Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hot pants and Ball gowns.

When I manage to find the time, I enjoy doing a bit of sewing, dressmaking in particular. And I’ve been looking through my wardrobe recently and somewhere along the line, my clothes seems have all morphed into rather shapeless garments… or sacks by any other name.

Not really sure when this happened. Probably something to do with being pregnant twice in the last four years, which does rather have an up and down effect on a girl’s waistline.

So I’ve been looking through the shops, scrutinizing the high street, even looking up catwalk trends on the internet and I have come to conclusion a pair of ridiculously short shorts are in order. So my pattern has already arrived and I am hoping my material will put in an appearance today, postman willing.

Now I just need to get my legs into shape, legs that have been used to years of wearing floor length dresses and skirts. And the picture below is NOT of my bottom. Sadly.


In the passage below from Braving Madness, Betty proves that you don’t need to show off your legs to get a man’s pulse moving. Sometimes less is more.

Dear Lord, it couldn’t be legal for Betty to dress like that. She’d looked stunning this afternoon but the way her glittering dark blue ball-gown now clung to the slender curves of her legs and gripped her hips like a second skin, was enough to make a man swallow his own tongue.

Edward eased his collar away from his neck with one finger, his skin slick to the touch. The other, more demanding, constriction couldn’t be dealt with in a crowded ballroom with fifty or sixty watchful eyes. Eyes all trained on him, all except hers. Two hours since his arrival at this damned affair and not once had she made eye contact.

In the Dead of the Night

My littlest one isn’t sleeping very well at the moment. And in those small hours of the morning while I’m stumbling around in the dark trying to find the errant dummy, I can’t help but think about the rumour of sleeping through the night. Surely not. Surely no-one could actually sleep for eight hours straight. Surely everyone gets woken up at regular intervals all night long. Just so they can stub their toes, fumble around in the darkness for a missing teddy or discover that the lid has come off the little one’s drink and their whole bed is soaked. Surely everyone has to change sheets in the middle of the night.


If I wasn’t so tired I could probably remember far enough back to know for definite. But such a dream must be just that. A rumour made up to tease the exhausted.

In the following extract from Braving Madness, Edward has slept about as badly as I have.

“Wake up!”

Edward stifled a groan and buried his head below his pillow. He only succeeded in grinding his face into the oaken floorboards, his stubble catching against the grain. Not his best idea.

It couldn’t be morning already. The blankets Wilkins provided had disguised the unyielding nature of the floor about as much as he’d expected. Sleep would have been impossible even without the gale like draft that had appeared the moment he’d put his head to his pillow.

“Lord Carrington, get off that floor immediately!”

Not a command he was used to hearing. He gave an experimental stretch. Every vertebra in his spine clicked. He let out a heart-felt sigh and tried not to think of the soft mattress only a few feet away.

Getting your hands dirty

No cats fancying themselves as escapologists this week I’m afraid. Instead we’ve been taking advantage of the intermittent sunshine and getting a bit of work done in the garden. My garden is only small, nothing like the expanse of pleasure gardens of the tonne, but I still try and fit in as much as I can. So much so in fact that I pruned five wheel barrows worth of cutting this week and I’m currently digging up my front lawn to give me more space for plants. Sun on my back, fork in the soil, (can you call a mixture of stones and clay, soil I wonder) and an eager little helper with muddy hands at my side. What’s not to like?

In the extract below from Braving Madness, Edward might not have muddy hands, but they certainly are eager.

With no regard for the consequences, he stretched out a hand. “And I quite enjoyed our last experiment.”

Like a minx Betty pinched her lips together, dimples showing in her cheeks and swiftly standing, she neatly side-stepped his advance. “Not so fast.” She admonished him with a shake of her fan. “I came in here to avoid wayward hands.”

Edward looked down at his palms spread out before him, pouting his lips into an expression of mock offense. “A poor choice of words, wayward brings to mind disobedient.” He turned his hands over as if examining them for any sign of unruliness before lifting his gaze to meet hers and allowing a grin to trickle across his lips. “And I can assure you my hands would be doing precisely what I wanted them to.”

Coffee and Car Parks

I had a rather unfortunate event yesterday. One of my cats, Max, has trouble with his teeth. A bit of regular tooth brushing would probably do the trick, but I’d rather just scratch my own eyeballs out and save him the bother. Anyway, I took him to the vets yesterday, along with my two little girls in their pram. And that’s where the trouble started. Carrying a cat in a basket as well as pushing a very heavy pram through a rutted car park is no easy matter. The result? I dropped the cage. ImageAnd of course he got out. I wouldn’t have bothered with the story had he just bounced and sat there. No, he got out in a yelping ball of striped fur, and with the girls screaming the obvious, I then spent the next few minutes diving across stones and gravel in an attempt to catch him. It was a close thing. I eventually caught him, by the tail no less, just as he dived over a five foot fence into the unknown. (Did he check before he jumped? Shouldn’t have thought so. Foolish cat.) The result was a rather shook up and submissive cat and me with torn trousers, grazed hands and knees, and deep scratches all down my arms and legs. So deep in fact that my husband insisted a booked a tetanus jab today. So if I don’t post next week assume the worst…


The following extract from Braving Madness shows Betty in an equally slapstick moment, no reason why I should be the only embarrassed one.

Betty grasped Edward’s offered hand and stepped on to the first rung of the carriage ladder. Considering her other hand was holding on to the pewter tankard, it was unfortunate that her hem should chose just that moment to lie exactly where she’d decided to put her foot.

Her dress pulled tight and her back arched with the sudden restriction even as she toppled forward. There was nothing she could do other than squeeze Edward’s hand as if he was her one chance not to be sent sprawling across the courtyard accompanied by a steaming arc of aromatic coffee and a tankard bereft of its contents.

 And she wanted that coffee. Possibly even more than she didn’t want to end up with her face on the ground.

A Glimpse in the Mirror

I’m going to cheat this week and just post a double length snippet as I am busy on my holidays with the important task of sand castle making… Enjoy.

He’d forgotten all about the mirror.

It was completely underhanded to look; a despicable, contemptible thing to do. Appalling even, or worse, it was dishonourable. He sank back to his chair with his teeth gritted and his gaze averted from the reflection.

He lasted about ten seconds.

Perhaps a peek wasn’t really so bad. One of the essential perquisites of being a rake was that rakes were allowed to bend the rules, providing no one found out, of course.

He looked back to the mirror.  She was standing with her back to him, one arm outstretched with her fingers touching the rolled edge of the copper bath. Her hair had been unpinned and had fallen forward over her shoulders, leaving only a single short curl resting against the nape of her neck.

Poor defenceless little curl, it wasn’t fair to leave it all alone. He wanted to run his finger along the glossy ringlet’s length, allowing the strands to momentarily twist and claim him.  

The rest of her was out of view; there was only a teasing glimpse of her shoulder before the flawless ivory ran into the tarnished frame of the mirror. Edward would have given his right foot to have a bigger mirror. He straightened up, glad for once for every inch of his height, and craned his neck to an unnatural angle.

The mirror’s image dropped to reveal Betty in all her glory. Well, not as much of her glory as he would have liked, but the undergarments certainly showed a lot of promise: an alluring creation of peak silk damask, figured with roses and trimmed with a delicate hint of lace.

Edward approved.