Drool worthy Spencers.

So I’ve been trying to decide where I want to see this blog going, and I don’t want it to be one of those writers blogs who only talk about writing, or have their blogs peppered with a billion interviews. That’s just not my thing.

I’d love to pick a topic and discuss it in amazing detail and research the nuts off it. But let’s face it. I have 4 children under 6 with only four years between them. Nothing gets the nuts researched off it in this house. Ask my husband. <dirty snigger>

So I’m going to go back down the road of sharing a lovely picture I’ve found, generally vintage clothes related and let you all drool. Oh and I’m put a snippet of writing up, just in case you are interested. Please feel free to ignore it….

So here we have a lovely Spencer Jacket, 1820s era. Go ahead, it’s ok to drool. Look at that double sleeve. Imagine how annoying it must have been to have been a dressmaker in this era, no sewing machine, probably pretty rubbish lighting most of the time, and not only have you go to set one sleeve in by hand, you’ve got to get a big gathered one in there as well! Sheesh. But oh doesn’t it look nice. It gives you all that lovely height and puffiness, but the slimmer sleeve underneath just shows that you do have a lovely shape beneath as well. Then we have a gorgeous little scalloped collar (which I tried doing last year on a collar for my little boy and it isn’t as easy as it looks and I have a machine to do it!) I also love the placing of the sleeve… it is so low, a good inch or two past the actual shoulder. I’m not quite sure why they are placed so low. I probably should do some researching, but all I can think is that it would make it quite difficult to lift your arms as the actual armhole looks pretty tight. Perhaps that is the point. Ladies wearing these jackets are so rich they don’t NEED to be able to move their arms. They have someone to do that kind of thing for them. :)

Right, milk and nappies call so better go. I’ll leave you with a little snippet from Lady Betty. Here’s the link to buy the book if the urge takes you.

xxx

bonnet snippet 1


Oh Mr Darcy…

Regency breeches. Oh I say.

I can’t help thinking these look a bit drafty, but for ease of access I’m going to give them a big thumbs up. lol.

I love how imperfect clothes used to be. These look like an expensive pair of breeches based on the material colour (that’s not a colour to hide dirt!), wealth of details, pockets and buttons but just look at the placement of the fly buttons, far from straight. And I rather like that. Today we demand perfection for clothes that cost virtually nothing in comparison. We want straight seams, stripes matches, buttons perfectly placed and ideally it will wash and iron itself. This pair of trousers doesn’t care about any of that. I hope it had an equally carefree owner!

For those of you anxious for a Betty and Edward fix, I aim to oblige. Remember you can download the first three chapters for FREE at Amazon so off you trot. :)

bonnet snippet 3


And I’m published!

Whoop whoop! Sunday saw the release of my debut novel, Lady Betty and the Bonnet from Hell. To say I’m pleased would be rather a big understatement. :)

I’ve rather neglected this blog since the birth of the twins, but I shall endeavour to post more frequently from now on.

Lady Betty and the Bonnet from Hell is available to buy from Amazon kindle here.

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My rather lovely front cover. :)

And I’ll leave you with the blurb…

If Lady Betty had been freckle free, Lord Edward Carrington wouldn’t be in a carriage with her, border bound, hoping to flirt his way out of the parson’s trap.
Edward needs a bride or he’ll be disinherited. Responsible for an estate, he needs to fall on his sword and marry but his shadowed bloodline doesn’t bode well. Looking after people is his job. He’s good at it. He’s not so good at asking for help; especially if it means letting his future wife watch him die.
Losing a loved one breaks people; Betty’s seen it happen. Marrying will let her escape the mausoleum her father has turned their home into, but she needs a husband she won’t mind losing. With only one man to choose from, Edward seems perfect until she realises she’s found her first true friend. A friend capable of making her toes curl.
Bonnet eating sheep, mid-road waltzes and duels at dawn; a fifty-fifty chance of losing each other in the future is nothing compared to what tomorrow holds.

 


New beginnings

Today I’m over at the Romanchics talking about my eldest daughter starting school. Ellie at school. Mental.


One Stitch at a Time

This week, thanks to my mum, I’ve been indulging in a bit of quilting. I enjoy quilting but recently I’ve struggled to find the energy to get on with a quilt I started for my eldest daughter over a year ago. My mum came over this week and kindly made me a little box up of all the quilting essentials; reels of cotton, thimbles, pins and scissors. She dug through my quilting fabric stash and cut out little pieces so that I could just collapse in an evening and pick up a bit of sewing.

And I’d forgotton how much I enjoy quilting. I really do. It somehow feels so well… historical. Like each stitch ties me closer to all my quilting ancestors. I’m not putting it very well, but whenever I sit down to doing some handsewing I can’t help thinking of how long people have been doing the same thing.

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Here are all the blocks I’ve done so far on Ellie’s quilt.
The row of snails are my favourite.

My mum taught me to quilt, although I tend to actually quilt in a more relaxed (read lazy or haphazard) way without the complications of freezer papers, rotary cutters and rulers, but most importantly she taught me to appreciate quilts and the effort that goes into them. I still have the first quilt she made me, a quilt that each day my children either make a den with, or pretend to go to sleep under, and I often curl up under in an evening.

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This is one of my many quilts that my mum has sewn for me. This one is an album quilt and contains things that have been important to me along with quilting, from tailors dummies, planets (from when I worked in the space industry), shoes and teacups.

Writing wise, I am still scribbling away despite the bags under my eyes through lack of sleep. Here’s a snippet from Braving Madness, fabric orientated…

She unfastened the cord of the reticule Wilkins had given her; a bag left behind by some unknown woman, a whimsical concoction of pale blue silk, printed with blushing roses and edged in peach ribbon.

She should have kept her own sturdy bag, taupe never showed stains when travelling. This was also far too small; there had barely been enough room for her notebook. Obviously fashionable ladies thought nothing of function when they were selecting their frivolous trimmings, a fact that didn’t promise well for the spare clothes Wilkins had packed.


Squeezing in a bit of Romance

Today I’m over at the Romanchics trying to squeeze in a bit of romance…


Losing my Chauffeur

My chauffeur driven days are coming to an end. The twins are now six weeks old (doesn’t time fly!) so I am now officially classed as safe to drive. I’m not entirely certain that any sleep-deprived-mother with four small children/babies strapped in the back is ever really safe to drive but I’m a willing to give it a shot. Any moaning from the rear seats and I just turn the music up, right? :)

But it is an end of an era. What with having these last six weeks and about 7 weeks before then when I was too damn big to fit behind the wheel, I’ve been chauffeured about by either my husband or my dad forever. And I must say, it’s been rather nice, quite like the lady of the manor. Admittedly the seats aren’t upholstered in velvet, are always forward facing, and no hot bricks have been placed under my feet but I have just climbed on board (at various points in time this has constituted a task of monumental proportions), pointed the way and snuggled down to watch the world go by.
But as of monday, I, yes little old me, am responsible for the nursery trips again. I am responsible for getting two six week olds, a two year old and a four year old, in and out of the car, into the pram, to the nursery and back home again, TWICE a day. Gosh. I’m not up to getting the big pram in and out of the car yet, so I’m stuck with a double buggy, which means I will be holding two little people’s hands while pushing said pram. Fun fun fun.

I’m sure it will be fine. What can go wrong after all? Anyway best get on with my day considering it is getting on and I am sat in my dressing gown eating cereal out of the box with only vague thoughts about getting a shower…

Here’s a snippet from this week. I’m still rewriting Braving Madness and this is from the first chapter…

Even at the edge of awakening, the nightmare refused to release its hold. All of Edward’s doubts and fears multiplied in the darkness of his mind until the terror grew beyond reason. Gaunt to the point of cadaverous, with skin like paper, his late father’s form swam before Edward’s eyes, only to be crowded by the familiar faces of the Carrington estate. From the defenceless newly born to their weary elders, each pair of eyes looked to him for security, confident he wouldn’t shirk his responsibility; that no gentleman would put aside every rule instilled into him from the cradle through his own fears for the future.

2013-05-17 08.53.18This is my other mode of transport. My ‘big guns’ pram. You can just feel the burn, can’t you.

More and more nappies…

As you can imagine my life at the minute mainly consists of adjusting to having an extra couple of mouths to feed and bums to wipe. It feels rather odd to be responsible for quite so many little people especially when I ended up being incapable of very much at all (other than waddling) for the last two months of my pregnancy. Four, four years and under. What was I thinking????2013-05-07 17.12.00

 

(Yeah the school run is going to be a piece of piss...)

But I am enjoying it, and surprisingly, even with twins, the new additions are fitting well into our everyday routines. My older two love the babies and help out when they can. All of which means that I am actually getting on with other things. This morning I was even thinking about putting the second coat of paint on the dining room walls. Obviously this was just a fleeting thought though and I have no intention of actually hunting out a brush. But the thought is a good step in the right direction.

The garden has also been calling out for attention, with some rather cheeky buttercups deciding to take over the middle of my flower beds. Considering I haven’t gardened in about six months, I am surprising there hasn’t been a complete takeover by the dreaded weeds. So this weekend, weather permitting, I am hoping to get out there and show them who is boss. I also with an eye to the approaching summer holidays, I have plans of building a climbing frame for the girls. Alright, I have plans for supervising the building of a climbing frame for the girls. ;) See, I’m trying to have realistic aims. I will need to move a few plants to make space and I think that is probably about my level. I shalln’t be digging out the power tools just yet…

Anyway, I have actually managed to get some writing done this week so here is a snippet to share. This is from Braving Madness and is in Edward’s POV. This is a new start to the story and forms part of Betty and Edward’s first meeting.

The dream shattered and he jerked awake into darkness.

His face lay shrouded and with fragments of the nightmare splintering his common sense, he clawed at the fabric with frantic fingers, the heat from his own breath reflecting back at him with a suffocating closeness. He flung the object to the side and he gulped in clear, fresh air like a drowning man.

Fresh air?

He blinked his eyes open into a pearl grey sky, the view unfettered by glass or window frames. Recumbent as he was, on a surface hard enough to be a park bench, the whole hemisphere of the heavens were open to him, skeletal trees on the horizons grasping upwards with desperate gnarled branches while ink smudged clouds tore along the backdrop like breaking water, turbulent and heavy with the threat of rain, their undersides glowing a fiery red as if they had were escaping from the depths of hell itself.


And then there were six!

Finally, the twins are here. They arrived two and half weeks ago, full term and each a healthy six and half pounds.

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James William is on the left, and his sister Lily Ann is on the right. Colour coordinated by dummies but they do actually look quite different, so I’ve yet to have revert to checking nappies for who is who. (Although I did confuse the health visitor by putting James in pink and Lily in blue, she just gave me a look like I was mad. What can I say? I dressed them at night and to be honest fashion wasn’t rated anywhere nearly so high as trying to get some sleep.)

As you might have guessed my writing has somewhat fallen along the wayside these last couple of months. First through lack of sleep, my immense proportions and difficulty in balancing the laptop anywhere I could actually reach, and lately due to only getting a few hours of sleep each night. But happily things are starting to settle down and I am currently only up for a couple of hours each night so the creative juices have started to flow (makes a change from milk being everywhere. You would not believe how much milk I am having to produce to feed two hungry babies! I’ve had to dig out my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder-bras.) So far I’ve managed to write about 700 words. Not a huge amount but it is a start. I’m working on a new beginning to Braving Madness as although I’m pleased with the second half of the book, the first half still needs a fair bit of work, so I’m giving myself license to play with it for the next few weeks.

Oh and just in case you fancy a laugh, this is how big I got just before going into the hospital…

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Sorry for being quiet…

Despite the radio silence I am still here and still pregnant. 8 months now. Not bad going with twins. I’ve not been posting as I’ve been in and out of hospital with preterm labour issues etc and to be honest I just haven’t had the puff. Literally. One baby has had his not so little bum tucked up in the depths of my ribcage for longer than I like to remember.
As a consequence my daily word count has trickled down to well… zilch. zero. nothing. Any way I spell it, I’ve just not been writing. I’m hoping it isn’t a permanent measure. I don’t think it will be. The other ladies of the dashing 100 will kick my butt otherwise….


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