Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Hello, Middle Age...

Gorgeous bank holiday weekend here-- the kind of weekend that makes you want to hang out in a park somewhere with a crowd of friends drinking Pimms or go and have a wild party on a beach. Well, I say that because those are the kind of things I feel it should have made me want to do, whereas the shameful truth is that we spent most of the weekend... (looks round guiltily and whispers) gardening.

Not very rock and roll is it? But oh, the incomparable joy of a row of neatly planted lettuces and wigwams for the beans. After all the rain last week everything is insanely green and growing most gratifyingly, bringing to the fore my latent land-girl aspirations and making me come over all Dig-For-Victory and WI. There's something about this lush time of year that makes me want to pop on a floral wrap-around pinny and bake victoria sponge. I'm seized by an urge to do flower arranging in church and lay afternoon tea for the vicar under the apple tree; to sit in the sunshine shelling peas and listening to Glen Miller on the wireless. Don't know exactly why this is, but suspect it has something to do with nostalgia for an age of simplicity, before the invention of the Nintendo DS and Twitter (shudder), when politicians were remote and stern and utterly dependable, and wouldn't dream of spending thousands of pounds of public money on designer loo brushes and novelty pet accommodation.

Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who took the trouble to mail me for a copy of Tristan's book. Now I feel hugely guilty because I had no idea so many of you would get in touch and I wish I had millions more copies to give away. Daughter #2 picked Kristy's name out of the mixing bowl last night, so a copy (wrapped in brown paper and string, in keeping with my current retro-obsession) will be on its way to her as soon as I can stir the daughters from their half-term ennui and get to the post office.

It's raining today, so I'm guessing that my wholesome programme of proposed events (ie. weeding the place where I want to plant raspberries and digging in lovely manure) will not be greeted with delight and enthusiasm by the children. Or, actually, by me, since it is pretty cold. Ho hum. Maybe there is a place for central heating and afternoon DVDs after all.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Poor Tristan...

He's either dead, or he's the victim of a shocking assault by a blonde nymphomaniac. Either way, he doesn't look a) happy or b) like a man in the throes of intense passion, does he?

Anyway, Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride is coming out in the UK in September which seems like ages away, but I happen to have one spare pink hardback copy like the one above. If you email me via the website before next Tuesday I'll get one of the daughters to pick a name out and send it off to you.
In the meantime, on a much more jolly note, if you're anywhere near a radio this morning make sure it's tuned to Radio 4 at 10am, and listen to Mills & Boon goddess Penny Jordan on Woman's Hour. I love Woman's Hour. Jenni Murray's calm, no-nonsense presence in my kitchen kept me sane through many a rainy morning of finger painting with toddlers, and I love Penny Jordan even more, so I'm very excited. She's going to be talking about Mills & Boon's expansion into the Indian market, and actually meeting the winner of the contest to find new authors in India (Congratulations to Milan Vohra!)
Right... I'm off to put the kettle on, make toast and take the phone off the hook...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Blogging Away

I have a post up at iheartpresents today. Well, I say post-- what I mean is bizarre confessional rant about the problems I had writing the book formerly known as Olivier and Bella's story (now called Taken for Revenge Bedded for Pleasure). This is because it's out in the US this month-- a fact which I really should have done more to celebrate, but if you pop over to iheartpresents and can think of anything at all to say to my weird outpouring, leave a comment and I'll pick a name at the end to send a copy to. (And that's exactly the kind of badly-constructed sentence I'm trying to banish from my current work in progress.)

This book might have been one of my least favourite to write, but without a doubt it's my top cover. Look at all that bare bronzed flesh and passion...

And come back tomorrow to compare it to the cover of my September release (Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride) and weep with me over what's happened to Tristan...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Loitering Within Tent

This is what we've spent a large part of the weekend doing. Following the bankrupting Paris experience at Easter, this summer will see us holidaying on English shores (I use the term 'holiday' very loosely) beneath a thin layer of polyester. Our current tent-- a huge blue thing that looks endearingly like the hill where the Teletubbies live-- is definitely nearing retirement age, and hasn't been quite the same since the night that is remembered in family legend as The Great Storm of Robin Hood's Bay 2006 so, feeling slightly disloyal, we went to look for a replacement.

It seems tent technology has moved on quite a lot in recent years. Once considered at the cutting edge of camping cool, our Teletubby dome now seems embarrassingly primitive compared to the interior-designed, pastel-hued polyester palaces in which people don't sleep for a week these days. Or that could just be because my luxury radar is very finely tuned when it comes to anything camping-related, and suddenly the slightest concession to comfort seems almost indecently indulgent. 'It's got storage pockets,' I breathe in awe as we stand inside this tent. 'And a little hanging-rail thing. And flower patterns on the roof.' (as opposed to seagull poo and dog footprints, like ours) Already I am already so won over that I have totally forgotten that a night beneath 'mocca'-coloured polyester is every bit as chilly as a night beneath blue polyester (though it might look warmer on photographs; in all our camping photos our faces are blue-tinged) or that the five-star hotel price tag doesn't actually include an ensuite bathroom, room service or central heating and will still involve traipsing over wet fields to brush my teeth in a grimy portakabin.

Return home with armfuls of brochures (tent porn, my husband calls it) and while we pore over them in a happy wine-haze on the sofa (from which vantage point all the sunny photographs of well-adjusted families in the kind of very clean clothes my children might wear for parties look perfectly plausible) the children-- firmly in the camping spirit by now-- put up His ancient, beer-and-mildew scented two man tent on the lawn (aka the Glastonbury tent, for obvious reasons) and disappear into it for the rest of the weekend. Every now and again one of them emerges-- wild-haired and smelling slightly mouldy--to forage for supplies, but other than that no-one seems to miss the comforts of home (approximately twenty metres away) and are only too happy to exchange soft beds and nagging about dropping crumbs for damp sleeping bags and lawlessness.

Suddenly paying all that money for fitted tent carpets (yes, really) and walk-in wardrobes seems a bit daft. Camping is essentially about getting away from the need to tidy things away into storage pockets, hang up clothes and avoid getting mud on the carpet. Come to think of it, the Teletubby Dome might just see out another season...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


Late for school this morning because I was watching Lorraine Kelly discussing false eyelashes on GMTV.

This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start.*

* (For those of you who didn't catch it because you were taking your children to school on time, let me just say that the Shu Uemura glittery diamond ones were my top pick. See, I may be a bad parent but it's all in the name of public service.)