Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Oxford wedding

A vast wooden door, opening straight onto the picturesque high-street - leads into a secret world of cloistered gardens and ancient stone. Yes, I'd finally got my foot inside an Oxford college (and wished I worked harder at school!)

Where erstwhile students can marry......
And this is Sarah, my clever cousin, marrying the musically-gifted Tom.
Don't they look gorgeous?

Here I am with my cousin Gerald - with whom I shared many a happy (!) game of Monopoly when I was growing up.

And here's the dining hall where we ate the delicious wedding breakfast and I kept looking up, expecting to see banks of floating candles or magical happenings occurring around the portraits, because it was just like being on the set of a Harry Potter film.....

Since I'm a romantic novelist, and since Mills & Boon is currently running a competition to find a new writer - would you like to share your experience of Beautiful Weddings You Have Been To? It might inspire some of the entrants.....

Friday, 23 July 2010


I couldn't resist trying out this balletic pose while exploring the beautiful gardens at Nymans, which I mentioned in an earlier post.

Here are some pretty flowers (aka "exquisite herbaceous borders")

This is the surreal house - minus a roof!

And this is what they call a Herm

Are you still with me? Do you like the Herm?

As for the exciting news - it's for all you would-be romantic novelists who are longing to write the most powerful love-story of all time.
Well, now you can.
AND you can get it published.
All you have to do is to enter the fantastic new competition being run by Mills & Boon.
So what are you waiting for?

Monday, 19 July 2010


Here's my lovely daughter, Celia.

And last Sunday, she and I were running for CANCER RESEARCH UK

Southampton Common was sunlit and beautiful and the atmosphere was amazing - with masses of people joining in this very worthwhile fundraiser. Some of the stories we heard were heartbreaking; all of them were inspiring. It made me realise how much in life we take for granted.

(WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU WANT TO KNOW OUR TIME?) Okay, then - it was a perfectly respectable 5 kilometres in 26 minutes (though Celia did a sprint finish ahead of me!).

And now I'm getting stuck into my Russian hero (in a manner of speaking) - who lives in the most sumptuous house in the south of France. I've based it on the fabulous Rothschild Villa - which has possibly the most stunning location in the world. In fact, just looking at it makes my mouth water.

What property has made you swoon with delight?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


7 JULY 2010


Sometimes things happen which surpass even the boundless realms of the imagination - and Monday was one such day.

I'd been weekending in Paris - a wild and wonderful time which involved partying in a garage, getting lost while out jogging by the Seine and having to be rescued by a kindly woman who took me into her home (merci, Laurence!) and visiting Normandy to explore an exquisite Cathedral in Evreux.

I didn't just visit it - but climbed up scaffolding, slithered through trap-doors like a jack-in-the-box and took an escalator which consisted of a mesh cage which juddered up into the sky.

The opportunity to do this came about through the brilliant sculptor Jean Garleita
whose Parisian atelier I visited in January. Currently, he is working his magic on restoring the Cathedral's beautiful sculptures.

And here he is:

See how high I am!

And check this out for the most sublime of views....

This was taken (following a delicious lunch) with Jean and fellow sculptor, Philippe.

And here, in the dreamy gardens outside - is Jean with his cousin - the ever-charmant and hospitable Michele.

It was an awfully big adventure....I still haven't quite come down from the experience.
What was your greatest adventure?