Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Family Gingerbread House #Christmas #Fun

You all know how much I love the Christmas season. And so do my kids. I’m turning them into regular anti-Grinches! Last weekend, we made a Gingerbread house together. And before you think I’m some kind of domestic goddess (which, of course, I am–just not all of the time!), I confess: we bought a build-your-own-kit. I suppose we could have made the lot from scratch, but I deemed it safer to have some sturdy ingredients. Nonetheless, huge amounts of fun were had by all. We’re planning to demolish the house on Christmas Eve… if we can convince ourselves to tear it down!

All the right pieces... all present and correct. Ready for the build!

All the right pieces… all present and correct. Ready for the build!

Assembling the base. Tooth picks are a critical accessory here, or so we discovered.

Assembling the base. Tooth picks are a critical accessory here, or so we discovered.

Putting the roof on. See all that white squishy stuff? That's royal icing. Never made that before; it was a real education. It's ready to use when it's got the consistency of cement, and it dries just as hard. Tastes better though!

Putting the roof on. See all that white squishy stuff? That’s royal icing. Never made that before; it was a real education. It’s ready to use when it’s got the consistency of wet cement, and it dries just as hard. Tastes better though!

Ooops! Nearly forgot the chimney!

Ooops! Nearly forgot the chimney!

One Gingerbread House, all done and dusted. Literally and liberally dusted with icing sugar. That wasn't in the instructions, but we like to improvise. We're very proud of our little gingerbread house!

Ta-da! One gingerbread house, all done and dusted. Literally and liberally dusted… with lots and lots of icing sugar. That part wasn’t in the instructions, but we like to improvise. We’re very proud of our little gingerbread house!

Ho Ho ho! Have you built yours yet? What’s your favourite Christmas ‘craft’ activity?

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Wishing you a peaceful and happy second Sunday of Advent! xx

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Wishing you a happy first Sunday of Advent!

It’s officially the festive season! HOORAY! And our rejuvenated advent wreath is looking fabulous. Hope you’re all doing great and singing lots of carols. I know I am, LOL! :-)  XX

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Restoration Woman: Project Advent Wreath

Next week marks the beginning of the Advent season, the countdown of the last four Sundays before Christmas. I grew up with the German tradition of lighting a candle on an ‘Advent wreath’ on each of these Sundays until all four candles would be lit. The lighting ceremony usually involved a darkened room, Christmas carols, hot chocolate, and biscuits, and this really ‘made’ the season for me as a child.

I’ve continued this custom here in the UK with the help of a genuine, bona-fide Advent wreath made by the good people in the Harzgebirge (a region famous for making Christmas decorations) and exported to London. I purchased that wreath some sixteen years ago in a bucket shop selling cheapie TVs (probably off the back of a lorry! Goodness knows what possessed the owner to stock Advent wreaths as well unless… they fell off the back… ah, never mind, better not ask) on the Tottenham Court Road.

I’ll never forget the day, simply because I was so delighted with my find. It was a Friday, and it was pouring with rain. I was on my way home from work, en route from Piccadilly (whence the office was based) to my shared flat in Covent Garden via Tottenham Court Road and the local supermarket. It was pouring with rain and for some reason, a display in the back of that particular store caught my eye. I couldn’t quite believe it: Advent wreaths, in a TV shop. The real thing! Complete with candles! Only in London, right?

I stormed in, expecting the treasure to be ludicrously expensive and thus out of my financial reach but oh, oh! It was only £3.00. Yes. Three pounds. THREE! Needless to say, I bought one, even though perhaps it wasn’t completely to my taste. But that didn’t matter, it was the real thing, and it would light my days.

I knew that I would be spending Christmas in London in my dismal shared flat, although not entirely alone because two friends (yes, that would be you, Karen McL and Patricia O!) were also ‘stuck’ in Blighty, and we had decided to have a jolly Christmas together, us three expats. And the wreath… well, it doubled as a Christmas tree.

Last year's wreath in its full (and final) glory....

Last year’s wreath in its full (and final) glory….

Since then, the wreath has come out every year to brighten the season. It moved house with me, and later my husband and kids, no less than a dozen times!

However…. Sixteen years later, I have to confess, I grew a little tired of the battered old pine cones and tacky bows. This past weekend, my hubs, the kids and I embarked on a restoration project to breathe a new lease of life into this wreath. Okay, I admit it: we tried on numerous occasions to replace it; we even placed an order with a local florist three times to get a ‘real’ wreath, but all efforts failed. So this year… we’ve made it happen on our terms. What do you think?

In the harsh day of light... the old wreath looks a bit tired and dated, don't you think?

In the harsh day of light… the old wreath looked a bit tired and dated.

 

The most painful part of the operation done: gone are the bows and some of the worst cones. Stripped, bare, ready for makeover!

The most painful part of the operation done: gone are the bows and some of the worst cones. Stripped, bare, ready for makeover!

Ingredient 1: Flowers

Ingredient 1: Flowers

Ingredient 2: New cones, apples, and snowy pine needles...

Ingredient 2: New cones, apples, and snowy pine needles…

Ingredient 3: Holly. Let there be holly!

Ingredient 3: Holly. Let there be holly!

Ingredient 4: Four fat candles!

Ingredient 4: Four fat candles!

And finally: restored to new glory... the new Wells Advent Wreath!

And finally: restored to new glory… the new Wells Advent Wreath!

Do you have any Christmassy traditions from your childhood that you cling to, come what may?

Romancing September #RomancingSeptember – Day 19

Nicky Wells:

I’m taking part in Rosie Amber and Stephanie Hurt’s big #RomancingSeptember fest today!

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:

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Welcome to Day 19 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Today our guest is Nicky Wells. Catch up with more from Nicky in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.

Fallen For Rock by Nicky Wells

Fallen For Rock by Nicky Wells

Where is your home town?

I hail from Essen in Germany, but I’ve been in the UK since 1993 and currently, my home is in Lincoln.

How long have you been writing romance?

I started writing romance when I was expecting my first child. So that would be about nine years ago! I finished my first novel, Sophie’s Turn, with days to spare before the birth, put it in a drawer and left it there for quite some time. After I had published Sophie’s Turn, I began writing the sequel in 2011 and have been writing ever since.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I love…

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The Perfect Vibrations For An Exciting Romance by @light_direction

It’s my great pleasure to welcome today the awesome Ces Creatively with her brand new book, Reach For Your Light.  Take it away, Ces!

Introducing: Reach for Your Light

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Reach For Your Light is a story steeped in music. Jez first falls for Emma when he see’s her dancing at the nightclub his dad owns and he’s smitten.

Quote: Jeremy White

“She’s stunning. Couldn’t concentrate on checking the stock books once I’d seen her at the club on Valentines weekend. Waves of silky smooth hair flowed down to her perfect little ass as she swayed from side to side. Amazing breasts bouncing in rhythm to the beat. Sparkling brown eyes that lit up when she looked at me. Hah, who am I trying to kid, she wasn’t looking at me at all. But she will. She will look at me when I go back to Topaz to meet her.”

Reach For Your Light - Ces Creatively

Emma works in club Topaz with her flatmate DJ Denzil Jayze and gets such a buzz from dancing.

Quote:

“I’m tingling all over, feels like I’m glowing with an intense energy that grows in the pit of my stomach then disperses through my body taking me higher and higher without a care. Exhilarating aromas whip through the air and claim me, seeping deep into my lungs as the smoke machine releases a heady golden haze. Sweet intoxicating vanilla tantalises my taste buds. An incredible laser show emanating from the base of the platform seems to sway and spike in complete time with every movement I make. Relishing the beautiful strobe lights almost dancing at my fingertips, I want to touch them as they flow, curve, crash and sweep back over the crowd like tumultuous pulsating green blue waves.”

Grab your copy here:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reach-For-Your-Light-Direction-ebook/dp/B00K6J23HI/
USA: http://www.amazon.com/Reach-For-Your-Light-Direction-ebook/dp/B00K6J23HI/
Merchandise Gifts: http://the-light-direction.co.uk/the-light-direction-shop/

Spotlight on the Special Twist

Reach For Your Light features several REAL LIFE musicians and singers as part of the story too.

Zoe Bestel, a beautiful talented young woman with a captivating voice has been written in as character Katy’s sister and is mentioned in the book.

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Jay Loftus, a New York based singer songwriter with serious style has been mentioned with adoring fan character Beth.

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Dazzy Sir Mic is a hot super talented guy with a hard hitting multi genre urban sound. True to life he is written into Reach For Your Light as a popular artist based in London/Bournemouth who becomes friends with Emma via her DJ flatmate.

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Jasmine Knight is a gorgeous singer with a beautiful unique and versatile voice covering RNB, House, Hip Hop, DnB, Funky and reggae. Jas has been written into the story as a friend of Denzil who meets Emma after a gig.

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Real local Dorset bands and musicians are in the story and so is the incredible star Chris Dallman whose music is adored by Emma when they meet. You can actually WIN a signed Light The Love CD by Chris Dallman in the Reach For Your Light Launch Giveaway (see below)

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Zoe, Jay, Dazzy, Jasmine and Chris’s music is all powerfully soulful – the kind of tunes that get under your skin and caress you with silk. The kind of tunes that stay with you and form part of a perfect soundtrack for our characters. We actually have some unique soundtrack tunes created by awesome musician Richard Ziler to reflect our characters and locations so that’s pretty cool too.

One thing is for sure. Music can create the perfect vibrations for an exciting romance!

What They Say:

 As soon as you start reading Reach For Your Light You’ll Be Addicted. It’s a fast paced power house of a book that will stay with you long after you’ve read it. Sexy characters, amazing locations and a story that draws you in. The perfect summer read!

The Great REACH FOR YOUR LIGHT Launch Giveaway!

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Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author

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Ces Creatively is an inspiring mum of three from Poole who loves to spend time at Poole Harbour, Sandbanks Dorset. Juggling being a mum with running graphic design business www.biz-brand-buzz.co.uk, popular website with a book blog www.supportivebusinessmums.co.uk and hand made gifts business www.prettyinspiring.co.uk she miraculously also finds time to write www.the-light-direction.co.uk novel series which she has dedicated to her son in heaven. A tireless champion of small businesses and other authors, Ces has won several awards for supportive innovation and dedicates time every week to promoting others online. In a unique twist, her debut paranormal romance novel The Light Direction – Reach For Your Light features real small businesses and talented creative.

Links: ttp://the-light-direction.co.uk/ | https://www.facebook.com/TheLightDirection | https://twitter.com/light_direction | https://twitter.com/Ces_Creatively

Rock on! Thanks for visiting today, Ces, and good luck with your amazing launch! X

Twin your toilet and help flush away poverty! @ToiletTwinning

I’m absolutely delighted to report that our downstairs loo has now been successfully twinned with a latrine in Rubaya, Uganda, via Toilet Twinning. This means that there is now a brand new hygienic and safe toilet in a place in Rubaya where previously there was none. The kids are well excited by this concept and have hatched a cunning plan to travel there one day to check it out… We’ll see about that.

Our humble loo--twinned with a latrine in Uganda!

Our humble loo–twinned with a latrine in Uganda!

Meanwhile, if you too want to find out more about toilet twinning and help combat disease and poverty in some of the world’s poorest regions, visit http://www.toilettwinning.org, or follow the Toilet Twinners on Facebook or Twitter. Go on, you know you want to. Where would you be without your loo?