in Cape Town, South Africa, with my gorgeous husband, two beautiful children and a zoo of house pets.
Besides writing, I love family time, the outdoors, travelling, watching TV series, reading and chocolate. For more information about my books, or me, please visit my website!
I can also be found here:
It took two babies and a need to simplify my life that made me switch from a flashy bag to a more practical one. I found a style that works for me and have never looked back. It’s a simple black (grey, brown or red – I have several!) shoulder bag with a strap long enough to wear across my shoulder so it stays put and leaves my hands free for when I’m out with my children.
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
I try to keep it as light as possible so opt for the bare essentials. Lipstick, lip balm, purse, phone, Kindle (for any waiting when doing school runs!), perfume, tissues, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, hand cream, sun cream … wow, all very boring but practical items!
Thank you so much for unzipping for us this week, Rae!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 14, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (5)|
Today I'm welcoming into the Lady's Lounge, author Samantha Tonge and her gorgeous new novel from Carina UK, Doubting Abbey!
Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!?
Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!
The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend to be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.
So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.
Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…
I'm so happy to have you in the Lady's Lounge, Samantha! So, sum up your latest book in no more than 30 words!
Pizza waitress Gemma must pass for posh Abbey to win reality show Million Dollar Mansion and save run-down Applebridge Hall – without blowing her cover or falling for hot Lord Edward!
What was your inspiration for this novel?
Unsurprisingly, the hit TV show Downton Abbey! It intrigued me as to why modern viewers were so attracted to a programme set in a time when manners and social restraints were very different from today. I wondered how a 21st century gal would cope in such an aristocratic setting.
How do you write? Are you a pen and paper person or a laptop lover? Do you write from start to end or merge scenes together as they come to you?
I write finger to keyboard and create the story chronologically. I do a rough plan of the whole book first, chapter by chapter, although if my characters want to take me in a different direction, once I’ve started, I allow them.
If you were in charge of casting who would play your hero in the film adaptation and why would they be the best choice?
Joseph Morgan who plays Klaus in the Vampire Diaries/the Originals. Not only does he look the part (blonde and gorgeous) but the character of Klaus, like Lord Edward, is steely and stubborn – with a vulnerable side. Plus family means everything to both of them.
About you! Where do you live and who with? Cats? Children? Hunky firefighter?
Near Manchester with two children, a couple of cats and a hunky computer consultant! Although the cats think they are dogs – one plays “fetch” and neither like roaming far unless you accompany them.
Favourite band/singer – have you seen them in concert? Have you waited backstage to leap on them?
I love Justin Timberlake – as a singer and actor (Friends with Benefits is the funniest movie ever). I’ve not seen him in concert – what a great Xmas gift that would be fore me *must direct husband to this interview*
TV – are you a drama lover or a soap devourer? Or does comedy tickle your fancy more?
I ADORE the supernatural/horror genre, my favourite programmes being The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. And, of course, the period drama Downton Abbey. If Julian Fellows turned Bates into a grizzly werewolf and Branson into a dashing vampire, I’d be one happy lady.
You’re allowed to take THREE items to a desert island – which THREE things could you not live without?
My husband and two children. I know, it sounds corny, but without them I’d not have stuck at my writing through the hard times, plus all three make me laugh when the rest of the world is getting me down.
Quick Fire Quiz
In my novel ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ Kate and Joel take part in a relationship contest a bit like ‘Mr & Mrs’. I thought it would be fun if you could answer their quick fire questions and readers of the page can make what they will from your answers! Choose one from the following pairs e.g. savoury or sweet based on your gut reaction to the words. Remember it’s quick fire!
Savoury or Sweet? Sweet
Action or relaxation? Action
Up or down? Down
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Nightclub or wine bar? Nightclub
Ferrari or Porsche? Ferrari
Truth or dare? Truth
Gym or bed? Bed
Flower or tree? Tree
Hot or cold? Cold
E-book or paperback? E-book
Bruce Forsyth or Dick Van Dyke? Bruce Forsyth
Lady B wishes you loads of success with Doubting Abbey and I can't wait to read it!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 13, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (5)|
Welcome to In The Sack! The feature that unzips authors/bloggers/friends to reveal all! This week I have the wonderful Pippa Croft...AKA Phillipa Ashley!
PHILLIPA ASHLEY aka PIPPA CROFT
Phillipa Ashley writes lively, sexy, funny romantic fiction for a variety of international publishers including Penguin, Headline Little Black Dress, Piatkus Entice, Samhain and Sourcebooks. After studying English Language and Literature at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, Decent Exposure. The book won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award and in 2009, it was filmed as the Lifetime TV movie ‘12 Men of Christmas’ starring Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins.
Phillipa’s recent book, Miranda’s Mount won the reader award for Best ebook at the Festival of Romance 2012 and It Happened One Night was shortlisted in 2013.
As Pippa Croft, her next project is a sexy, sophisticated romance series for Penguin Books – Book 1 is called ‘The First Time We Met’ and is available early 2014.
Phillipa lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and daughter and when she’s not writing, she spends her time watching costume drama, thrillers and comedy and falling off surf boards.
This purple glittery affair is my favourite of the four bags I use on a day to day basis - and it’s far more flash than any of the others I use! A few years ago, I’d seen it and drooled over it (not literally) in Paperchase and my daughter bought it for me as a surprise. It’s quite roomy so it’s ideal for my publishing trips to London. I have more people asking me where I got this bag than anything else I own and though it’s showing its hard life now, I hope to keep it forever.
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
Oyster card in an Audrey Catburn holder
iPad Mini (taking the photos) with mini keyboard for writing – but mainly emails etc – on the move
Thanks for revealing all, Pippa!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 12, 2013 at 5:00 AM||comments (4)|
I had an AMAZING time at the Festival of Romance last weekend! It was fantastic to meet up with the Loveahappyending Lifestyle crew - Linn B Halton, Carol Wright (Dizzy C's Little Book Blog), J B Johnston (Brook Cottage Books), Heidi (Cosmochicklitan), Janice Horton, Kim Nash (Kim The Bookworm) and Sheryl Browne. We had so much fun and far too much wine!
And we are celebrating! Linn won the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Author prize for creating the Loveahappyending group and transforming it and us from a reader/writer initiative to a lifestyle magazine giving readers real content, interesting articles about a variety of topics from the UK to the US and Canada. I was so proud to be able to present Linn's award and here she is looking delighted, if a little shocked!
If you haven't seen all the photos from the Festival, pop over to Facebook and peruse them on the Festival of Romance page - I'm tagged in hundreds LOL!
Also winning on the night were Harper Impulse! They were presented with the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Publisher prize! YAY! And scooping another award, for best e-book, was Carmel Harrington for her tearjerker, Beyond Grace's Rainbow! It was a great weekend for team success!
And today I'm also celebrating another milestone! Last night I acheived 10,000 followers on Twitter! A huge thank you to everyone that follows me and listens to be going on about being hungry, drinking wine and how cool my books are! I appreciate every single one of you - you are my social media family and sometimes I spend more time with you than my blood relatives!
So to mark this occasion I am having a giveaway! Enter the Rafflecopter draw to win signed paperbacks of Taking Charge and Strings Attached!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 6, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (5)|
This week on In The Sack I have romance author, Rachel Brimble!
This is Rachel with Mr B!
Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington--her debut was released in April 2013 and she has since signed for three more.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
A Man Like Him
Changing her life...again
After two years in hiding, Angela Taylor knows her independence is worth it. As long as she can escape her past, she has everything under control. Until a flash flood hits the park where she works, and hot Chris Forrester shows up the exact moment she needs a hero.
Chris proves he can save lives-and weaken a girl's knees. But how can she make him understand that she's off-limits, that getting close to her will endanger his life? Her happiness or his safety: it shouldn't even be a choice.
Because when you love someone, you protect them, no matter the cost. At least, that's what Angela keeps telling herself....
I bought this bag while on holiday in North Wales a couple of years ago. Its not designer (like you needed to be told that, lol!), but my good ol’ reliable one that I take everywhere with me. I have other bags for going out and for parties, but this is my favourite for day to day. It has lots of compartments that often gets full up with the kids stuff as well as mine!
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
M&B notebook & pen
Prescription sunglasses (I can dream…
Antihistamine tablets (For Mr B!)
Spare set of plastic fangs…
Thanks for joining me, Rachel!
|Posted by mandybaggot on November 2, 2013 at 3:00 AM||comments (3)|
Today on my blog I have author and Loveahappyending Lifestyle magazine contributor, Melanie Robertson-King for a cover reveal!
"If you could see the consequences - would you?"
Special thank you to Madliz Coles whose kind permission made it possible to use her evocative photograph as the cover image for my anthology.
The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.
The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child's point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman's body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.
Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.
Excerpt from the cover story Consequences:
Splat! The mail landed on the ceramic tile floor of the foyer. Usually, the noise was followed by the snap of the mail slot door closing. Today it wasn’t.
Something must have stuck in it. Sylvia put her coffee down on the counter and walked to the front door. A large white envelope remained suspended in the door. She pulled it the rest of the way through. The flap snapped shut and even though she was used to hearing the metallic sound, it startled her.
She’d expected a letter from her solicitor regarding her divorce from Bill but it wasn’t there. However, that one in particular had piqued her curiosity. Emblazoned on the top left corner was an official-looking crest. The addressee’s name and address were correct. It was her. Why would this person or agency be sending her a letter? She’d never heard of them before.
Sylvia turned the envelope over and worked her thumb under the flap. Those self-sticking envelopes are a bugger, she thought as she tried to rip it open. Finally, she gave up and tore down the side and yanked the contents out.
She skimmed over the letter but it didn’t make any sense so placed it on the small table by the door. It could be dealt with later. In the meantime, she looked at the rest of her mail. Nothing else untoward – just the electric bill, gas bill, and the usual assortment of junk – mail. She dropped them on top of the letter and returned to the kitchen.
The coffee she’d poured earlier had gone cold. She dumped it down the sink and turned the water on to rinse it away before getting a fresh one.
Drawn by some inexplicable force, Sylvia went back to the foyer and collected the letter and the mangled envelope. She returned to the kitchen, flipped on the radio and sat down at her small table. Why had she opened it in the first place? She should have just binned it. That’s what she usually did with unsolicited mail. But there was something strangely familiar about it. The addressee information was on a computer printed label so there was no clue there. The sororities from University had crests or emblems to differentiate one from another. She wracked her brain trying to remember what they looked like. It had been over thirty years since she’d attended. Sylvia never belonged to a sorority because she thought the girls who did were snooty and stuck-up.
She’d call her friend, Laurie and tell her about the letter. They’d been friends since childhood, attended the same elementary and secondary schools and even the same University. She could tell her anything, couldn’t she?
About the author:
Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal at the orphanage where he was raised.
She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada a few short city blocks north of the St Lawrence River with her husband of thirty-eight years and is 'housekeeping staff' to a big, goofy, but loveable, dog (cross between lab, shepherd and black and tan hound).
A Shadow in the Past, published in 2012 by 4RV Publishing, was Melanie's debut novel.
Where to buy The Consequences Collection:
Coming soon to amazon in paperback and to Barnes and Noble for the nook and the iBookstore.
|Posted by mandybaggot on October 30, 2013 at 3:00 AM||comments (2)|
This week on In The Sack I am welcoming author, Lynda Renham!
Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. She has had several poems published as well as articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Recently she has taken part in radio discussions on the BBC.
She has studied literature and creative writing and has a blog on her web page: www.renham.co.uk
Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.
On arriving home after a friend’s posh wedding, launderette worker Harriet finds her life irrevocably changed as she discovers her flat ransacked and her boyfriend missing. In a matter of hours she is harassed by East End gangsters and upper crust aristocrats. Accepting an offer she can’t refuse, Harriet, against her better judgment becomes the fiancée of the wealthy Hamilton Lancaster, with dire consequences. What she had not bargained on was meeting Doctor Brice Edmunds.
The Valentine Present and Other Diabolical Liberties is Lynda Renham’s funniest novel so far. A cocktail of misunderstandings, three unlikely gangsters, a monkey and a demented cat make this novel a hysterical read. Follow Harriet’s adventure where every attempt to get out of trouble puts her deeper in it.
This one is my favourite. I purchased it in Cambodia about three years ago during my first visit. It is hand made. I found it in a little back street. I didn’t pay that much for it but it has been hard wearing. I use it practically every day. It has been back to Cambodia with me as well as Egypt and other countries. I love this bag because it is different. I like unique bags. It has several little compartments inside and the top has a firm zip. I adore it. I mostly love it because it comes from a country that means a lot to me. It evokes memories.
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
My bag contents can be somewhat embarrassing to say the least. Even I was astonished when I looked at them. So here we go.
The recent novel I am reading, which is Sophie McKenzie’s ‘Close My Eyes’ which is brilliant. It certainly has me gripped.
A writing pad which I jot down novel ideas in.
Hairbrush and comb.
Blackberry Z10 phone
Pack of tissues.
For some odd reason a sick bag from my recent flight to Cambodia. No idea how that got in there.
A pink glass case which holds my sunglasses (two pairs) All bought from Primark.
A small bag with painkillers and other pills deemed essential such as Imodium and migraine tablets
A photo taken of the children in the orphanage I visit in Cambodia
Reading glasses in a lovely glass case given to me by my friend.
Make up. Bobbi Brown Blusher powder and lipstick.
Small fan mirror
Bottle of Issey Miyake perfume
Bottle of Rodial, Dragon Blood moisturiser, which I carry everywhere.
Tube of 4head.
Last but not least a spare pair of undies, well you never know do you?
Thank you for joining me, Lynda!
|Posted by mandybaggot on October 23, 2013 at 2:00 AM||comments (6)|
Today on In The Sack I have HarperImpulse author, Jane Linfoot! Her book How to Win a Guy in Ten Dates has just been shortlisted for Best E-Book in the 2013 Festival of Romance!
The 10 Date Challenge
Day 1: Take one loaded commitment-phobe explosives expert, embarking on the impossible–a challenge to have ten dates with one woman.
Day 5: Add in a fiercely independent and feisty burlesque teacher who has sworn off men.
Day 10: She’s so not his type and he’s so not in her life-plan. But the heat is sizzling and the attraction is explosive. And they’re fighting it all the way….
Hi! I’m Jane Linfoot, and I write flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge, for the wonderful Harper Impulse line.
I live in a cottage, up a Derbyshire hill, which has to be mud-central. Happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. For me, writing romance is cool because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem with my oph (own personal hero).
The photo of me (above) is taken in France, on a research trip for How To Win A Guy In 10 Dates, which is set in Derbyshire, Provence and London.
My daughter, India, came back from her year in Paris with a Longchamp Pliage bag. (‘Plier’ is french for ‘to fold’.) Swoon swoon. All the chic french women have them, in all the colours, apparently. The perfect simple style really appealed to the designer in me – I had a bad case of bag-envy, but they cost a ‘bras-and-a-jambe’. Lucky that Indi’s next job was at a luxury accessory shop in Sheffield, (what a great girl!) and she got an amazing staff discount! Tada! Longchamp bags all round! Mine was a pressy from all my three kids. It was difficult to decide which colour to choose, but in the end I went for aubergine – a bit more adventurous than charcoal, not quite as out-there as fuscia. It’s lovely, because it’s much brighter in daylight than in artificial light, and it’s made out of heavy nylon, with leather handles and a leather flap that covers the zip. I use it all the time, it’s like a tardis, and it’s even big enough to put an A4 book in. Needless to say, mine’s never folded up.
I’d love to be a person who had a tidy, perfectly organised bag, with colour coordinated accessories, and a different bag for every occasion. Instead my bag reflects my slightly chaotic life. When we got together my oph and I had six children, two dogs, eight cats, a rescue pony, two rabbits, and a hamster, so we kept our own homes. There are less of us around now, and luckily we live quite close, but as we shuffle between the houses a lot, it means my bag is always full.
Purse. Enough cash for car parks, if it’s a good day. More if the boy is hitting the Bank of Mama. One debit card, one credit card, points cards for Sainsbury’s, Boots and Ikea. And a horribly large stack of receipts.
Phone. My iphone, which I love, and my charger.
Contact lens fluid, pot and spare lenses. Whoohoo. Achievement of 2011 was getting to grips with contact lenses
Specs. For when I don’t have my lenses in
A Farrow and Ball Paint Card. Never leave home without it. If I see a good colour when I’m out I like to know what it is. eg. Hardwick Hall has No 27 Parma Grey gates, and garden benches in No 4 Old White. Fab.
An Emma Bridgewater pencil case, with sunnies, lippy, vaseline, eye liner, eyebrow pencil, a pink hairband, a pink Mills and Boon pen, and a buzzard feather I found in the wood.
The dog’s dinner – usually biscuits in a sandwich bag, with 250g of raw mince.
The dog’s walk bag, with lead and poop bags.
House and car keys. Motto: Take the car keys with you, then the kids can’t take the car.
A tube of Citrate de Betaine effervescent tablets. A fizzy french digestive cure-all I buy in bulk. A fab hangover remedy. Legend has it a double dose will sober up the drunkest person. Not yet tested to destruction.
A note book.
A memory stick with all my novels on. Just in case.
Nail Varnish. BarryM Bright Purple.
Spare shoes. Pumps or kitten heel mules, so I can change out of the wellies.
Scarves, hat(s), gloves, cardigan. I hate the thought of being cold.
Clean knickers. For stop-over mornings. (I can only manage a knicker drawer in one place.)
Pretty bead bracelets.
A high-vis vest for walking up the road from house to house in winter (single track, no pavement)
There should be a small Maglite torch but someone?? has taken it. Grrr.
A cockle shell from the beach at North Berwick.
Thanks for joining me, Jane!