Showing posts with label Lake District. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lake District. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Taking Sides, my third novel - out as an ebook TODAY

Taking Sides, my third novel, is published as an ebook for the first time today. It’s got a snappy new cover and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that readers will enjoy it.

The star of the book is Juliette Ward, a young mother who has grown tired of city life. Her newspaper job is driving her crazy, her hours are horrendous and she barely gets to see her young son during the week. Added to which, her house has been burgled three times and her car’s been vandalised by a bunch of thugs. 

So Juliette takes a deep breath, chucks in her job and persuades her husband to uproot to the wilds of the Lake District. Except just as they’re about to move, he’s offered the job of his dreams – hosting a new London breakfast show.

I got the idea for the book from the ever-increasing number of couples forced to live apart from their partners during the week – not because they want to but because they can’t get jobs in the same place.

Juliette, for instance, loves the thought of swapping the big city for life in the country. But she hates the idea of swapping her stable marriage for a long-distance relationship. She decides to give it a go, but the question is – can she ever make it work?

Taking Sides by Emma Lee-Potter (Piatkus Entice, £3.99)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Don't panic! Ideas for Christmas presents

Help! I thought I was completely organised, but as usual I’ve rifled through all the secret carrier bags stashed under the bed and realised I haven’t cracked Christmas at all.

But in a bid to make everything easy I hit on the idea of buying my extra presents from one shop. And where better than Blacks? The stores sell everything to do with the great outdoors – tents, camping equipment and waterproof clothes.

I’ve been a fan of Blacks since I bought my first pair of walking boots in their Keswick branch – more years ago than I care to remember. I’d just met my one-day-to-be husband and he’d invited me for a weekend in the Lake District. He met me at Penrith station and asked whether I’d brought walking gear with me. “Of course,” I replied jauntily. “I’ve got a pair of plimsolls in my bag.”  He was horrified, of course, and insisted that we stopped off en route to buy a sturdy pair of walking boots. They were navy blue, blissfully comfortable and perfect for striding up Catbells. I still wear them to this day.

But back to my Christmas ideas. This is what I came up with. For my coffee-addict husband, a stainless steel mug he can fill with his favourite espresso. He can stick it in the car on long journeys and it will stay piping hot.

For my 21-year-old daughter, who’s studying in Paris this year, this brilliant red sleeping bag. As well as taking it to festivals next summer, it’s just the thing for friends arriving to stay for the weekend (me for one!)

For my 18-year-old son, this brilliant cash capsule. It’s a keyring with a capsule large enough to hold a £10 note – so perfect for emergencies.

And I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t resist this stylish Dad’s Army enamel mug for myself. During the frantic lead-up to Christmas, the message emblazoned across it is very apt. DON’T PANIC!
This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Do 12-year-olds really need beauty treatments?

A glorious Lake District hotel is just about the last place I’d expect to start offering facials, massages and manicures to the over 12s.

I’ve been to Armathwaite Hall lots of times. A magnificent castellated manor house with lawns bordering the shores of Lake Bassenthwaite, it has views as far as the fells and the dramatic peak of Skiddaw beyond. My in-laws held their golden wedding anniversary party there and the hotel did them proud.

But I’d have thought Armathwaite Hall would have had more sense than to launch a teen spa. The hotel is offering everything from 30-minute make-up lessons for 12 to 14 year-olds (at £28 each) to a £150 “just be together” package for a parent and their teenager. The name is as cringeworthy as the idea.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned but there’s just one thing the over 12s should be doing in the Lake District – and that’s enjoying the great outdoors.

A hearty walk up Catbells (above) and along Maiden Moor is one of the best days out in the world – whatever your age. The fresh air is far better for your skin than a facial, while striding up the fells will do more for your well-being (not to mention your thighs) than a massage ever can…

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Lake District - a guide for Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and co

The British papers are reporting that Hollywood superstars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have booked a holiday in the Lake District with their seven children.

Apparently they plan to take Maddox, 11, Pax, eight, Zahara, seven, Shiloh, six, and four-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox to a converted boathouse on the shores of Lake Windermere while Angelina shoots her new movie.

For a family used to jet-setting between glamorous homes in LA, Malibu, New Orleans and the south of France, the rugged, windswept Lakes might seem like an odd choice. But I reckon it’s inspired.

Why? Because there’s so much for children to do. Over the years my two have built rope swings across a stream in the Newlands Valley, cooked supper on camp fires, climbed Causey Pike and mountain biked in Whinlatter Forest. My son managed Catbells when he was five, a feat he was so proud of that he pleaded to climb Maiden Moor the very next day.

It admittedly rains a lot in the Lake District, but there are still loads of places to visit. There’s the Pencil Museum at Keswick, the Windermere Steamboat Museum (where you can see Beatrix Potter’s rowing boat and Captain Flint’s houseboat from the TV adaptation of Swallows and Amazons) and The World of Peter Rabbit, a museum at Ambleside that brings Beatrix Potter’s 23 tales stunningly to life – complete with sights, sounds and even smells.

Best of all, young (and old) fans of Beatrix Potter’s books can visit the real-life places that inspired her. If you gaze out across Derwentwater from the top of Catbells it’s hard not to be reminded of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, which is set there. And if you walk round the Newlands Valley there’s always the thought that Mrs Tiggy-Winkle might magically appear with her washing basket. Beatrix Potter was walking there when she met Lucie Carr, the local vicar’s daughter, and she later wrote The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle for the little girl.

So I hope the young Jolie-Pitts enjoy their Lake District adventure. Even if it rains (and it does rain a lot), they’ll have the time of their lives.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Adele and Lulu and the Lampshades at top volume

Two soundtracks dominated our Cumbrian Christmas.

The first was a stunning compilation of tracks my son thought I’d like (including several by Lulu and the Lampshades – how could you not love a band with a name like that?)

The second was a DVD of Adele live in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. My father gave it to me and it played in a loop for four days on the trot. Luckily we were in the wilds of the Lake District so there weren’t any neighbours to complain, just a few hundred sheep along the valley.
As always, Adele’s performance was sensational. This year’s biggest selling artist, she’s currently recovering from throat surgery and like all her fans I’m crossing my fingers that she gets better as soon as possible.

In between numbers like Set Fire to the Rain (my favourite) and the haunting Someone Like You she sipped warm honey and chatted to the audience about love, heartache and her “ex.”

But the most moving part came when she waved to her best friend Laura in the audience and explained that My Same, a song from her debut album, was dedicated to her pal. As Laura wiped tears from her eyes, Adele recalled how they’d made up after a falling-out. “I called Laura pretty much in tears,” she said, “telling her that I wanted her to be back in my life and that I needed her.”

The 100-minute concert (recorded back in September) was a triumph from start to finish - from Adele’s soulful voice and heartrending lyrics to her inimitable cackle and good-natured banter with her band. I loved it so much I'm going to play it again right now.

PS. Can someone tell me why the jokes in Christmas crackers are so dire? This year’s batch were worse than ever. The only one to raise a faint smile in our house was “what is an underground train full of professors called?” Answer. “A tube of Smarties.” Boom boom!
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