How to Be a Party Animal

Christmas parties come in many shapes and sizes. This one had four legs. The Mayhew Home’s Tinsel & Tails extravaganza at St Paul’s Church, London W6 was a red carpet affair with candle-light, chilled fizz and celebs galore.  We had a fabulous time. I also gleaned valuable tips on being the ultimate Christmas party animal.

Dress up for the occasion. Ditch the much-loved blanket and get into some glad rags, like Rufus and Bobby.   

photo by Bonnie Baker

photo of Bobby and Rufus by Bonnie Baker

Here’s Evie in a red frock, a classic choice for Christmas.  

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2 Get some humans to volunteer for something eg giving readings and drawing raffles

At this year’s Tinsel & Tails, Sylvia Syms and Beatie Edney did a mother-and-daughter routine, assisted by their Mayhew dogs Bunny and Billie. Peter Egan, fresh from guesting on Downton Abbey, read poetry while his pooches provided vocal encouragement.

3 Have a bit of a sing-song.  Georgian choir Maspindzeli sang a few numbers, while The Great British Bark-Off competed at the back of the church.

4 Don’t invite cats. They always climb the tree and raid the buffet.

5  Make sure there’s plenty to drink. You don’t want to run out of the good stuff halfway through.

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6 Watch out for gate-crashers. Big stars like Bill Bailey get their own bodyguard.  

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7 Have fun, but remember the true meaning of Christmas.  When CEO Caroline Yates outlined the Mayhew’s work at home and abroad in countries such as Russia and Afghanistan, there was scarcely a dry eye in the house.  

Some less fortunate souls didn’t get to go the ball.

Amaruq (photo from The Mayhew)

You can find out more about 17-month old Siberian Husky Amaruq by clicking here.

Alfie Moon (photo from The Mayhew)

Alfie Moon had to live rough for years. But he’s a gentle boy who likes the quiet life. Find out more here.

Rambo

Rambo (photo from The Mayhew)

Despite his name, Rambo is a sweet 4-year old cat who likes having his cheeks rubbed. Find out more here.

Honey (photo from The Mayhew)

Honey is a 9-month old female Staffy crossbreed who arrived at The Mayhew because her owner was no longer able to look after her. She’s active, with a sensitive side. Find out more here.

Merry Christmas, one and all, and here’s hoping all these dogs and cats find forever homes in 2015.

dog-tired

As you can see, Evie is now partied out, but you’re invited to continue the Christmas Party Blog Hop with my fine blogger friends. Big thanks to Helen Hollick whose brainchild it is.  Now follow on below for more fun. Look carefully. There’s even some party swag in there. 

2014-ChristmasPartyBlogHop

  1. Helen Hollick: You are Cordially Invited to a Ball (plus a giveaway prize)
  2. Alison Morton: Saturnalia surprise – a winter party tale (plus a giveaway prize)
  3. Andrea Zuvich: No Christmas For You! The Holiday Under Cromwell
  4. Ann Swinfen: Christmas 1586 – Burbage’s Company of Players Celebrates
  5. Anna Belfrage: All I want for Christmas (plus a giveaway)
  6. Clare Flynn:  A German American Christmas
  7. Debbie Young:  Good Christmas Housekeeping (plus a giveaway prize)
  8. Derek Birks:  The Lord of Misrule – A Medieval Christmas Recipe for Trouble
  9. Edward James: An Accidental Virgin and An Uninvited Guest 
  10. Fenella J. Miller: Christmas on the Home front (plus a giveaway prize)
  11. J. L. Oakley:  Christmas Time in the Mountains 1907 (plus a giveaway prize)
  12. Jude Knight: Christmas at Avery Hall in the Year of Our Lord 1804
  13. Julian Stockwin: Join the Party
  14. Juliet Greenwood: Christmas 1914 on the Home Front (plus a giveaway)
  15. Lauren Johnson:  Farewell Advent, Christmas is come – Early Tudor Festive Feasts
  16. Lucienne Boyce: A Victory Celebration
  17. Nancy Bilyeau:  Christmas After the Priory (plus a giveaway prize)
  18. Nicola Moxey: The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182
  19. Peter St John:  Dummy’s Birthday
  20. Regina Jeffers: Celebrating a Regency Christmas (plus a giveaway prize)
  21. Richard Abbott: The Hunt – Feasting at Ugarit
  22. Saralee Etter: Christmas Pudding – Part of the Christmas Feast
  23. Stephen Oram: Living in your dystopia: you need a festival of enhancement…(plus a giveaway prize)
  24. Suzanne Adair: The British Legion Parties Down for Yule 1780 (plus a giveaaway prize)
  25. Lindsay Downs: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree 

Thank you for joining in, and see you in the New Year.

Easy tweet: “How to Be a Party Animal by with & other bloggers”

 

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A Mini Blog Tour for Spring

The best thing about blogging? Connecting with other people. I’ve said that since I started, but this is the first time I’ve been asked along to a blog hop.

Yes, it’s the Writers’ Blog Tour, in which writers talk about what they write and how they do it. Sara Rose Salih invited me. Sara’s blog is a treasure trove of all things teen fiction, and no wonder. She’s the author of a new juvenile fiction series, Life As We Note It (check out the first book, Tales of a Sevie).

The tour has a lot in common with a chain letter, because you pass the same four questions about writing on to three new writer-bloggers, as I’ll do at the end of this post. So here goes.

1. What am I working on?

I’m writing a sequel to my novel One Night at the Jacaranda, which is about dating. Readers tell me they love the characters, so I’m taking some of my favourite flawed people (and theirs) into new adventures. Like the first book, it will be a racy read.

Tower Bridge

Yep, the location is London. You might also notice that this is taken north of the Thames. People from north London rarely venture south of the river unless they really have to, but let’s see what happens as the story unfolds.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My genre is chick-lit (‘commercial women’s fiction’ if you’re la-di-dah). But One Night at the Jacaranda has more than one protagonist and is written from multiple points of view (memo to la-di-dah types: it’s an ‘ensemble novel’).   Crucially, many of the voices are male, so it appeals to male readers too.

Another contrast with most chick-lit is that there’s very little physical description of the characters, other than the fact that Dan is bald, Simon has a comb-over, and Karen’s body is a bit saggy (after four kids, who’ve had thought, eh?).

What they do have is dark secrets, so there are some serious issues, but the overall tone is still upbeat, in keeping with the genre.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’m an established journalist and non-fiction writer, but I’ve always yearned to write a novel. Why I wrote this particular story, I really don’t know. The idea came to me on a Continental Airlines flight after my father died, as I’ve described elsewhere in my blog.

And now that I have developed such memorable characters, I’m going to help them live as long as possible. Well, I am a doctor!

4. How does my writing process work?

I write best on the sofa with pencil and paper. And cat.

cat on a sofa

To get me started I might need music and a coffee.   Uh-oh. The pencil’s a bit blunt.

sharp pencils in 60s mug

May as well sharpen all of them, right?

Once I have installed myself again (and the cat), I may spend as long as 10 minutes writing before the phone rings with something urgent for me to do.

Out of this highly productive routine I end up with reams and reams of material, most of which has to be re-written several times before I pass it on my husband and some writer friends for their opinion. I might also float some of it on this blog to see what you think.  And that’s how I do it.

Time to pass the baton on to three talented bloggers.

L.K. Watts writes an eclectic range of books. Her first two stem from her worldly adventures in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These fresh and funky books reflect L.K.’s personality perfectly. She’s travelled the Trans-Siberian Express in Russia and Mongolia and has done a ten-week stint of conservation volunteering in Ireland.  Author LK Watts

When she isn’t out making the most of life and living it to the max, she writes women’s fiction. Her debut chick-lit novel is her third book to be released.

But do not be fooled. L.K. is currently writing something that will make the most unshockable person gasp.

At the moment L.K. lives in the U.K with her partner and two adorable dogs. Her blog is LK Watts Confessions.

Anne Wainscott comes from a family of story-tellers. She’s an author and blogger at The Writing Well as well as a storyteller-for-hire right here. Author Anne Wainscott

Her 2004 mother-daughter memoir A Breath Away came after losing her mother to smoking.

She’s currently finishing her first historical novel, Torrential, a re-imagining of a flood that destroyed her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, a century ago.

You can also find her on Twitter.

Michael La Ronn is a fantasy author who writes Decision Select Novels, which are a modern reimagining of the Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks. He also writes traditional novels, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction.Author Michael La Ronn

He is a former musician and loves jazz and other obscure genres that no one’s ever heard of. His upcoming book, Festival of Shadows, will be released in June.

Michael lives with his wife in Des Moines, Iowa.

You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Why not go look for them?