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Greetings 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that those among us who need an extra supportive hug at this emotional time of year, received some comfort.

Looking back at my diary for December highlighted how dear to me my family and friends are and how their love and kindness has helped me through a difficult few months. I love them with all my heart.

The first week of December’s freezing temperatures made staying in the warm putting up the Christmas decorations, sparkle boots on my feet and a nice glass of fizz in my hand, all the more enjoyable. I was rather pleased with the results too. Nothing like a healthy dose of twinkle & a few festive faces to gladden the soul.

 

 

 

Sparkle Slipper Boots.

SPARKLE BOOTS

 

A day trip to York with Mr B on the 8th proved to be a magical tonic. Any excuse and I’m there and the good old promotional train tickets via Virgin Trains East Coast  came up trumps again. St Nicholas Fair was in full swing, packed with glittering market stalls, the scent of hog roast, mulled wine and cinnamon hanging in the air. It was bitter cold but we had glorious blue sky and sunshine and the few flakes of snow that fell on the cobbles at our feet only added to the already enchanting atmosphere. The only downside was me dropping my phone on the pavement while taking the last of many beautiful photos I’d snapped throughout the day. The screen cracked and the phone went doolally, so much so, I lost all my York pics.

Gutted – definitely – but I refused to let it spoil our day and it’ll give me the perfect excuse to re-visit next Christmas.

This was me before the off, wrapped up, ready to face the chill.

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I also spent a fabulous day in Canterbury with my younger sister and two of my lovely nieces – another f-f-f-f freezing cold day but sunny and bright which reflected the mood, – especially as we were bringing the elder of my nieces back home with us from university for the Christmas break. We had a leisurely browse round the shops, the city as shimmering and seasonally scented as York had been. I experienced my first Nandos lunch (yes, I know – where have I been?) which was delicious, and the whole day was a fun-filled triumph.

The run-up to Christmas was busy, so it was nice to have a peaceful, cosy Christmas day, just me and Mr B. And, of course, the turkey, the Christmas pud, the odd chocolate or five, mince-pies, turkey sandwiches, glasses of sherry, port, fizz … you get the picture.

We received some gorgeous gifts too.

Here are some of mine.

 

 

 

Boxing Day, by contrast, was a riot of family laughter, noise and games and one “slightly” merry husband and equally merry brother-in-law and nephew having a sing-off in my older sister’s kitchen. Food, drink and high spirits aplenty.

December blooms still reign supreme, from my perky Poinsettia to the fabulous Christmas Eve winter bouquet I received from a good friend, to my lovely holly and berries.

 

 

 

 

I finished reading Sue Fortin’s latest psychological thriller The Birthday Girl which I’d previously reported I was really enjoying. I love Sue’s writing and think this novel is her best yet. Friends Carys, Andrea and Zoe accept an invitation to join their friend Joanne in a remote cottage for a weekend who has implied it will be full of adventure in celebration of her 40th birthday. All sounds good until the three guests arrive and quickly realise that Joanne’s invitation isn’t quite what it seemed. Packed with secrets, mystery and sinister happenings, the pace of this book doesn’t let up and just when you think you’ve sussed who is guilty of what, another twist sends your thoughts on a U-turn.

A five-star read. Can’t wait to see what Sue writes next.

SUE BIRTHDAY GIRL

 

May 2018 be a happy, healthy, peaceful, prosperous and productive year for us all.

Much love,

Jan   x

 

 

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Good wishes & a message of thanks from me to you …

I confess I love all things Christmas, from the festive foliage, to the decorations, to the advent calendar (no, you didn’t read that wrong!) to the carols and good cheer our family get togethers always bring.

I also fully appreciate that both Christmas and New Year can be a very emotional time, sometimes for happy reasons, sometimes for sad, and that not everybody relishes the festivities.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas, you find peace and some comfort.

May 2018 be peaceful, healthy and filled with love & laughter for us all.

Thank you all for your wonderful support for me, my blog and my novel this year. I truly value it along with your friendship.

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Much love,

Jan X

As November meets December …

A new month and the health and wellbeing road to recovery marches on with continued  appreciation of how lovely, kind and supportive people can be. It saddens me that I’ve been unable to complete my second novel as yet, but that little inner spark of creativity and passion remains, and reading back through what I’ve so far produced of my sequel to As Weekends Go, keeps the flow and gives me great heart that my confidence will return and it’ll all come good.

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Now, I’m not even going to attempt to disguise the fact that I adore Christmas. I equally appreciate and respect that it can be a sad time for some people so I hope you’ll forgive me for indulging my love of all things festive. The moment I turned over the calendar and saw this gorgeous feline face staring back at me, I remembered the 1st of the month also meant that I could unveil a calendar of an altogether different type 😉

Big kid? Who me?

 

 

November brought lots of family and friend catch-ups which was lovely. As much as I value these get-togethers, I also think it’s important to have 1-2-1 chats as you can more fully discuss topics and news and sometimes open up a bit more.

As Weekends Go featured in a couple of promotions mid-month which resulted in a welcome mini-spike in sales and some wonderful feedback. I also donated a paperback copy in aid of Children in Need via Paddy Heron (known as Fundraiser Paddy on Twitter) who, for the third year running, kindly organised a fabulous author auction showcasing books of all genres for people to bid on. I was proud to support such a worthy cause.

 

 

It was a joy to appear again on the brilliantly supportive Jessie Cahalin’s blog. If you’ve not yet visited Jessie’s blog, you’re in for a real treat. She has fun and factual posts and features of all varieties  –  a real mixture to suit all readers’ tastes.  I thoroughly enjoyed creating this piece and a special postcard to present to the readers along with a short extract from As Weekends Go which you can read here ~ BOOKS IN MY HANDBAG BLOG  Many thanks to Jessie.

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My Postcard!

 

November blooms came courtesy of a dear friend who sent me a stunning festive display of lilies and winter berries. My gem of a sister also bought me a glorious Poinsettia which has pride of place on my Christmas sideboard display. I also wanted to post some gorgeous snaps I took whilst out walking. Nature really is a thing of beauty, eh?!

 

I mentioned in my previous  post that I’d been reading Rose McClelland’s THE YEAR OF NO RULES  which I’ve now finished and can report is a sparkling read which very much portrays the joy and importance of recognising and appreciating your self-worth. I loved main character Sasha and rooted for her throughout especially given how manipulative and controlling her boyfriend Kirk could be. Enter lovely, sweet-natured, dependable  Sam, a million miles away, personality-wise, from Kirk, who seems the perfect love match for Sasha, but … life’s never quite that simple is it? This book touched my every emotion and deals with some raw, deep and delicate issues but also made me smile and laugh out loud at times. It’s so well written and expressive. I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Enjoy!

ROSE M

 

I’m currently reading Sue Fortin’s latest thriller THE BIRTHDAY GIRL  and a thriller it is too.  Halfway through and loving it. More to follow in my next post.

SUE BIRTHDAY GIRL

 

If you love your festive reads I must say Choc Lit  have some super choices available. Look at these beauties!

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Much love,

Jan X

Thanking you and wishing you a very merry Christmas!

It’s no secret that I love Christmas. Our flat looks like a grotto, I still have an advent calendar (I know!), and I attend the carol concert every year even though I can’t sing for toffee! 😀

I know Christmas and New Year can be an emotional time, sometimes for happy reasons, sometimes for sad, and that not everybody relishes the festivities, so I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas, you find some comfort.

May 2017 bring us all peace, good health, love and laughter.

Thank you all for your wonderful support for me and my novel this year. I truly appreciate it and value your friendship.

 

Please take one and pass them round! 🙂

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Merry Christmas!

Love Jan x

Gifts and Good Cheer …

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and for those of you who find this time of year particularly hard, that you received plenty of loving support and inner peace.

I spent Christmas Day with my husband and my parents. We don’t have children of our own so on Boxing Day it was fun and games all the way with our two youngest nieces (both teenagers, so not so young anymore!) and merriment aplenty, not to mention fizz and choccies.

Santa was very kind to me this year and delivered several writerly presents; some with sentimental value, others more practical that will help spur me on to crack on with the sequel to my debut As Weekends Go, published earlier this month.

Here is a small selection …

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A gift to treasure from my beautiful best friend Clare.

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From Dave (Mr B) who knows I love a notebook – especially one as pretty as this!

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To keep me inspired …

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The sweetest, yummiest gift from Dave. (I haven’t got the heart to bite into it!)

 

Love Jan X