The Body at Rookery Barn!

I know, I know, I’m horrifically behind with the website and everything… but I will make more of an effort!

Anyway, the big news is the release of my first cosy crime novel: The Body at Rookery Barn. It’s out in October 2023 – currently you can preorder the ebook at Amazon, but it will also be a paperback and an audiobook (so you will be able to order those from bookshops, if you want to support indies, or from Amazon).

Storm has really done me proud with the cover.

Why am I particularly pleased with this? The cottage where I grew up was allegedly a haunted house, and there’s a ghost story connected to the farmhouse in this book. When I showed sneaky previews of the cover to my family, they all just stared at me and said, ‘That’s Mill House.’ (It’s not quite, but near enough!)

Then there are the rooks. Now, I see those rooks circling overhead, and I think of a certain story by Daphne du Maurier – who also wrote a story called The Blue Lenses (I won’t give spoilers, just to say that a woman has an eye operation and it affects the way she sees things). The concept stuck in the back of my head; I’m deaf, like Georgina, and when I got my first hearing aids I thought, what if I could hear something that nobody else could hear? (And what might that be? You’ll have to read the book to find out!)

Then there are the flowers. This is the kind of garden I would love to have… but with spaniels who like bringing in plants, that’s never going to happen. Plus my gardening skills are a bit limited (don’t ask about the lockdown veg project. Not helped by a 10-week-old puppy who saw it as his duty to harvest all the carrots and run round with them. And the herbs). But it’s my fantasy garden.

Then you have the sky. In Norfolk (where I live, and where the book is set), we have AMAZING skies. I love what the designer’s done here.

I’m thrilled to bits. I loved writing this story. If you like my romances, you’ll love this (no gore – probably less gory than my Medicals, actually) because it’s the voice you’re used to. If you don’t like romances – well, hey, this is cosy crime. You’re in the right place. If you like quirky stuff, this is definitely for you.

And where can you get a copy? Why… click on the link. (For transparency, I do get a small commission if you buy using this link, but it doesn’t cost you anything. Thank you!)


The Pipsqueak Posts, Episode 76: the one with Side by Side

Dexter: I hate the Halti, Arch.
Archie: So do I, Pipsqueak. But it’s your fault. You will *pull* on the lead. (And you’re the one who lived with huskies when you were super-tiny. They clearly taught you something before you joined us.)
Dexter: You pull as well. Especially when there’s someone you want to say hello to.
Archie: Mum isn’t going to budge on this. When we pulled her so she skidded on that patch of mud, she told Dad she thought we’d pull her over — especially now it’s icy — and she’s worried she’d hurt her wrist again. So we’re on Haltis for ever.
Dexter: We could promise not to pull.
Archie: We could — but the first interesting smell, or another dog to greet, and you know we’ll forget.
Dexter: At least we’re together. Side by side.
Archie: Even if your ears are  inside out. Hey. Got a song for ya.

Oh, we don’t like porridge with honey
We’re very waggy and funny
And we’ll wa-alk along
Singing a song
Side by side.

Mum, she is mean with the Halti
Because our walking is faulty
But we’ll wag our tails
Cos she’s our fav’rite female
(Dexter, scandalised: Arch, don’t sing that in front of Chloe!)
Side by side.


The Pipsqueak Posts, Episode 30: the one with the Pi-raaaah-tes of Paw-zance

(With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan) (and you can sing it if you want! – thank you to Liz Ringrose for the ‘matters doggymatical’ and Paw-zance)

On learning that they’d been hooligans while I went out to get a wiper-blade for the car (play-fighting, bouncing about and general chaos), I asked them what they’d done and they simply burst into song…


We are the very model of a well-behavèd spaniel,
We’ve information biscuity and Bonios and vegetable,
We know the rules of dinner, and we quote the gastronomical
From roast chicken to barbecue, in order categorical;
We’re very well acquainted, too, with matters doggymatical,
We understand equations where the answer is bone-atical,
About the parks and beaches near we’re teeming with a lot o’ news,
With many cheerful facts about the bins for stinky doggy poos;
We’re very good at sitting and at waiting when we’re told to stop;
We know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters biscuity and Bonios and vegetable,
We are the very model of a well-behavèd spaniel!

Archie and Dexter, Uncategorised, Writing life

The arrival of Dexter

We have a new arrival in the house – Archie’s baby half-brother, Dexter. They have the same father but different mums; but there are distinct family resemblances in some of their markings, and they have the same sweet, joyful nature.

He’s settled in very well – here he is just arriving home.



He absolutely adores my daughter, husband and son.

Archie isn’t too sure of him at the moment, but is allowing him a little closer every day. We’re taking it at his pace; he’s a lovely-tempered, well-socialised dog who wants to be friends with everyone, but it must be a bit of a shock to find the space you’ve occupied for three and a half years to suddenly have a pipsqueak in it. We’re making a fuss of him and ensuring he gets treats first.

Dexter will grow up to be Junior Edit-paw-ial Assistant (Archie is obviously Senior EPA). Duties include napping at my feet and sitting nicely for the last couple of spoons of porridge at breakfast, and as you can see Archie is taking his training duties seriously.

The early-morning walkies needs rescheduling (can’t leave the pup alone for an hour, and although the kids are home for lockdown they don’t fancy a 6am start), but I have discovered that a plot-walk can be replaced by plot-puppy-cuddling. And I’m working when baby’s asleep!

Lockdown, Recipe, Uncategorised

Lockdown – squash, pepper and bean curry recipe


Takes 30 mins + prep; serves 4



  • 1 red onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • 25g fresh ginger, chopped (or 1/2 tsp ground)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 X 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, cored and cut into chunks
  • 600g squash, peeled and diced (can swap this for same weight of courgette, aubergine, other coloured peppers etc)
  • 1 X 400g tin black beans, rinsed and drained (or other beans, or chickpeas)
  • 150ml stock
  • couple of large handfuls of spinach (opt)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion for 2 mins
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato puree, and saute for 1 min
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, stock and other veg, simmer for 20 mins
  4. Add the beans, simmer for 5 mins
  5. Add the spinach, if using, and wilt

Serve with rice or naan bread

Lockdown, Recipe, Uncategorised

Lockdown – butternut squash soup recipe


Serves 4 generously (keeps in the fridge for 3 days)

Takes about 35 mins + prep



  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded and diced (or buy it prepped – 600g)
  • 1 pepper, seeded and diced
  • About 3cm of fresh red chilli, seeded and finely sliced (opt)
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 litre stock
  • 2 tsp olive oil


  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, and saute for 3 mins.
  2. Add the squash and stock, bring to a simmer, cook for 30 mins until the squash is cooked.
  3. Cool a little, then whizz through a blender and check the seasoning. (You might need to add a little bit more stock/water, depending on how thick you like your soup.)


  • Spicy: end of stage one, add spices and stir for 30 seconds: add 1tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp cumin; or 1/2 tsp mild dried chilli; 
  • Orange: with the stock, add grated rind of an orange (and stir in the juice after you’ve blended it)
Lockdown, Recipe, Uncategorised

Lockdown – potato and leek soup recipe

Serves 4; takes about 30 mins + prep




  • 450g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium leeks, washed well and cut into 1/2cm rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 litre stock
  • 1/2 tbs olive oil


  1. Heat the oil, then saute the leeks for about 3 mins.
  2. Add the potatoes, garlic and stock.
  3. Simmer for about 25 mins, until the potatoes are soft.
  4. Let it cool a little, then blend and season. 
  5. Garnish with snipped chives and a swirl of plain yogurt
Lockdown, Recipe, Uncategorised

Lockdown – veggie soup recipe

Super-easy – takes about 30 mins + prep



  • 1 red onion or leek, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • about an inch of red chilli pepper, deseeded and sliced (or a pinch of dried chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • A litre of veggie stock (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes in juice plus fill the tin with water once or twice again, depending on the amount of veg you use)
  • Veggies – all roughly chopped – of your choice, roughly one large handful prepped per portion of soup (I’d use red/orange/yellow pepper, courgette, butternut squash, sweet potato, parsnip, a couple of ribs of celery…) (if you’d rather have a brothy soup, cut to small dice rather than roughly chop)
  • Big handful of dried red lentils
  • a little olive oil


  1. Heat a little oil in a pan; add the onion, carrot, celery, fresh chilli and garlic; saute on medium heat for 5 mins. 
  2. Add spices and cook for 30 secs.
  3. Add veggies and stock (and dried pulses if using), and simmer for 25 mins or until veggies are soft. 
  4. For smooth soup, whizz through a blender; for brothy soup, you’re already there 🙂

You can also get away with just dumping everything but the oil in a pan, bring to a simmer, cook for 25 mins (makes it even more low cal/easy effort).

Exercise, Lockdown, Uncategorised

Lockdown – exercise circuits

I adapted one of my gym circuits as a home workout and I did actually film myself on my phone to demo it – but I cant download it! So I’m afraid it has to be the ‘paper’ version (though I guess that spares you seeing the flab!).

Suitable for all ages/levels of experience. No special equipment needed (but if you do the high-impact version you DO need proper gym shoes and, if appropriate, a supportive bra). If you have mobility problems, keep whatever you do to a safe level for you – don’t push your boundaries. Make sure you warm up first.

The key thing is COUNTING EACH REP OUT LOUD – because that will fill your head and give you no space to think about what’s going on in the world outside. It’ll give you a mental break as well as help your fitness.

It’s a ‘pyramid’ so you can repeat the circuit, or do it backwards, or do all the exercises in sets of ten – whatever you want to do. (But count the reps, because that’s the mental health boost!)

March on the spot, do circles with your arms (as in lift arm up, twist slightly to look behind as you circle your arm down), do a few knee bends, move your arms around


  • 100 jogs (each leg), marches or steps
  • 80 star jumps (full range if you’re used to it, step it out if not)
  • 60 punches (each arm) – 20 upwards, 20 in front, 20 down
  • 40 squats (go as low as you can, but make sure your knees are NOT further forward than your toes) – or if you’re finding the move tough place a chair behind you and sit down and stand up (without using your arms to help you)
  • 20 twists (standing – or if you want to sit to do a ‘Russian’ twist, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor and your knees together, lean backwards slightly, hold a tin or a weight with two hands, and touch the floor with the weight each side)
  • 10 bicep curls (don‘t swing your arms – lock your upper arms, start with your arms at 90 degrees to the floor, clench your fists and draw your arm up from the elbow – do it slowly, three seconds up and three seconds down, because it’ll make your muscles work harder)


  • hamstring stretch – take a step back with one leg, bend the other knee (make sure it’s not further forward than your toe), both feet flat on the floor and hold (if you can’t feel it in the back of your leg, widen your stance!)
  • quad stretch – pull one leg up behind you and hold (should feel along the front of your thighs) – might need to hold on to a chair for balance, and that’s fine
  • shoulders – link your hands, turn them 180 degrees out, round your back and drop your head forward, hold

This is the original circuit. Enjoy!

  • 120 skips
  • 100 star jumps
  • 80 punches
  • 60 Russian twists with a shoulder press in the middle
  • 40 squats
  • 20 knee drivers (each leg)
  • 10 burpees
Lockdown, Recipe, Uncategorised

Lockdown – banana bread recipe


Cake without eggs? Yes, indeed! This banana bread is based on the one from Angela Gliddon’s ‘Oh She Glows’ website, with some tweaks. And it’s seriously scrumptious. All storecupboard except the bananas. 


3 ripe bananas, mashed
15 g ground flaxseed
80 ml almond milk (soy milk and oat milk also work just fine)
80 ml sunflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60 g brown sugar
50 g rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
200 g plain flour


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin. (I use precut liners because it’s so much quicker!)

Stir in the rest of the ingredients one by one.

Spoon the batter into the tin and spread evenly.

Bake the loaf, uncovered, for 45 mins until golden and firm on top – it should spring back like a sponge.

Notes from me: I tend to cover the tin with foil for the last 30 mins and check it every five minutes – ovens do vary! You can make it without the oil, but it’ll be a slightly drier texture and need slightly less time to cook.)