Hello sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well?! A bit of a different post today, as we in the UK are in the what is it fifth/sixth week of lockdown – honestly, I don’t know any more! I don’t even know what day it is most of the time….LOL!! Surely, that’s not just me?
Anyway, if your anything like me, you have done all the cleaning, baked everything, weeded the garden to an inch of its life and binge-watched your favourite box sets, and now trying to evade family tension and ward off cabin fever. Even though I think I was there in the first week after all the biscuits and chocolate had disappeared and we ran out of Yorkshire Tea!! Yes, that was a very distressing week 😉
So, now we have settled into this some-what new normality, I thought I would share few Lockdown Boredom Buster’s, and a few ways to keep a check or your mental and physical health, most of what I am sharing I do myself which have worked really well for me, and best yet all you can do in your own home so that social distancing dealt with and most are free, again great if you are finding times a little bit of a struggle financially.
So what first?
Well, reading obviously, this is the best opportunity to start making a dent in that toppling to be read pile which has been sitting beside your bed for years – it’s OK, you can admit it, we all have a similar pile of unread books. I have three baskets full beside my reading chair!
But, if you’re looking for something new, there are some brilliant offers around at the minute for free or discounted books, mostly ebooks I have found a few great bargains below. But, please don’t forget that a lot of your independent book shops are delivering books to your door through this crisis, so do support them if you can.
A few personal favourites, which are currently on offer…
- The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall
- Devil’s Club by Georgette Heyer
- A Winter Inheritance by Melinda Hammond
- From Here To You: The Complete Series by Julie Stock
- Saved By the Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles
For more fabulous book bargains check out the links below.
Choclit have a great bargain on at the minute with the 99p new series sale, which is the first book in many the series – 99p NEW SERIES SALE
Mills and Boon have a 99p Sale on selected books, definitely worth a look if you love your romance. – MILLS AND BOON SALE
Aria Fiction have a fabulous selection of books to browse through and they start at just 99p, do have a look. ARIA BOOKS
Pen and Sword have a huge selection of ebooks on sale at the minute, if you love your history then these really are the books for you. PEN AND SWORD EBOOKS
Oh, and at times Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime have Free trial month’s, definitely worth looking into even if you only use their services for that month and you can cancel anytime.
There is a whole host of online courses you can do now, no matter what subject you wish to learn about whether you are wanting to retrain or want to expand on a passion for a certain topic or learn a new skill, I know you will find something and best yet there are so many online courses which you can do for free.
- Future Learn Easily my favourite site, you can explore so many different subjects and learn for free. One thing though, if you are wanting a certificate to show what you have learnt then you do have to upgrade or you could pay for unlimited for a year which I believe is currently on offer and you can do as many courses as you wish, plus you will automatically gain that certificate.
- Oxford Home Study There is a great selection of courses in a wide range of subjects, worth looking at.
- University of Edinburgh Another great selection of Free Short Courses.
- Open University Open University isn’t just about paid degree’s, they have a huge selection of free short courses which cater for so many no matter what your interest.
- RNN, Social Distancing Courses Rotherham College have put a handful of full-length courses online which you can do for free. One thing though, once you have enrolled onto one of their courses you do have to complete it otherwise you will be charged a fee of £120.
Arts & Craft
I have always been a huge believer that arts and craft are hugely beneficial not just because creating something of your own is fun and you get a real sense of achievement, but it is so good for your mental health, it keeps you focused on something and is very relaxing. Here are a few favourites…
- Cross Stitch
- Diamond Painting
- Paint by Numbers/Colouring Books
These are relatively new and I haven’t really looked at a lot of them, but quite a few people I know who are Home Schooling swear that they are great fun not just for the little ones in the home, but for adults too.
Go and take a look, I know I will be.
- Heritage Daily; Historical Tours
- The List; Museum Virtual Tours
- Time Out; Museum Tours
- Travel-Wise; Virtual Tours
It’s another obvious one, but one that I cannot recommend enough, I have been on the Ancestry trail for going on fourteen years now, so I have gathered a lot of tips and tricks on how to find a cheap or free way to research.
Ancestry and Find My Past are brilliant, but they are subscription sites, my tip for them is to create a free account and sign up for their newsletters and you will be the first to know about any offers and free weekends
Forces War Records is another subscription site, but as I have an account for this site I did hear that it would be free to use for a certain amount of time. I’m not sure if it still is free, but definitely worth a look.
Here are a few free resources for you to have a look at….
- CWGC You can search their war dead records for free.
- Family Search This is a great website and completely free to use, all you need to do is create an account and your good to go.
- FreeGen This is another great site to search and again completely free when I started my own ancestry trail I used this constantly.
This can be absolutely anything, from going for a walk – just as long as you stick to social distancing, running around the garden, walking up and down the stairs fifty times a day, dancing around the house to a favourite song. Go on get that Spotify List on and have a mini one person rave in the kitchen (Not, that I have done that myself 😉 ) or following one of the thousand exercise videos on YouTube, definitely check out the Joe Wicke’s PE Lessons, they are great fun.
Whatever you do just get moving, you will really feel better for it.
All of the above are great to keep you moving, motivated and occupied, but I find that simple relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, tai chi, listening to relaxation music all are great ways to wind down after a tense day.
Do check out Relaxation Music too, there are lots of apps, websites and Youtube is a wealth of relaxing videos.
Even a few minutes of quiet to concentrate on relaxing and putting your mind at ease is so important, and it is so easy to do, you could just hide away in the bathroom for five minutes, take a moment for you. I can guarantee that you will feel so much calmer throughout the day if you take a breather every so often.
I particularly like breathing exercises, something I have always done in stressful or anxious times, it sounds a bit silly but honestly if you take a few minutes out throughout the day clear your mind concentrate on your breathing, push stress away then you will see and feel a difference.
For in-depth information about relaxation, tips do visit MIND which has lots of tips and great advice.
So there you have it, a whole host of idea’s to keep boredom at bay during these weird times, keep safe and stay well my friends, lots of love and hugs.
Hello sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well?!
You have probably noticed that apart from the occasional post here and there, I have been pretty quiet. Well to tell you the truth, I lost all motivation to read and review these last few weeks – in fact, longer than that to be perfectly honest. I completely lost my mojo to read a long time ago, it did return after reading a particular book but still, my mojo to blog was non-existent. Apart from the book promo’s, a couple of pre-scheduled blog tours and one review, I just couldn’t be asked, it has been a drain especially since we have all gone into lockdown.
Which I think is become a common thing amongst many of us, I have seen a lot of fellow readers/reviewers/bloggers and even some writer friends all say the exact same thing I have, that they have lost all their get up and go. That something isn’t quite right and they just couldn’t find themselves to start that blog post, read that book, write that chapter. Many have been affected by this lack of motivation, which in a way doesn’t feel as depressing to me knowing that so many are feeling it too.
I think it is what is going on in the world and having to settle into a whole new way of life that is so different and unsettled then what we had before. For me it was too much social media and obsessing over the news, I have cut back on both dramatically which has helped me take that breather I needed, I also took a break from reading as I wasn’t getting anywhere and it was frustrating me too much that I couldn’t concentrate, only picking up a book a few weeks ago again. But in that time out trying to find whole new routines and instead of doing what I had scheduled to do, what I have promised to do, I have been AWOL from the online world as much as possible – well, what I mean by the online world, I actually mean is social media. That has been the one thing to blame for my lethargy, I can’t explain it but to me, social media seems to have changed it doesn’t seem the same anymore – does anyone else think so, or is it just me as I’m not on as much as before?
I am telling you those weeks when I couldn’t concentrate on a single book was the worst, I have always used books as an escape from the stresses of the real world they have always brought me so much joy and I could devour book after book, after book and to suddenly find that my mind is too distracted on what is going on in the world to not be able to take in a word, was heart-breaking. It saddened me far more then I can say, which is why I just stopped forcing myself to read and focused on something else, in my unscheduled hiatus I have been writing my little heart out- honestly I am so feeling this little story that I’m writing. I have joined six Future Learn courses and fallen in love with baking and painting again. And slowly, ever so slowly my love for reading is returning, I read an amazing book the other week which really gave me the old buzz I love about reading and the kick up the rear I needed to start my love affair with books again, but this time I am not forcing myself I am going slowly and doing other things around the reading and by doing that I am feeling so much more my old self again.
Which is why I am writing this, I wanted to make a big apology to all those who I have let down other the last few weeks; either with advanced reviews or with blog tours, I know that I have missed posting on my scheduled days on at least four blog tours and as for reviews I am way behind with them too as I start to slowly fall back into reading. So I am hugely sorry to every single author, publisher and blog tour organiser who I have let down and broken my promises to over the last few weeks – in fact, that should be months. You cannot believe how awful I feel, I hate letting people down it’s ingrained into me to always no matter what to do my best, to always do what I promise and the fact that I haven’t has cut me deeply. I am sorry!
I am back in the reviewing/blogging chair, I am feeling positive and feeling that old book love return again I have now fallen into a whole new daily routine which does work really well for me, and doesn’t include daily social media and constantly reading/watching the news. Plus I am feeling ready to finally type up my notes of books for the blog tours that I have missed over the weeks, and each one will be posted in the following days/weeks as will reviews of the books that I read before my motivation left me but I didn’t post reviews for.
For all those who are now feeling what I felt over those weeks, if you don’t feel like reading, then don’t force it to find another avenue to explore and express yourself, I can assure you your love of books will return just give it time. Do something else, find a new hobby, start writing that story you’ve always dreamed off, start a kitchen garden, make a big mess with the kids in the kitchen as you bake, do some arts and crafts, binge on that boxset you missed out on, do a free course on Future Learn, play board games. Just take a breather to do what feels right and I can assure you that much-missed book love will return.
I would love to know what you are all doing while we are in lockdown, have you found a new hobby? Are you getting into baking, gardening, arts and crafts? Are you finally writing that story that you have been carrying around with you for so long? I’d love to know, maybe we could all share a little, fill the internet with little snippets of stories? I’d be happy to start and share a little of my own writing if your interested – it’s not very good, but hey who cares if you love writing it?! We could compile a list of activities to do while at home, let me know, let us share the love!
One last word before I toddle off, I know that these days are strange and uncertain, they aren’t perfect and life has taken a complete U-turn to how we usually live. It is OK to feel out of whack, I know that I have been and at times, there is nothing to be ashamed of to step back and admit that you have lost your motivation or your feeling anxious or sad. We are all in this topsy-turvy world together and we will brave the storm and we will come out of the other side together. But until that glorious day, think of yourself, take care of you, because you matter! If you are struggling with all the changes then reach out to someone, whether it’s phoning/messaging a family member or close friend, or chatting with an online friend do reach out.
My DM box is always open to friends and followers should you need to chat, remember we are all in this together, stay safe, stay home and look after yourself and others and for those in the UK, Stay Home and Protect the NHS!!.
Good morning my lovely sunshines, I hope you are all well.
Not a regular post today, but one I hope people will enjoy none-the-less, and one which will help spread sunshine and book love.
I posted on Twitter, that I wanted to share the book love and bring more sunshine and love into the world, which we all know at the minute is full of such chaos, uncertainty and unpleasantness. So I wanted to support authors and share the book love in some way.
Which is why I thought to start a Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Book Promo feature, so if you are a Romance and/or Historical author and would like your books to be featured on the blog and to be promoted across the Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Social Media; Twitter and Instagram, then do get in touch via my Contact Me page, quoting ‘Book Promo’ and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
A few details…
For the moment Promo is only open to authors who write Romance and/or Historical or who have been featured on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals previously. Sorry about that, dependant on how this new addition to the blog is received then I may open it up to other genre’s.
Promo Posts can also include guest posts and/or interviews if the author wishes.
All posts are free – Chicks, Rogues and Scandals never ask for or accepts payment of any kind for any post.
Promo does not include reviews – if inquiring about a review please state when requesting, and I will see what I can do, but be aware due to my current schedule I am not taking on as many reviews and I am more selective over the reviews I do take on.
I hope this new venture will not only help support authors and spread the word about their amazing books, but also bring happiness, joy and sunshine to what has become a topsy-turvy world. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to be nice and kind, does it?
Happy New Year Sunshines!!
After an overlong break, I am back – a little later then I had originally planned, thanks to the dreaded lurgy – but, I am back and ready to go in my own unique overly excitable and slightly frazzled way.
Usually, at this time of year, I write a new years resolution of what I want to achieve on the blog over the next twelve months, I make all these plans to introduce new things to the blog to keep it fresh. This year I’m not, not just because I never stick to any of it and my well laid plans end up being crumpled up and thrown away – Honestly, I am that bad at sticking to resolutions, don’t even get me started on the whole eating healthy and exercising more, it never happens – but also because I have finally come to see that I needn’t change anything, I’ll explain…
So nothing new is planned for the blog, after four (or is it five???) years I have finally come to realise that the blog is pretty perfect for my liking, it’s like me it’s a little eclectic and happy within it’s own skin (does that make sense??) I am finally happy with not just how the blog looks, but with all the content, it seems to have been a constant battle for me wanting to make the blog fun and accessible, wanting everyone to love it and what I post, constantly putting pressure on myself to bring in new things. But I have finally come to see that I needn’t have worried. I started the blog for me because I wanted to share my love of books and reading and over the last few years I have forgotten that. Now I feel, I have come full circle and after brushing off the pressures and stresses I was putting on myself by striving for something that I not only didn’t need but for something that wasn’t me, I now am back to blogging for me again, which you wouldn’t believe how going back to the basics has made me happy.
I will be plodding along as I always have done with my waffling reviews, which will be full of overly enthusiastic babbling and the occasional gif (I do love my gifs). Add to that the occasional Blog Tour, Author Interview/Guest Post thrown in for good measure, and for those who only visit the blog for the ‘Hottie’s of the Week’ (I know who you are) I’m sure those handsome chaps will make an appearance somewhere. 😉
What about my own writing you may ask, well I am more determined more then ever to finally finish my WW1 Family Saga, which I have been dithering about with for way too long. I’m sure I will share how my own writing journey is going from time to time, even if it’s just to share a picture of Tom Hardy in Uniform – you all know me, any excuse 😉
So, there you have it, I am so looking forward to what’s to come on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals this year, I am excited to finally letting go of wanting blogging perfection and embracing what the blog already is and going back to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals roots of simply sharing my love of books and their fabulous authors. I am so excited about what I have already got scheduled, which is pretty darn good (If I do say so myself) in the next few weeks alone I have got some of the most amazing books to share with you all. Plus later this week I have teamed up with one of my favourite authors to bring you all an incredible Giveaway and Guest Post, that is going to be amazing!
Thank you all for the love and support…..and for reading to the end.
Hello, my lovely Sunshines! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday which was full of laughter and happiness – mine didn’t exactly go as planned, as the notorious ‘Christmas Lurgey’ showed up at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Towers on Christmas Eve and refuses to leave even after nearly a week – but who doesn’t receive unexpected/unwanted guests at Christmas?
Anyway, enough about me, that is not why your here, is it?
We are now on that one-way road heading towards a whole New Year, not only a new year but if you think about it we are about to have a second go ’20’s’ how exciting is that? Time to bring out the inner bootlegger/flapper? ;-)… I’m babbling, yet again….I don’t know about you all, but personally, I can’t wait for 2019 to become the past and to move forward onto 2020, this year hasn’t exactly been brilliant, but it has had some amazing books, which can only mean one thing; Best Books 2019!
I have read so many great books over the last twelve months, books from authors which I love and who are firm favourites. Books from new-to-me authors and debut authors who have started their writing journey and who made such a huge impression on me, that I can’t wait to read more from them.
It really has been a very busy year, so when I sat down to write this post I did get a wee bit stumped; How could I possibly choose a selection of my best books, out of all the amazing books I have read this year? As hard as it was to whittle over hundred and fifty books down to just thirty, there is a handful which didn’t need any thinking about at all, from the moment of reading them I just knew they would end up on this list.
Unusually, there were two books which stood out more than any other, I loved these two particular books so much, in fact, I’m pretty sure I have bored the authors senseless with my constant ‘I love this book/ character’ but the two books I have picked are amazing! I adore the ladies who write them, but these two books really pulled me into their pages. I couldn’t pick between them for they both not only made me fall in love but they took me on an adventure – plus both have way-too-sexy-for-their-own-good heroes 😉 – so unlike previous years I have named two books as my Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Book of 2019!
Before I share my Favourite Books of 2019 with you, I firstly want to thank everyone who has been following my waffled reviews, for all your kind messages, lovely shares and comments, you will never know how much your kindness means to me. Thank you, you are all very special people!
But mostly, I want to say a massive thank you, with added hugs to all you amazing authors who have been above kind and generous to entrust your precious work to me to review. You are all amazing, you are the life’s breathe of every book lover in the world, you all won’t ever know how much your constant kindness, love and support means to this little book reviewer, thank you!
That’s enough of slushy-ness, I think time to get on with the post, so in no particular order here are my 30 favourite books of the year, which is followed by my series of the year and Chicks, Rogues and Scandals book of 2019. If you want to read my thoughts of each of the books, just click onto the cover images and it will take you to the relevant review.
Best Books of
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
The Viscounts Veiled Lady by Jenni Fletcher
The Marriage Rescue by Joanna Johnson
The Highborn Housekeeper by Sarah Mallory
Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson
Bluebell’s Christmas Magic by Marie Laval
Christmas With His Wallflower Wife by Janice Preston
One Night With The Major by Bronwyn Scott
Severed Knot by Cryssa Bazos
The Inconvenient Elmswood Marriage by Marguerite Kaye
Duke Of Shadows by Gaelen Foley
Christmas At Miss Moonshines Emporium by The Authors on the Edge
Another You by Jane Cable
The Work Of Art by Mimi Matthews
Rogues Holiday by Regan Walker
The Disgraceful Lord Gray by Virginia Heath
The Murder Pit by Mick Finlay
Courting The Forbidden Debutante by Laura Martin
The Captain And The Theatrical by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead
Reclaimed By Her Rebel Knight Jenni Fletcher
Marrying Her Viking Enemy by Harper St George
Naughty Or Nice by Rachael Stewart
Beauty Of The Wolf by Wray Delaney
Wishes Under A Starlit Sky by Lucy Knott
The Library Of Lost And Found by Phaedra Patrick
Daughters Of Ironbridge by Mollie Walton
No Stone Unturned by Pam Lecky
A Deal With Her Rebel Viking By Michelle Styles
Daughter Of The House by Victoria Cornwall
Marguess To A Flame by Emily Windsor
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Series of 2019
The Lochmore Legacy
Click on image for reviews of the full series.
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Book of 2019
The Ghost Garden & The Rakes Enticing Proposal
Reviews can be found below
So there you have it, I cannot recommend each one of these books any more…honestly if I do it will lead to a whole extra paragraph of waffle and none of us wants that… they are all brilliant reads and I hope you all find a whole new read or author from my list to fall in love in with.
Have a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, which is full for laughter, joy and I hope that this is the year where all your dreams come true. For me, I am hoping it will mean less social media, actually posting reviews when I say I will and finally finishing that book, which I’ve been playing about at writing for way too many years.
Much love to you all, I’ll see you all in the 20s!
Hello my wonderful friends,
I use the word ‘friends’ instead of my usual ‘lovelies’ or ‘followers’ because you all are more to me then just a number in my followers list, and from the week I have had I know the importance of treated people with respect. This is not my usual type of post, but I felt that I needed to write it, not just to explain my distance from social media but also why I have let so many authors down with not posting reviews, which I am ever so sorry about and it will be remedied!
I won’t go into details as that is not me, but I do want to say just one or two things before I start posted a barrage of reviews, that have been building up. I have seen and experienced the ugly side of social media this week, I have been hurt beyond words, and for a split second I did consider giving up reviewing. It was something that I never thought that would happen to me as I have always been positive and supportive for everyone around me. But it did, there is nothing I can do about that, all I can do now is move forward and wish them all the best and hope that they find happiness.
I will never say anything bad against the person/people concerned and I will never name, names or discuss what happened, I just wanted to be open about how unpredictable social media can be, that not even reviewers and bloggers are safe from its nasty side and that if something does happen to you, know that you do have true friends who will come rushing to your side, in your hour of need. It is in times of uncertainty when you are at your lowest and when you begin to question yourself, that your true ‘tribe’ of friends will gather with comforting virtual hugs and kind words.
Believe me, even if you have never met them face to face, having your group or tribe around you at that moment is worth it’s weight in gold. My tribe gathered around me just when I needed them the most, and they have pulled me up and made me move forward, I cannot express just how much their friendship and support meant to me over the last few days.
I won’t name you, but you all know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you all enough and know you will always have my backing, no matter what!
The point of this post is, that don’t be pulled down by nastiness, yes if you must back away for your own well being, do so. Have your cry in private, have lashings of tea and so much cake your are fit to burst, but let your true friends in to help you, let them comfort and support you, let them shower you with love heart Gifs and virtual hugs. Believe me it does help, but most importantly don’t just turn away, don’t be alone, don’t allow negativity and nastiness to overwhelm you and make you re-think who you are and make you give up what you love. Pick yourself up and move forward, that is the most important thing I can ever say to you all, don’t let nastiness bring you down.
I have come full circle with my personal experience, I have been through more emotions then I can relate to you, but now I am through the tunnel of heart-ache and despair and I see things far more clearly and my perception of people has changed, not sure for the better but I am definitely far more guarded then I was this time last week. Another change that has come over me is that I am far more determined to keep reviewing, to keep sharing my love of books, to keep supporting my friends and those who I admire. I will never let any nastiness take what I love away.
There are many hurdles to face in this life and you must always, always keep going and keep jumping them, life it just too short to let a single unpleasant experience to stop you living it.
Its All About The Writing! A Brief Look Into My Own Writing Adventure & An Exclusive Snippet or Two.
I think a lot of you all know that I am dabbling in writing, I don’t really talk too much about it on here as I never thought to link Chicks, Rogues and Scandals up with my other hobby; writing. I never thought anyone would be interested in anything I have written – or more accurately attempting to write – that is until a few good friends read a little of my work and they had some really positive and lovely things to say about it, which has encouraged me to talk more about my journey.
So, here I am, I thought to share a little with you all and I hope that all other aspiring authors will do the same. I currently I have three projects on the go, each one as different as the next; I have my family history based, WW1 historical, a women’s fiction contemporary and a bit of a thriller that is leaning towards being a timeslip/thriller/romance. I don’t work on them all at once, that would be way too much even for my odd brain and I don’t even write every day – I know a fatal flaw in writing – I tend to wake up and see which one of the WIP’s I am feeling that day and then see what comes out when I’m in front of the computer. I know, an odd way to go about things but it works for me.
Today, I thought I would share with you a brief snippet of two of my WIP’s, the first one is a snippet from my historical and the second is a snippet from the contemporary that I have working on for the past few weeks. I will also share a few picture’s to give you all an idea of what is going on in my head as I write.
This is a part of my historical, my character ‘J’ is currently in a French station Hospital after being wounded at the front, in this scene my leading man has woken with amnesia, he is confused and scared at not knowing anything about who he is, all he knows is that the beautiful nurse has saved his life.
He was overlooking the garden of the hospital, as always at this time of day, it was full of other men like him, who just wanted to get out of the nauseating and claustrophobic wards and breathe the fresh air.
Air which was mixed with an acrid burning aroma which drifted in on the wind and scents from the garden, which was far easier on the stomach than having to constantly breathe in the stomach-churning smell off the blood. Just the thought made him feel nauseous.
He looked around the grand garden of what he knew was an even grander house, he had been told it belonged to a French family but now had been taken over by the military for a base hospital. There were glimpses of the family home it used to be if you looked, the ward he was on or any of the hospitals he had seen so far looked nothing like what he would call a family home, but then again he couldn’t remember what his family home looked like, so was he to judge.
It was grand, he couldn’t deny that with its built-in circular, grand staircase, high windows and never-ending corridors but with nurses and doctors rushing around most streaked with more blood then he cares to think about and more wounded men being brought in every day, that even the corridors were now being used for surgery.
He could well see it the old family home in the garden, even though most of the flower beds had been trampled on my thousands of booted feet the layout was still visible, he could see how it was in his mind’s eye; clean neatly trimmed box hedges that from where he was sitting he Sitting in the infernal wheeled chair the doctors insisted he must use, he made him feel useless and frustrated.
He hated it, it made him feel as though he was a hundred years old but if he was ever going to get out of this wretched place then he would have to use the contraption. He had a feeling he enjoyed being out in the fresh air, he had the unrelenting urge to go and sit under the tree at the far end of the garden, pick up and do something.
He didn’t know where this unrelenting want came from or what he wanted to do, he knew it must be something to do with his life.
If only he could remember, what that life was. Or who it was!
No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t remember anything from before the moment he opened his eyes in the hospital a week ago. The only thing he did know was his name; well his initials J. M. Madden and he was in the army, all which came from the two disc’s he wore around his neck on a cord. One was green with eight sides and a hole in the centre and a red one which hung by another cord from the whole of the green disc, both were engraved with his details and that was all he knew about himself; J. M. Madden. Private. 10th York and Lancaster.
He felt confused, despondent and useless, a grown man who didn’t even know his name. He had tried to remember what the J and M stood for, yet the more he racked his brain, the more confused and frustrated he got with himself. The doctors had told him to not fret over it his memory would return eventually, it was normal they keep telling him. They said something about the Ether fogging his brain, the very Ether they had given him for the multiple surgeries he’d had to have, he needn’t worry himself they said, and all would be alright once he was back to full fitness.
That was easy for them to say, those doctors walking around in their bloodstained white coats, they didn’t know what it was like to feel as lost to the world as he did, at not knowing what kind of man he was. He prayed what they said to him was true, did he pray? Was he a religious man? But he couldn’t stop the other thoughts clinging to the inside of his brain like mud on a boot, the thoughts that kept whispering; what if his memory didn’t come back? What if he never remembered anything ever again? What would happen to him then?
That scared him more than anything, he felt vulnerable. Which was a bit confusing as the one thing he did sense about his character was; he wasn’t a vulnerable man.
Which led again to the other questions which plagued him day and night; did he have a family? Was there a worried wife and children waiting for him back home? Where was home? He had feelings such as he knew he liked being outside than indoors; he liked the smell of the grass and the trees.
He liked feeling the fresh air on his face. He knew he didn’t like dark closed spaces, it wasn’t fear, it was more he felt uncomfortable for some reason. The doctors all said this was a good sign his brain was healing, he didn’t understand, how can he get feelings of his character but not actual memories?
Then if he was a soldier; what about his comrades? Did they know where he was, did they know he was still alive? Surely if they did someone would have been to visit, yet the only people who had been to his bedside was the butcher who had tried to take his leg, and her.
The angel of ward 6B which is what all the patients had christened her.
She was as angelically beautiful as she was kind and caring, she was the only one who had stood by his side when the surgeon wanted to hack off his leg. She saved his life with her gentle touch when he was burning with fever and she kept him calm when he thrashed about in his bed when the nightmares started and when he had woken confused and scared. He truly believed without her, he would have died even if he never regains his memory he will be eternally grateful for that.
A shout went up across the garden, looking up he saw a few of the more mobile patients tossing a ball to one and other. Where they got a ratted old football from, he didn’t know, but he wished that he could join them. He was desperate to start moving, he shifted in the wheeled chair they had sat him in, he hated it and he swore once he had full use of his legs again, he would burn the infernal thing.
Unfortunately, as he could barely stand without toppling over it as the second he put any weight on his leg hot shooting pain filled his entire body, it started in his knee and radiated down to his toes and up through his back. It was blinding and intense the last time he had tried to stand up and walk he had passed out only to wake a few hours later with the doctor tutting and frowning over his mangled limb and muttering something in French that sounded suspiciously like was either the chair from hell or stay in bed.
He had quite enough of lying about all day as the war went on around him, getting more and more.
My contemporary is very different to what I have been working on, here we see my character ‘Roz’ who has just met my hero, she is startled by her instant reaction to him and the more heated thoughts that cross her mind in his presence.
Looking around the large office with wide eyes, Roz had never seen – let alone been standing in such a cold yet exceedingly stylish office in her life. It had no heart; she felt tingles running down her arms with being in such a cold and heartless room. Everything was very shiny and new in a mixed grey, the large desk which she was standing before was huge, you didn’t get desks like this in her temping jobs and it was like something out of those. Polished black to a high shine, thick sturdy legs held the huge slab of wood which was the actual desktop.
The floor was bare except for a large gunmetal grey rug, which covered most of the floor where the desk was. The floor to ceiling windows that spanned the length of the office behind his desk, the blinds were currently shut, apart from where she was standing and one blind hadn’t closed properly send a ray of light across the room. On the far side was a huge bookcase, jammed full of books of all shapes and sizes
Glancing at him from beneath her eyelashes her pulse raced, she felt a tingle running down her spine at his appraisal of her. She could feel him watching her, she could feel the animalistic intensity coming off him, he was like a caged wild animal just waiting to rip the bar of his cage wide open and devour anyone who just happened to be in his way, which unfortunately she had a feeling that would be her.
He was so handsome, she didn’t have the words to express just how god-damn sexy this man was. His features screamed of wealth and a hint of something regal in the line of his chiselled jaw and his straight nose. The bold, intensity in his dark, dark eyes made them glow like hot coals and again she felt a shiver of how their gaze never left her. The way he watched her like a hunter watched its prey just before the fatal attack, intimidating. Yet oddly thrilling, she had never been looked at in such a way before, in that impenetrable gaze she felt desired and sexy she felt like a queen. She had never felt anything like this before, her breath hitched in her throat as his gaze roved her curves, then he licked his full, firm lips as though she were a cream cake. No, not a cream cake. Men like this didn’t eat dainty cakes, he was far too wild for something so refined. No, he was looking at her as though she was a succulent rare steak.
Her stomach turned at that thought, whether from hunger or something else, she wasn’t sure.
Think about something else, Roz!
Her eyes moved up past those intense eyes to his thick dark hair, again her body was making her think things she shouldn’t. Now her fingers itched to run themselves through that thick mop of dark auburn hair which had been stylishly cut short at the sides with a thick heavy quiff. Was it soft, or course? It looked so shiny, did he use conditioner, and oh, how she would love to see it ruffled. Shocked again by her blatant lust for this man, honestly, she was obsessing over hair now, what next…
No, do not go there, Roz!
She felt so very small faced with this six foot plus, smouldering raw masculinity. Tall darkly handsome, he had that stereotypical brooding and chiselled hero look, his broad chest stretched his fine crisp white shirt tight, it was so fine that in the light he was standing in she could see the darkened, manly nipples.
Suddenly she had this vision in her mind of licking them, she wondered if he had a hairy chest of if he was smooth? Blinking at the thought of them lavishly entwined on this very carpet, both naked and sweaty, her astride of him as her fingers delved into that gorgeous hair. She looked away from him, she could feel her face burning.
Where the hell, did that come from?
She had never thought of such things before in her life, unless of course if you count watching Tom Hardy strip to the waist in Taboo. Then that night had been full of hot, vivid dreams, but those erotic dreams were nothing compared to how she was feeling at this moment.
Peeking at him again, she caught a wolfish grin as though he knew exactly what had flittered through her perverse mind only seconds later, that grin did funny things to her stomach, she was getting all flustered again, her heart sped up as he slowly prowled towards her.
Stopping a foot before her, she had to crane her neck to keep his face in view. She had never known anyone to be as tall, or as broad as him. He was like a mountain, all hard edges, by the looks of him he was as solid as a mountain too, he was a wall of pure hardened muscle.
There you go, just a brief look into what I am currently working on, I would love to hear about your projects too. Don’t be shy, honestly it’s much easier to put your work out there when hiding behind a computer screen…LOL!!
Hello my lovelies, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to my wonderful Irish friends and follower’s I hope you all have a brilliant day! I thought that I would share a little Irish love with you all, I will be chatting all about the history and traditions of St. Patrick’s Day plus sharing a few of my favourite things that come from the glorious Green Isle and yes, that will include a few ‘Hottie’s’ so settle back and let the Irish love fest begin.
St. Patrick’s Day; A Brief Look At The History.
17th March or St. Patrick’s days as we have all known it for as long as we can remember is basically as we all know as the one day of the year where if your Irish you can celebrate and be proud of your heritage and who you are. But there is so much more to St. Patrick’s Day then just drinking a lot, festivals and parades and being merry, and off course wearing green it is a cultural and religious celebration, a celebration of Saint Patrick the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
Saint Patrick’s Day or The Feast Day Of Saint Patrick which in Irish is called: La Fheile Padraig, “The Day of the Festival of Patrick” was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival with being celebrated in Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. It is believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. According to a declaration which was allegedly written by Patrick himself, at the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. It says that he spent six years there working as a shepherd and that during this time he “found God”. The Declaration says that God told Patrick to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest.
According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years evangelising in the northern half of Ireland and converted “thousands”. Patrick’s efforts against the druids were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove “snakes” out of Ireland (Ireland never had any snakes). Tradition holds that he died on 17 March and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.
Celebrations and Traditions
Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe (Irish traditional music sessions), and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. There are also formal gatherings such as banquets and dances, although these were more common in the past. St Patrick’s
Day parades began in North America in the 18th century but did not spread to Ireland until the 20th century. The participants generally include marching bands, the military, fire brigades, cultural organizations, charitable organizations, voluntary associations, youth groups, fraternities, and so on. However, over time, many of the parades have become more akin to a carnival. More effort is made to use the Irish language; especially in Ireland, where the week of St Patrick’s Day is “Irish language week”. Recently, famous landmarks have been lit up in green on St Patrick’s Day.
Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day. Perhaps because of this, drinking alcohol – particularly Irish whiskey, beer or cider – has become an integral part of the celebrations. The St Patrick’s Day custom of ‘drowning the shamrock’ or ‘wetting the shamrock’ was historically popular, especially in Ireland. At the end of the celebrations, shamrock is put into the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with whiskey, beer or cider. It is then drank as a toast; to St Patrick, to Ireland, or to those present. The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink, or be taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.
On St Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”). St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. The colour green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s.
Next up, I thought to share a few of my favourite Irish films and TV shows.
Next up, I am sharing a selection of my favourite books that either are set in Ireland or have Irish character’s, so in no particular order…
Curse Of The Healer by Ashley York
After the death of Brian Boru in 1014, a legend arose of a healer so great she could raise a man from the dead, with a power so strong it could make any warrior the next high king of Éire…and to steal it away from her, he need only possess her.
Fated to be a healer…
Aednat has spent her entire life training to be the great healer, knowing she must remain alone. When she meets Diarmuid, the intense attraction she feels toward him shakes her resolve to believe in such a legend. If she gives in to the passion he ignites in her, can she settle for being less?
Destined to be his…
Diarmuid of Clonascra is renowned for his bravery in battle. Only one thing daunts him: the prospect of taking a wife. The safest course would be to keep his distance from Aednat, the bold, headstrong healer who’s far too tempting for his peace of mind. But his overking orders him to protect her from a group of craven warriors intent on kidnapping her to steal her power.
What starts as duty for Diarmuid quickly transforms into something more. Aednat’s power might be at risk, but so is his closed-off heart.
The Shamrock And The Rose by Regan Walker
Set in London in 1818, it’s the story of Rose Collingwood, daughter of a baron, who wanted to play Portia in The Merchant of Venice. To accept the part at the Theatre-Royal at Haymarket, the very proper young lady assumes the disguise of Miss Lily Underwood, the actress. Who knew all of London would soon be at her feet sending her love notes? One such Valentine goes awry only to be found by the dashing Irish barrister, Morgan O’Connell.
Though he would have seduced the actress, Morgan must court the lady. Given three choices much like Portia’s suitors, can she resist the handsome Irish rogue? And who is it who is following her?
The Devil Takes A Bride by Gaelen Foley
In the quiet English countryside, far from the intrigues of London, Lizzie Carlisle slowly mends her broken heart, devoting herself to her new position as lady’s companion to the Dowager Viscountess Strathmore— until her peaceful life is turned upside down by a visit from “Devil” Strathmore, the old woman’s untamed nephew—a dangerously handsome man whose wicked reputation hides a tortured soul.
Devlin Kimball, Lord Strathmore, has spent years adventuring on the high seas, struggling to make his peace with the tragedy that claimed the lives of his family. But now he has uncovered the dark truth behind the so-called accident and swears retribution. He has no intention of taking a bride—until his eccentric aunt’s will forces he and Lizzie together, and Devlin finds his path to vengeance blocked by the stubborn but oh-so-tempting Miss Carlisle. Her passionate nature rivals his own. But disillusioned once by love, Lizzie will accept nothing less than his true devotion.
The Year Of Living Scandalously by Julia London
In 1792, the village of Hadley Green executed a man for stealing the Countess of Ashwood’s historic jewels. Fifteen years later, questions still linger. Was it a crime of greed—or of passion?
When Declan O’Connor, Earl of Donnelly, arrives at Hadley Green to meet with Lily Boudine, the new countess of Ashwood, he knows instantly that the lovely woman who welcomes him is not who she pretends to be. In an attempt to avoid an unwanted marriage, Keira Hannigan has assumed her cousin’s identity and is staying at the estate while Lily is abroad. When Declan threatens to expose her, Keira convinces him to guard her secret, then enlists him in her investigation of the missing jewels, for she now believes an innocent man was hanged.
Unable to deny the beautiful, exasperating Keira—or their simmering passion—Declan reluctantly agrees. But neither is prepared for the dangerous stranger who threatens to reveal Keira’s lies…and Declan knows he must protect Keira at all costs, for she is the woman who now owns his heart.
Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt
Can a pirate learn that the only true treasure lies in a woman’s heart?
Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind—and nine months ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back . . . and he’s asking for her help.
“Charming” Mickey O’Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London’s criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. And yet he’s never been able to forget the naive captain’s wife who came to him for help—and spent one memorable night in his bed . . . talking.
When his bastard baby girl was dumped in his lap—her mother having died—Mickey couldn’t resist the Machiavellian urge to leave the baby on Silence’s doorstep. The baby would be hidden from his enemies and he’d also bind Silence to him by her love for his daughter.
The Queen’s Christmas Summons by Amanda McCabe
“Royal courts are glittering places. But there can be many dangers there.”
The words of Juan, the shipwrecked Spanish sailor Lady Alys Drury nursed back to health, echo in her mind as she puts on another courtly smile.
Then Alys locks eyes with a handsome man amid the splendor of Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas court—Juan is posing as courtier John Huntley! Alys is hurt at Juan’s deception until she learns he’s an undercover spy for the crown… Amid the murky machinations of the court, can true love still conquer all?
And finally, how could I possibly do a post all about my favourite Irish thing’s without some Irish glorious eye-candy?
Well, you go! I hope you enjoyed my hop, jump and skip through my favourite Irish thing’s, as always you are more then welcome to share what you love about Ireland, is there a certain place you love? A Irish Hottie, that you adore? A favourite film or tv show? Let me know, if your on Twitter and Facebook your can share pictures or gif’s of your favourite Irish thing, place or person.
Until I next feel the need to babble, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Hello my lovelies and a belated Happy Valentines Day, Yes I know I am a day late – as per usual. But one thing led to another and before I knew it my well laid out plan to do a full day of Valentines Theme post’s ended up being just the one – which took me so long to write.
Note to self; when writing a post where I need to do a wee bit of research, do it the day before!
I did promise a whole bunch of Romantic/Valentine posts and I am not one to go back on my word, so here is the second Valentines post. I am going to be sharing my favourite romantic couples from both books and film/tv, to start off lets have a look at a few of my favouite romantic couples from books.
Heathcliffe & Cathy
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jack & Robert
The Captain and The Cavalry Trooper (Captivating Captains #1) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead
Jean & Joanna
Echo In The Wind (Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker
Jamie & Cassie
A Warriner To Rescue her (Wild Warriners #2) by Virginia Heath
Drake & Emily
My Ruthless Prince (The Inferno Club #4) by Gaelen Foley
Aelfhild & Guy
Beguiled By The Forbidden Knight by Elisabeth Hobbes
Helen & Rhys
Marrying Winterbourne (The Ravenels #2 ) by Lisa Kleypas
Silence & Mickey
Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Aren’t they brilliant? Even though, there are hundreds more that I could have added, these are a few of my all out favourite romances. And here is a collection of my favourite romances from TV and Film.
Jack & Melanie
One Fine Day
Anna & Declan
John & Margaret
North and South
Claire & Jamie
Evie & Rick
Helena & Alejandro
Mask of Zorro
Cecelia & Robbie
As with the book’s, there are so many couples that I adore from TV and Films, but I just don’t have the time or room on the post. I would love to hear about your favourite romance, is it from a book or from TV?
Hello my lovelies and Happy Valentines Day!!
So Valentines Day, personally it’s all well and good and lovely to have a day to which to tell a loved one you …well, love them. But it really is far too comercilised for my liking these days, it’s all about pushing sales and dragging people through the door – I do speak from experience, after spending many years doing just that in retail I know how shops think. And anyway, we really shouldn’t need a day to tell someone you love them, right? It should really be a none pressure, every day thing. But even I am willing to put my own personal thoughts of the day behind me to celebrate in my own unique fashion, Which is why I have a whole day of Romantic/Valentines posts coming up for you all.
Over the course of the next few posts, I will be looking into the history of Valentines day, chatting about my favourite romances and sharing all things romance and valentines – which I am pleased to say will involve my very popular ‘Hotties’ 😉 I hope you will stick around.
So to start things off lets a look at the history – you know me, I like history!
Valentine’s day as it is now is far removed from how it was once seen thousands of years ago, and to be honest once you start researching this oh-so romantic day you will soon clearly see that it’s origins is anything but romantic or full of love, but it is quite dark and a wee bit gory. Yes, it was that part that got me hooked as well 😉 and what a fascinating multi layered story it is. I don’t know if people know, but I did a previous post about Valentine’s day many years ago when Chicks, Rogues and Scandals was just starting up. At looking back at that post, as fascinating as it is – who knew that I could write a fascinating post, complete news to me that one. But I did hold back somewhat on the history, which is why with this post I intend to bombard you with as much of the history of Valentines as I possibly can – you will most likely fall asleep.
Oh, by the way if your interested in my previous Valentines Post, here is a link A Little History – Valentine’s Special.
So Valentine’s day as we know it today is all about flowers and chocolates and maybe the odd marriage proposal, but what we don’t do is actually celebrate the reason why the whole day exists and that is to honour Saint Valentine. Now here it the start of where thing become a little dark and confusing as there is three Christian saints that have been recognised by the church as being Valentine and more than that Valentine in one form or another has got roots in both Roman and Christian tradition and legend – this is where the none historians of the world (such as myself) get a wee bit perplexed as to who is who, but its fun to try and figure it out.
The Tale of Valentine.
The catholic church does recognise three different saints named Valentine (or Velentinus) all three of whom were martyred, hence being a saint I suppose. There is one legend that says Valentine was a priest who served during the 3rd century in Rome and by the sounds of him he was quite a rule breaker. The Emperor Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers then those with wives and families– which I’m sure we all know that is a load of codswallop, right? So old Claudius outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine thought this, as I do was a – shall I say it again? Ok, I will – a load of Codswallop he knew that this wasn’t right, he saw the injustice so he went behind the Emperors back – he literally threw the decree back into Claudius’ face as he continued to perform marriages to all the young lovers in secret. As honourable and decent as his actions were, they led him with a death sentence once Claudius found out what Valentine was doing.
There or other stories about how he died, another source claims he was helping Christians escape harsh Roman prison’s and that was the reason he was put to death. But really, how can anyone know for certain? According to legend Valentine himself sent the very first ‘valentines’ card, it is legend that he fell in love with his jailor’s daughter after she began to visit him in prison. It is alleged that he sent her a letter and he signed it “From your Valentine” which we all know is how the majority of Valentine’s messages are signed today.
So here is where history, legend and myths becomes entwined; some believe that Valentines day is celebrated to commemorate Saint Valentines death and burial which some believe occurred in AD. 270. While others think that Valentines day is all down to the Christian Church who it is said moved their St Valentines Feast day to the middle of February so that they could ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
Dedication To The Goddess.
The fertility festival of Lupercalia was a dedication to the goddess Faunus, this usually occurred from the 13th to 15th of February. This wasn’t so much as a celebration of even a festival, what went on during Lupercalia was more a ceremony which heavily featured animal sacrifice and an awful lot of nudity. In one source it says that they were shepherds and in others it says a secret order of Roman priests; The Luperci – anyway whoever they were, they would gather where the infants Romulus and Remus were believed to have been cared for by the she-wolf otherwise known as Lupa. Once in the sacred cave copious amounts of wine would be drunk followed by various animals being sacrificed; a goat for fertility and a dog for purification both animals would be males as these had strong sexual instincts. After the men would then strip, don the animal hides and run through the fields, village street wherever they lived basically and slap the women they wanted with the blooded hides, the women would be very swiftly married off by the priest who was watching over the ceremony and…..well, I think you can gather what comes next. I, for one am very pleased that this doesn’t happen today, but then again would we ladies really allow this to happen? I doubt it!
Towards the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I ended up banning the Lupercalia festival which had already started to fall out of favour with some in the upper echelons of society. He established Saint Valentines day on the 14th February what he thought of as a more Christian holiday instead of a pagan/heathen ritual. This whole new holiday didn’t really establish itself until the 14th century which then saw Valentine’s greetings become more popular. The oldest known valentine still in existence today which is a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.
“Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…”
Charles, Duck of Orleans 1415
The Chaucer Effect.
During my research for this post I have found numerous sites that state that Valentines Day wouldn’t be the day of romance as we know it today if it wasn’t for Geoffrey Chaucer. It is said that the author of the Canterbury tales brought the concept of love being connected to Valentines Day and then there are some who believe that Chaucer was the all out inventor of the day. Whether or not that part of the tale is true, no one will ever know, it depends of what you want to believe but one thing is for certain that Chaucer’s poem ‘Parliament of the Foules’ is thought to be the very first written poem which ties both love and romance with Valentines Day, it was the following verse which leads historians to believe Chaucer was the creator of Valentines Day.
“For this was Saint Valentine’s day, when every bird of every kind that men can imagine comes to this place to choose his mate...”
Cards and Love Notes.
Even though the above notes and poem were popular and did start of the sharing of little love notes, exchanging Valentines Days cards or Love notes didn’t actually become popular in Britain until the 18th century The first Valentine cards were initially hand made – but then again why are we surprised, they didn’t have mass manufacturing and machines spitting a hundred out a minute in those days. Everything was more well thought out, lovers would decorate paper with romantic symbols which would have included flowers and love knots. They often would have included a puzzle or a few lines of poetry along with their card. Isn’t that sweet? I love how much thought they put into them, how they thought of the recipient. Once finished the cards would then be secretly slipped under you ‘valentines’ door, or even tied to the door-knocker with ribbon. It was during the Georgian era when pre-printed cards started to appear, at the time they weren’t as popular as the more lovingly hand-made ones but that was all about to change and soon pre-printed cards as we know are all the rage. Not just cheap but convenient for today’s all go society!
The oldest surviving examples of one of these cards dates back to 1797, it is currently held by the York Castle Museum and was sent by Catherine Mossday to a Mr Brown or London, it is decorated with little flowers and the images of cupid and a verse around the border which reads :
Since on this ever Happy day,
All Nature’s full of Love and Play
Yet harmless still if my design,
‘Tis but to be your Valentine
As we all know once the Victorian age arrived there was so much change, there was rapid advances in manufacturing and technologies that it became easier then ever before to mass produce Valentine’s cards, which soon became very popular. It is thought that by the 1820’s at least 200,000 Valentine’s cards had been circulated around London alone. Once the Uniform Penny Post was introduced in 1840 the amount of cards being sent and received just doubled. Victorian cards tended to far more elaborate, with fancy paper, lace work, embossing and various other intricate designs and as today the elaborate the design the more expensive the card and obviously there were some – just like today- that would have measured just how much their special someone loved them by how they would have spent on the card. Which I have always thought that to be a little uncomfortable thinking, what does it matter how much a card costs? It’s the thought that counts, right? One that didn’t feature on the Victorian cards was the huge red heart that is so synonymous to how we see love and valentines today. But, whatever they had on them, or however elaborate they were they came from the heart of someone who loves another very dearly.
But, that was not always the case when it came to the Victorians!
They created the not so romantic ‘Vinegar Valentines’ which it’s name literally speaks for itself, these weren’t lovey-dovey they were basically insult cards. They usually mocked the man’s profession of the woman’s appearance in some way, it is said that some of these cards were incredibly horrible – a bit like a poisonous pen letter. One of the few surviving ‘Vinegar Valentines’ which lives in the University of Birmingham features a lady with a large nose on the front with the tag line which said ‘Miss Nosey’ with the following rhyme:
On account of your talk of others’ affairs
At most dances you sit warming the chairs.
Because of the care with which you attend
To all others’ business you haven’t a friend.
By the mid-19th century the concept of sending your loved ones Valentines cards literally blew up and started to take on the form which we are more accustomed to, especially once it across the Atlantic to America. Cards rapidly gained popularity there, where they were initially advertised as a British fashion, advanced American technologies meant that more elaborate cards were produced cheaply. In 1913 Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine’s card, representing a key development in the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day and the beginning of what we know see as Valentines day.
And thus, we have gone full circle, I don’t know about you but today’s overly commercialised and cheaper valentine’s just don’t have the same appeal as the lovingly hand-made Georgian ones do.
Before, I go because this post has run on far longer then I expected – Did You Know?
Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.