Of Gingernut Biscuits and Pirate Doubloons

This July, I won my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo. I feel like I keep participating in these events and failing — which is rather disheartening — so this time I made sure to set myself a realistic goal that I could meet despite having a full-time job, a boyfriend, and a family to placate.  The aim was to write for the equivalent of 1 hour for every day of the month of July. It worked! I smashed it, I had fun, and I’m just that little bit closer to meeting my self-imposed 31st December 2017 deadline for completing a first draft of The Mayor. Hazzah!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Something else cool, my writing partner K.F. Goodacre recently attended a medieval festival called the Loxwood Joust. First of all, can I just say how jealous I am. I love all things medieval (I read Medieval History at University) so it is my fervent hope that I am able to go with her next time. It looked like such amazing fun!

Whilst she was there, she very kindly picked up some homemade gingernut biscuits for me, which were made according to a recipe from the 18th century. The true thoughtfulness of this gesture will be lost on you, Dear Reader, so I will endeavour to explain. Melora  the 18th century protagonist of The Mayor — adores gingernut biscuits. They are her absolute favourite, and I use them as a neat little device for helping her to form bonds with other characters. Kim knew this, so she bought them for me from this festival (not very medieval, I know, but still historical I guess!). They’re so awesome, I’m almost reluctant to eat them. Almost.

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As if that weren’t enough, she also gifted me with a genuine pirate doubloon from a company she has forgotten the name of (I’m trying to find out) who have helped provide productions like Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean with their props. Lookie!

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OK, it’s not actually a doubloon. Real doubloons were made of gold. This is essentially the pirate equivalent of a penny, but it is still beautiful! I love it. It looks very similar to the necklace that my character Nell Shoar wears, wouldn’t you agree?:

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Thank you so much, Kimothy! ♥ I knew you were my writing partner for a reason. Thank you for continuing to inspire and motivate me to write this blasted thing.

Lastly (slightly off-topic) Voltaire’s new album Heart-Shaped Wound dropped on Friday. It. Is. Awesome. Voltaire, for those of you not in the know, is huge news on the Goth scene and his piratey album To The Bottom of the Sea features heavily on the playlist for The Mayor. Decidedly more melancholic and personal than the likes of say, ‘Zombie Prostitute’ and ‘Brains!’, I strongly recommend Heart-Shaped Wound. Please check it out here — it’s on sale and you won’t regret it! It even features the likes of incredible metal vocalist Alissa White-Gluz (now there’s a musical collaboration I definitely didn’t see coming! It’s so good to hear her singing cleans again).

That’s all for now, folks. Take care,

 

S.E. Berrow

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Merry Belated Christmas!

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Me on Christmas morning… do you like my focks?

Once again I find myself bestowing festive greetings upon my followers a full five days after the big event, but better late than never! I hope you all had a simply marvellous time and that Father Christmas brought you lots of lovely, wonderful things ♥

Once again I threw myself upon the mercy of my boyfriend’s family as my own abandoned me for some winter sun. I have been promised that next year things will be different as my mum has put her foot down and demanded a Christmas at home next year (a likely story!).

As is to be expected, I was yet again spoiled rotten, Mark’s mum even going so far as to cook me a delicious nut roast for my Christmas dinner… It was absolutely delicious, and I believe I will be eating the leftovers from now until forever. Thank you so much, Wheeler family!

Some of the beautiful gifts I received:

  • Vaara perfume from Penhaligon’s from Mark’s incredibly naughty mum
  • Some fantastic cookbooks from my parents (including Deliciously Ella Every Day by Ella Woodward)
  • Some money from my nan, which I have used to buy some more perfume from the Body Shop, a new pair of pyjamas, and some new make-up from Kat Von D.
  • A trip down memory lane from my sister in the form of The Great Animal Search (Georgia and I loved this book when we were little, and then my dad accidentally left it behind in a Floridian pizza hut somewhere)
  • A 6-month renewal of my Mr B’s Reading subscription
  • A skull-shaped tea infuser from Mark’s sister
  • A ton of tea from T2

And, the best thing, from my boyfriend who likes to spoil me rotten…

MY DREAM TEA SET ♥

iggy-and-loulou-teaset

I am not kidding you, I took the above photograph back in July for posterity, back when owning this incredible designer teaset by Iggy and Loulou from T2 was but a distant dream. I literally believed that I was photographing art. If it were possible to take my brain and transform it into a tea set, this would be it. Black and white porcelain with rustic etchings of anchors, birds, 18th century dancing figures… the teapot lid even has a skull on top.

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You see this picture here? Unlike the previous image, these photos were taken from inside my own home. That’s right. Thanks to Mark, I am now the proud owner of this incredible tea set! I can’t believe it! What do I do with it? I don’t even know. It’s too beautiful to use. I’ve had to put it away in a box to stop Edgar from smashing it into a million pieces. It needs its own cabinet! It needs to be on display for the whole world to see! Oh my goodness, I’m so excited.

Thank you so, so much, my darling! I love you so, so much and thank you to everyone else for all your thoughtful, wonderful gifts ♥

Tomorrow marks the very end of the rubbish year that has been 2016. As yet my plans are a bit up in the air but, if you guys are going out to celebrate, remember to stay safe as always and I hope that you have a very, very Happy New Year!

Here’s to a more positive and productive 2017. Cheers!

S.E. Berrow

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me…

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 20.47.07A very Merry belated Christmas to you all! I hope you had a simply marvellous time, ate lots of food, drank lots of yummy wine/brandy/liqueurs and gave and received lots of wonderful gifts! Considering that I banned Christmas amongst my friends and family this year (everyone except my boyfriend) due to my being house-poor and unable to afford presents for so many people, I was rather spoiled in return. I really hope things will be different next year so that I can say thank you to everyone for your kindness and generosity over this festive period! Especially to Mark’s family who took me in for the second year in a row on Christmas Day, cooked me turkey and consoled me in the annual absence of my parents, who prefer to spend Christmas in the Caribbean rather than back at home (I can’t think for the life of me imagine why…).

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My colouring so far of Geillis Duncan from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander

Amongst the gifts I did receive, there was a decided theme going on… BOOKS! I received so many books and book-related things that I am just in book-lovers Heaven right now! From my boyfriend alone, I received:

  • Outlander: Season One (Collector’s Edition) on Blu-Ray DVD (based on one of my favourite book series of the same name by Diana Gabaldon)
  • Hardback edition of The Art of Tim Burton
  • Hardback edition of The Napkin Art of Tim Burton
  • Fallout 4 Vault Dwellers Survival Guide (Collector’s Edition)
  • A skull-shaped USB hub
  • Guylian chocolates
  • Chocolate coins

Best of all, he also bought me a Reading Year from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights!!! I am so excited about this gift, I cannot tell you… You’ll just have to read all about it for yourself here! I simply cannot wait for my first book to arrive… ahhhhhhh! ♥

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I love you, Sweetiepie! I’m so grateful to have you in my life x

Snowmen love Erin Nicole Photography
Photo by Erin Nicole Photography

I also received some delicious East India Trading Company teas, some lovely gothic jewellery, an Outlander colouring book, colouring pencils, chocolate, socks, a new outfit (black of course), an old-fashioned globe and stag-design coat-hook for my study, Waterstone’s vouchers, more chocolate and monies.

So as I said… spoiled. Totally and utterly spoiled.

Tomorrow is the final day of 2015 and I plan to spend it chillaxing with my cats and all my lovely new books. If you guys are going out to celebrate, remember to stay safe and have a very Happy New Year!

Take care,

S.E. Berrow

Anniversaries, Corvidae and FIfty Shades of Grey

I’ve had a really lovely weekend. Yesterday was mine and the boyfriend’s one year anniversary. To celebrate, we went out for a Leggara pizza at Pizza Express, followed by a trip to Cineworld to see The Martian. The Martian, based on the book by Andy Weir (which I reviewed on my Goodreads here), is about an astronaut named Mark Watney and his struggle to survive on Mars after he is separated from his crew during a violent storm and left behind. The film was excellent – as good as the book, I would say – and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone!

I have a few gifts to show off from the boyfriend: a beautiful pot of red roses (my favourite flower); a box of chocolates; an absolutely gorgeous necklace called ‘A Murder of Crows’ by one of my favourite companies, Alchemy Gothic; and – hilariously – a copy of E.L. James’ erotica novel, GREY.

Anniversary Gifts A Murder of Crows

This latter gift was a bit of a light-hearted one as I mentioned back in June when it was released that I wanted to read it in order to have an opinion on it. I don’t believe you can truly say a book is good or bad until you have read it yourself, plus I like to be in a knowledgeable position when people start talking about books. I did the same when Fifty Shades of Grey came out, because people were talking about it a lot. Incidentally you can also read my review for Fifty Shades of Grey here (hint: I didn’t entirely dislike it, but it’s worth noting that I never finished the series).

Love you, Mark, my darling ♥ Thank you so much… This year has been incredible, and has gone by so fast!

Breverton's Nautical CuriositiesSomething else I’ve also been doing this weekend… ~*~WRITING!~*~ However, I’ve not been writing the book I was working on whilst on my Annual Writing Retreat with K.F. Goodacre (Salt). Instead I have picked up my magnum opus again; my enormous historical fantasy epic, The Mayor.

Essentially what happened was, whilst out shopping in Spitalfields for my own anniversary gifts, I found this — quite frankly amazing — book called Breverton’s Nautical Curiosities. Alll I had to do was flick through it and my brain became suddenly awash with ideas and inspiration. Love for my characters and a burning desire to tell their story came rushing back, so I bought it, brought it home and attacked my Scrivener file this afternoon with avengeance! I really recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in the Age of Sail and the Golden Age of Pirates like I do. It has everything in it from myths and legends of the sea, to shipping terminology, information on famous pirates and naval slang. The author, historian Terry Breverton, has a couple of other really interesting-looking books too. His Facebook page is here if you want to take a gander (he doesn’t seem to have an official website).

Until next time,

S.E. Berrow


For more information on both The Martian book and film, please follow the below links:

http://www.andyweirauthor.com/
http://www.themartianmovie.co.uk/

For more information on E.L. James and her fourth book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, GREY visit:

http://www.eljamesauthor.com/

‘A Murder of Crows’ necklace by Alchemy Gothic England:

http://www.alchemyengland.com/necklaces/793-a-murder-of-crows.html