Blog posts with the tag: "holiday"

 

 

Wow, a lot has happened since I last posted here. The big change is that I moved house. Our new place is a beautiful house in the countryside and there’s a summer house in the garden which can only mean one thing…writer’s den! I really dislike moving house, though, on a serious note. I’m a real homebody, and I like everything to have a place, so uprooting everything and getting new furniture has been a slow process and a stressful one at that.

 

In the past few months, I’ve been lucky enough to attend two retreats and get to hang out with some of my favourite magical ladies. One on the beautiful island of Malta, and one in bewitching Woodstock in Upstate New York. This was my third visit to Woodstock and that place is seriously starting to feel like a home away from home for me. There is something really special about spending time with like-minded women. It’s not something I do on a regular basis, as I live in the middle of nowhere and I don’t know any woo-inclined people locally. But when it happens it feels so right. It’s what I had always dreamed about as a teenager who loved The Craft, Buffy and Charmed. A whole coven! Meeting new people can be daunting, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable nor made to feel unwelcome at these gatherings. Quite the opposite!

 

I went to Malta for the full moon in May. The retreat was run by the fabulous Lisa Lister. If you haven’t read her book Code Red, then do it now! All women should read this book and learn that their period doesn’t need to be that ‘dreaded time of the month’. You can read more about Lisa’s work here. Lisa also has a brand new book out called Love Your Lady Landscape. I’ve just started reading it and I’ll be posting my thoughts on it soon. In Malta, we did SHE Flow yoga in front of an incredible coastline, stayed in a dreamy villa where we had a full moon circle, a cacao ceremony and had a secret ceremony in a 5,000-year-old temple.

 

 

 

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At the end of June, I flew over to New York and caught the bus to Woodstock to catch-up with my witchy sisters at Veronica Varlow’s Magic House. I always have the best time there chatting, making beautiful things, hiking in the mystical woods and eating delicious healthy food. I danced in the river, made a flower crown, amazing smelling incense and a mojo bag (I actually know how to sew now!) and just missed seeing two baby bears (we had to skedaddle sharpish to avoid meeting mama bear!). To read more about the magical Miss Veronica Varlow and her retreats, classes and courses, head over to her website Danger Dame here. Another of my favourite witches, Gala Darling, did a blog post about the retreat and posted a gorgeous highlight reel here.

 

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In between travels, I featured on my friend Wolf Sister’s blog series Wandering Kin where I spoke about the places I love to visit when I stay in Paris. You can read it here. I also attended her beautiful animal spirit and sound gong ceremony in London. Wolf Sister aka Tamara is gifted at doing such wonderful meditations! Check out her websites here for future events.

 

In Santorini, I sailed around a volcanic island, swam in hot springs, met the cats at the Gaia Winery and watched the famous sunset at Oia. I also fell in love with open-air cinemas, visiting both the one in Kamari (I absolutely adored the old Hollywood feel to the place and the jolly 40s/50s playlist) and getting all dressed up to go to the immersive Secret Cinema Presents: Dirty Dancing in East London. A park stood in for the Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills, but the rain stayed at bay and we were able to play mini golf, cook marshmallows and sneak into the forbidden Staff Quarters for some of our own dirty dancing.

 

 

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I’ve also been using the long summer days to plan, organise and brainstorm how I want the next part of the year to blossom. I get a strange restlessness in the summer as if those long warm days are just a dream, and I must wake up from them. Summer is dream time, a time to fill up notebooks with inspiration, stolen lines of poetry that make your heart beat that little bit faster, and doodles of saucy mermaids. I seriously miss studying and academia, so I would love to get back into that and specialise in some area of Gothic. I’m also still working on my second novel, although I’ve had a few setbacks, namely conflicting ideas vying for my time! Still, I’m determined to get back on track.

 

Then there’s this very blog you are reading. I really want to fall back in love with blogging and make this place truly my own special haven online, filling it with all of my interests and ideas. I hope you join me for the ride!

 

xxx

 

 

Aug
28

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This past weekend was a Bank Holiday in England, so my husband and I decided to go away for a few days. Although I love going abroad, I absolutely love visiting places in the UK, especially if there is a cosy cottage/apartment to stay in, countryside, history and gastro pubs. With this in mind, we chose to stay in a converted chapel near Bath. Bath is one of my favourite cities due to its  beautiful architecture, charming shops/restaurants and literary history.

 

We have been before, going to the Roman baths and the Thermae spa, and unfortunately this time the heavens decided to open and torrential rain prevented a leisurely stroll through the streets. Instead, we ducked in to my obligatory stop, Jo Malone (because I can never have too many scented candles), a chocolaterie (ditto salted caramels) and a candlelit pub for a glass of warming red wine, before heading off for a hearty meal at the Acorn vegetarian restaurant.

 

That’s pretty much all I did all weekend. I had grand plans of caving at Cheddar Gorge and checking out the mystical highlights of Glastonbury, but the prevailing rain, coupled with fatigue meant I mainly slept, ate and read. No change there then. Ah, I live a rock n roll life. Oh, and I rediscovered the deliciously unhealthy jammie-goodness of Pop Tarts. I ate all of them. I must not be allowed anywhere near those evil frosted breakfast pastries ever again!

 

Earlier last week we did Dino Snores, an event where you get to spend the night over at The Natural History Museum. We bought some dinosaur onesies especially and after eating in the restaurant, went to a lecture on insect sex. Yes, I did just say that. It mainly consisted of an enthusiastic lady showing projections of insects doing it.

 

Next up was a dino art class, where I was dismayed to learn that the T-Rex basically looked little like the typical view we have of them, and that they were feathered and didn’t stand tall like we do. Their posture more resembled someone with a bad back.

 

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Feathered T-Rex. Pah!

 

My favourite part of the evening was by far the ghost stories segment, reserved for the wee hours of the morning, when most people had retired to their sleeping bags and were indeed snoring away in the grand entrance hall, as a fellow dino onesie-wearing harpist played an enchanting array of movie scores and classical pieces.

 

I love a good ghost story. I love a good ‘fictional’ ghost story, and although I’m a skeptic – despite experiencing weird phenomena myself – I really love a good ‘true’ ghost story. Apparently the museum is haunted by a stag and some children, but the higher powers of the museum are part of some conspiracy to cover it up – taking video and photographic evidence and generally keeping schtum about it. Which made these revelations all the weirder to me. Oh well. Later that night I lay, cocooned in my sleeping bag, kind of hoping the stag ghost would make an appearance – after all, an animal apparition seems less scary than seeing a person, and definitely preferable to the scary shenanigans of Poltergeist and Paranormal Activity. BTW, I have been using the word shenanigans a lot recently, simply because it is a marvellous word.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yikes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and I can almost see a virtual tumbleweed blowing across the screen. If things seem to have gone a little quiet on the book front, it’s because I’ve been speaking with various experts on how to market my book and get it off to the best start. This is my first foray in to self-publishing so I have to make sure I get it right and not rush anything. I also had a wee holiday in Kefalonia in which I tanned my pasty body, ate far too much glorious food and devoured loads of books on my Kindle (for those interested, I read: Danse Macabre, #Girlboss, How to Build a Girl, The Wolves of Midwinter and Carmilla – because even an avid reader of the supernatural needs to mix it up sometimes).

 

Phew! So back to this post. I originally started writing it weeks ago. Where does the time go? Ok, so rewind back to July when I ventured out to Camber Sands in Sussex to shoot some new footage for my book trailer. So it’s not the mystical Scottish landscape of the novel, but it was beautiful and fairly close to get to.

 

I knew what I wanted in the trailer, or rather, what the existing version was lacking. For a start I needed someone to play Rowan, the protagonist. I can’t believe that I was actually considering playing the role myself and wearing a wig! For a start, I don’t look 18 anymore, and secondly, it was windy on the beach, and I can just imagine the wig taking off and blowing away (possibly frightening tourists later on. If you have seen the film ‘The Burbs’, you’ll understand). Anyway, we found a wonderful model to play Rowan, and I am so glad that Saskia agreed to help out for the day. She has a website full of delicious healthy recipes and guilt-free treats which you can check out here.

 

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I bought some extra witchy ‘props’ from the internet and set up a pentagram in the sand so we could shoot some footage of Rowan casting a spell. Let me say that it is not easy to draw a perfect pentagram! Even more challenging was trying to light the bundle of sage and lavender, known as a ‘smudge stick’ because the wind kept blowing out every match before it even touched the herbs. Still, we got there in the end (and got through a LOT of matches).

 

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Even though wet dogs and attention-seeking swimmers got in the way, we got plenty of good footage. Oz Koca filmed and edited the footage and did such a wonderful job. Check out his other work on his website here.

And in case you haven’t viewed the finished trailer, here it is. Let me know what you think.

 

P.S. In other news, how bloody marvellous is the TV series Penny Dreadful? I still haven’t finished watching it but that’s because I am slowly savouring it as you would letting a square of divine chocolate melt in your mouth. It is just so perfectly Gothic! I love all the classic Gothic characters brought together, the script and the acting. Eva Green’s witchy, mysterious beauty is perfection.

Hello!
Heather Blanchard

Welcome. Are you a writer, a bookworm, a daydreamer? Are you still clinging on to that magic that pervaded childhood? Pull up an armchair and get cosy. This blog is my dreamscape through an enchanted forest to a world of stories and the little things that make me happy; a chance to add a dash of sparkle to the daily grind. Here you will find the whimsical, the coveted, the Gothic and the romantic. Happy exploring!

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