Now then I did tell you that The Summer House is now available on Amazon didn’t I? Heckity pie I’m not sure I did.

I’m never going to win any awards for great marketing now am I??

Anyways, you can now buy the second in my seasonal house series on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here, with The Autumn House to be released hot on it’s heels…

I do hope you enjoy it.

 

If, like me, you are a fan of the well drawn cozy mystery, then Brocanteers, this morning you are in for a treat.

One of the  things I miss most about my Mum, is our shared love of a good book. So many hours were spent comparing the contents of our Kindle and swapping paperbacks (but never the dog-eared kind: for Mum simply refused to read anything that looked like it may have been read before so all books sent her way had to be pristine or they would find their way to the bin!) and it was through her that I discovered Agatha Raisin and a fined honed appreciation for a well-drawn cozy mystery.

Now let me state here and now, cozy mysteries abound. There are endless variations on the murder most horrid theme, with amateur sleuths popping up everywhere from the library to the bakery, but most, in my humble opinion, are really rather rubbish.  A strain to get through as you battle with frequent late-night doses of the “I really don’t cares” and grumble to yourself about the often, frankly appalling writing.

And then you happen across something wonderful. Or rather your Mum’s lovely sister, Barbie, does and is kind enough to step into you Mum’s shoes and guide you towards a set of cosy mysteries that have you guffawing and chuckling under the stars as you sit in your reading chair on an oh so hot night.

For with T.E.Kinsey’s Lady Hardcastle series we are blessed with fun, wit, mystery, a hilarious, heartwarming friendship between the two main characters (the Lady herself and her companion Flo), that makes a mockery of that which traditionally exists between employer and employee, and a cast of peripheral characters I am convinced have been drawn partly to poke fun at the genre of the cozy mystery itself.

What is so very special about the Lady Hardcastle mysteries, is a rather beguiling combination of easy read banter and a mystery that leaves you guessing, alongside some perfectly drawn (and often laugh out loud funny) dialogue and a set of characters you simply cannot wait to learn more about. For Lady Hardcastle is a woman with a past only hinted at. A woman blessed with derring do and a sharp imagination, while her companion Flo is the prefect foil for her, with her slightly sarcastic tongue and ability to reign in her employer’s more preposterous flights of fantasy.

So while I have much to do today, with a list as long as my arm and jobs coming out of my rather annoying, and frankly quite deaf ears, please let it be known that I would rather be hopping around the villages of Gloucestershire with my new favorite amateur sleuths.

Lady Hardcastle and the really rather fabulous Flo are quite the finest company for a Summers afternoon. So read ’em and chuckle.

Get the Lady Hardcastle mysteries on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here. (P.S: They are currently FREE with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription, something I cannot recommend highly enough if you are a voracious reader.)

Links I Have Loved This Week

To Stay Married, Embrace Change
Sometimes people feel betrayed by this change. They fell in love with one person, and when that person doesn’t seem familiar anymore, they decide he or she violated the marriage contract. I…
Why Mom`s Are Tired...
Why Mom’s Are Tired…
“You know what we do all day? EVERYTHING.” Thanks, Cat & Nat, for sharing this #MomTruth Friday with us! More: http://on.today.com/2m2cNCD
How to Plan a Garden Party
Hi guys! How was your Monday? I was a mess, totally exhausted from our girls’ trip that had me dancing and eating Taco Bueno until the wee hours of the morning. Those kinds of weekends are…
Can you prevent rows about household tasks?
In her new book Drop The Ball, a manifesto for women juggling jobs and an unequal share of the burden at home, Tiffany Dufu describes a phenomenon I’d never previously seen given a name:…
Free art: ten pretty spring printables
Well hello! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the weekend! This has been a busy week and I’m ready to nap sit on the sofa for hours. Bliss. (Although I may throw some tiling in…
Must Listen Interior Design Podcasts
My commute can be up to two hours of my day, five times a week. Truthfully it’s an exhausting part of my routine, and feels like a huge part of my day is wasted behind the wheel. However,…
My Favorite Homemade Cleaning Recipes and a Printable
I have been making and purchasing cleaners for years and both options have advantages and disadvantages. I will admit, there were times I felt my homemade cleaning recipes were too…
Inside a Real-Life Miss Havisham Mansion For Sale
It’s quite an exciting moment when you find that mysterious, abandoned house you’ve been stalking on the internet over the years- never quite certain whether it even really, truly exists-…
10 Simple Projects To Upgrade Your Home Energy! | The Tao of Dana
Want to create a healthier, happier, more energized home in simple ways? These cleaning and maintenance projects are so often forgotten (or not even known… ) and they make such a huge…
The dark future of `The Handmaid`s Tale` feels terrifyingly real
For the past few years, Hollywood has been enamored with dystopias pulled from young adult fiction – stories like The Hunger Games and Divergent, where the evil government provides a…
Six Things Tidying With KonMari Taught Me About Stress
Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and her KonMari method of decluttering have become global sensations. Millions of people have tidied with KonMari and say that the…
Thoughtful Sunday - The Purpose of Homemaking
Homemaking. Not a term you hear much anymore, is it? But it’s something most of us do every day. Something I have shared here before is how important I think the art of homemaking is.
created in Publicate

 

I have got this black cushion. It is velvet with a spray of  dark florals. Like a Dutch painting in textile form. I cannot sleep without it. I clasp it like a teddy bear and hold on for dear life, my back and my deaf ear to Ste, in case he breaths (because people who dare to breathe next to me are candidates for homicide don’t you know) – snuggling my cushion and facing whatever terror my relentless nightmares might bring, staunchly alone.

Each and every morning I wake up still clutching it. Breathing in its sweet lavender scent and wishing it was still the wee small hours. But not this morning. This morning I woke up with my Kindle wedged firmly between my ample bosom and for a moment I panicked and rooted around the bed in an effort to dis-lodge that which felt like a bad case of indigestion and trace my cushiony friend. Shocked that it should abandon me. Bewildered for a moment by a dream in which I appalled the congregation of a wedding by dressing in head to foot red and sobbing whenever anyone looked at me.

All this to tell you that last night I happened across a little book of literary wonderful. And though it was late and Ste was not only breathing, but taking his life in his hands by ever so gently snoring, I found myself capable of rising above my horror (and natural born killer instinct) because I had been transported in to quite the most wonderful of early twentieth century middlebrow domestic fiction.

“Everything that’s happening to us—yes, everything—is to be regarded as a lark. See? This is my last word. This. Is. Going. To. Be. A. Lark.”

The Lark by E. Nesbit is everything us BrocanteHomers, believe a book ought to be. Full of delightful young girls and domestic detail of the sort that includes knitting and flowers, black rabbits and pinafores fashioned from tablecloths. But most of all The Lark is resplendent with good cheer of the kind exclusive to the hybrid that is a result of a children’s writer creating grown-up fiction.

Which is why as I turned over the last virtual page of Elizabeth Fair’s also charming Brampton Wick, I hopped straight into The Lark and almost immediately regretted it for here were words too delightful to be put to bed. I don’t want to tell you too much, because I want you to read it (Read it I tell you!!), but suffice to say I fell asleep with my bedside lamp still glowing and abandoned my cushiony lover in favor of falling asleep still clutching my Kindle.

So there you have it. Not a book I have to apologise for reading, but a book so good it saved a mans life. For heaven knows when the snoring turned to snorting, he deserved to die.

Buy The Lark on Amazon.Com here ($3.99) and on Amazon.Co.Uk here.


The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so it won’t fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses on the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won’t close, there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children’s pants …
One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions – into the evening clouds,
into the redwing’s song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.

Jaan Kaplinski

 

So you know how sometimes you get a bit happy and hormonal and run-down all at the same time? And you do too much and decide you have got too much to prove to the world and you don’t go to bed early enough because you are busy having a nice time and all of a sudden there is a cold-sore on your lip and you are shuffling around feeling a bit bonkers and looking like death warmed up but you have lost two and a half stone and all of a sudden you don’t care? 

Well yes. That. Last night, with Ste working late and Finley lost in a book, I took myself to bed early because cold-sores make me feel horribly grubby and I have no desire to inflict my grub on anyone else even when there is no-one else to admire it beyond my reflection in my candle-lit living room.

So I made white rose tea (I like Numi) in a tiny cup, switched off the lights and headed to bed with my beloved Kindle under my arm, then got cosy under my yellow quilt and puffed my pillows with lavender and laid back and then leaned up again to swat them about in a violent fashion until they were comfortable and then I switched on my Kindle and found myself unable to commit to any of the lovely books lurking in there because they required way too much thinking and some nights thinking isn’t something I can manage.

Now once upon my fourteenth Summer, my best friend Debbie and I dedicated every waking moment to reading the Rainbow Romances in the Harlequin section of our library. There were hundreds of these chaste Mills and Boon-esque delights and we were a little bit thrilled with the giddiness of stolen kisses and unrequited love and thought nothing of wasting whole afternoons reading together and eating crisp butties and then the Summer passed and I for one, never, ever picked up another romance of the kind.

In fact I rather decided that romance of any sort was a bit low brow and pretended I only ever read from the literary women’s fiction shelf  or the kind of 1930’s domestic drama I dedicate my life to discovering (with the occasional dalliance with Liverpool WW2 sagas and a certain section of the cosy mystery shelf to boot). Until last night. When my brain wouldn’t work. And I needed comfort, ease and escape and though I had in my possession a book that described itself as a modern-day Madame Bovary, I couldn’t quite face the coarse hurly-burly of the chaise-longue and instead settled upon Shabby Chic at Heart.

Because it had Shabby Chic in the title.  And it was about real estate and a furniture shop. And it talked of distressing things and cabinetry and it had a cosy Auntie Winnie in it and I used to have an Auntie Winnie! And a furniture shop! And I made a living distressing things (mostly men)! And what could be lovelier than spending an hour or two in a world I understand even if the writing was a bit you know and the whole business an obvious set up on the road to romance that veered between irrational spikiness and sickly sweet description.

Oh but Readers, it was perfect.

Now hark this: I am not necessarily recommending it. It is chippy, shabby fluff and pretty, frilly nonsense. But should you ever find yourself in bed without a brain for thinking much, or in possession of a yukky cold sore and you are the kind of person who rather adores description of shops filled with the kind of shabby treasure most of us only happen across once or twice in a lifetime then I rather think you will enjoy what I can only describe as bookish comfort food for the minds of the lost and hormonal.

Oooh and there are three books in the series… #justsaying.  

Buy Shabby Chic at Heart on Amazon.Com here for just $2.99 or read it absolutely FREE on Kindle Unlimited (My favorite thing in the WHOLE world!).

It’s been a funny day. My plans for living in this here bungalow have suddenly become precarious and that old familiar blanket, fear, has wrapped it self around me all over again. And so tonight I have sought comfort. In Butter Pie and a slice of Cappucino Traybake. In Coronation Street and in Ste’s arms. And in books. Always in books.

The kind of books I need when life is standing on it’s head are the old-fashioned kind. Vintage snuggles. Reminders from yesterday that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well…

And so before I climb in to my floatiest nightie and rub Frankincense into my ever deepening wrinkles, I thought I would share a list of some of the lovely (FREE) vintage books I have recently been downloading to my darling Kindle…

-A-Girl-of-the-Limberlost

A Girl of the Limberlost

By Gene Stratton Porter
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

patricia brent

Patricia Brent, Spinster

By Herbert Jenkins
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Violet hunt

 

 The Celebrity At Home

By Violet Hunt
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

the narrow house

The Narrow House

By Evelyn Scott
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

those brewster children

 

Those Brewster Children

By Florence Morse Kingsley
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Ten Dollars Enough Catherine Owen 1887

Ten Dollars Enough

By Catherine Owen
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Night night all.x

 

Links I Have Loved This Week

I’m in my home a lot. I work from home; I like to practice yoga in my home; I love to stay in and cook a time-intensive meal. That’s why it’s so important that I love the spaces within…
Cinnamon French Toast Muffins are a hybrid (I almost typed hybread- which would have been appropriate!) of french toast, bread puddings and muffins. They’re an alternate way to get your…
Throughout May the Do What You Love team has enjoyed listening to the most fascinating talks by leading experts in health, wellness, spirituality, and relationships at The Hay House World…
We are forever rushing around like headless chickens trying to achieve, achieve, do more, more, and then more again. We are busy; we want to be productive. We want to do it all but we fail…
Historically, a ritual is all about being present in the moment, giving gratitude to what is happening to you at this time, connecting with yourself and your feelings. A ritual can be a…
Our idealized versions of both childhood and motherhood have a new enemy: screen time. Parents are warned that screen time is making kids fat, damaging family relationships and may even…
Growing up in the 1980s as a tediously well-behaved and highly conformist child, I loved Erma Bombeck’s books. I often used my allowance to increase my mother’s modest collection of her…
Illustration by Marta Parszeniew. A few years ago, I found wellness. My body felt like a burden, and the food I ate didn’t seem to energise me or push me on: it dulled my edges, left me…
Not long after my mother died in 2014, less than eight months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, my dad and I performed a ritual familiar to anyone who has lost someone they…
We’ve all been there. You snag a sliver of free time, and two seconds later you’re sucked into your smartphone. Adele covers, throwback fashion shows, listicles: you name it and it’s…