Last Orders – Allie Spencer

Today’s Last Orders is from the wonderful Allie Spencer and comes with both a blast from the past and a very timely warming cocktail recipe…

“I was a student in York and, if I’m being brutally honest, there were two things that attracted me to the place. The first was that the university was made up of seven colleges, each with its own bar, and this meant a handy, ready-made pub crawl every single night – the only proviso being that you didn’t get so drunk that you fell into the lake in the middle of the campus. (Apart from being a very uncool thing to do, university legend had it that you would be mauled by the mutant fish who patrolled its murky depths, looking for hapless students to drag under to their deaths #truefact.) The other – not wholly unrelated – reason why York seemed a Good Place to Live was that it allegedly had more pubs within its city walls than there were days in the year and, to the eighteen year-old me, brought up in the wilds of rural Devon ten miles from the nearest cocktail shaker, this sounded like just the ticket.      

I can’t say that I visited all 360-odd of them but I did my best and a few still loom large in my memory: there was The Spread Eagle on Walmgate which served chip butties the size of Lichtenstein; Ye Olde Starre Inne, believed to be the oldest licensed premises in the city and whose ghostly residents (still) include a pair of spectral cats who spend their time encouraging customers’ dogs to run, barking madly, slap-bang into the bar; and, my haunt for the last year of studenthood, the Punch Bowl Inn at the bottom of Stonegate. My memories of the Punch Bowl are suitably hazy: a labyrinth of nooks, crannies, snugs, live music, chat, laughter, dark oak panelling and their stand-out drink, guaranteed to warm your cockles on a freezing cold Yorkshire night – the Hot Port Toddy.

You will need:

One, two (or possibly three – flexibility is very important in these matters) measures of port  

One slice of lemon studded with three whole cloves

A heaped teaspoon of brown sugar

Hot water

Pour your measure(s) of port into a heatproof glass and add the lemon. Top up with hot water. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Sip slowly and feel the warmth ooze up from your stomach, down your arms and legs and into your fingers and toes. Repeat until thoroughly defrosted and boozily content. Happy days!”

Thanks, Allie – I can’t think of anything better for a chilly November night!

Allie Spencer’s Summer Nights is perfect to chase away the winter blues.

There’s nothing quite like a holiday with your boyfriend…

Flora Fielding can’t wait for Barney to join her in San Francisco so they can begin their dream holiday. Until Barney dumps her, leaving her stranded. Luckily, Flora’s cousin Bella lives in San Francisco and, with nowhere else to go, Flora pitches up at her door.

As a singer in an Abba tribute band, Bella’s life is a whirlwind of gigs, sparkly jumpsuits and nights on the town. And as Flora gets caught up in the excitement, she doesn’t have time to worry about her broken heart.

In fact, she’s so distracted that before she knows it she’s running along a moonlit beach with a very handsome stranger…

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Last Orders – Julie Cohen

I’m over the moon to welcome Julie Cohen to The Star and Sixpence today, with some memories of her old local.

“Everyone needs a local, and the County Arms used to be mine.

The County Arms was not the most salubrious of pubs. The carpet was worn to threads and the air freshener in the ladies’ toilet dated from circa 1982. The ‘beer garden’ consisted of a rickety picnic table in the car park. And vandals used to wittily remove the ‘o’ from its name on the sign.

CountyArms

But it was one of our favourite places: me and my friends, Kim and Lizi and Jenny. The owners were friendly and cheerful and always up for trading gossip. The regulars (all of them, it seemed, over the age of 80) spoke entirely in private jokes and football scores. The jukebox had plenty of Elvis and the pub was right next to a 24-hour garage so you could buy crisps and dodgy sandwiches to soak up the booze on your way home. It was the kind of pub where you would walk in and the owner would pour you your drink without you having to ask. (Mine was cider: the wine at the County Arms was terrible.)

I used to go there with my friend Jenny every Thursday after aerobics class, and stay till closing. My friend Lizi met her husband there. My friend Kim told us she was pregnant there (we’d guessed from her pint of Coke).

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I set a book there, though in the book I made both the pub and its clientele much grosser. The book was called One Night Stand and it was about a barmaid/writer at a horrible pub called the Mouse and Duck who has a one night stand and gets pregnant but remembers nothing about the father except that he looked like George Michael. In the book, the pub goes from a dingy rathole to quite a nice-looking place, because of the power of the community who meets there.

I was a bit worried about letting the County Arms owners know I’d written about their pub so disparagingly, but I needn’t have been. They loved it. They loved their pub, and so did we.

But the County Arms didn’t fare as well as the Mouse and Duck in my novel. Like so many other pubs, it had to close. The building, a lovely 1930s structure, became derelict. A body was discovered there. It was declared a fire hazard. And then it was torn down.

But a pub isn’t just a building; it’s a community and it’s memories. The regulars have become regulars in other pubs. Although my pub-going days are much fewer, I see the old regulars sometimes and we always say hello and trade memories of the Arms. Jenny moved to Vancouver and had triplets, and I miss her a lot. But when I walk past the empty spot where the pub used to be, I always think of Jenny and Lizi and Kim. I think of the two pints of cider that used to wait for Jenny and me there on the bar on a Thursday. And I always smile. The first pint always tasted the best, because the first pint was the welcome home.”

Thanks, Julie! I love the idea that a pub is a community – The Star and Sixpence definitely aspires to that.

Julie’s latest novel, WHERE LOVE LIES, has been shortlisted for both the RNA Romantic Novel Award, and for Romantic Read of the Year. Heat magazine calls it ‘’Gripping, intriguing, unique and gut-wrenchingly poignant….brilliantly original.’

Where Love Lies pb cover small

She’s on Twitter as @julie_cohen and her website is www.julie-cohen.com.

Last Orders – Louise Marley

Louise Marley Pub I’m welcoming lovely Louise Marley to the blog today, with a glimpse of the pubs of her youth. And do scroll down to the end to read the description of her latest book, which is perfect for Friday 13th…

“Although I now live in Wales I grew up in Hampshire, where every village had a pub – or six! Nightclubs were expensive, so my friends and I would head to a different pub each Saturday night, taking it in turns to be the designated driver. There was the Swordfish, surrounded by pine trees and overlooking the sea, and the Belle Vu, which we loved for the long list of cocktails we never quite got to the end of. The Rising Sun, beside the River Hamble at Warsash, was handily within walking distance, but my favourite was the Lone Barn at Bursledon.

As the name suggests, the Lone Barn was a real 19th century barn, which had been moved brick-by-brick from Winchester and relocated beside another pub called the Fox & Hounds. It was very rustic, with farming tools hanging up around the walls, a flagstone floor and a couple of stuffed owls perched up high on the exposed oak beams. At least, I hope they were stuffed – they certainly never moved! The seats were either hacked from wooden barrels or on long wooden benches, and every Easter a hot cross bun would be nailed to one of the beams for good luck. Where the Belle Vu had fancy cocktails, with more piña than colada, the Lone Barn’s speciality was fruit wines, with every flavour you could imagine. And we managed to work our way through every single one!

 

The Lone Barn made such an impression it eventually made it into Smoke Gets in Your Eyes as ‘the Stables’. Unlike the Swordfish and the Belle Vu, which were both turned into flats, the Lone Barn is still there, slightly smarter now, as part of a pub/restaurant chain.

Apart from the exotic alcohol, I suspect the main appeal of visiting all these pubs was the chance to meet a prospective boyfriend – infinitely preferable to dating one of the boys we’d been at school with! Ironically, when I did finally meet the man who was to become my husband, I didn’t meet him in a pub or a nightclub – I met him in a Jacuzzi!

But that’s a whole other story!”

Thanks, Louise! Now I’m wondering whether there should be more than one pub in Little Monkham…

 

Louise Marley writes romantic comedy and romantic suspense. She lives in Wales, surrounded by fields of sheep, and has a beautiful view of Snowdon from her window. Her first published novel was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which was a finalist in Poolbeg’s Write a Bestseller competition. She has also written articles for the Irish press and short stories for UK women’s magazines such as Take a Break and My Weekly. Her latest book is Something Wicked.

Website: http://www.louisemarley.co.uk/

Blog: http://www.louisemarleywrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LouiseMarley @LouiseMarley

Something Wicked

Katrina Davenport has opened a coffee shop and bookstore at the notorious Raven’s Cottage, once the home of a 17th century witch known as Magik Meg. The locals have told Kat stories, of how the cottage is haunted by the witch and her demon lover, but Kat doesn’t believe in witches, or ghosts, or anything going bump in the dead of night. Every strange occurrence must have a perfectly logical explanation.

Unfortunately it doesn’t really matter what Kat believes, because something wicked has returned to Raven’s Cottage.

And this time it’s come for Kat.

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Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00R4HDZMW

Amazon USA:

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Wicked-Louise-Marley-ebook/dp/B00R4HDZMW

 

Last Orders – Sue Moorcroft

Sue M A very warm Star and Sixpence welcome to Sue Moorcroft, who is taking us on a trip to another fictional watering hole today…

“Blaggard’s Bar

I can’t show you a picture of Blaggard’s Bar in Camden Town, London, because it exists only in my head and within the pages of my next book.*

Blaggard’s Bar is in Camden High Street, not far from the markets, and its midnight blue door spangled with stars opens onto a noisy, crowded bar. As it’s Christmas, the rough-hewn wooden pillars are strung with fairy lights and mistletoe tied with red and black ribbon. Blaggard’s is about crowds and diversity; suits mixing happily with gothic black or steampunk satin. It’s always full, getting served is a battle, but nobody minds because it’s such a buzzy place to be.

Ava Blissham loves Blaggard’s Bar so it’s not surprising she chooses to begin her story there, over a couple of glasses of her favourite Zinfandel Rosé (she loves its delicate colour). Blaggard’s is a mixed experience, that evening, though. She does finally get to meet her best friend’s boss, Sam ‘the big important man’ Jermyn, but also has a scary encounter with her drunken ex-boyfriend, Harvey, in a dusty corridor with dirty walls and crates of empty bottles smelling of stale beer.

Blaggard’s Bar is suddenly not the haven Ava’s always thought it. Harvey knew he’d find her there. Its happy Christmas throng doesn’t deter Harvey from threatening and trying to humiliate her. For once, Ava cuts her evening at Blaggard’s short.

*Scheduled for publication in September 2016 with Avon HarperCollins UK. I can’t yet tell you the title but it’s likely to include the words ‘Ava’ and ‘Christmas’.”

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes.

Website: www.suemoorcroft.com.

Blog: https://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/

Facebook sue.moorcroft.3

Facebook author page

https://www.facebook.com/SueMoorcroftAuthor

Twitter @suemoorcroft

Last Orders – Kate Harrison

Kate Birds portrait (C) Chris O Donovan Cropped Today’s Last Orders comes from Kate Harrison, 5:2 Diet superstar and fabulous fiction author. She’s also my go-to guru for all things cocktail-related so I’m delighted that she’s sharing one of her delicious recipes with us below. Enjoy!

“I am a cocktail obsessive.

I can’t tell you exactly when mixed drinks first shook my world: perhaps when I first tasted a bright blue Slush Puppie iced drink, laden with unknown ingredients and icy promise. 

Then again, it might have been in the dodgy night club where I worked aged 18, where we made cocktails from day-glo ‘fruit’ sachets mixed with Smirnoff. Well, it was the late 80s, the decade that style forgot.

Thankfully my tastes and cocktail culture have evolved since then. We’re enjoying a cocktail renaissance, thanks to Sex and the City, Mad Men and a few New York bartenders who went back to the golden age of 100 years ago to reinvent the drinks I now love: classics like sidecars, white ladies and rickeys, plus their modern versions, featuring smoke, foams and outlandish stories.

We even named our puppy after Bond’s famous Vesper Martini. And she is never shaken, and cannot be stirred before 9am.

Vesper & Vesper (1)

It’s the stories behind cocktails I love, the sense that you’re drinking something that might have been tasted by hundreds or thousands of others, around the world. As a woman with boobs, twenties flapper style has always appealed but never suited me: this way I can experience that era without looking like a sequinned sausage.

A great cocktail is also about the setting, the bar or pub and location where you’re sipping, and the skill and charm of the bartender who serves you.

So when Holly asked for ideas for her first cocktail at the magical Star and Sixpence, I had to oblige… the crème de violette is an exotic, historic ingredient, with its parma violet taste and pale blue hue it gives. You might have tasted it in an Aviation, with its summer sky colour and suggestion of the past: but it’s only nice in the smallest quantities.

At home, I think you can’t beat a simple White Lady, a cloudy and ghostly version of the basic ‘sour’ which is the basis for hundreds of drinks. I’m also planning to make a pink lady for Christmas with my home-made damson gin.

A few tips: don’t even think about using bottled lemon juice in this drink (or any, in fact). It’s pretty sour, and if you have it, you can add sugar syrup, or an egg white to fluff it up: just add those to your shaker.

From all my experimentation, I have one life-changing cocktail tip: chill out. Ice was essential for a Slush Puppy and it’s even more so with a cocktail. Chill your glass with an ice cube or two first and you’ll be halfway there.

Iced glasses
2015-05-30 19.00.39 White Lady

2 measures London Dry Gin

1 measure triple sec (e.g. Cointreau)

1 measure fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 measure sugar syrup or an egg white (optional)

Shake with plenty of ice in any covered container – even a large jam or Kilner jar will do. You’ll hear the sound of the drink change subtly – at least 30 seconds should do it.Serve in small, iced glasses: the ghostly colour needs no garnish but a twist of lemon can be a pretty addition.

Cheers!”

Thanks, Kate! I can honestly say that writing The Star and Sixpence has converted me to The Way of the Cocktail. And happily, I have all the ingredients for this one!

Kate’s most recent fiction is the mouthwatering A Batch Made in Heaven.

Could the Pudding Lake Bakery reveal the recipe for true love? From the author of the 5:2 Diet, a delicious romance previous published as The Bride Hunter.

Is there a recipe for true love? Becca Orchard believes the ingredients are science, psychology and faultless date planning. It’s a formula that’s made her one of the most successful match-makers in London.

Craft baker Adam Hill is more interested in recipes for bread than love: at his Pudding Lane Bakery in the heart of the City, he mixes old and new to create irresistible food, from Elizabethan Maids of Honour to flowerpot rolls.

But then Becca the Bride Hunter sets Adam up with one of her most awkward clients – and in the chaos that follows, she begins to wonder if she knows anything about finding the perfect match.

Final Batch Made in Heaven cover Nov 2014

Welcome to The Star and Sixpence

I’ve been busy vlogging! Here’s one to welcome you to The Star and Sixpence.

Last Orders – Jan Jones

JanJones

Today’s guest is the very lovely Jan Jones, with a Last Orders blast from the past…

“After A-levels, I got a job as a trainee computer programmer for British Gas at the London Research Station just off the Kings Road. I was an experiment (they’d never employed programmers below degree level before), and as such they weren’t entirely sure what to do with me. They scratched their heads and gave me to a cheerful Liverpudlian engineering student who worked in the computer department during the summer holidays. “Copy Rollo,” they said. “He’ll teach you Fortran, tell you what to work on and check you’re doing it right.”

Shadowing Rollo meant going to the social club at lunch times. This was on the other side of the site, amongst the warehouses, plant and machinery sheds. The old hands took one look at me – eighteen, mini-skirted, just out of an all-girls grammar school – and told me non-plant employees could join, but it was a condition of membership of the social club that they took a turn on the bar rota now and again and was that all right by me? It didn’t occur to me for ages that I seemed to do a lot more lunch times behind the bar than the other people who used it. I was really very gullible in those days.

The bar manager was Edward. Deep-chested, deep voiced and with a vast ginger beard, I think he was a physicist in real life. He watched me carefully that first shift until he was satisfied I could add up the orders accurately, carry a tray without dropping it, pull a pint without ruining it, and wash up (it’s worth mentioning that my bar training was FAR more vigorous than my programming training).

So… scene set, characters sorted. Still with me?

On Thursdays, last orders were always called early, because we needed to leave by two o’clock when the payroll truck arrived (the plant employees being paid in cash). The barrier between the Works and the Offices then came down and we couldn’t get back to our labs until the security van had been unloaded and the barrier was up again. This could take between twenty-five and forty minutes. One Thursday, we’d been busier than usual, but had just finished when –

          “Payroll van,” said Rollo, looking out of the window.

          “Oh dear,” sighed Edward, without any discernable show of regret

          I dashed across to the window to see the barrier descending. “Oh no,” I said, aghast. “What do we do now?” (I was law-abiding as well as gullible in those days.)

          “Wait it out,” said Rollo, trying to look stoical. He and the fourth member of the bar shift (possibly a bloke called Graham) glanced at Edward hopefully.

          “Yes,” said Edward, “Yes, I think so.” From a small crate in one corner, he gently extracted a dusty bottle of beer. “Locked-out perks,” he said, tilting the bottle so I could read the label. It was Imperial Russian Stout, of which I had never heard. He got four of the posh glasses from the top shelf, looked at me judiciously, as if assessing me for dosage, and poured me an inch-and-a-half from the bottle before sharing the rest of the bottle between the others.

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  “It’s a bit like Guinness,” Rollo told me.

          Naive I may have been. Stupid I wasn’t. Alerted by my companions’ reverent swallows and slow smiles, I took my first sip with the utmost caution.

          Good thing too. It turned out that describing Russian Stout as ‘a bit like Guinness’ was akin to saying Jersey double cream was ‘a bit like milk’. My eyes widened in shock as warmth rolled along my veins.

         “Another thing we do when locked in,” said Edward thoughtfully, “is to give the shelves a good dust while we’ve got the chance.”

          Yes, I know. I was still gullible. But it was worth it for the Russian Stout. Sadly, this particular beer isn’t brewed any more, but even now, if I catch a glimpse of the clock at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon, I can taste that glorious, chocolatey, velvety, malty liquorice flavour again.

          Oh, and in the two years I worked at the London Research Station, it would have been possible for Health & Safety to have eaten their dinner off the shelves of that social club bar.”

Thanks, Jan! I think The Star and Sixpence should track down a bottle or two of Imperial Russian Stout, for medicinal purposes…

Jan Jones writes novels, novellas, serials, short stories and poetry. She blogs here and is on Twitter as @janjonesauthor. Her most recent romantic suspense novella is Fairlights.

‘Old houses have secrets … sometimes they are not that far back in the past’

The fortified pele tower of Fairlights, with its beacon shining out across the harbour, has guarded Whitcliff by land and sea for centuries. Sorcha Ravell is determined to keep her ancestral home viable by converting it into a hotel, despite friction within the family. She thought she’d recruited the perfect restoration expert in Nick Marten, but he turns out to be dangerously attractive, knows far more about her than she can account for, and is very, very angry.

As the autumnal storms build and the tension rises, Sorcha must overcome a paralysing physical fear and confront a terrifying mental enigma. What happened years ago on the treacherous pele stair? When did she lose a strip of memory? She must conquer both in order to lay hold of Nick – and keep him.

Set on the ruggedly beautiful west coast of Cumbria, this breathless, atmospheric short novel finds the heroine battling the elements as well as her own internal demons in order to get her man safely home.

Fairlights Cover MEDIUM WEB

 

Last Orders – Julia Williams

Today’s guest is Julia Williams, who has a lovely story of being in the wrong place at the right time.

“We were newly married, and post honeymoon having spent the first two weeks of married life babysitting my husband’s grandma, delighted to be finally settled into our little house.
It was a two up two down in need of much TLC, and close to the shops, and train station. But more importantly for us it was also opposite a pub which was to become our home from home in the first few years of our marriage (and is still our local some 26 years later!)

In our early days visiting the Railway Guard it was a buzzing lively place, thanks to a brilliant publican who was a natural host, and had the knack of making sure all his punters felt welcome.

So it was that we ended up there one Friday evening after work. Being young and reckless we of course ended up staying for another and another, without getting round to eating. Naturally by the middle of the evening we were pretty smashed and making not a lot of sense.
It therefore came as no surprise to me then, to stagger into the ladies’ and find a very drunk bloke clad in leather washing his hands.
My mishtake, I thought at first, and then, peering myopically around me, no – his.

“What are you doing in the girls’ loos?” I demanded.

“This is the gents,” my leather-clad stranger said confidently.

“No, it really isn’t,” I said pointing to the lack of urinal.

“Oh bugger,” said the stranger “Are you sure?”

“Yup,” I said.

“So sorry,” my new friend said and departed sharpish.

I fell about laughing and came out of the pub to regale my husband with the tale, and thought very little of it, although my husband mentioned it to the landlord, Derek.

About a week later, Derek, who had a wicked sense of humour, called my new bessie over and said, “You see that bloke over there?”

“Yes?” said the biker.

“You owe him an apology.”

“I do? Why?”

“Don’t you remember accosting his wife in the ladies on Friday night?”

“Oh,” said my new friend.

“He’s really cross,” added Derek helpfully.

My new mate immediately went over to apologise to Dave and again to me when I came in the pub. And we’ve been friends ever since.

I’ve had many drunken nights in the Guard since then, but meeting Ashley in the ladies’ has to top the bill for one of the funniest. And possibly one of the unlikeliest beginnings to a friendship that has shaped our lives.”

There’s a bittersweet PS to this story…

“Sadly Ash has recently been diagnosed with cancer and has just undergone 6 weeks of gruelling radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden. As he’s been unable to drink during his treatment I decided to support him by giving up booze for October.

I appreciate that people have lots of claims on their purses, but the Marsden is a very special place, and there are far too many Ashleys.
Thank you so much.”

Thanks, Julia! If you’d like to donate to Julia’s fundraising (I have it on good authority that no drink was taken for the entirety of October) then the link is below:

https://www.justgiving.com/JuliaWilliamsboozefreemonth

Last Orders – Ella Harper

I’m delighted to welcome Ella Harper to The Star and Sixpence today for the inaugural (not to mention delicious) Last Orders post. Over to you, Ella!

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“I love cocktails. Absolutely love them. If I enter a bar that has a cocktail menu, I find it very hard to order a
‘normal’ drink. I like to sample cocktails, find a new one to try.  I adore anything with tequila and I’m a sucker for coconut. But a few years ago, I discovered the delight that is the ‘JAMMIE DODGER’. And I haven’t looked back since.

Now. Technically, a Jammie Dodger isn’t a cocktail. It’s a shot. The origins of this drink appear to be largely unknown (a fact I was unaware of to be honest, but I did some research especially for this piece – and what fun it was). It is believed that this shot was inspired by the famous biscuit of the same name. A very cute biscuit, I always find…two shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with raspberry jam with a sweet little heart cut out in the top biscuit, revealing the jammy centre.

The recipe for a Jammie Dodger is as follows:

chambord¾ shot of Chambord Liqueur

¼ shot of single cream

Rim – decorated with a biscuit crumb (if you’re in a classy bar) or a sugar rim if er…not.

The procedure is as simple as this: Pour the liqueur in and top it with some cream. Over the back of a spoon, if you’re feeling fancy. Dip the rim, add biscuit crumb or sugar. Or don’t bother if you don’t want to – this shot is delicious just as it is. Easy peasy!

It’s not just the taste of these little beauties that makes them so fabulous. It’s the effect. Seriously. These innocuous-looking drinks pack a punch. They’re cute and seemingly innocent, but a few rounds of these and people start losing their inhibitions. They start laughing. And dancing. Honestly, it’s quite hilarious to watch. Well, I’m assuming it’s hilarious; I wouldn’t know because I’m too busy laughing and dancing.

jammie dodgers

On a more poignant note, this drink reminds me of key moments in my life. It’s birthday celebrations, it’s hen parties, it’s fun, girly nights out. Not that this drink is just for girls; I’ve seen many a guy down one of these. And guys love them as much as girls do. A Jammy Dodger is a sweet little drink but it’s a unisex number. Suitable for all occasions. I recommend this shot to anyone and everyone…I’ve converted guys and girls at the bar as I’m ordering…and I haven’t had one negative response to date. Everyone loves this cheeky little shot!

So there you have it. It’s my favourite shot and I hope some of you read this and give it a try. And fall in love with it the way I’m in love with it. And I hope it might become a drink that’s synonymous with great nights out for you the way it is for me. Jammie Dodger. Note it down, give it a try. Go on, you know you want to…”

Thanks, Ella – you’re right, I REALLY want to try one of these now. I mean, it’s practically research if you’re writing a series set in a pub, right?

Ella’s new book, The Years of Loving You, is out now:The Years of Loving You

When Molly is diagnosed with a life changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call best friend Ed in a crisis?

Ed. The very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in very different directions. They could only ever be friends.

Suddenly Molly starts to question every decision she’s ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? Back to the very beginning. When the only certainty they shared was each other …

Happy November!

This time eleven months ago, I was sitting in the Simon and Schuster offices pinching myself because a long-held dream had come true: my first adult book was going to be published.
Who am I trying to kid? I’m still pinching myself and the first novella in The Star and Sixpence series is out in just a few days’ time.

To celebrate, I’m going to be running a series of pub-themed blog posts by fabulous writer friends, giving away some gorgeous winter-themed goodies and there’s a chance to win a Benefit Party Poppers Beauty Calendar if you sign up to my newsletter. There’ll be a vlog post soon too, explaining the inspiration behind the books too. And finally, I’ll be revealing the covers for some of the other books in the series – maybe there’ll even be a vote to decide your favourites.

It’s all happening. See you at the bar, maybe?

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Preorder Snowdrops at The Star and Sixpence here for just 99p

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