Picture inspiration for a Highland Wedding

Beautiful wedding dresses, hunky Korean male models and delicious rice dishes… I’m writing a new book and I’ve put together a board on Pinterest with pictures to inspire me.

I don’t consider myself all that visual, but this time Googling what things look like has been terrifically helpful. First off, I wanted an attractive man to serve as a secondary love interest so I typed in Korean male models. (Research—so hard!) I picked these two delightful gents and now I picture them when I’m writing the scenes my character appears in. I’ve called him Hyun-Ki in my book—partly because it sounds so close to ‘hunky’.

Kim Sun Wang - male model

Antonio Berardi wedding dress

Next, I needed a wedding dress—the kind of thing you might find in a designer shop where the dresses on the mannequins never have a price label on them. I found this Antonio Berardi version. Isn’t it absolutely beautiful? I particularly like the high neckline and the asymmetric hem. And as for the train—a thing of beauty, no?

My characters go to a Korean restaurant so in the interests of research I looked up recipes, stumbling on the gorgeously-titled bibimbap—Korea’s national dish. It’s a mix of rice and veggies, topped with strips of beef, a fried egg and spicy sauce. You use chopsticks to break the yolk and mix it in to the dish along with the sauce.

If you’d like the recipe, it is here. And I’ve included the picture of the dish I made, which was the not-as-pretty as the BBC food version one.bibimbap - rice, beef, veggies and a fried egg Gochugang sauce isn’t widely available so I used sriracha instead, which is super spicy so you don’t need as much.

As my heroine’s intended looks like Jamie Fraser of Outlander fame (or Sam Heughan the actor who plays him), I needed pictures of Jamie/Sam for my board too, and found plenty of lovely ones.

 

Finally, I looked up wedding cakes. You can find amazing cakes online, but I decided my home-made one topped the lot.

You can see my Highland Wedding board on Pinterest here.

Highland Wedding #romcom

couple in wedding outfitsAh, the writer’s life… I’ve started the final book in my trilogy, the Highland Books. Called Highland Wedding, it’s a fascinating insight into the funeral industry… I’m kidding.

Highland Wedding is a rom-com starring the two characters from book one, Highland Fling. Here’s a short excerpt:

“Jack, will you marry me?”

Plenty of people are traditionalists. They believe, even though we are well into the 21st century, that it is still the man’s job to propose marriage. When I said to Katya I was thinking of proposing to Jack, she told me to go for it. The modern woman blah blah… before shuddering.

My best friend has a dim view of marriage, given her mother’s track record. And she hates the idea of being the centre of attention. As do I. Just not as much.

Jack and I live together and we share a cat—an old, grumpy moggie called Mildred. Not my idea, the name but her previous owner was an old guy who needed to go into residential care. The home didn’t allow pets (backwards of them) so we inherited her. I love Mildred. She thinks I’m okay and Jack she tolerates—just. This is the norm with cats. If dogs think they are human, a cat thinks it is God.

My point is there’s no need for Jack and I to get married—I just think we should. And I know our friends and neighbours in the small village where we live would be delighted. It’s a long time since there’s been a wedding in Lochalshie. Funerals are standard, but nuptials are few and far between. The only other candidates are our friends Stewart and Jolene, and Jolene point blank refuses. Katya says she reckons Jolene doesn’t want to tie the knot just in case someone better comes along. And with Stewart that bar isn’t high.

Back to my proposal… I’ve discussed it with Katya, sworn her to secrecy and chosen a date. A year—give or take a day or two—to the day we first got together, although we’ve known each other much longer than that.

The venue for where I pop the question? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the annual Lochalshie Highland Games and a rare sunny day in a remote village in the north-west of Scotland…

Wedding Woes

91926thank%20youMy flash fiction story this week is based on a recent “news” story. I imagined what the other side of the story might be.

Wedding Woes

Thank you notes were hard work – particularly if you couldn’t remember who’d given you what.

Nell’s wedding had been riotous. The celebrations went on until 4am, with all the guests taking advantage of the free bar. She’d been warned about the Scots.

She’d managed to speak to everyone on the night. Friends, family and colleagues seemed overjoyed to be there, their congratulations effusive and their wishes for the couple’s future joyful.

Which was why Mary’s gift seemed strange. She’d promised a generous gift, but her cheque was only £10.

Nell mulled it over. It was probably worth raising the point.

 

The news story was about a woman who posted up the contents of an email that she had received on mumsnet. The woman had attended a wedding and given the couple £100 (about $145). The bride wrote her an email saying the couple were surprised at the size of the cheque, given the warmth of the woman’s congratulations on the day and if she wanted to adjust the amount, they would be grateful.

Needless to say, it attracted mumsnet mega outrage. Read the story here.

 

The Very Sweet (and the Very Sticky)

This recipe makes tonnes (four boxes this size).

This recipe makes tonnes (four boxes this size).

Hen parties, diets, guest lists, menus, favours etc – all have been written about recently and I now find myself a teensy bit bored of the whole wedding shenanigans…

So, as Christmas is on its way, I decided to add in a recipe for Peanut Butter fudge. The fudge is super easy to make, but do cut it up into small pieces as it’s incredibly sweet and may make all of your fillings fall out. To appease your conscience, use Fairtrade sugar and organic ingredients…

Peanut Butter Fudge (gluten-free!)

Grease and line a baking tin with grease-proof paper and set aside. Melt the butter slowly in a thick-bottomed pan over a gentle heat, add the milk and sugar and continue to heat, stirring gently until all of the sugar has dissolved. (The mixture shouldn’t feel grainy at all.)

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to boil for three minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the peanut butter and mix together well. Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and pour over the sugar and peanut butter mix. Beat together until thoroughly combined and pour into the prepared tin. Chill in the fridge until cold and then cut into very small cubes.

(For extra decadence, freeze the cubes for an hour and then dip in melted dark chocolate – use cocktail sticks to make life easier – and leave to set.)