Eating in the Dark!

Those of you who follow my Facebook page (and if you don’t – why not? I have giveaways on there and everything!) will know that Mr E arranged for us to eat at Dans Le Noir – a restaurant in London that serves dinner in the total darkness.

It’s a concept I’d heard of before but never really thought about. How hard can it be to eat in total darkness after all? We have four other senses that should help us out on that (plus as a reader I often drink tea or eat chocolate without dragging my eyes away from the page). This should be easy, shouldn’t it?

Yeah, not so much!

On arrival we were asked to put all our belongings in a locker. They operate a strict no-light policy – so no phones, no flashlights, not even watches that have a little push button illumination. And then they asked us to choose our menu. It’s pretty simple, there are only four choices: Vegetarian, Fish, Meat or Chef’s Surprise (meat AND fish). We chose the surprise and a glass of wine. I’d already decided I didn’t like the idea of trying to pour wine from a bottle in the dark.

Then they call you and line you up in a corridor. There were four of us – the Mister and I plus another couple we didn’t know. We had to stand in line and put a hand on the shoulder in front of us, and our server then led us through three sets of curtains into the complete darkness.

From this point on, until the end of the meal, I couldn’t see a thing.

I have no idea if the chefs were fully dressed or not – I couldn’t see! If they weren’t they may have looked a little like this 🙂

The server helps you to get seated. He then tells you that in front of you is a napkin and suggests you use it as a bib; otherwise you’re going to get dirty. Being naturally curious I had a good feel around the table – I found my cutlery, a glass and –of course – a bottle of water. Being even more curious I decided to pour it just to see if I could.

The only way I could do it was by using my fingers. I had to hold them in my glass to make sure it didn’t overflow. Thank goodness I’m a bit of a hygiene freak.

Then they brought out the first course. It took a little while to work out how to get the food onto my fork (scooping rather than stabbing was easier), but when I tasted it I realized it was salmon and something else I couldn’t quite place. The husband and I spent a lot of time trying – and failing – to work out what it was, as did the couple next to us.

That was another interesting thing about the restaurant – you get sat next to complete strangers. Because you’re so close it feels rude not to talk. We enjoyed getting to know them, where they were from, and sharing a laugh as we all tried our best not to spill our food down our fronts.

A little while later the second course came. By the way the wait staff are amazing. A lot of them are either partially sighted or have no sight at all, and yet they never spilled anything, managed to slide our plates in front of us without any problems, and cleared up in the same way. Our server was called Jack and he was fabulous.

So the second course came out and this was a little harder to eat. There were so many different tastes – some kind of steak, maybe a bit of fish, vegetables that tasted maybe like carrots and broccoli. It was so hard to tell what we were eating, but it tasted delicious. The biggest issue was trying to tell if you’d cleared the plate or not. In the end I decided to let my stomach choose when to stop eating. It was mindful eating at its best.

After dessert we were asked if we were ready to go back into the light and find out what we’d been eating. At this point I had no idea how much time had passed. It felt as though the food had come very quickly, but in the complete dark without any cues to the time (such as darkening skies or you know, a watch) it was so hard to tell. It turned out we’d been in there for over an hour and half. I’d thought it was less than an hour. Goes to show I’m not great at guessing time!

Once again we were led out of the restaurant in complete darkness, holding the person in front’s shoulder. It felt strange to come into the light – cue lots of blinking. But within a minute I was completely used to it again.

Over coffee the wait staff showed us photographs and descriptions of what we’d eaten. Lots of ‘oh’s when we realized that it was crab we’d tasted in the first course (how did I not guess that) and another eek when I realized I’d eaten Llama for my main course (I’m so sorry, Llama. I didn’t know. I thought you were cow.)

In all it was an amazing experience. The aim is to give diners an insight for a couple of hours to what it’s like to go through life partially sighted. I was expecting my other senses to improve but they didn’t – whether this was because it was a short time, or whether my other senses are rubbish I’ve no idea. All I know is that it was an amazing experience (and a funny date night) but I’m not sure I’ll be eating in that kind of darkness again.

 

Have you ever eaten in the pitch black? Would you want to? How would you feel if you had to eat things without knowing what they were?

 

Let me know in the comments!

 

Ready for a new book?

It’s less than two months until By Virtue Fall releases – completing the Shakespeare Sister quartet. I’m so excited and yet sad at the same time — I love these sisters and hope you do too.

The Book: BY VIRTUE FALL

Genre: Contemporary (Small Town) Romance

Series: Shakespeare Sisters

Release Date: Oct 11

 

Description

Love blooms when you least expect it . . .

Juliet Shakespeare is done with love. With a growing floristry business and an adorable daughter to raise, life after separating from her husband is complicated enough – the last thing she needs is a man.

But when handsome single father, Ryan Sutherland, arrives in town, everything changes. As much as she tries to distract herself, Juliet can’t help but be drawn to the easy-going Romeo next door and the way he makes her feel.

Photographer Ryan is only back in his hometown for a few months so there’s no point falling for someone he’ll just have to say goodbye to. But he didn’t account for Juliet – the intriguing and beautiful woman next door. And in her, he might just have found everything he ever wanted . . .

*This book is a standalone read as part of the Shakespeare Sisters series.*

 

Pre-order here:

Amazon US ➜ https://amzn.to/2LTuel8

Amazon UK ➜  https://amzn.to/2AcOP2h

iBooks ➜  https://tinyurl.com/y9uhrs4x

Kobo ➜  https://tinyurl.com/y8eyopay

Nook ➜  https://tinyurl.com/ybvaxzkp

 

In the US / Canada it has a special pre-order price of only $2.99 – price will return to $3.99 after publication week – so pre-order now to lock down that price!

 

Spring is the in air today – don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!

Absent in the Spring is live!!

Losing Control never felt so good…

A successful lawyer, and the eldest of four sisters, Lucy Shakespeare is used to being in control of everything and everyone around her, most particularly herself – that is until she meets the gorgeous Lachlan MacLeish.

Lachlan’s hired Lucy because he needs the best. His inheritance, the Lairdship of Glencarraig, is suddenly in doubt, thanks to his devious half-brother. Glencarraig is the only place where his memories of his family are happy ones and there’s no way he’s going down without a fight. The very last thing he wants is a distraction, but as soon as he sees Lucy, he knows he’s in trouble.

Despite their efforts to resist, it isn’t long before Lachlan has Lucy longing to break all her careful rules. As they travel from Scotland, to Paris and on to New York, Lucy can’t help but wonder: is it sometimes worth risking it all?

 

US Buy Links

Amazon US | iBooks |  Kobo | Nook 

UK Buy Links

Amazon UK | iBooks UK | Kobo UK 

‘You’re cold?’ he asked, his voice deep and low.

‘Freezing,’ she told him. ‘Even the radiator’s put its coat on.’

He laughed. ‘What about your fire? Is that not keeping you warm?’

‘What fire?’

His laugh got louder.

‘No, I’m serious, what bloody fire?’ She was indignant. ‘I haven’t got a fire. Have you got a fire?’

‘Yes, I have. A big orange one. It’s as hot as Hades in here.’

‘That’s not fair.’ She wanted to pout. ‘Where’s my fire?’

‘I could build you one up,’ he offered. ‘Are there logs in your room?’

‘There’s not even a fireplace.’ She shook her head, even though he couldn’t see her. ‘How come you get the hot room?’

‘I’m practically the laird. I get all the good stuff.’ His tone was enough to tell her he was teasing. Didn’t stop her from wanting to hit him. And kiss him.

Stop that right now.

She huffed. ‘I’m sending a complaint in tomorrow. Right to the top.’

‘They’ll be quaking in their boots, I bet,’ Lachlan said. ‘Pretty much like you are now.’

‘Shut up.’

‘Ah, you’re full of the one-liners tonight.’

‘It’s hard to think of one-liners when your whole body is succumbing to frostbite. Seriously, what kind of place is this? Why would they put me in this room when you have the fire?’

‘You want to swap?’ His offer sounded genuine. For a moment she imagined climbing into his bed. Would it still smell of him? Would she be able to feel where he’d been lying? Would it still hold his warmth?

‘No,’ she managed. ‘I’m fine.’

‘You’re not fine. You should come in here.’

‘But then you’ll freeze,’ she pointed out. ‘It’s fine, I can take it for one night. And after that all bets are off.’

‘Lucy, just get your butt in here. I’m your client, and that’s an order.’

She hesitated, not sure if she was turned on or appalled by his offer. In the end, good sense won out. ‘Good night, Lachlan. Sleep tight.’ Not waiting for his reply, she ended the call, and for good measure turned her ringer to silent.There was temptation, and then there was temptation. The only way to avoid it was to pretend it didn’t exist.

GIVEAWAY!!

I’m giving away a $20 Gift Card to celebrate my new release. Be sure to enter HERE

 

Is spring here yet?

I’m seriously sick of snow. I never thought I’d be the one to write that. Firstly because where I live it hardly ever snows. And secondly because I LOVE snow. I really do. I love sitting beneath a blanket, with a hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other, watching the world turn into a Winter Wonderland.

BUT — and it’s an important but — I LIKE IT AT CHRISTMAS TIME. My white stuff has to be festive and timely. If it arrives in March, it’s way too late. Like a wedding guest turning up when the bride and groom are already on their honeymoon!

It’s not supposed to snow in springtime. It’s just not. So let’s talk about the kind of spring where the wet weather slowly morphs into flower-filled sunshine. Where you can fly to the Highlands of Scotland and be frozen, then fly over to Miami and sit on the beach and worry about getting burned.

In short, let’s talk about my next book, Absent in the Spring, where all this happens. It releases on April 26th, and is available to pre-order now!

It’s Lucy and Lachlan’s book, and I hope you love these two as much as I do. They’re both strong, powerful and totally in control… at least until they meet each other. And that’s when the fun begins.

He’s a rich American businessman who’s just inherited a castle in the Scottish Highlands. She’s an Edinburgh lawyer who doesn’t let anything ruffle her.

Here’s the UK Cover:

And here’s the US Cover:

Here’s the Synopsis:

Losing control never felt so good . . .

A successful lawyer, and the eldest of four sisters, Lucy Shakespeare is used to being in control of everything and everyone around her, most particularly herself – that is until she meets the gorgeous Lachlan MacLeish.

Lachlan’s hired Lucy because he needs the best. His inheritance, the Lairdship of Glencarraig, is suddenly in doubt, thanks to his devious half-brother. Glencarraig is the only place where his memories of his family are happy ones and there’s no way he’s going down without a fight. The very last thing he wants is a distraction, but as soon as he sees Lucy, he knows he’s in trouble.

Despite their efforts to resist, it isn’t long before Lachlan has Lucy longing to break all her careful rules. As they travel from Scotland, to Paris and on to New York, Lucy can’t help but wonder: is it sometimes worth risking it all?

If you like the sound of it – you can pre-order ABSENT IN THE SPRING in all these places:

UK BUY LINKS:

Amazon UK  | iBooks UK | Kobo UK | Google UK | WHSmith

US BUY LINKS:

Amazon US | iBooks |  Kobo | Nook & Google Play – to come

ADD IT TO GOODREADS HERE

Release Day – A Winter’s Tale

A Winter’s Tale is Live!

Christmas comes but once a year… but true love lasts a lifetime

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is as bad at interviews as she is talented at making films. She’s given herself until the end of the year to score an internship in LA, otherwise it’ll be back to London with her tail between her legs. Unfortunately the only job offer on the table is as nanny to major producer Everett Klein’s son, Jonas. It’s not exactly the career she’d hoped for, but if she can get this right, then surely he’ll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn’t allowed for is Everett’s sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – and love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he’s also gruff, rude and completely impossible. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam realise that although the course of true love never does run smooth, just maybe, it’s more interesting that way…

A heartwarming Shakespeare Sisters Christmas romance from the bestselling author of Summer’s Lease and Fix You.

UK Buy Links

Amazon UK | iBooks UK | Kobo UK | Google Play UK

US Buy Links

Amazon US | iBooks |  Kobo | Nook 

TO COME

Google Play US 

Release Blitz – My Image of you by Melanie Moreland

  Title: My Image of You
By: Melanie Moreland
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House LLC/Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
#myimageofyourelease

A globe-trotting bad boy chases the one that got away in this addictive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Contract.

My name is Adam Kincaid, and I’m the best at what I do. After losing my parents, I decided to follow in their footsteps, and now I’m the most daring freelance photographer in the world.

Maybe some think I’m a loner, but I don’t care. All that matters is the shot: braving danger and devastation in search of a single image with the power to tell someone’s story. But as good as I am, accidents happen—and thank god for that, because it’s what leads me to her. . .

Alexandra Robbins. My nurse. My savior.

With her fiery red hair and crystal-clear blue eyes, the camera loves her . . . and I have to have her. We soon find that we’re perfect together. We just fit, physically and emotionally. And yet something isn’t right. Something from her past is haunting her, and no matter what I do to help her break free, I lose her.

Today is the day I try to win her back. Not only do I need an explanation, I need her in my bed once again. I don’t just want a damn picture—I want her. Because what we have is a love that never fades away. . .

“There are so many things I want to do with you,” I assured her, and licked my lips as I stared at her, my voice husky. “To you.”

“Tell me,” she insisted, her fingers curled into fists at her sides.

I stepped behind her, wrapping my arm around her waist and pulling her to my chest. I smoothed my fingers up her arm, trailing them along her skin. Small goose bumps broke out, pebbling the surface as I dropped my head down into her neck, kissing and swirling my tongue. “I’m going to explore you—everywhere. I’ll touch and discover every part of you. I want to know what makes you gasp, what drives you to distraction. I’ll find out what I can do to make you groan and beg me to take you. I’ll know your body better than you do.” I drew her skin between my teeth, biting and sucking. “I want to kiss you . . . taste you everywhere.” I slipped my hands under her shirt, teasing the softness of her stomach and side, stroking upward until my hand cupped her breast lightly. “I bet you taste different all over. Sweet some places”—I dropped my hand down, running it along the edge of her waistband—“musky and tangy others.”

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.

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Cutlass by T.M. Franklin

There’s something about school vacations that makes me want to read ALL the books. Luckily for me, I have a huge pile of them on my Kindle, just begging to be read. The first one I decided to tackle was Cutlass by the fabulous T.M. Franklin. The story of a girl looking for revenge, and the bloodthirsty pirate who she believes is responsible for taking her father’s life, Cutlass is a romp of a story that will magic you away to the Caribbean islands, with a sword in one hand and a flagon of rum in the other! I highly recommend it. If you want to know more, and to find out the buy links, see below! And remember to scroll down to see my review at the bottom of the page.

 

CUTLASS by T.M. Franklin is NOW AVAILABLE!

Title: CUTLASS

Author: T.M. Franklin

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Release Date: August 7, 2017

A quest for vengeance.
A high-stakes treasure hunt.
An attraction they both try to deny.

Convinced One-Eyed Jack Tremayne killed her father and stole his prized cutlass, Sarina Talbot sneaks aboard the pirate’s ship to exact her revenge. To her surprise, she’s met by a declaration of innocence and an offer of help. She doesn’t trust him, and he doesn’t trust anybody. But they need each other to catch the killer and beat their enemies to a hidden cache of Aztec gold.

They’re not the only treasure-seekers, however, and there’s a traitor in their midst.

Caught between Crown ships and enemy pirates, Sarina and Jack discover a prize greater than gold as their uneasy alliance leads them on the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Cutlass

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play

T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since written four additional novels and several best-selling short stories…and there’s always more on the way.

Connect with T.M. Franklin

Website | Bookbub | Facebook | Newsletter | Twitter

Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

When I was sixteen years old (a while ago now…) I visited Disneyworld for the first time. And my overriding memory of that trip was the Pirates of the Carribean ride. This was long before the movie was made, and long before Jonny Depp made Pirates cool again. But still, for a few minutes that ride transported me to a Carribean world full of rum and treasure, and pirates that not only fought for their treasures, but found great enjoyment in it, too.

For me, Cutlass by T.M. Franklin was the book equivalent of that ride, and I mean that in the most favourable way. It tells the story of Jonathan ‘One-Eyed-Jack’ Tremayne – a sexy pirate whose use of leather breeches made me very flushed – and Sarina ‘Wild Rina’ Talbot, the girl who seeks vengeance against the pirate captain for her father’s death. Along the way there’s a soothsaying witch, a quest for treasure, and an epic adventure that left me breathless.

Well written, with characters you’ll be rooting for (or against!) and a story that keeps you turning the pages, Cutlass was a wonderful read.

ARC supplied by author. Review all my own.