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Tag: fiction
New Release: Cold Calling

It’s been a while since I had a new short story collection out. Short stories, however, are my favourite thing to write. There is something fun, fast, and a little bit frantic about trying to get a million ideas (or perhaps just one big idea) into a condensed form. I try to keep my short stories in the 3,000 to 6,000 word realm, but sometimes the story takes over a little bit and ends up much longer.

Of course, the opposite is true too. Sometimes a story is over and done with in 1,000 words. Sometimes fewer. It all depends. I don’t really like to work to word counts when it comes to fiction – although when blogging and writing features and articles, it’s an essential skill to have. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing fiction so much; I get a chance to really let my imagination take flight, and I’m not restricted. It’s a good way of unwinding in the evenings after spending a whole day writing much more formal, much more corporate, much more SEO-based pieces.

Cold Calling

My latest collection, Cold Calling, consists of 19 chilling short stories that all have one thing in common; greed. Sometimes good, usually bad, greed is the essence of this collection and, some would say, of life.

The book is available on Amazon.co.uk (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cold-Calling-Lisamarie-Lamb-x/dp/0244311811/) and Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Calling-Lisamarie-Lamb-x/dp/0244311811/).

Let me know what you think!

Flash Fiction: Soft Snowflakes

Soft snowflakes began to fall. “How funny,” she thought, “that winter should come on the very day my heart began to melt.”

“How funny,” she thought, “that winter should come at all.” She pondered this as she sipped her warming wine and tried to ignore the hunger pangs that accompanied every swallow. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d eaten. Not today. Not even yesterday. The day before? Possibly. If that was the day she had left the hospital then definitely. But that could have been a week, a month, a year ago. It seemed to her that she had been sitting in this window seat, drinking wine and tucked up against the world, for decades. For centuries. For eternity.  Little wonder, then, that she was feeling light headed.

Soft Snowflakes

There was a sound, but she couldn’t place it. It was familiar, like a well used door opening or a creaky stair being stepped on. A comforting sound. A safe sound. A loved sound. And that sound, and her knowing that she would soon hear it no longer, made her suddenly weep. She lowered her head to her raised knees and sobbed for the sadness of it all, for the unfairness. Her wine glass dropped, the red liquid cooling and spreading along the cushion she had covered herself in happier days.

The sound came again and she knew it through her grief. It was her husband’s key in the lock. Her melting heart, dwindling and dripping away, bit by bit, made an effort to pound harder, but failed. His key in the lock. It wasn’t possible, of course she knew that. She had left him, all those eons ago, dead from a heart attack. She had left him in the hospital, alone, and she had returned home, alone. And she was still there, and he was still there. Nothing had changed. But that sound…

She didn’t, as many would, rush to the door, fling it open and find nothing. She didn’t move at all. She reached down, picked up the almost empty bottle and refilled her glass. She watched the snow fall and listened as her heart melted.

Writing Horror – Screaming In The Dark

It seems an odd thing to do, to write horror. When there are a wealth of genres out there, when I could be writing about perfect love or fantastic dragons or gun-toting cowboys, why choose to create the most terrifying, the most soul-shredding, the most unwelcome?

My answer is a simple one: because I like it. I like horror.

I like to read it, I like to watch it, I like to think about it, and I like to write it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t.

As to why I like it, that’s a more complicated question, with a different kind of answer.

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As a child, I was scared. A lot. Most of the time. Not that I wasn’t a happy child, with a normal family and normal surroundings and normal friends. I was. Perfectly normal. But I was also perfectly scared. There was a seeping, creeping horror that hovered around me, enveloped me, and at night I would scrunch my eyes shut and hide beneath the covers in the hope that whatever it was wouldn’t see me because I couldn’t see it.

And there was, as far I can tell, as far as I can remember, no reason for it. Nothing that particularly stands out as being that one specific moment in which something happened – something ghostly and ghoulish and downright petrifying – that haunted me for the rest of my days.

I was a normal girl, but a strange one.

Being alone was bad. I hated it. These days I crave a bit of solitude, but then, when that fear stole over me, I only wanted to be around people. It’s just that sometimes, there were no people to be around. And so I created some. I reached the age of twelve and simply decided that I needed constant, immediate access to someone.

But who? And how?

I started to go to bed and instead of cowering under the covers I moulded myself heroes and heroines, safe houses and refuges. I began to make up stories. These stories became my talisman, protecting me from the real evil by pretending about it. It seemed to me that nothing in the real world could possibly be as frightening as the world I was creating in my head, and so my heroes were slain, horribly. My heroines were kidnapped and tortured. My safe houses and refuges were pillaged by monsters and demons and ghosts.

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And because I’d made it all up, just me, by myself, it wasn’t so scary after all. I enjoyed it. And I began to write my stories down. I began to read other people’s stories. I began to watch the films. Because it was all safe. It was all made up.

I’ve been doing that ever since.

Just don’t ask me to read or watch any ‘true’ horror stories.

They keep me up at night.

If you would like me to write horror for you – or anything else – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Short Story: My Gingerbread House

I wanted a gingerbread house. They asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told them, a gingerbread house please (making sure to say please as I knew they liked it when I did that). They ummed and ahed about it, but I was pretty sure it was going to come off. The kids at school would go crazy when they saw it. I’d have to invite everyone over to see it, it would make them like me. It would have to. I mean, who wouldn’t like someone with their very own gingerbread house? If it were me, and some kid came up to me at school and told me they had one, I’d be their BFF just to get to see it, maybe to eat a bit of it.

I was so excited about it that I told everyone in advance that I was getting one. And the excitement was kind of like a disease or something because in the end everyone had it. Even the teachers were a bit less strict, as though they thought I might ask them if they wanted to take a look. But I wouldn’t do that. That is not something a popular kid does, and all of a sudden I was popular.

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My birthday was a Saturday and I told everyone to get to my house for around lunch time, because there would be plenty to eat and I didn’t think my parents would mind. Turns out they did sort of mind because they had planned to take me out to lunch, which they did, and by the time we got back there were dozens of school children – and quite a few parents – milling around in our front garden, waiting to be let in.

This was it. This was the big unveiling, wasn’t it? This was when my parents were going to show off what they’d bought me and the others, my friends, I guess, would be impressed.

My parents were probably still in a bit of shock over the number of people who had turned up, especially when I hadn’t mentioned that anyone at all would be coming over. I never had people over, so that was a surprise right there. But they were gracious about it, invited everyone in and set about making teas and coffees, offering juices and squash, rummaging around in cupboards to find snacks and biscuits to offer around. Some of the parents – most, maybe all – guessed this was a bit of a shock for mine, and they suggested coming back later, or the next day, or the next week. Whatever. But I couldn’t have that, not when I was about to get my gingerbread house. “No, it’s all right,” I said before my mum and dad could open their mouths. “Really, isn’t it? Isn’t it?” I insisted.

Mum and Dad smiled, a little stiffly, but what else could they do? “Of course,” said Dad, nudging Mum. “Isn’t it?”

Mum nodded.

The room did not relax. If anything, the atmosphere got more strained. No one was really speaking, there was a lot of foot shuffling and throat clearing. “Nice coffee,” someone murmured. My mum thanked them, glanced out of the window at the garage, looked back into the room. “Well, we were going to do this later,” she declared, the silence shattering at the sound, “But since everyone’s here…” She gave a fleeting look at my dad, willing him to take over. Ten years of marriage and he knew what to do. “Yes, the big unveiling. Do you want your main present?”

I was tempted to shake my head, say no, do it later, forget it completely, it doesn’t matter because I was gripped with the terrible sureness that they had got me something else. Something that, although most probably amazing and brilliant, was not what I had promised the guests. Instead I grinned and jumped up and down and said, “Yes please!”

This cheered my parents up quite a lot. My being happy always put a smile on their faces, which is why I didn’t want to be a pain about things. My dad trotted off to the garage, and my mum ushered everyone into the garden. She looked pretty excited by this point. She was sort of glowing with the fun she was having, showing off what she’d bought me. Fair enough. If it made her happy…

And then there was a strange squeaky sound, and my dad was pulling a massive something covered in a sheet along the grass on a platform, the wheels making the high pitched yelping as they rolled. “Ta da!” Dad shouted tunelessly as he got near to us. He whipped off the sheet and there, golden brown and chocolaty sweet, there in front of me was a gingerbread house. Bet you thought it was going to be a cake or something. It wasn’t. It was huge, and it was mine. The crowd gasped, and there was a spattering of applause from the adults. The kids just stared.

“Is it all right?” asked Mum, a bit breathlessly. “Is this what you wanted?” asked Dad, a lot breathlessly.

I said nothing. I walked up to it, sensing my school mates behind me, itching to rush forward and start chewing. The pink and white candy canes, the massive chocolate buttons, the red and black liquorice laces, the sprinkles, the sparkles, the sherbet and the jellies… it was beautiful.

Before I could stop them, I had tears on my cheeks. That was unexpected. That was unwelcome. But it emptied my head of nonsense and it set my brain thinking. That feeling of tension was still behind me. It was palpable, a living thing raring to be set free. But I, I chose to keep it caged.

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“Thanks for coming,” I said, turning around to face them, their red faces and gleaming eyes looking through me at the gingerbread house. “You can go now.”

Faces dropped. Parents looked at one another. Kids laughed, then stopped because my expression told them I meant it. “Er, that’s not very polite,” my mum said, attempting to save me from exile. I shrugged. “I’m not trying to be polite,” I said. “I’m saying these bullies, these jokers, these snobs who think they’re better than me, the ones who pull my hair and steal my lunch money, the ones who copy my homework and kick me and laugh at my clothes, I’m saying this is mine. All mine. Goodbye.”

I turned back to the wonderful, amazing, magnificent gingerbread house and waited. Slowly, I could feel the crowd growing less until I was alone.

Just me and the gingerbread house.

As it should be.

Sweet Oblivion – Interview with Debut Novelist Rhiana Ramsey

Murder, intrigue, and sex combined with a shocking conclusive twist – Sweet Oblivion is the tense debut novel of Sussex writer and serving police detective, Rhiana Ramsey (pseudonym).

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What genre would you classify Sweet Oblivion as?

I’d describe it as a dark crime thriller thread with eroticism.

Tell us about your book – why this story and the focus on S&M?

The story follows DC Elizabeth Lane and her colleagues as they hunt down the killer of the chilling emasculating murders that keep happening around town.

With my history serving as a police detective I’ve always been fascinated by the psychological angle of a killer. I wanted my character to hold true power over men and a dominatrix character was the perfect way to convey this, while weaving in some elements of S&M. With the release of 50 Shades of Grey this area of eroticism has become more mainstream and a subject people are interested in reading about.

What was your reason for setting the novel in London?

I worked in London for many years and know the area very well. My knowledge and background of the city made it easy to visualise my settings and scenes.

This is your first completed novel. What gave you the courage to write the book and what inspires you to write?

When I first started writing my book I was a single woman, completing my psychology degree whilst working full time in the Criminal Investigation Department and yet I was felt something was missing. I needed an outlet. I find writing therapeutic and an opportunity to take a step back from the real world.

When I first put pen to paper so to speak to write Sweet Oblivion I had no idea where it was going, but I got the bug and began to create storyboards and backgrounds for all my characters.

Throughout my life I’ve suffered with depression. When I was younger I used to write music, I still do on occasion, but these days I prefer creative writing as, it provides me with the perfect opportunity to escape and have complete control of a story – the situation, characters and outcome etc.

I suppose I actually wrote my first book when I was 12. It was called ‘Ravenscroft’ and was based upon a satanic crow that encouraged a pack of wolves to kill for him – needless to say it wasn’t published but I’ve obviously always seemed to have a passion for the macabre from a young age. My policing experience in my adult life has helped to re-ignite my imagination and it’s this that has ultimately led to the creation of Sweet Oblivion.

How long did the book take to write?

The book actually took nearly three years to complete from conception to publication however the bulk of the writing was completed in two months when I decided to take time off work.

What made you finally sit down and complete your book?

Work was tough, I’d been in court as a victim after dealing with a bad relationship and I lost my father all in a matter of months. Everything happened at once and I needed time out. I took two months off from the CID and that gave me the time to complete my manuscript.

At what point did you know you were ready to publish?

As soon as I’d finished writing the first draft I knew I was completely happy with the story. However, I spent about six months editing and tweaking little snippets before I finally submitted the manuscript to the printers.

What made you decide to self-publish and do you think this was a positive or negative experience?

It was a very positive experience! I decided to self-publish after speaking with a couple of agents who only seemed to show interest in you if you could prove you had a following already and were ultimately going to make them money. Being a self-published author means you have more control over what happens and if you have the time to promote it properly, it can be a very successful and enjoyable experience.

What would your advice be to anyone hoping to self-publish?

Unfortunately, as with most ventures, you need to have a little bit of money behind you to get started. Most people these days don’t actually print, they self-publish online. Whilst printing can often be expensive (and you should pay a little more for a good quality printer), it’s the most amazing feeling when your book turns up in the post.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently in the middle of reading Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer who’s one of my all-time favourite authors. Once I’ve finished that I’ll dive straight into the seventh Clifton Chronicles novel – This Was a Man – I’ve been waiting with baited breath for it to come out.

In this day and age, do you prefer e-readers or a hard copy book?

An e-reader will never outsell a classic hard copy in my opinion. I love the feeling of actually reading a printed story and holding the book in my hands.

With the release of your first novel, what are your ambitions for your writing career?

I know it’s very clichéd but I would love to become a full time successful author. I dream of being able to live off my completed novels and write books from anywhere in the world.

If Sweet Oblivion was made into a film, which celebrities would you love to cast as your characters?

That’s a tricky one. For my main character, Louise, the actor would need to be intelligent, attractive and have an athletic build, perhaps someone like Mila Kunis who often plays relatable characters. I would love for Sandra Bullock to play Elizabeth as she is seen as a strong, attractive and savvy woman just like my character.

Now you’ve written your first novel, could there perhaps be a second in the pipeline?

I am in the early stages of writing another novel, which will also involve Elizabeth, but that is all I can say for now!

 

New Novel To Be Released: Trip Trap

I have had many novels and short stories published since 2010 when I began writing. Each one has been exciting, and I’m proud of each of my publications.

But Trip Trap, my latest novel, is very important to me. I have taken the decision to self-publish all of my work from now on, and Trip Trap is the first.

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Over the next few months, I will be re-releasing all of my older published works, as well as publishing a new children’s novel, a murder mystery, and a family saga. In the meantime I am also writing a new horror novel for adults, and I am putting ideas together for a collection of children’s stories.

2017 is going to be exciting – I will be writing and publishing more fiction throughout the year. It’s something that I have let fall by the wayside a little as I’ve concentrated on my freelancing services, but I am going to be making more time to keep my fiction writing dreams alive.

I hope you like what I come up with. Here is the beginning of the book…

A quick kiss on the cheek for his wife, and William Spender stepped out of his house and into the early evening warmth. His front garden, bursting with late spring flowers, colourful, new and fresh, gave off the scent of lavender and life. He loved it. He could feel his heart swell because of it.

This was his favourite time of year, April turning to May, with its blossoms and lightening evenings. He took in the smell of cut grass from the meadow just below the horizon, and watched the farmer as he toiled back and forth on his tractor in the field beyond. William could hear the buzz of the engine as it worked.

Perfect.

Except for the heat. Too hot for spring, this was summer warmth, summer sun. It was getting too much, which is why William used the early evening time, before it was dark but after it was sweltering, to take Cliff for a walk.

“I won’t be too long,” said William, turning back, speaking as an afterthought when he realised the door hadn’t closed behind him. He tugged at the lead he held loosely in his hand, enticing the weary old dog attached to it to start creaking his way down the little path to the wooden gate that led out onto the quiet country lane. “An hour at the most.”

Martha smiled indulgently. She knew her husband. An hour would become two in a moment, would become three if the dog would allow it, although at fifteen the poor thing didn’t allow for much at all. “Take your time,” she said, raising her voice so that the man would hear her. He was already unlatching the little gate. It creak-squeaked as it always did, a comforting, familiar sound, two little pips. “Dinner won’t be ready for a while yet, and if you’re not back it’ll keep. Anyway, that dog needs some exercise.” She winked, saying no more. Not needing to. Not wanting to nag too much. Not now.

William shook his head, his cheeks firing red. “He’s not the only one, I know, I know,” he said, trying to sound good-natured, almost making it. He patted his belly where it folded over his belt and hung down over the top of his trousers. Nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all. And anyway, he was retired, enjoying life. Why not gain a little weight, a little warmth? He was fairly fond of his belly.

Martha tutted and shut the door, not keen to let any little creatures make their way inside. She had been bitten enough the night before with the window left open, and she was damned if that was going to happen again. Her ankle was swollen from whatever had had a go at her. She wished she’d never scratched it, sure she had made it worse. A nice soak in the bath would soothe it, and there would be time before William returned. A cool bath. Cold. The idea itself immediately relaxed her. She smiled and meant it, and then almost ran up the stairs, the call of the chill water becoming far too great to resist.

It was too hot to do anything else.

Two Red Rockers – Memories

On the back porch of our house there are two red rockers. They were bought on our honeymoon, a trip to Devon, nearly sixty years ago, and they have been repaired and repainted a good many times since. But always red. Because that’s what made us buy them. The colour. We spotted them in a strange little shop, not quite antiques and not quite bric-a-brac but somewhere in between, and they weren’t new then. We could see the red paint beneath the white, trying to make itself known, as though only we could see it and appreciate it.

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They cost us all the spending money we had, and we still had to put a bit on tick – it took us five years to pay it all off in the end. And once we had handed over every note and coin, and signed away a heart stopping amount on top, the man in the shop didn’t want to know, so we had to lug them back up that long cobbled hill to the guest house ourselves. I can still remember the look on the landlady’s face when she saw them in her parlour, a mixture of disbelief and all out fury. She was a harridan, that one, but you and your charm persuaded her to let us keep the chairs there overnight. We worried about them all night, like parents with a newborn, and in the morning we rushed downstairs to check nothing had happened to them. Nothing had.

Because we had spent all our money, we had to cut our honeymoon short and leave that afternoon on a train back to London. The guard promised he’d keep an eye on our pride and joys, for a fee, but we had nothing to give him so we took it in turns trundling up to the luggage carriage and back. When we got home, I stayed with the chairs at the station while you ran off to find your dad because he had a cart we could use to get them home.

Home. Home was with your parents then. We had nowhere else to go, and no money (especially after debting on those chairs) so it made sense, but your mother was strict and was never too fond of me, and she refused to let the rockers into her house. Your charm was powerless against her. They had to stay in the shed in the garden. The evenings we spent out there, just the two of us, a glass of beer and each other, rocking gently, were some of the happiest I can remember.

Hard work and denial and we finally found our own house, and it had a room for the rockers, but I always preferred them outside. You promised me that when we were rich we would have a house with a porch at the back so that the chairs would have their own place. I laughed and thanked you and we smiled about it.

We never got rich, but we did eventually buy ourselves a nice, respectable house with a good sized garden. You surprised me one birthday by telling me you had hired some builders to put up a porch, like the one you’d always promised me. The children – we had three by then – didn’t understand and thought it was the worst present they could think of, but I was more pleased than I think I let you know. I always wondered whether you understood how much that gesture meant to me.

The children grew up, they moved out, they visited occasionally. You and I missed them; we were reminded of those early days when it was just the two of us, and at first it was awkward but soon it was natural and as though years had never happened. We sat on those old red chairs and I don’t think I have ever felt peace like it. Every now and then you reached across and squeezed my hand and for a moment I saw the young man you had been.

But now I sit next to an empty chair, and remember.

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month

Could you write 50,000 words in 30 days? Would you? Well thousands of writers – and non-writers – attempt this particular challenge each November. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the aim by the end of it is to have 50,000 words completed. That might be the first draft of a novel, or it could be just the start of an epic book. It doesn’t matter. As long as 50,000 words have been written (that’s 1,667 or so per day), the genre, storyline, even the language doesn’t matter.

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I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo three times in the past. The first time produced Some Body’s At The Door. The second time gave me the first half of At Peace (as yet unpublished), and the third was all about creating a murder mystery. That one is called Perfect Murder.

It’s fun, it’s a scramble, and it’s a great way of getting those words down. Because you are competing against thousands of other people, it’s a matter of pride and honour, and it really does help the creative juices to flow.

This year I’ve signed up to finish my newest horror novel, Tarantulas: High Flying, Abhorred. So far I’m on target… let’s see what happens when we get to 30th November. 50,000 words? That’ll do just fine.

Short Story: Apple Tree Dreams by Lisamarie Lamb

Her boy had always wanted a treehouse, and she had always told him no. She had always said it was too dangerous, that he would fall and hurt himself or stab himself with a splinter. He would get dirty.

Better to sit inside with a book. Better to stay indoors and do colouring. Better. Much better.

And so the boy did sit inside with a book. He did stay indoors and do colouring. He did these things and he stared out of the window at the apple tree that rose up and out at the bottom of the garden. He imagined a treehouse embraced within its branches, held there, safe, secure, a secret place just for him to go. He dreamed about that imaginary treehouse, and pretended as he sat on the rug in the sunlit living room that he was bathing in the glow of the outside as it filtered through the leaves of the apple tree and fell upon his face in patches of yellow warmth.

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One day, as he ate an apple for lunch and gazed, ever more keenly at the tree, he had an idea. His mother had told him that if he were to swallow a pip, an apple tree might grow within him. He did not want that, could not imagine trying it. But what if he could entice a tree to grow indoors? Surely if a tree could grow in a boy’s stomach… And there was enough sunshine creeping in, and he could water it himself, he was sure he knew how.

That was all that was needed, wasn’t it?

And perhaps it was. That, and a little bit of faith.

The boy finished his apple and searched for the perfect spot, hunting behind the sofa, under the armchair, swishing back the curtains to find a good planting place. Eventually he found it. Between the wall and the bookshelf there was a tiny gap, so small that not even the boy’s thin fingers could fit. But the apple pip could.

He poked the pip through the gap, letting it fall where it would, pleased to see that the shaft of sunlight that reached in through the tall glass doors hit the spot he had chosen. It was perfect.

He would water it every day.

He would look after it.

And when it was fully grown, he would build a treehouse.

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The boy slept peacefully that night, his plans growing inside his head.

In the morning he rushed to his indoor garden and found that nothing had changed. He could still see the seed lying where he had left it, and although it was damp from the glass of water he had poured over it when his mother wasn’t looking, it was still just an apple pip.

Despite his disappointment, the boy was sure of his plan, and he watered it once more, and left it alone to become the tree he knew it could be.

Years passed. The boy, who loved his mother to the ends of the earth, resented her as well. He was a good boy, a charming boy, polite and courteous, but he was alone. He had no friends because friends might lead him astray. He had no fun because fun might be dangerous. He sometimes wished that he was someone else’s son, although he hated himself when he thought it. He wished that he was allowed to feel pain and fall over and graze his knees.

One of his sad little wishes did come true. He did feel pain. Small at first, just a niggling little bite in his bones. He said nothing. But as the months went on and he neared his tenth birthday, his mother finally noticed that something was wrong. Her boy was limping, he was thin, he was pale and dark-eyed, and everything was an effort for him these days.

The doctor told them the news that they were both expecting to hear. Still, it was a blow, and there wasn’t much time.

“I’ll build you your treehouse,” said his mother, her voice tight with tears, her throat aching, her heart in pieces. “I’ll make sure you have it before-” She did not finish. She couldn’t. The boy understood and nodded and held her tight, comforting her although he was the one who was dying.

When the boy did die, it was as peaceful as it could be, and his mother was there when it happened.

The treehouse was not finished.

In the months that followed, as she tried to put her life back together and live as best she could once more, she vowed that she would finish the job she had started, but every time she ventured outside and looked up at the shaggy boards strewn haphazardly across the strong branches, she could only fall to her knees and sob at the life that had been taken from her.

She regretted so much.

She should have, could have, would have been a better mother, if only she had known.

And instead of finishing the treehouse, she crawled back inside and lay down in a patch of sunlight in the living room and cried until she was weak and empty. And then she slept, an exhausted, dreamless sleep that did nothing for her except to pass the time without her boy.

When she awoke after not long enough, the sun had gone. It was not yet night, but it was dark in the living room, dark and cool. She stretched out in that blissful moment of forgetfulness and enjoyed the fresh, light feeling of freedom that fell onto her face though the… Through the what?

She opened her eyes and memories flew at her, batting at her, slapping at her with their full force. But for once she barely noticed. Because above her and around her and rising up through the ceiling and as far beyond that as she could see was an apple tree. It emerged from behind the bookcase that had been against the same wall for as long as she could remember, and it twirled its thick trunk outwards, twisting it up at an angle, and then it had just kept growing.

How long had she slept for?

She glanced at the clock but it didn’t answer any questions. It tick-tocked forwards but the numbers meant nothing. All that she cared about was the tree, watered with her grieving tears and brought to life in the shadow of death.

Now that she had a tree in her house, she wondered what she ought to do with it. She couldn’t see the top of it, but she realised that she wanted to, needed to, find out how far it had grown in the short time it had had. A miracle, a real, actual miracle, had occurred in her own home, and it had lightened her poor, splintered heart.

She raced up the stairs, taking them one, two, three at a time, giant strides that she didn’t know she was capable of, and at the top she stood on the shaded landing and stared up at the tree that poked through the floor below her and the ceiling above her. She needed to get higher. She had to find the top, find the leaves, find the treasure that was there, that had to be there.

And so she placed one slippered foot against the smooth grey bark and raised her arms to grasp the lowest branches. They shook and the leaves rustled, a pleasant, sunny sound. Bright red apples shone as they bobbed up and down.

She climbed. It reminded her of a time she had forgotten, a time on her own childhood when her mother had let her run loose, let her run free, let her climb trees and play in the meadow and come home for a picnic tea on the lawn.

She felt young. A little girl. And the little girl that she had become clambered up the tree, grinning, brushing leaves from her hair, laughing at a startled sparrow that was resting on a thin twig, reaching out to touch it but missing as it launched itself into the air.

Blue, blue sky and white, white clouds were above her now, and the tree, of course. It was still rising up, there was still more to climb.

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And climb she did, this little girl in her dirty dungarees and cracked creamy trainers. Her long plaits hung down her back, tangled with twigs and specked with mud. Her gap-toothed smile was huge, and it was real.

It was all real.

In the thick branches above her there was a shape. Large and flat and square. A platform. No, more than a platform. A treehouse. Of course. What else would it be up there, up here, at the top, with a view over the world?

But how to get up into it? She grabbed at the edges of the opening, and tried to pull herself up, but the angle was strange and she almost fell.

Almost.

But not quite.

A small hand slid over the edge and held hers. The sensation was known, so familiar that the woman – the girl – gasped and gripped tightly, so as never to have to let go again.

Her boy leaned over the edge and smiled down at her. He pulled her up and there they were, both sitting in his treehouse. Their treehouse now.

And together they looked out over the world and planned their adventures in the eternal sunshine.

Fiction: Devil Darners

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They used to believe and it hurt that they didn’t anymore. It hurt that they now thought that the things she said were silly, foolish, only said to amuse or to scare when in fact she was telling the truth. She was convinced of it. It was the truth.

She sat in her rocking chair on the patio, gazing out at her grandchildren, the ones who had used to play in the long, lush grass and who now sat and bickered between themselves or lazed around listening to terrible music. She had seen them grow up and she wished they still believed her.

“Nan!”

The shout was unexpected, reeling through the trees and edging into her ears, the thud-thump of the music still playing.

“Nan!” Urgent now, and was that a hint of fear? Which grandchild was it? They all sounded the same, especially at this distance.

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Nan heaved herself out of the chair, took up her walking sticks, and eased herself down the path, her feet too fat for her shoes, blooming out of them, spilling flesh and veins as she walked. She reached the end of the garden and found the three children – young adults, she supposed she ought to call them – kneeling on the ground, watching something fizzing and buzzing beneath a glass.

“Oh, Nan!” squealed the youngest, a girl, the one who still half believed her. The one whose eyes betrayed her confusion and her uncertainty when she was told the old stories. The stories about fairies and pixies, the ones about trees that were alive and clouds that spoke. All the stories. “Nan, look what we found!”

Nan did look. She bent as low as she could, thinking that she should have brought her glasses, but seeing just clearly enough to understand that the thing frantically trying to escape its glass prison was a dragonfly. Nan shivered, dropping one of her sticks as her hand spasmed in disgust. “Let it go,” she said, shaking her head. “And get my stick.”

One of the boys handed it to her. He grinned. “We thought you’d like it,” he said, and there was mischief all over his face. Nan, if he had been her son, would have clipped him, hard, maybe used the stick he was still gripping, anything to wipe that look off his arrogant face. But he wasn’t her son. He was her son’s son and as such she had no power. Not any more.

She felt helpless.

She felt truly frightened. And sickened. Her fingers touched her mouth, feeling the bristles that grew unfettered. And beneath the whiskers she could just make out the holes. Tiny, tiny holes dotted across her lips, neat and tidy.

How many times had she told that story?

“Just let it go,” she said again, poking at the glass, wanting to knock it over but afraid to get too close. “Or you know what will happen.”

The boys, two of them, almost teenagers and confident and superior, laughed. The older one even patted his grandmother’s arm, a there-there patronising gesture if ever there was one, and smiled, all teeth and braces. “It’s just a dragonfly, Nan. Or do you want to tell us about the devil darners?” He turned to his siblings and winked.

“You don’t know what you’re doing,” said Nan, wanting to get away, afraid to leave them. “I’ve warned you, I’ve told you a million times. I’ve shown you what happens. And you still push and push, don’t you?”

The boys laughed again, but the girl felt her lip wobble. She felt torn between believing her older brothers, world-wise and all-knowing, they who had said nothing would happen, that a dragonfly couldn’t hurt anyone, and believing her grandmother, so old that she had seen it all, she who had told them all about the devil darners.

The girl kicked out, knocking the glass to one side, allowing the dragonfly to be free. It leapt into the air, wings flitting, body waving back and forth, and it hovered in front of the girl’s face. It just waited on the air, watching with its huge black eyes and its spindly legs.

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And then it darted. It shot forward with such force that the air rippled as it passed through. It hit the little girl’s face, sharp and stinging, flying away again, backwards, pulling her lip with it, and then towards her again, back and forth, back and forth, cutting and pricking and tugging.

The girl screamed, or tried to, but she found that her mouth, bleeding and bruised, was sewn shut, the dragonfly, the devil darner, had done its job, dealing out its own retribution at being caught and caged.

The boys, terrified, their minds betrayed by their eyes, did not stay to watch, and as their sister fell to the ground, the dragonfly gouging and striking, going now for her eyelids, they ran, knocking their grandmother out of the way, sprinting towards the house and away from this horror.

The little girl tried to protect herself but it was no good. And her grandmother, who knew about such things, who had seen so much and who had tried to tell them all, touched her lips, feeling the holes, remembering.

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Magazine Writing & research per 1000 400
Magazine Editor per day 250
Magazine Sub-editing per 1000 120
Magazine Fact checking per day 200
Newspaper (regional) Writing & research per 1000 220
Newspaper (regional) Sub-editing per 1000 95
Newspaper (regional) Fact checking per day 200
Newspaper (national) Writing & research per 1000 700
Newspaper (national) Sub-editing per 1000 450
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Online/digital media Sub-editing per 1000 95
Online/digital media Fact checking per day 200

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WHAT I CAN DO

Blog Writing

A blog is an essential tool in ensuring your website is seen. I can create regular blog posts that will move you up the rankings and give you a better placement within your industry.

Ghost Writing

Have you ever wanted to write a novel, memoir or short story but don’t have the time? Do you have the ideas, but the words don’t flow? I can help. Contact me for a confidential chat.

Articles

I am happy to carry out research, conduct interviews, and write/edit articles of any length. Contact me for more information about my rates and services.

Web Content

From your home page to your about me details and everything in between, you want a website that has snappy, interesting, high quality content. Let me create it for you.

Sales Letters

If you have a product that you want others to know about, you need a sales letter that is going to get attention – and keep it. I can write that letter for you.

Emails

Are you thinking of starting an email campaign but don’t know what to include? Or perhaps you want to send a special email to that special someone, but you can’t think of the right words. Contact me and we can discuss exactly what I can do to help.

Product Descriptions

Selling products online can be an excellent way of making a business, but if your products sound boring and your descriptions are dull, no one will want them. I’ve written thousands of products descriptions, and I can make your products shine.

Copy Editing & Proofreading

Have you written something that needs that extra level of checking? With my years of experience I can proofread or copy edit your work so that it’s the best it can be.

Social Media Management & Digital Marketing

Getting your digital marketing and social media strategy right is essential. I can provide and implement a social media marketing plan that works for you. Contact me to find out more.

About MeAbout Me

I'm a content writer

Excellent work by Lisamarie, on time, great quality and constant communication. Would not hesitate to recommend and in fact use again as soon as opportunity arises.

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Lisamarie is a very good writer and is very easy to work with. She reacted well to my guidance and provided me with content I'm very happy to use. I look forward to working with her again soon.

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REVIEWS

I studied English theory at university and have always been interested in the mechanics of writing, but it wasn’t until 2010 when my daughter was born that I started to write professionally. Although this was out of necessity (it was a job that I could do from home, and it brought in enough to pay the bills!), it soon became a passion. Since that time, I have been published in over 40 fiction anthologies and have written seven novels.

Find out more about my publications on my Amazon Author Page.

I am now a full-time freelance writer. The majority of my time is spent writing SEO-friendly blog posts for businesses in all kinds of niches from bakeries to florists to roofing specialists and plenty more in between. 

Between 2014 and 2020 I was the features and online editor for insideKENT magazine.

Today I live with my husband, daughter, and a cat called Cheryl in a cottage in the Kent countryside, writing, painting, and – whenever possible – watching horror films.

http://www.facebook.com/lisamarielambwriter

info@lisamarielamb.co.uk 

MY STORY

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The Healing Power of Nature: Reconnecting with the Earth for Wellness

In our fast-paced modern lives, filled with technology and constant distractions, it’s easy to lose touch with the healing and grounding power of nature. However, reconnecting with the Earth can offer profound benefits for our overall well-being. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving mood and enhancing physical health, the great outdoors provides a natural prescription for wellness.

The Call of the Outdoors: A Natural Prescription for Wellbeing

When we immerse ourselves in nature, we tap into something primal within us. The gentle rustle of leaves, the soothing sound of a flowing river, and the sight of a breathtaking sunset all have a profound impact on our senses. Nature beckons us to slow down, breathe deeply, and embrace the present moment.

The Science Behind Nature’s Healing Effects

Research has shown that spending time in nature has a multitude of positive effects on our mental and physical well-being. Being in natural environments can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and boost our immune system. Studies also indicate that exposure to nature can improve cognitive function, increase creativity, and enhance overall happiness.

Ecotherapy: Nature as a Therapeutic Tool

Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy or green therapy, is an emerging field that utilizes the healing power of nature for therapeutic purposes. From nature walks and gardening to wilderness adventures and animal-assisted therapy, ecotherapy offers various modalities to support mental health, personal growth, and emotional healing.

Forest Bathing: Immerse Yourself in the Healing Woods

Forest bathing, a practice originating from Japan, involves immersing oneself in a forest environment and engaging in mindfulness and sensory awareness. By simply being present in nature and observing its beauty, we can experience profound relaxation, improved mood, and a sense of rejuvenation.

The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise: Boosting Physical and Mental Health

Exercising outdoors provides a double dose of wellness benefits. Whether it’s hiking, biking, jogging, or practicing yoga in a park, outdoor physical activity not only improves cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility but also enhances mental well-being by reducing anxiety and depression and increasing self-esteem.

Gardening Therapy: Cultivating Wellness in Your Backyard

Gardening is a therapeutic activity that allows us to connect with the earth, nurture living things, and witness the beauty of growth and renewal. It provides a sense of accomplishment, relieves stress, and promotes relaxation. Whether you have a spacious garden or a small balcony, cultivating plants can be a rewarding and healing experience.

Nature’s Soothing Soundscapes: The Impact of Natural Sounds

The gentle sounds of nature, such as chirping birds, rustling leaves, and babbling brooks, have a profound effect on our nervous system. Listening to these natural sounds can induce relaxation, improve focus, and promote better sleep. Incorporating recordings of nature sounds or visiting natural environments can help create a tranquil atmosphere in our busy lives.

The Role of Biophilia: Humans’ Innate Connection with Nature

Biophilia, the concept introduced by biologist Edward O. Wilson, suggests that humans possess an innate affinity for nature. We are naturally drawn to elements such as greenery, water, and natural light. By consciously incorporating biophilic design principles into our homes, workplaces, and public spaces, we can enhance our well-being and foster a deeper connection with the natural world.

Eco-Conscious Travel: Exploring Sustainable Destinations

When embarking on travel adventures, consider exploring destinations that prioritize sustainability and environmental conservation. Eco-conscious travel allows us to experience the beauty of nature while supporting local communities and preserving natural habitats for generations to come.

Choosing the Perfect Dining Table: A Guide

The dining table is the centerpiece of any dining room or kitchen, and it plays a crucial role in your home decor. It’s where family and friends gather to share meals, catch up on the day, and make memories. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the perfect dining table. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips to help you make the right choice.

Consider Your Space

The first thing to consider when choosing a dining table is your space. Measure your dining room or kitchen to determine the size of the table that will fit comfortably. You don’t want a table that is too big or too small for your room. Also, consider the shape of your space. A rectangular table works best in a rectangular room, while a round or oval table is better for a square room.

perfect dining table

Photo by Mike Little

Think About Your Needs

Next, think about your needs. How many people will be using the table regularly? Do you need a table with leaves that can expand for larger gatherings? Do you want a formal or casual style? Do you need a table that can double as a workspace? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your choices.

Choose the Right Material

Dining tables come in a variety of materials, including wood, glass, metal, and composite. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Wood is durable and timeless, but it can be heavy and require regular maintenance. Glass is sleek and modern, but it can show fingerprints and scratches. Metal is sturdy and easy to clean, but it can be cold and noisy. Composite materials like MDF and laminate are affordable and low-maintenance, but they may not have the same quality as natural materials.

Consider Your Style

Your perfect dining table should reflect your personal style and complement the rest of your home decor. If you prefer a traditional style, a wooden table with ornate details may be the perfect choice. If you prefer a modern style, a glass or metal table with clean lines may be more your style. Consider the colors and textures in your home and choose a table that fits in with your overall aesthetic.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect dining table may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By considering your space, needs, material preferences, and style, you can find a table that will be both functional and beautiful in your home. Whether you prefer a classic wooden table or a sleek glass one, the right dining table will be a centerpiece of your home for years to come.

The Green Man: A Foliage-Covered Mystery

Have you ever seen a figure with leaves, vines, or branches sprouting from his mouth, nose, or ears? If yes, you might have stumbled upon the Green Man, a mythical being whose roots can be traced back to pre-Christian times.

green man

Origins

The Green Man is a pagan symbol that represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. He is often associated with spring and the renewal of nature. In the Middle Ages, this symbol became intertwined with Christian iconography and was depicted in churches and cathedrals across Europe.

Evolution

Throughout the centuries, this figure has taken on many different forms. In some cultures, he is a wild, untamed creature, while in others, he is a gentle, nurturing spirit. In medieval Europe, he was often depicted as a foliate head or a human face surrounded by foliage.

Symbolism

The Green Man is a complex symbol that can represent many different things. In some cultures, he is a fertility god, while in others, he is a symbol of the wild and untamed natural world. In Christian iconography, he is often associated with the resurrection of Christ and the renewal of the spirit.

Popular Culture

In recent years, the Green Man has experienced a resurgence in popular culture. He has been featured in everything from literature to music to television shows. Perhaps the most famous representation of Green Men is in the hit television show Game of Thrones, where he is depicted as a mysterious figure who lives beyond the Wall.

The Mystery of the Green Man

Despite his prevalence in popular culture, the origins and meaning of the Green Man remain shrouded in mystery. Some believe that he represents the ancient Celtic god Cernunnos, while others see him as a symbol of the natural world and our connection to it.

Conclusion

This figure is a fascinating and enigmatic figure whose origins stretch back thousands of years. Whether he represents the cycle of life, the untamed wild, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: the Green Man will continue to captivate and intrigue us for generations to come.

Relaxing at Home: A Guide to Unwinding and Recharging

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s essential to take some time to relax and recharge. However, with our hectic schedules, finding the time to unwind can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t need to leave your house to get some much-needed relaxation. Here are some tips for relaxing at home.

relaxing at home

Photo by Chait Goli

Create a Soothing Atmosphere

The first step in relaxing at home is creating a soothing atmosphere. Dim the lights, light some candles, and play some relaxing music. You can also diffuse essential oils like lavender, which are known for their calming properties.

Get Cosy

There’s no better way to relax than getting cosy. Put on some comfortable clothes, grab a blanket, and snuggle up on the couch. If you have a fireplace, light a fire and bask in its warmth.

Indulge in Your Favourite Activity

What’s your favourite way to unwind? Whether it’s reading, watching a movie, or taking a bath, indulge in your favorite activity. You can even combine activities, like taking a bubble bath while watching your favorite show.

Disconnect from Technology

Technology has made our lives more convenient, but it can also be a source of stress. Disconnect from technology by turning off your phone, computer, and TV. Instead, try meditating, journaling, or practicing yoga.

Treat Yourself

When was the last time you pampered yourself? Treat yourself to a spa day at home. Take a long bath, apply a face mask, and give yourself a manicure. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Spending time with loved ones is an excellent way to relax at home. Whether it’s having a game night or cooking dinner together, spending quality time with the people you care about can help you unwind and recharge.

Conclusion

Relaxing at home is essential for your mental and physical well-being. With these tips, you can create a soothing atmosphere, indulge in your favorite activity, disconnect from technology, treat yourself, and spend time with loved ones. So, the next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take some time to relax at home. Your mind and body will thank you.

Eat More Cheese: It’s The Perfect Food

If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like a good slice of cheese. Whether it’s a classic cheddar, a creamy brie, or a tangy blue, there’s a cheese out there for everyone. But did you know that eating more cheese can actually be good for you? That’s right; it’s time to embrace your cheese addiction and indulge in the satisfying taste of cheese.

eat more cheese

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

The Benefits of Cheese: It’s Not Just Delicious, It’s Nutritious Too

Before we get into the cheesy goodness, let’s talk about why cheese is actually good for you. Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s also high in protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. Plus, cheese is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.

So, if you’re looking for a healthy snack that will also satisfy your cravings, cheese is the perfect choice. And if you needed any more convincing, research has shown that cheese can actually help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

How to Eat More Cheese: Embrace the Cheesy Goodness

Now that you know why cheese is good for you, it’s time to start eating more of it. Here are some tips to help you embrace the cheesy goodness:

  1. Experiment with different types of cheese: There are so many different types of cheese out there, from mild to sharp, soft to hard. Try something new and see what you like.
  2. Pair cheese with other foods: Cheese pairs well with a variety of foods, from crackers and bread to fruit and nuts. Try different combinations and find your favorite.
  3. Make cheese the star of the show: Cheese can be the main ingredient in many dishes, from pizza and pasta to sandwiches and burgers.
  4. Don’t be afraid to indulge: Cheese is a delicious treat, so don’t be afraid to indulge every once in a while. Just make sure to balance it out with healthy foods too.

Photo by Ray Piedra

The Bottom Line: Eat More Cheese and Embrace Your Cheese Addiction

In conclusion, cheese is not only delicious, but it’s also nutritious. So, if you’re a cheese lover, there’s no need to feel guilty about your addiction. Embrace the cheesy goodness and experiment with different types of cheese, pairings, and recipes. And remember, everything is better with cheese – even a bad day. So, go ahead and eat more cheese because life is too short not to enjoy cheese, the more perfect food.

Breathe Easy: The Benefits of Breathing in Fresh Air

Breathing fresh air is one of the most important things we can do for our health and wellbeing. It is a simple yet powerful way to improve our quality of life. In this blog post, we will explore the many benefits of fresh air and how it can help us feel our best.

benefits of breathing in fresh air

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

Boosts Oxygen Levels and Improves Respiratory Health

Fresh air is essential for our respiratory health as it contains high levels of oxygen. Breathing in fresh air can help increase the amount of oxygen in our bodies, which is necessary for our cells to function properly. This can help improve our respiratory health and prevent issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses.

Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Spending time in nature and breathing in fresh air has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Studies have found that people who spend time in nature have lower levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress. This can help us feel more relaxed, calm, and centered.

Improves Cognitive Function and Brain Health

Fresh air can also help improve cognitive function and brain health. Studies have found that people who spend time outdoors and breathe in fresh air have better memory, concentration, and creativity. This is because fresh air can help increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, which is necessary for optimal brain function.

Boosts Immune System Function

Breathing in fresh air can help boost our immune system function by increasing the number of white blood cells in our bodies. This can help us fight off illnesses and infections more effectively. Fresh air can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with many chronic health conditions.

Improves Sleep Quality

Fresh air can also help improve our sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. When we breathe in fresh air, we can feel more relaxed and calm, which can help us fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply. This can lead to better overall health and well-being.

Promotes Physical Activity and Weight Loss

Fresh air is also essential for physical activity and weight loss. When we breathe in fresh air, we can feel more energized and motivated to move our bodies. This can help us engage in physical activity such as walking, hiking, or running, which can help us burn calories and lose weight. Regular physical activity can also help improve our overall health and reduce our risk of chronic diseases.

In conclusion, breathing in fresh air has many benefits for our health and well-being. From improving respiratory health to reducing stress and anxiety, boosting cognitive function and immune system function, promoting physical activity and weight loss, and improving sleep quality, the benefits of fresh air are numerous. So, make sure to take the time to breathe in fresh air every day and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

Get Ready to Scream for Ice Cream with Creams Cafe and SCREAM VI

This March, everybody’s favourite destination for truly decadent desserts, Creams Cafe, is partnering with the release of SCREAM VI hitting UK cinemas on 8th March, Creams has created a frighteningly good limited-edition dessert, available from 1st – 31st March.

The chilling new SCREAM VI Sundae is a treat that’s not to be missed. This creepy concoction features creamy vanilla soft serve and coconut gelato, served with terrifyingly tasty blood-red strawberry sauce and a Creams Cafe signature wafer for the finishing flourish. Whether you’re a horror fan looking for the perfect pre-cinema treat or just a lover of the nation’s favourite dessert brand, don’t be afraid to head to Creams to give this petrifying pudding a try.

creams cafe

Available nationwide from 1st – 31st March, head to your nearest Creams to snap up this limited-edition treat for £8.95…but only if you dare. The Scream VI Sundae will also be available via delivery with Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Just Eat.

As an extra special spooky surprise, Creams will be offering someone the chance to win a truly one-of-a-kind, money-can’t-buy experience. One lucky individual will win an exclusive screening of SCREAM VI with up to 23 friends of their choosing in a totally private cinema. As if that wasn’t wow factor enough, the winner will also be given a £250 Creams Cafe voucher, so they can order whatever sweet treats their hearts desire. Keep your eyes peeled across the Creams Cafe Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok channels from 1st March for full details on how to be in with a chance of winning.

A SCREAM VI Sundae at Creams followed by a frightfully fantastic screening of SCREAM VI – name a cooler combination?

Creams Cafe – the place where I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

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How To Make Waxing Less Painful

Waxing is a popular way to remove unwanted body hair, but it does have its downsides, and one of the worst is that it’s painful. Of course it is; you’re adding hot wax to your skin and then ripping it away, taking the hair underneath with it! Yet it’s so effective, so many people just suffer through the pain. The good news is that you can make waxing less painful; here are some of the ideas you can try.

Use A Numbing Cream

One way you can make waxing less painful is to use a numbing cream – read the labels and check that it will do what you want it do to and ideally it should contain lidocaine or something similar. Also, before applying read the directions fully – the last thing you want is to make a mistake right at the start.

The usual way to use numbing cream is to apply it to the area you’re going to wax and then wait for it to take effect, which might be a few minutes. Make sure you wear gloves when you’re applying it as otherwise your hands are going to go numb, and although the cream will make waxing less painful, you won’t be able to do much else besides wait for the anaesthetic to wear off and give you the feeling back in your hands!

Use A Cold Compress

Although using a cold compress won’t make the process itself less painful, it will help afterwards. Applying a cold compress to your freshly waxed skin will make waxing less painful overall – it will soothe the affected area and reduce the swelling.

All you have to do is take a clean cloth or flannel and soak it in cold water. Wring it out and then apply it to the irritated area. Most of the time, the pain will immediately lessen and ultimately disappear altogether. Remember, though, that a cold compress should only be used for a short amount of time, otherwise you might damage your skin. And as ever, if the pain persists or the skin becomes more irritated and inflamed, the best thing you can do is see a doctor.

Go To An Expert

One of the main reasons why waxing can hurt so much is because you’re doing it yourself. Unless you actually are an expert who does this for a living, it’s unlikely you’ll have the experience to do it in a way that causes the least pain. Because of this, another way to make waxing less painful is to go to an expert.

They will be quick, efficient, and they’ll do their utmost to make the entire experience a pleasant one (or at least not a horrible one). I’ve tried a few different experts, and the best experience I had was at Reynolds Retreat in Borough Green – but there are sure to be a variety of experts to choose from no matter where you happen to live.

What Are The Benefits Of Staying Hydrated?

Staying hydrated is an important part of a healthy lifestyle that is sometimes overlooked. As we get older, it becomes more and more important. Adults over 60 are more likely to get dehydrated for a number of reasons, such as a natural decrease in thirst and changes in the way their bodies work. Also, older people are more likely to take diuretics and other drugs that make the body lose fluid. Read on for some of the benefits of staying hydrated to help you get the most out of your body.

Enhanced Brain Performance

Mild dehydration can affect your memory, mood, ability to focus, and speed of reaction. Adding a few glasses of water to your daily routine can help you think more clearly, calm your emotions, and even get rid of the signs of worry. This is especially important for older people, who are more likely to get dehydrated and have trouble thinking.

Digestive Balance

For digestion to work well, your body needs water. If you don’t get enough, you might have bowel movements that aren’t regular, gas, bloating, heartburn, and other pains. Taking in more fluids might help you get back on your feet. It breaks down the soluble fibre in your food, which helps keep your digestion running smoothly. Mineral water is especially good, and you should look for kinds that are high in sodium and magnesium.

More Energy

Dehydration can slow down blood flow and cut off oxygen to the brain. If you don’t drink enough water, your heart may have to work harder to move oxygen around your body. All of that wasted energy could make you feel tired, slow, and unable to concentrate. You can stay hydrated and have more energy throughout the day by simply drinking more water.

Weight Loss and Weight Control

Because it makes you feel full, water helps keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when you’re in between meals. As an added bonus, it can aid with weight loss. Drinking more water before meals and staying hydrated is associated with significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and body composition in a study of overweight women.

About 60 percent of your body weight is made up of water, making it the single most significant chemical component of your body. You can’t go very long without drinking water. Every single one of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs relies on water to function properly, which is why staying hydrated is so crucial.

How To Take Care Of Your Team Better

When you expand your company and hire new employees, you also have responsibility for their well-being, so you need to take care of your team in the best way possible. Employee happiness, morale, and motivation are crucial to running a successful business and doing the right thing by your staff. To build a successful business, it’s essential to reward the hard work of your employees. Workers of all types yearn to be a part of forward-thinking companies that make their employees’ happiness a central aspect of their business plans.

Putting in the effort now will pay off in the long run, and with the time and money it takes to replace departing employees, it should be a priority. But where do you even begin if you’re brand new at managing people and you want to make sure they’re happy and healthy? Read on to find out.

Be Serious About Mental Health

Mental health, long ignored, is now receiving the respect it deserves, and the national debate about it has become much more open; thus, businesses need to be on the same page. Because of the prevalence of work-related stress, anxiety, and depression, it is crucial that workers receive the training and assistance they need to prevent minor events from becoming major ones and to encourage them to proactively monitor and manage their own stress levels.

Consider the stress levels of your employees and promote healthy work-life balance by facilitating things like outdoor activities, lunch breaks away from workstations, after-work social gatherings, and so on. It’s also a good idea for businesses to invest in providing their employees with specialised training in mental health support to take care of your team.

Think About Physical Health

Naturally, the other half of the equation is taking care of employees’ physical needs. Health and safety regulations and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be properly adhered to at all times in any workplace that has machinery or a warehouse. In an office setting, you might not expect to encounter many threats, but spending eight hours a day in one place poses serious health concerns.

In order to ensure that workers are appropriately configuring and using the technology on their workstations, it is important to promote activities such as walking meetings, regular screen breaks, and training. Regular eye exams, reminders to drink water and get up and move around every half an hour or so, and other such measures should be taken.

Offer Flexible Working

In a project-based work setting, the old work ethic of presenteeism needs to be replaced with a new one. Flexible work schedules are becoming the norm in most companies in order to compete for top talent and keep employees satisfied.

Work can fit a little better around other responsibilities and passions if workers are given the flexibility to choose their own working hours, the ability to work from home when feasible, and the freedom to take different types of lunch breaks. In most cases, everyone benefits from a fair system that provides for some leeway in decision-making. This improves employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity and helps you take care of your team.