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.
Happy Belated Burns Night – or should that be day? I never know! But, never mind me pondering over something that I presume isn’t really important let me carry on with this post. I was going to post this yesterday, when it was actually Burns Night, but as happens when your wanting to do something at that very minute your internet decides at that point it’s not playing and shuts out…Grrrr!! Anyone else have the same trouble? I’m sure it can’t just be me that has constant Internet/Wifi issue’s, but never the less I’m here now.
So what is Burns Night? I’ll give you a bit of a low down, from the perspective of a Sassanach – get what I did there? 😉 if your an Outlander fan you will. So Burns Night is a National Scottish grand supper which celebrates the life of Scotland’s very own Bard; Robert (Robbie/Rabbie) Burns, and is always held on or near the birthday of Robbie Burns of the 25th January – and from what I have gleamed from my research for this post, the day itself went through a bit of a transition as what people thought was Robbie Burns birthday actually wasn’t. People thought his birthday was the 29th January that is until someone found his birth record – which apparently was either lost or misplaced and was eventually found in the parish records and that gave the date as the 25th I always knew digging through old archives and parish records was a good thing.
The very first Burns Night supper was on 21st July 1801, which was the fifth anniversary of Robbie Burns death and it was held In memoriam of Robbie in Burns Cottage attended by his close friends. Burns Suppers can either be formal affairs or informal – all dependant on who attending, I suppose. All will include Haggis, Scotch Whisky and recitations of Burns poetry. But one thing that does more or less stay the same whether a formal or informal ‘do’ is the supper running order of the night, each gathering will have key traditional elements.
Burns Night Supper Order
A traditional Burns Night Supper usually follows the old running order, even though it does depend hugely on the gathering, a smaller more informal supper may not be as rich in historic traditions as the more formal gathering which I am sharing below. But that doesn’t mean a more informal Burns Night supper isn’t a great thing, because from what I can gather no matter which you attend you are going to have a brilliant night – I really need to get myself to a Burns Night Supper, because they sound amazing!
Piping In The Guests
A big Burns Night supper calls for a piper to welcome guests, at more formal events, the audience will always stand to welcome all arriving guests as the piper plays until the high table or hosts are ready to be seated, which will welcome a round of applause from the guests.
The Chairman/woman – Notice what I did there, why should it always be a Chair ‘man’?/ host or organiser will warmly welcome and introduce the assembled guests and the evening’s entertainment.
The Selkirk Grace
A short but important prayer will be read to welcome in the meal, The Selkirk Grace is also known as ‘Burns’s Grace at Kirkcudbright’. The prayer/poem is often printed in English, but will usually be recited in old Scottish Gailic. I am hearing Jamie Fraser’s Scottish burr at this very minute, and swoon!
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Piping In The Haggis
I so love this part of the supper, and definitely think all of my food needs to be brought in on a silver platter accompanied with a piper – anyone else? Guests will normally stand to welcome the dinner’s star attraction, which will be delivered on a silver platter by a procession which will comprise the chef, the piper and the person who will address the Haggis. I love that; Address the haggis! A whisky-bearer will also arrive to ensure the toasts are well lubricated. During the procession, guests clap in time to the music until the Haggis reaches its destination at the high/hosts table. The music stops, everyone takes their seats and wait in anticipation of the address ‘To the Haggis’
Address To The Haggis
The honoured reader now seizes their moment of glory by offering a fluent and in some cases entertaining rendition of ‘To The Haggis’ The reader will have their knife poised at the ready then on cue cut the casing along its length, making sure to spill out some of the tasty gore within. It is now said that before the Haggis is piped in the chef or reader will make a tiny slit in the skin which will allow all the built up steam to escape as they have been cases of people becoming scalded with bits of Haggis juices and food by over enthusiastic reciters. Ad a trip to the first aid kit will definitely spoil all the fun. Again once the pipes have piped, the recital been read and the Haggis been sliced another round of an applause will go up before the meal starts.
Toast To The Haggis
The audience will then gather together and as one will make a toast to the haggis. They will all raise a glasses and shout: The haggis! Then it’s time to serve the main course with its traditional companions, neeps and tatties. In larger events, the piper again leads a procession carrying the opened haggis out to the kitchen for serving; and all the while the guests will clap as the procession departs.
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that o’re his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whistle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thristle.
Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!
The meal will be served and then devoured while in the background music will play, not as though the music will be heard over the clamour of utensils on dishes and people talking and all out having a jolly good time. Or like me who once there is food in front of me you dive on it like a starving jackal, before anyone else gets it – or maybe that is just me, I never did say I was refined. The traditional meal will consist of the following:
Starter of traditional cock-a-leekie soup, which is followed by the Main course of Haggis, neeps & tatties. Then there is the Sweet course which consists of Clootie Dumpling (a pudding prepared in a linen cloth or cloot) or Typsy Laird (a Scottish sherry trifle). A Cheeseboard with bannocks (oatcakes) and tea/coffee follow.
Off course it is of no surprise that liberal lashings of wine/ale and whisky will be served with dinner and it’s often customary to douse the haggis with a splash of whisky sauce, which will be made with neat Whisky, no watered down trash for Burns Night.
The entertainment, just as with the whole meal itself is one of tradition, each part of the entertainment will follow a well laid out plan. Directly after tehe meal first entertainer will be a singer or musician performing Burns songs such as; My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose or Ae Fond Kiss, and Then We Sever. Alternatively the entertainers could recite one of Burns poems.
The Immortal Memory
This part of the entertainment will see the keynote speaker take to the stage and deliver a oratoration on the life of Robert Burns. The speech usually has a touch of the serious; such as Robert Burns politics, life and religion but there will also be sparkling wit which will paint a picture of Scotland’s beloved Bard. At the finale of the speech the speaker will conclude with the toast; To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns!
Toast to the Lassies
Once all the toasting of the Bard is done with, the next part og the entertainment is what people call the ‘humorous highlight of any Burns Night’ which is designed to praise the role of women in the world today. The toast will be given accompanied by a selective quotation from one Burns’s works and will always be in positive light towards the women, once the speech is done the speaker and men at the supper will toast the women, raising their glasses and say; To the Lassies! I love that part of the whole meal.
Auld Lang Syne
After a bit more speeches and dependant on whether the supper is formal or not, there will be a some traditional dancing – an all round shin-dig is called for at this point the supper will close with a rendition – if a slightly drunken rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
There you are, a brief look into the Burns Night Supper, I hope everyone who celebrated last night had a brilliant night, but before I go here is Jamie Frasier, for no other reason but how can I do a Burns Night/Scottish post without sharing a picture of one of the hottest thing’s that has come out of the Highlands?
I am one of those types of people who no matter how busy and topsy-turvy my life is, I can never keep still, I am always looking for more to do. Really, I am a glutton for punishment; as my great gran used to say. I do like to keep things fresh and try new things out; maybe not in real life as being a full-time carer prevents me from such selfish pursuits, anyone who cares for loved ones knows what I mean by that. Which is why this year I will be starting a couple of new things on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals.
Firstly, I will have a new ‘thing’ on the blog; Off The Bookshelf, which is basically what is says. These will be reviews of the books that I have – yep, you guessed it; on the bookshelf. I thought to mix things up a bit in-between the Arc reviews, I have lined up that I would finally start reading all the books that have been residing on my bookshelf for way too long – both the physical shelf and the Kindle shelf; Honestly it’s ridiculous how many books I’ve bought that I have yet to read. I think I may be addicted to buying books, I just can’t help myself. Only problem is that I forget to read them.
These reviews will be at least every month, dependant on how busy I am. I really like the idea of having this very interactive with my followers so I will be setting up a vote, poll or something on Facebook or Twitter where you all can really get involved, and choose what I read next in the ‘Off The Bookshelf’ section.
Secondly, This year I will be doing a Book of The Month – or something along those lines, I am still tinkering with what to call it at the minute. I will do a feature post about the Book Of The Month, it will have all the links to the book and author. It’s still in the early stages as I iron out the wrinkles as I am still deciding whether to have it has a page too, but one thing for sure; is that I will feature my ‘Book Of The Month’ at the top of the side bar of the blog for all visitors to see and hopefully read for themselves. I do love sharing books in that way, it’s very visual way to recommend books.
I may even open up the Book Of The Month section of the blog to authors who would like to have their books featured on Chicks Rogues and Scandals, if you like the idea then you are more than welcome to get in touch.
So there you go, this year both Off The Bookshelf and Book Of The Month will be up and running on the blog and as always, I would love to know you thoughts on these two ideas.