Gift Giving

ID-10037232Ridley: So it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas (well actually never too early in my book!), but I have to say it’s my absolute favourite time of the year. I mean, when do we have such an absolutely fantastic combination of being able to eat loads of chocolate and at the same time give presents? Like, you have Easter, which is great for the chocolate side of things, and then there’s birthdays for the presents, but Christmas is like Easter and a Birthday smushed together! (and obviously I know the whole point of Christmas isn’t just presents and food, but work with me on this!)
Anyway, I love getting presents for people that suits them, it’s fun to see their faces when they open up something they’ve always wanted or least expected and never knew they wanted. So, while it’s still early, I have begun to look for the unusual presents you can only get online and that can take awhile to get here once ordered. In the interest of helping others with their present searching (cause I’m nice like that), here are some of the best things I’ve found for sale on my favourite craft site, (and yes, it is a case that I’ve been just sharing all my internet procrastinating haunts, but they’re good!!)


Absolutely beautiful and colourful handmade jewellery. They’re a little like stain glass, aren’t they?

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Have a charm bracelet or want to start one? Here’s some Christmas charms! So dainty!

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Paper sculpture, so brilliant, there’s real craft gone into these. Usually the actually sculptures are a little expensive for my wallet, which no doubt reflects the skill and amount of time that’s put into them, but they currently have a sale on, and you can pick prints of the sculptures too.

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Handmade wool and felt toys! So unique, and you can get custom ones made for you!!

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I absolutely adore unusual notebooks and journals, here some beautiful and unique ones!

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Some really cute artwork and designs. Mind, there’s loads of fantastic artists on both etsy and on deviantart, maybe if you wanted something unusual for that special someone, why not think about supporting some of these unknown but absolutely fantastic artists?

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And everyone, just to get you into the Christmas spirit, here’s the new John Lewis Christmas ad. It really almost brought a tear to my eye. Absolutely stunning!!



Book Relationships

Ridley: If I’m honest with myself, I really only like books with relationships in them. Though that doesn’t mean I exclude books without them, I just tend to gravitate away from them. But even with a blanket statement such as ‘I like relationships in books’, I can and will become even pickier. I don’t really like reading about well established relationships. Ones that have already happened and we’ve arrived more or less at the end, when ‘the get together’ is all over. I love the first moments, the awkward ones, the sqwee worthy ones; the first look, the first touch, the first kiss, the first ‘I love you’. In an established relationship, you don’t get that, you have the lovely romantic moments, the ‘ahh that’s so sweet’ and ‘you know me so well’ moments. I don’t want them. Maybe I like the thrill of the chase?

In a book or movie, after a couple have properly gotten together and it’s all happy ever after (or not), I loose interest. I don’t care if they have twenty five point five children, that Cinderella and her Prince Charming’s Kingdom tumbled to the ground around their ankles and they broke apart about a year later because his mother-in-law was a terror. I don’t want to know about any of that. It’s why I’ve avoided reading the Lord of the Rings appendices, which are supposedly very depressing. It’s also why I had mixed feelings about the very final chapter of Harry Potter, showing them married and with children, I had that all squared away in my imagination already. Nice to see J.K’s vision of how it all went but at the same time I wanted to shut my eyes (book and movie) and ears (movie) to it. (Especially to Draco Malfoy with wrinkles, some kind of scraggly beard and a widows peak! Nooo.)

This is perhaps why I I love a good young adult (Y.A) book, particularly a fantasy laced one, though a good murder mystery is always welcome. You get all these first moments in the early stages of the romance.

Of course, there has to be an actual story to it but it does need to have some sideline action *wink wink* with the characters. Even if it’s just a tiniest hint of an attraction, such as a ‘lingering look’- two words in a 55,000 word manuscript- I’ll drink it up like a parched desert wanderer. Even with the recent movie, Avengers Assemble. While I’ll readily admit I loved it without question and without any relationships in it, as such…did anyone else pick up on something happening between Hawkeye and Black Widow? Latimer and I did!

By god, after the film we were wiki-ing well into the night on that one trying to get some sort of conclusion to their relationship. A ‘relationship’ that had suddenly fully formed in our heads just based on a few looks, their mutual dark history and the fact she was in his room, alone. *cheesy grin*

Now I’ll give you two examples of books I’d probably read (though I’d probably grab up Book B much much quicker than A to be honest.)

Take for example Book A, “Inspector Martin Berking is a world renowned police detective, he’s responsible for clanging shut thousands of cell doors on criminals across the country. Respected without question by his fellow colleagues, their murmurs of appreciation ring hollow when he lies alone in bed a night staring up at the ceiling. His fantastic career is all he has. Only alcohol is his companion. That is, until Claire enters his life. He catches her shoplifting while buying his next bottle of whiskey. Late at night, on the pavement outside a convenience store, she manages to smash both his bottle and his life to pieces. When her large blue eyes beg him for help, he’s drawn deeper into her tangled, dark world, until he begins to realise that this seemingly simple case may be his last.”

(Yeah I know, I just borrowed the plot there from about a 100 different crime novels with a hardline, bachelor, alcoholic detective extraordinairé, such as Inspector Morse, Rebus, Frost, Dalziel, Taggart…I’d read it because of the introduction of Claire, but if you took her out and it was just a crime novel where some criminal bumped into him and that led to the same case but without the romance, I’d be less inclined. Also, I tend to only like female protagonists. Saying that, I have and probably will still read books like that (as in without the relationship) from time to very odd time and I definitely watch those sort of television shows- I do like trying to solve the mystery before the end, especially with David Suchet as Hercule Poirot- but I’d like the romance included. Please 😛 )

Book B would be far more up my little avenue, my hands would itch to read something like this, “Maria doesn’t know when she stopped believing in magic. As a child, she was ridiculed for her belief in her imaginary friends; the ones she used to play with in the forest behind her house. The same forest she stopped visiting when she was twelve, though she can’t remember why. Before that, she has only vague recollections of dancing bare foot in tall grass and numerous flower bracelets. Though the one vivid image that haunts her from that time, is the handsome face of a boy crowned with thorns and the whispered words ‘Wait for me’. It is a memory that, even now, shoots a shiver of fear and delight through her. It’s also something she wishes she could forget. Soon, however, she gets her wish. When a new neighbour moves in next door, she starts to develop feelings for him. As her memory of the striking boy fades and starts to be replaced by Daemon’s arresting smile, strange things begin to happen, unending tricks and jokes are played on them. Then he returns. He is older than she’s dreamt but just as handsome and as Maria begins to remember everything, her life is changed forever.”

Now, this kind of book I’d be very interested in reading-anyone written anything like it? Send me a link!- Reading a blurb like this I’d automatically think there’s a triangle love story about to happen-which if M. Latimer-Ridley was writing it, there would be-though at the same time, I’d want there to be more than just the obvious relationship as the main plot though. So then I’d question what she remembers, hopefully that leads to a nice fast paced story.  

(As an aside here- I made up this rambling ‘book blurb’, does anyone else do that? When I was younger, I used to love writing random ones on the back of my homework notebook, making them as sensational as possible, but I’d never know what was going to happen next. When I got older, I started to fill in the gaps, which lead to writing books, I suppose! Still short and fun to do! It lets your imagination flow!)

So..I’m wondering am I the only one with such picky criteria for my books and in particular, the relationships in them? Hopefully there are other people out there that are like me. What do you like to see from your relationships, perhaps established ones are best for some people? Or, heaven forbid, do you hate having any couples in your novels at all, does it detract from the story? 

I think in a future blog post I’m going to talk about my top 5 or so, all time couples and their ‘get together’ stories. That would be fun-ideas welcome!


For now though, Latimer and I have saved our little brown pennies, euro coins and notes, and we are now able to wing our way to Japan for a two week break away. We’re sharing a twin room, where she’ll probably want to strangle me by the end of the holiday! (I don’t snore, honest… 😀 )

So there will probably be ‘radio silence’ from us while we’re gone, though I’m thinking about bringing my laptop…tempting, tempting…then you’d end up (more than likely) getting numerous posts about our Japanese adventures, posts which I’m certain will mainly be filled with pictures!

All photos in the post are from, thanks to them.