Greenwich Maritime Museum

When I was a very little girl, I used to spend a lot of time in London visiting my great grandmother and other family members. We lived in the Scottish Highlands at the time and would get the sleeper train down from Aberdeen and make a real event of the whole thing, visiting the Tower of London, making special shopping […]

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Dover Castle

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my recent English Heritage giveaway! The winner has been notified and will hopefully have their membership cards in their clutches very soon! I absolutely love being a member of English Heritage as they really do have something for everyone – from Roman forts to cottages to castles to stately homes, including Osborne […]


The Roman Baths

Even though I have lived in the West Country for over ten years, I am ashamed to admit that until just a few weeks ago I had never set foot inside the famous Roman Baths at Bath. This oversight becomes even more peculiar when you consider that I live in Bristol, which is probably less than fifteen minutes away from […]

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Last Day in Edinburgh

I had such an amazing time during my recent research trip to Edinburgh. I’ve already shared posts about my first few days, which were spent researching my three upcoming Marie de Guise books at various royal palaces associated with her residence in Scotland and to cap it all off, here is a post about my last day in the Scottish […]


Linlithgow Palace

Of all the places that I visited during my recent research trip to Edinburgh, Linlithgow Palace was perhaps the biggest surprise. I went along one rainy morning expecting to find a completely empty shell but instead discovered that there is much more than that left standing of the former pleasure palace of the Stewart Kings of Scotland where both James […]

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WWII at Dover Castle

As long term readers of my blog probably already know, I’ve been on a bit of a massive quest over the last twelve months or so to properly educate myself about WWII, a period of history that I somehow never managed to learn about at school or university and about which I was woefully ignorant about until quite recently when […]


Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History

I’m so sorry about taking a month off from my blog but I hope you’ll all forgive me when I reveal that the reason for my absence was a brand new book about Marie Antoinette, based on decades of pretty obsessive research (both primary and secondary) and thoughts and questions from all of you. A couple of years ago I […]

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Falkland Palace

James V and Marie de Guise, anon artist, c1542. Photo: National Trust for Scotland. Oh dear, it’s now over a month since I returned from my amazing research trip to Edinburgh and I still haven’t finished writing up all of my adventures for this blog! In my defence, I’m incredibly busy right now with my other writing projects so haven’t […]


Bletchley Park – The Imitation Game

Long term readers (you poor poor things) may well recall that around a year ago, I came clean about my shameful lack of knowledge about the Second World War. This was not entirely my fault – despite going to three different secondary schools, all of which have since been ranked as ‘outstanding’ by Oftsed (God only knows how or why), […]

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Outlander

Oh Jamie Fraser, how I love you. Sorry Poldark fans but he could totally take Ross in a fight. And he’s much hotter too. I actually first tried to read Cross Stitch, the first Outlander book, about fifteen years ago when I was pregnant and feeling all bored and fed up and enormously fat. I didn’t get very far as […]


Stirling Castle

Although I am hardly what one might call a morning person, I was still up bright and early for my second day in Scotland, which was to be spent at Stirling Castle, where the infant Mary Queen of Scots was crowned and lived until she was whisked away to the safety of her mother’s native France in 1547. Of all […]

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Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty

Although I might not look it, I am actually pretty fashion literate, in that I take more than a passing interest in the work of various designers, even if I will probably never be able to actually own anything that they make. As you might expect though, my tastes definitely lean more towards the gothic and historically inspired and so […]


Edinburgh Day One

Writing books can be a really long, hard, thankless slog but there are a myriad of compensations for the misery, not least the fact that if you’re really canny about subject matter, you can justify going on epic research trips to amazing places. It should come as no surprise whatsoever therefore to learn that as soon as I got my […]

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Poldark redux

One of my happiest memories is a brief period just after the birth of my youngest son, when all I was fit for was lying on the sofa and feeding him while watching every single episode of Poldark. I’d read the books as a child (veteran readers of this blog may recall that I wasn’t allowed to read normal children’s […]


Final thoughts on Wolf Hall

Well. Wolf Hall came to an end last night and I am still REELING from the final, brutal, awe inspiringly bleak episode, which charted Cromwell’s part in the swift and shocking demise of Anne Boleyn. What an absolutely wonderful series and almost certainly one of the best that I have ever seen. As you know, I had really high expectations […]

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Thomas Cromwell – Tracy Borman

As if my terrible Thomas Cromwell crush after reading Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (which I finished rereading last night and can confirm is still very much one of the greatest books that I have ever read) wasn’t already bad enough, it seems to have increased ten fold lately thanks to the BBC version of the novels, which […]


The Life and Times of Fanny Hill

In a week where everyone is talking about the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey film (did anyone actually like that book? I haven’t read any of them and have no plans to do so or to see the film but it seems to have inspired unmitigated loathing everywhere. SOMEONE must have liked it though, surely?), it seemed oddly […]

The Life and Times of Fanny Hill

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Secret Diary Promo

Meticulously researched and elegantly crafted, The Secret Diary of a Princess is my first novel and was born from a desire to tell the story of Marie Antoinette from an unusual and yet still fascinating angle, focusing on her early life at the Viennese court, the machinations behind her betrothal to the Dauphin Louis and then finally her initial impressions […]


Rubens and his Legacy at the Royal Academy

The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower, Rubens, c1609. Photo: Alte Pinakothek, Munich. (Not in the exhibition!) It sometimes comes as something of a surprise to people when they find out that I have a degree in History of Art. I’m not entirely sure why that is but suspect that it’s down to a combination […]

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