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Thirteen Details of Regency Life

Thursday Thirteen

I’m currently reading Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, which I’m finding fascinating. Today for my thirteen I’m sharing a few of the details I’ve gleaned during reading.

1. People use the term Regency as a general cover-all term when in reality the Regency covers nine years from 5 Feb 1811 to 31 Jan 1820, the period when George, Prince of Wales was sworn in as the Regent until he became King George IV.

2. There was a strict social ladder, determined mainly by birth. It went Monarch, Royalty, Aristocracy, Gentry (country land owners and gentleman of property without a title), Middle Classes, Artisans and Tradespeople, Servants, Labouring Poor, Paupers.

3. The servants also had a class structure – The upper servants included stewards, housekeeper, groom of the chambers, butler, valet, head housemaid and lady’s maid.

4. The lower servants included footman, coachman, groom, housemaid, kitchen maid, scullery maid, laundry maid, stable boy.

5. The cook was often employed by the master or mistress and paid more than the steward. They were considered separate from the rest of the domestic staff and earned a high wage in the case of a male chef.

6. When a woman’s husband died, she regained the legal rights she possessed as a single woman. In many cases, she was better off as a widow.

7. Once a couple became betrothed and a notice was sent to the papers, it was impossible for a man to withdraw from the marriage without damaging his honor and reputation. He could also be sued.

8. Morning calls were generally undertaken in the afternoon. They did not usually last for longer than half an hour.

9. Galloping was prohibited in Hyde Park.

10. At a formal dinner it wasn’t the done thing to talk across the table. Diners only chatted with those on their left or their right.

11. It was acceptable to owe money to a tradesperson. It wasn’t acceptable to owe money to a stranger.

12. Servants were ignored at mealtimes.

13. It was acceptable to offer your snuff-box to those with you, but not the done thing to request a pinch of snuff from those in your group. Snuff is pulverized tobacco that is sniffed through the nose. There were lots of different blends.

Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, as the title suggests, also discusses Ms. Heyer’s books in relation to the Regency period. Are you a Georgette Heyer fan?

Thirteen 18th Century English Resource Books

Thursday Thirteen

I’m busy researching in preparation to write a new historical romance series. My chosen time period is 18th century England, and here is a list of my current reading.

Thirteen Non-Fiction Books on English History

1. Great Houses of London by James Stourton, Publisher Frances Lincoln Limited

A book featuring some of the great houses in London with lots of great photos.

2. Georgian House Style Handbook by Ingrid Cranfield, Publisher David & Charles

Features the different interiors and furnishing of a Georgian building. Also a little about architects and the styles of house.

3. London in the Eighteenth Century by Jerry White, Publisher The Bodley Head.

This book is full of great info on the people, the city, work in the city and culture.

4. The London Square by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Publisher Yale University Press

A history of residential squares in London.

5. The Golden Age of Flowers by Celia Fisher, Publisher The British Library

Botanical illustration in the age of discovery 1600 – 1800

6. How to Create the Perfect Wife by Wendy Moore, Publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Georgian Britain’s most ineligible bachelor and his quest to cultivate the ideal woman.

7. Mid-Georgian Britain by Jacqueline Riding, Publisher Shire Living Histories

How we worked, played and lived.

8. Vauxhall Gardens by David Coke & Alan Borg, Publisher Yale University Press

A history of Vauxhall Gardens

9. The Secret History of Georgian London by Dan Cruickshank

How the wages of sin shaped the city.

10. Walking Jane Austen’s London by Louise Allen

A guide to nine walks that Jane Austen enjoyed.

11. Georgian London: Into the Streets by Lucy Inglis

A guide to 18th century London.

12. The Amorous Antics of Old England by Nigel Cawthorne, Publisher Portrait

All sorts of interesting snippets on courting.

13. Daily Life in 18th Century England by Kirstin Olsen, Publisher Greenwood Press

A book full of social history details.

Are you a big non-fiction reader? If so, what is your chosen topic?

Thirteen Favorite Scents


Scents are so evocative. They bring back good times, bad times, memories of childhood. Here are some of my favorites—the good memory kind.

Thirteen of My Favorite Scents

1. Popcorn

2. Fresh peaches

3. Mulled wine

4. Peppermint

5. Mown Grass

6. Warm bread

7. Cinnamon

8. Sweet peas (the flower)

9. Gingerbread

10. Tomatoes on the vine

11. Hay

12. Peppermint

13. Coconut oil

Do you like any of these or do you have another scent to add to my list?

13 Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday Thirteen

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. It’s big in terms of population (32% of NZers live here) and spreads from Waiwera and Kumeu in the north to Runciman in the south. Auckland is also my home.

Here is a list of Thirteen interesting places to visit in Auckland.

1. Sky Tower – the phallic-like tower dominates the inner city skyline and can be seen for miles. This is an excellent place to get a view of the city and the braver people can bungee jump off for a quick descent. One of the restaurants at the top of the tower is a revolving one, and there are also displays about making the tower.

2. Mt. Eden – this is one of the dormant volcano cones within the city. The 360 view from the summit is gorgeous. From the top you can also look down the steep slopes of the almost perfect crater.

Mt Eden, Auckland

3. The Auckland Memorial Museum – the museum sits within the Auckland Domain. If you’d like to learn about New Zealand and the Maori people, this is the perfect place to start.

4. Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World – building the aquarium was a labor of love for Kelly Tarlton. He purchased old sewage tanks and turned them into an underground aquarium. The large Perspex tubes that you can walk through to look at the fish, and are now common in aquariums worldwide, were first used and designed here. Along with fish you can also see penguins.

5. Rangitoto Island – This is the “youngest” volcano in the Auckland region and it erupted around 600 years ago. Catch a ferry over to the island to explore the lava caves and walk to the summit.

6. Waiheke Island – Beaches, vineyards, walks and relaxation only a thirty-five minute ferry ride from central Auckland.

7. Devonport – a small village that’s a 10 minute ferry ride across the harbor. There is a nice beach, shops, cafes, lots of art galleries, more extinct volcanoes and walking tracks.

8. Waitakere Ranges Regional Park – Get out into the wilderness. Native trees, walking tracks and it’s not far from the central city. See some of our mighty Kauri trees here.

9. Beaches – The city straddles both the west and east coasts. In the west we have beaches with black sand and big breakers. (Tasman sea) On the east we have white sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean.

10. Viaduct Harbor – This is a waterfront area full of restaurants and bars. You can sit with drinks and a meal and watch all the expensive boats. An excellent place to people watch. The Maritime museum is here too.

11. Coast to Coast walk – This walk is 16 kilometers long and goes from one coast to the other, crossing parks, passing volcano cones and going through the different suburbs.

12. Cornwell Park and One Tree Hill – The park donated by Sir John Logan Campbell for the use of the people of Auckland. Have afternoon tea and climb up to the obelisk at the summit of One Tree Hill. It’s also a working farm and during the spring you get to see all the lambs racing around. Very cute!

13. Go wine-tasting. There are several regions close to the city: Henderson, just north of the city, on Waiheke Island or visit the Villa Maria vineyard in Mangere. (not far from our international airport) Time it right and attend one of the many concerts that are held at the vineyard or just taste some of their wines and eat at their cafe. The cheese platters are good.

If you were to visit Auckland, what would you want to see first?

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Thirteen Pieces of Advice for Aspiring Writers

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been in a writing mood recently, which is great from my point of view. Today, I wrote “the end” on my current work in progress. Since my mind is in the groove, I thought I’d give some advice to aspiring authors.

1. Sit down and write every day. Make writing into a good habit.

2. Join a writing group, either a chapter or an online community for support.

3. Read and read widely. Analyze books that work for you and those that don’t. Use them as a learning tool.

4. Make a point to learn about websites and social media.

5. Enter writing competitions to help yourself improve and also to give yourself a writing deadline.

6. Research markets, agents and editors to familiarize yourself with what publishers and agents are looking for. This will help you narrow down who to submit your book to. If you’re thinking about self-publishing learn as much as you can about the process.

7. Keep a record of how much you can comfortably write each day. Knowledge of your possible output will help you once you’re published and facing deadlines.

8. Take online classes and attend conferences to learn as much as you can. I’ve been published for a while now, and I’m still learning!

9. When it comes to actual plotting, try all the different methods. Plotting, pansting and in between until you find a method that works for you.

10. There is no right or wrong way to write a book. There is only your way.

11. Find a critique partner/s to help critique your work and critique other writers’ work. This is a learning process too.

12. Once you’ve completed and polished your book send it off to your chosen publisher or agent. While you’re waiting, start work on your next book. If you’re self-publishing, complete the publishing process and start work on the next book.

13. Celebrate each success because writing is a difficult business and plain hard work.

Do you have any suggestions to add to my list?

Thirteen Things About Grapefruit

Thursday Thirteen

Firstly, I’m visiting NJ Walters’ blog today, where I talk about love and friendship. There’s also a giveaway.

My topic today was inspired by my new body butter, which smells like pink grapefruit.

Thirteen Things About Grapefruit

1. The grapefruit is a cross between the pummelo and a sweet orange.

2. They’re thought to originate in South Asia.

3. They are part of the citrus family.

4. It’s also thought to be a hybrid that has occurred naturally rather than one that is “designed” by man.

5. Their name comes from the fact that they grow in clusters on the tree, a bit like large grapes.

6. Grapefruit come in several colors – pink, red, golden and white.

7. 75% of the grapefruit is juice.

8. A half of a grapefruit contains around 41 calories.

9. They are a high source of vitamins A and C plus fiber.

10. Most people eat grapefruit for breakfast.

11. The trees can reach up to thirty feet in height and a single tree can produce more than 1500 pounds of fruit.

12. Grapefruit reacts with cholesterol medication and my husband can’t eat them.

13. This is a poem I learned at school and have never forgotten.

I wish I was a grapefruit,

And here’s the reason why,

When you came to eat me,

I’d squirt you in the eye!

Do you like grapefruit? Or is there another type of citrus fruit that you prefer?

Fear of Flying

Thursday Thirteen

Our neighbors are currently on a plane and heading to the US for a holiday. Mrs. Neighbor is desperately terrified of flying and intended to go straight to the bar. Mrs. Neighbor isn’t alone in her fear of flying, and I thought flying would make a great topic for my TT

Thirteen Things About Fear of Flying

1. Fear of flying is quite common. A variety of factors play into the fear. Fear of heights, small spaces, traveling over water, vomiting, hijacking, and turbulence all contribute.

2. The chances of a plane crashing are very low. It’s much easier to get run over by a motor vehicle.

3. Some airlines run courses to help people cope with their fears.

4. Some people take sleeping pills and zonk out.

5. Some people have several drinks to help themselves cope.

6. Avoiding flying isn’t the best way to approach the problem.

7. Focus on the positive parts of the journey.

8. An easy way to make sure a strange noise isn’t a problem is to see if the cabin staff have suspended cabin service.

9. Experts say it’s best to keep hydrated and eat little and often to maintain energy. Evidently alcohol isn’t a good idea!

10. Out yourself and tell the cabin staff you’re a bit nervous. Get support. This is way better than suffering in silence.

11. Don’t let negative thoughts take over. If you’re not asleep keep yourself busy. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Chat with your fellow passengers.

12. Familiarize yourself with the process and noises of flying.

13. Give yourself a little treat. Buy your favorite magazine or treat yourself to that book, audio book or e-book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had time for yet. Buy a box of your favorite chocolates at the duty-free shop.

The more I fly, the less I like it. I need to take some of the above advice, I think, because I have no intention of staying ground-side in New Zealand. I adore traveling and exploring the world, but I’m always happiest when I arrive at my destination.

Are you a good flyer?

13 Facts About Shipboard Food on the Pacific Pearl


I’m home again after our cruise aboard the Pacific Pearl. Those who have been on a cruise before will know about the sheer amount of food available. It’s very tempting to have a little of this and a little of that and before you know it, clothes strain at the seams. I’m afraid I am physical proof of this fact, and I’m officially on a diet. Sick smile

The catering is a huge operation, and I found the food related facts they gave us fascinating.

13 Facts About Shipboard Food

1. 3000 dozen eggs are used during a 10 day cruise.

2. Plus 1000 kg of lettuce

3. 4000 litres of milk

4. 2000 kg of watermelon

5. 1400 kg of steak – hubby ate quite a few of these!

6. 7500 tea bags are dunked and drunk

7. 600 kg of cheese is consumed – I like cheese.

8. 12500 plates, 10000 glasses and 15000 items of cutlery are washed each day

9. There are 29 people on the dishwashing brigade

10. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish are delivered when the ship is in port

11. On average 90 tons (180 pallets) of food are loaded on board after passing inspection by the Food and Beverage Director.

12. There are five butchers on board to prepare different cuts of meat

13. 99% of the passengers put on weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t fit into the 1% category. I blame the pastry chef!

Do you tend to eat more when you’re on holiday?

The Eyes Have It

Thursday Thirteen

Eyes give me problems. During the writing of my books, my characters change eye color regularly. Sometimes I don’t catch it, but luckily my editor is on the ball. In the book world there are lots of heroes and heroines out there with green eyes. Lots. Quite a few heroines have violet ones too. Not so common in everyday life. I’ve been thinking I should pick a color and allocate that color to all my characters. It would solve my problem!

Thirteen Interesting Facts About Eyes


1. The colored part of the eye is called the iris. It contains pigmentation that determines the color of the eye.

2. Eye colors are determined by the parents, but a child’s eyes aren’t a combination of the parents. The eye color depends on the genes and there are lots of possibilities as to the end result.

3. Most babies are born with blue eyes. A color change occurs if a brown pigment called melanin develops as the baby grows.

4. Darker colors dominate so brown beats green and green wins over blue.

5. Emotions can change the iris color and the pupil size.

6. Eye color can also change with age. This usually happens with those who have a light eye color to start with.

7. If the eye color of an adult changes dramatically it can be an indication of a disease. Check with your eye doctor!

8. The human eye blinks around 4,200,000 times a year.

9. Blinking helps keep our eyes moist.

10. Only one-sixth of the eyeball is visible.

11. The eyeball remains the same size as it was at birth.

12. Our eyes can detect 10 million color hues (not sure who counted this), but we can’t see ultraviolet or infra red light.

13. The human eye can distinguish 500 shades of gray. (not 50 as a certain book would have us believe!)

According to an online survey about eye color the most popular color is green followed by light blue. Hazel, dark blue, gray, honey, amethyst and brown came next in descending order.

My eyes are light blue.

What color are your eyes? For you writers out there, do you vary your character’s eye colors from book to book or do you tend to stick to the basic brown or blue? Readers – do you care what color eyes the characters have?

Thirteen Facts About Pigs

Thursday Thirteen

Since many of my discussions with my sister this week have centered on farming and animals I thought I’d do a TT on pigs.

Thirteen Facts About Pigs

Pig, Royal Easter Show, Sydney

1. The domestic pig are descendants of the wild boars of Europe and Africa.

2. Male pigs are called boars. Female pigs are called sows. Baby pigs are called piglets. A group of pigs is a herd.

3. Pigs are highly intelligent and can be taught tricks. Remember the movie, Babe?

4. Pigs can be very dangerous, especially wild pigs, and they’re very speedy when they want to be. Just ask my sister!

5. Some pigs have curly tails while others have straight tales.

6. The valves from pig hearts are used to replace damaged ones in humans.

7. Pigs have an excellent sense of smell. They’re expert at finding truffles.

8. Pigs live for 9 – 15 years, although some of the sows my father owns are much older  (around 20)

9. Pigs are very clean animals in that they don’t soil their sleeping areas or where they eat.

10. Sows bear 8 – 12 piglets in a litter and can have two litters a year.

11. Pigs can get sunburned (especially pink pigs) and require shelter from the sun.

12. Pigs don’t have sweat glands, and they wallow in mud to cool down.

13. Pigs make good pets, but a prospective owner should definitely do their research first.

Do you like bacon for breakfast? Crispy or not?

My answer: No, ’cause I eat a mainly vegetarian diet. I do like the smell of bacon cooking though. Hubby likes bacon but not crispy.