Birthday Bug

I haven’t blogged for about a week, probably the longest break I’ve had since I started blogging just over three years ago. We’ve had a bit of a sickness bug in the house this past week, plus the gorgeous girl had a birthday with various celebrations to plan and enjoy, so it’s been a very busy time.

I even missed my Wednesday Wander last week – I had all good intentions of writing one, but the day just ran away with me. However, I have one planned for tomorrow so will be back to it again.

I haven’t even been able to get out for my usual walks – and I love this time of year. I love the way the sun slants low in the sky, the colours in the clouds and the trees, the last remnants of colour before the starkness of winter arrives. My apple tree still has a few forlorn apples left on it, and there are berries on the bushes – early Christmas decorations, perhaps?

I’ve also been flat out finishing some editing work – Ambeth is getting another instalment soon, as well as some different reading options, so watch this space (or sign up for my newsletter!) for more details.

Hoping to be back to a regular blogging schedule again soon. How is everyone out there? Wishing you all a good week 🙂

 

A Wednesday Wander for Roald Dahl Day

img_1684Today is Roald Dahl day, a celebration to mark what would have been the 101st birthday of the author, so I decided to do a Wednesday Wander with a Roald Dahl connection. I’ve visited Dahl’s grave, seen the footsteps of the BFG leading to it, and spent time in the excellent museum nearby (though took no photographs, sadly). However, I’ve also been to the Headland Hotel in Newquay, Cornwall, where Roald Dahl’s The Witches was filmed, starring Angelica Houston as the Head Witch. Full disclosure: I have posted about this location before. As it was quite a long while ago and I’ve already meandered elsewhere this week, I thought it might be fun to visit again.

img_1700With magnificent sea views overlooking Fistral Beach, the hotel has a storied history. The so-called Newquay Riots took place during the building of the hotel, when local fisherman claimed the land was common land where they had dried their nets for generations. Out of work miners were eventually brought in to complete the build, but arson, looting and general anarchy carried on for several years.

img_1702However, eventually the hotel was completed, and the first guests arrived in 1900. It was considered the height of luxury at the time, and several royals, including King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, stayed there. However, after the Second World War the hotel fell into decline, until the 1970s when it was purchased by the Armstrong family, who restored it to its former glory.

img_1688Since then, the hotel has been used for many TV and film productions, and is also a very nice place to stay. We were lucky enough to spend a few nights there several years ago, and I can recommend the food, the ambience and the spa, as well as the surfboard storage lockers (very handy when catching a wave out front!)

img_1694It’s not a bad place to watch the sun set, either!

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Oh Canada! Happy Birthday to you

Today is Canada Day, the yearly holiday to mark the anniversary of Canada becoming a country. This year, Canada celebrates 150 years. However, 150 years is only Canada’s official age, and does not take into account the centuries of trade and exploration before that, including the founding of the world’s oldest department store, the Hudson’s Bay Company(where both my mother and I worked, though at different stores). It also does not include the rich history of the indigenous peoples, whose culture was almost destroyed by white settlement, millennia of art and language and living with the land dismissed by our more ignorant forebears.

I lived in Canada for fourteen years. It’s where I attended high school and university, where I learned to drive, where many of life’s milestones happened to me. It’s a country I love dearly, where I still have friends, and where I met my husband. I also hold citizenship, so am proud to call myself Canadian on this day.

It is a place of wonders, of glimmering mountain peaks, vast prairies and tumbling waterfalls. Of wildlife fierce, tooth and claw, of people kind and welcoming. Its cities are bright and clean and vibrantly multicultural, and regularly place high on the list of best places to live. Canada has spawned authors and dancers and musicians, actors and directors and doctors and scientists.

It’s not a perfect country – nowhere is. But it’s pretty damn close.

And so today, on its 150th birthday, I would like to say Oh Canada! Happy Birthday to you 🙂


You can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

Wednesday Wander, Sacre Coeur, Paris

sacre-coeur-1It’s my birthday in a few weeks’ time, and I’m very excited about it. Not so much for the event itself – I mean, I still quite like birthdays, but they do seem to be adding up in recent years. The reason I’m so excited is that one of my best friends from Australia is coming for a visit, and she and I are going to Paris for the weekend. We’ve booked rooms in a charming small hotel where we’ve both stayed before, although not at the same time, we have seats on the Eurostar, and really, it’s going to be lovely.

The hotel we’re staying in is not far from the Montmartre district and the imposing dome of Sacre Coeur. There is also a nearby street market where, last time I visited, oranges still with their leaves were piled high on tables, while the scent of fresh bread and raspberries filled the air.

sacre-coeur-2Construction on Sacre Coeur, or Sacred Heart, started in 1875 and was completed in 1914. Built as both penance and memorial for the 1871 defeat of French troops during the Franco-Prussian War, the basilica is located high on a hill overlooking Paris. It’s a beautiful building and the interior is spectacular, with four huge stone angels inside the large dome looking down at the worshippers – however, I wasn’t able to take any photographs. A perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has continued uninterrupted there since 1885, and so for that reason visitors are asked to dress appropriately, be as quiet as possible and take no interior photos, so as not to disturb the worshippers.

The view outside is also spectacular, and you can see Paris in all directions. My then four-year-old daughter took the photo below – I think the view impressed her too.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Paris again, and hope to visit a few other destinations this year. Of course, I’ll share them with you. Thanks for coming on this Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Birthday

IMG_0950

I’ve just realised that this week marks a year since I started blogging.

Things have changed quite a bit in that time. When I started blogging I was hoping to post something once a week, and mostly about writing. Now I try and post two or three times a week, and have expanded my focus to encompass more of my life and who I am.

I also had no followers. Now I have quite a few but, more importantly, I’ve connected with a wonderful group of people who read and comment regularly, which I really enjoy and appreciate. And some of you have even been kind enough to buy a copy of my book! I love to write, and it’s been a real pleasure so far to be able to share my ideas and work with you all.

I’ve also published my first book, Oak and Mist. Part one of a six part series, it’s the culmination of nearly three years’ work. A lot of people contributed to the process, including some generous bloggers out there whose advice and encouragement have meant a great deal.

To celebrate, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of my most popular posts over the last year. And here they are, in no particular order:

Making Salad With Anais,

Believe

But…

Clearing My Mind

Published!

The Joy of Reading

Treasure Hunting

A Mystery From the Sea

It’s been a wonderful year! Thanks to everyone for visiting, reading, following and commenting 🙂

xx