Blog posts with the tag: "TV"


I’ve pretty much taken to spending my days drinking americanos, wearing thick jumpers and basking in the glow of scented candles while I study/write. Everything always seems a bit manic in the run up to Christmas, especially as I have looming deadlines.


So, for this post, I thought I’d something fun, and post some of my favourite things from the past month.


Favourite Shops:


I try to avoid shops as much as possible but I always have to go into Liberty, especially at Christmas. It is one of the most beautiful shops and great for buying gifts.




Anthropologie is another favourite, especially for their home goods. Last time I visited I bought this Oatmeal cookie candle. It smells sooo good, but gives me a serious craving for cookies, cakes and chocolate.





Favourite Foods:


Tis’ the season for warming comfort food and this recipe for soup is delicious and easy to make. I add butter beans, whizz in my soup maker and add chopped up Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages. Oh and yes, I’m one of those people who watches Youtube girls talk about make-up and stuff. I love Essie Button.



To satisfy my aforementioned sweet tooth I like to make a batch of apple pie crescent bites. They are so easy to make.  I used Natvia instead of brown sugar. Recipe here. Here is a pic of mine.




Favourite TV:


The BBC are making great television at the moment. The Fall is back on BBC 2, so I’m glued to that every Thursday (or whenever I can catch up on iPlayer). This isn’t easy viewing, but it’s fantastic.




Remember Me is a three-part contemporary ghost story set in Yorkshire. Just my cup of tea. I haven’t watched this yet but I’m definitely going to. It stars Michael Palin and has garnered great reviews. Catch it on BBC One and iPlayer.




Favourite Reads:


In between the pile of Gothic classics and text books I’m currently battling through, I’ve managed somehow to squeeze in a few cheeky novels.  I’ve started reading Essie Fox’s The Somnambulist, a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I’m only a few chapters in but thoroughly enjoying it so far. And I haven’t strayed too far from my course as this is a Gothic Victorian novel. Also, I saw the lovely Essie speaking about her latest novel The Goddess and the Thief at the Richmond Literary Festival, so will no doubt buy that once I’ve finished with this one.




Magazines. As many as I can possibly read. I have an addiction. Especially home interiors magazines. Especially home interiors magazines with Christmassy decorations. Drool.


Favourite Music:


I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 a lot since it’s release. I’m not the biggest ‘pop’ music fan but Taylor knows how to write a great, catchy song.




On Sunday I went to see Linkin Park at the O2 arena. This is the second time I’ve seen them live this year, after the Download Festival in June, and they didn’t disappoint. Their energy is amazing.





Dreaming of:


Fingers crossed I’ll be visiting my beloved Highlands sometime in January for my birthday. I really want some vegetarian haggis. I ordered some from Amazon recently and I think it was supposed to be frozen because it smelled of bad dog food and made me feel sick.


I like to buy the chocolate panettone from Carluccio’s at Christmas, and make bread and butter pudding with it. It tastes deliciously decadent.



As the weather starts to get colder, and the nights draw in, I find myself wanting to cosy up and read or watch TV in the evenings. I have loads to read, always, as I am constantly adding books to my collection and seeing new books I’d like to buy. At the moment I have even more to read as I prepare for my MA.


I’m currently reading a chapter a day of The History of Gothic Fiction by Markman Ellis and The Postmodern by Simon Malpas. I’m also reading another non-fiction book, Zero Degrees of Empathy by Simon Baron-Cohen; a fascinating book which looks at the reasons behind human cruelty.





Fiction-wise, for studies I am reading Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, and I’ve just started Under the Skin by Michael Faber. I knew the latter had been made into a film with Scarlett Johansson, and that I had missed its run at the cinema (agreeing on a film to see with my husband is tricky sometimes, and going to the cinema alone seems too indulgent right now while I’m so busy). Several people recommended it as a beautiful book, and so, curious, I read the first page. I had forgotten that Faber had also penned The Crimson Petal and the White, a wonderful tome set in Victorian London, which was adapted for the BBC in 2011, and starred the lovely Romola Garai. His writing is compelling and brilliant, but what really makes Under the skin already a favourite before I even complete it, is the setting. It’s set in the Scottish Highlands, specifically around the towns, villages and roads that were so familiar to me as a child. It is quite magical to imagine this story taking place there, if not disturbing too!





I am so behind on TV shows. I rarely watch anything on our television, and usually catch my shows by streaming them on Netflix, etc. I only have two episodes to go until the series finale of True Blood. I think I’m delaying it on purpose, as, even though critics and fans alike have always said it was going downhill, I’ve always been a faithful fan.


I am yet to start season 2 of Hemlock Grove, but I enjoyed the first series, and I’ve heard that the third series will be the last, so hopefully it will stay interesting.


So far I’m liking Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain. It’s been a slow build up, and some of the characters are annoying, but the concept is an interesting one, and it’s good to see some scary vampires.





I’ve finally started watching Outlander, the series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. It’s been marketed as a sort of Game of Thrones for women, which I think is rather strange as I know many women who love Game of Thrones. In fact, columnist Lucy Mangan wrote an article in Stylist magazine last week about how women actually enjoy some violence within the safe confinement of fictional books and shows. Anyway, I digress. Gabaldon’s book was called Cross Stitch in the UK, and it’s right up my street with Scotland, time travel, history, witchcraft, sauce and drama. This is probably feeding my misery of the upcoming referendum, because my fears of Scotland leaving the UK is basically as bad as if the land was actually severed from England and floated away as a completely separate island that I could never return to.





I’m still enjoying Witches of East End, especially Mädchen Amick as the rebellious Wendy, basically wearing the boho/witchy wardrobe of my dreams and turning into a cute black cat to spy on people. I remember her as Shelly in Twin Peaks and I’m glad she’s still acting.


Further behind on my must-watch TV, I still have The Originals (The Vampire Diaries spin-off), Salem, True Detective, Orphan Black, Masters of Sex and Revenge. I still like those shows but it’s just getting the time to watch them. I imagine it will happen one day, during a sleepless night Netflix binge fest. Sigh. Plus new shows are always starting; American Horror Story: Freak Show anyone?


What books and television are you loving?



For me, weekends are all about relaxing and re-energising, but often by the time it is Sunday evening I look back and feel like I have wasted my weekend by basically napping loads and gorging on the bad, sugary foods that during the week I manage to resist.


Here are some ideas to get you making the most of your weekend:


Friday night routine


There is no better feeling than starting the weekend knowing that your to-do list is empty (if that’s possible) and that you made progress with your goals. Look back over what you completed and achieved and congratulate yourself. If there are tasks you failed at then decide what you can do differently next week. For example, if your daily word count was woefully under target, figure out why and how you can make it more manageable. Perhaps your targets are unrealistic and need to re-evaluated.




Here’s a mistake that I often make; from Friday to Sunday I avoid exercise like its the plague and just laze around and wonder why I end up sleeping so much and feeling sluggish. Try and have a workout on Friday or get out during the weekend, even if you are only going for a brisk walk – then you don’t need to feel so guilty if you accidentally indulge. Also, exercise can be fun; do something different, such as ice skating or salsa dancing.


Quiet nights in don’t have to be dull


Confession; I’m a homebody. I love nothing more than chilling out at home in my onesie and knowing I don’t have to worry about what to wear, my high heels pinching my feet or getting a taxi home. Sure I love a night out, but nights in can be just as fun. Movie nights are always great, especially if you get microwave popcorn and hot chocolate (or something stronger – yes, I’m thinking Baileys). If I don’t have a movie to watch then a box set will do nicely. I’m also a complete geek in that I can happily sing a long to karaoke songs on the wii or play board games with family. Sometimes I’ll just be content knowing that I have a glass of wine and a fantastic book to devour.


Don’t sleep in too late


I am not a morning person – I love my bed too much. And when it’s bed or getting up when it’s dark and cold there is no contest, however I try not to stay in bed too late because I feel like I’m wasting precious time otherwise. I like getting up and cooking breakfast or going out and eating something yummy. I like how quieter it is on weekend mornings and its lovely to have breakfast and coffee brought to you and then following it up with a stroll home (perhaps accidentally going in a few bookshops on the way). I also love making a big thing of breakfast by serving it up in my favourite plates and cups. I even have a posh French tea reserved only for weekends as a real treat. Put a vase of flowers on the table and some chilled out music on.




I live in London but I find that I stick to the same areas and am not particularly adventurous, but those times when I do make the effort to go to a great market or exhibition I get a thrill and new found appreciation for the place where I live. Find out what is on in your area; farmers’ markets, exhibits, street fairs or even visiting a historical building, museum or park can be fun. Recently I went to a local park and took my camera along and just enjoyed the different shades of leaves falling from the trees and the animals I saw.



Like this little guy



Make or bake


Get creative. I sometimes forget how rewarding it is to make something, whether its drawing a picture, making xmas decorations or baking an apple and blackberry crumble that makes the home smell incredible.


Read something different


Don’t get me wrong, I love reading the weird and wonderful books I have piled up to read, but sometimes it’s great to read something a bit different, especially as I read books similar in genre to the stories I write. Stepping outside of the box can give you new ideas for your writing project too. Read poetry, cook books, biographies, self-help – anything that you wouldn’t normally reach for. If you don’t want to buy a new book then get down to your local library; they are wonderfully inspiring places to go and enjoy some quiet time. Or perhaps listen to an audio book – I’ve heard that the Stephen Fry Harry Potter ones are sublime.


Other ideas:


Have an indoor picnic

Make a new music playlist

Revisit your bucket list and see if there is anything to cross out/add

Build a fort and read in that

Nourish your inner child and reread favourite books from your childhood or rewatch cherished films and tv. A She-Ra marathon? Why yes please.



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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