All things Christmas and Seaside Escapes

I have to admit to being a big kid when it comes to Christmas. I absolutely love the whole thing. From the gift shopping, to the wrapping, to the sherry and the age old Christmas tunes that are resurrected, year in, year out. Luckily my hubby is just the same and I think this love of the festive season was heightened when our daughter came along. Watching her eyes light up when we decorate the tree or when she was younger and she met Santa for the first time, are all such magical memories that I will treasure forever.

These days it’s less about the gifts and more about the precious family time. Having had a couple of years plagued with family illness we make sure to collect all the wonderful memories we create and hold them close—that’s not to say we don’t do this all year round but I’m sure you’ll all agree that this time of year does amplify emotions.

My book A Seaside Escape takes place largely around the festive season, kicking off with the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas as seen through Mallory’s eyes as she wanders the streets of Leeds city centre. Her senses are bombarded with a cacophony of noise and aromas and I try my best to bring those experiences to life in the opening chapters of the book.

‘The paved precinct area was buzzing. Mallory loved Leeds City Centre with its designer boutiques and quirky shops. At this time of year, however, there was something transcendent about the atmosphere. Maybe it was the twinkling lights strung from building to building or the way that each and every shop was decked in sparkling silvers and gregarious golds.’

The memories of Leeds at Christmas that I used in the book were extracted from my own experiences of being there. Leeds was somewhere we used to frequent for our festive shopping trips when we lived back in Yorkshire. I can close my eyes and be transported there in one swift flick of my mind—the smell of chestnuts roasting on the little carts and the sound of Bing Crosby’s dulcet tones floating along, wrapping us in a warm musical hug. 

In the story we also see the Christmas decorating fun that takes place—another little snippet I stole from my own life. I have a tendency to be a little pedantic when it comes to ornament placement! What can I say? I like it to look just right!

‘The battle didn’t end there, however. (He) was placing his ornaments on the tree in prominent positions with a wry, playful grin and Mallory, using her womanly powers of subterfuge, was removing them and placing them at the back of the tree, hidden out of sight.’

Christmas at home is very important to my husband and I. Although many people love the idea of travelling away for the holidays, we’re home bodies. We love nothing more than to wake up on Christmas morning and light the stove in the lounge before beginning our traditional Christmas routine—bacon butties and Bucks Fizz whilst listening to Nat King Cole or Bing and Frank. I wouldn’t want it any other way. In fact, when we first decided to relocate to Scotland and we viewed our current house, my immediate thought was ‘It’s a Christmas house!’ I could imagine what the cosy lounge would look like with the garland across the oak beam mantle and my daughter there on the rug opening her gifts. That was it. I was in love and the house was sold. Once again I borrowed this precious memory and it became Mallory’s when she and Sam visit their potential new home in Clachan Seil, Scotland…

The log-burning stove stood in the middle of the slate hearth with a thin layer of dust atop it.
‘Oh Sam, it’s a Christmas house,’ she exclaimed as her eyes travelled around the white walls that were in need of a freshen up.
Sam’s brow furrowed. ‘Sorry, a what now?’
She turned to Sam with an excited grin, her hands splayed out in the air. ‘Okay, imagine this…’

I’m grateful to have so many wonderful Christmas memories to draw from as inspiration for my books and I’m so happy that we relocated to this beautiful corner of Scotland to make more.
I sincerely hope you all have a safe and wonderful Christmas wherever you are and however you choose to spend it. 

Lisa x