Vertigo 42 @ Tower 42, London

One thing I am rather partial to is a view of London. However, a view of London with some champagne thrown into the mix? That I love!

Last night we went to the Vertigo 42 champagne bar which, funnily enough, sits on the 42nd floor of Tower 42, just near Liverpool Street. I can definitely think of worse ways to spend a Thursday night! x

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

Thank you to Jennifer Joyce for nominating me, along with Jaimie Admans and Kyra Lennon, to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Jennifer is the author of A Beginner's Guide to Salad; find out more about her on her blog. As part of the tour, I'll answer the following questions and then nominate three other writers to take part.

1. What am I working on? 
I'm currently working on the sequel to my debut novel (Kept): Lost. Find out what happens to Arielle now she's back in London and engaged to Piers...

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
My characters face real-life situations and don't deal with them in a clichéd or predictable way.

3. Why do I write what I do? 
I write what I do because I love the genre and making a 'happily ever after' happen. {^_^}

4. How does my writing process work? 
I used to write the first draft by hand, which was a bugger to then have to type up(!), but now I write my first draft straight on to the computer. Once I'm a draft or two away from being happy with the book I commission my cover and plan my launch. It's then off to my Editor to tidy it up and check for those pesky errors, before the book goes out to bloggers for advanced reviews.

I nominated Holly Martin, Erin Emerson and Suzy Turner to take part next Monday but time run away with everyone and only Holly sent her bio across in time. Here she is!

Holly Martin
Holly Martin has been writing for four years. Her second novel Changing Casanova and her third novel The Chainsaw Masquerade were both shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance 2012.

She won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition and her story One Hundred Proposals was published in the Sunlounger anthology alongside her favourite authors Belinda Jones, Miranda Dickinson and many others. Sunlounger 2 will be out this summer and Holly is writing for that too.

Her fantasy adventure Young Adult book, The Sentinel, was published on October 16th and hit three different bestsellers lists within twenty four hours. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 and her winning story The Guestbook was published on Valentine’s Day.

Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall

I've never been to the Royal Albert Hall. Well, of course I've walked past it, but I've never actually been inside it. At the weekend that changed when I went to see the last show of Cirque du Soleil's Quidam with Olly and my best friend who was visiting us from Milan. (It's heading to Belgium from London and will be in Brussels from February 27th.)

The Royal Albert Hall dates from 1871 and was commissioned by Queen Victoria. The Albert in question was, of course, her beloved husband, and there's also a memorial to him opposite the Hall. It's all pretty impressive looking. Speaking of impressive and another first, this was the first time I'd ever watched Cirque du Soleil.

Now, Cirque du Soleil are the incredibly amazing circus act but they are so much more than a mere circus (and there's not an animal in sight). They make their acts look effortless, or make you ponder how they do that - sometimes they do both!

The banquine was my absolute favourite act, which involved fifteen of the troupe doing the most incredible acrobatics. I wasn't so sure about the plot of Quidam - it was somewhat bizarre at times - but the show was certainly spectacular and the live music was dramatic, often haunting, and always outstanding. (You can have a listen here.)

I'd definitely go and see another Cirque du Soleil show as reviews suggest that Quidam isn't as strong as the others; The Beatles LOVE is one I've wanted to see for a long time. Seriously, just watch the trailer and see for yourself. Now, I just need a reason to go to Las Vegas...

Have you seen Cirque du Soleil? x

A wedding at Hever Castle

The other weekend we headed to Hever Castle, Kent, for a family wedding - Olly's sister was finally getting married after a year long engagement. This was the first time I had been to Hever, which is just a ridiculously gorgeous place and is absolutely perfect for a wedding. I can see why they wanted to get married there!

History buffs might think Hever Castle sounds familiar, and it should - it was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, though the Castle dates from around 1200. (The Tudor period when Anne was around spans from 1482 to 1603.)

Anne though was originally Anne Bullen - when the family came back to England from France, Bullen became Boleyn, and that's the name we use today. She, of course, was one of Henry VIII's many wives and the reason Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church, and the King did stay at Hever on occasions:

The castle itself dates from various centuries, with the newest part being The Astor Wing - this was built in 1903. This is where the bedrooms are, which is where we stayed over. Our room was one of the feature rooms, which had a gorgeous four poster bed, and each room is unique.

The ceremony took place in the Inner Hall, which was originally the kitchen in Tudor times. Look how happy and proud they look - it's a stunning venue, fit for a stunning couple. {^_^}

I got to see parts of Hever Castle which usually aren't open to the general public and, of course, parts that are. Below is the drawing room, which has a hidden drinks cabinet in the panels, and then there's the library. You might be able to make out a door at the back which leads through to a room which has over 2,500 books in it - that's my sort of room!

After the wedding breakfast and speeches in the beautiful Tudor dining suite, we moved down to the Guthrie Pavilion. The amazing Frank the Cat were the band that kept us all on the dance floor, fueled on by drinks, wedding cake and some yummy hotdogs! (Though I am sad that I never managed to grab a slice of cake.)

And, for a special touch, a round of fireworks to celebrate the beautiful bride and groom.

Just like it was for Cinderella, it was all over at midnight, but for some of us it was back to the Astor Wing for a private party in the Billiard Room... What happens in the Billiard Room though, stays in the Billiard Room!

What a fantastic wedding, though the 10.30am check-out time was a wee bit too early for my liking. Let's all wish the happy couple health and happiness for the rest of their lives. {^_^} Now, I believe Arielle needs to plan her wedding to Piers in Kept's sequel, Lost... I wonder how she'd feel about a castle venue! ;) x


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