Blogiversary giveaway. And the winner is…

 Last week I celebrated my first blogiversary with a giveaway. Up for grabs were copies of these beauties:

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine and illustrated by Julia Sarda book covers photoThe Mystery of the Jewelled Moth and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine and illustrated by Julia Sarda book covers photo

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow and The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine (click for my reviews).

I’m delighted to say that lots of people entered – thank you for taking part.

And the lucky winner is… Lindsay from Book boodle. If you don’t already follow Lindsay’s blog, you really should. Lots of lovely books and baking 🙂

On a blogging note, this was my first giveaway and first time using Rafflecopter. After initially being puzzled by a few things, in the end it was all quite straightforward. I’m now more confident I know what I’m doing and hope to host another giveaway sooner rather than later 🙂

Thank you to everyone who entered and all my lovely readers!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

1st blogiversary + 500 followers = giveaway time!

Who thought this day would come?

excited baby with birthday present gif

When I started this blog a year ago, it was mainly to give myself something to do while submitting my first novel to literary agents. There’s been some progress on that front, and while I still haven’t got an agent or publishing deal, I believe my book is better now than it was a year ago. In fact, I have a few more edits to make after receiving encouraging feedback from my reader in the Romantic Novelists’ Association (thank you, whoever you are) and then it’ll be back to submissions.

I told myself that I’d host a giveaway when I’d been blogging a year (this seemed unlikely last April) or had 500 followers (which seemed unthinkable). However, the stars have aligned and I’ve hit both milestones at the same time!

Thank you so much to all of you lovely people for following my ramblings and baking adventures. I put a lot of thought into what the greatest number of you might like to win for yourself or to pass on to someone else, and this is what I came up with… *insert drumroll*

Continue reading…

The Playlist Shuffle Tag

The Playlist Shuffle Tag image

Thank you to Deanna at a novel glimpse for tagging me in The Playlist Shuffle Tag. This is such a fun tag and gives great insight into bloggers’ taste in music. You can see Deanna’s playlists here.

The rules: are simple! Put your music on shuffle and list the first 15 songs to play (no cheating) then tag 10 others to do it as well.

Now. I only have music on my ancient MP4 player which I haven’t put any music on for about 3 years. So if you’re wondering where all the up-to-date stuff is… well, I don’t have any, I just listen to it online.

My random playlist (with links to Youtube):

1. Boys Boys Boys – Lady Gaga (not my favourite Gaga track, but does contain the fantastic lyric: “You taste just like glitter mixed with rock and roll”)

2. It Must Have Been Love – Roxette (I have the Pretty Woman double soundtrack album!)

3. Ready To Go – Republica (I love this. A great “getting ready to go out” song)

4. Got The Feelin’ – 5ive (ah… memories of high school…)

5. Lost In Space – Lighthouse Family (also happens to be a rumba… should you need one to dance to)

6. Mack The Knife – Frank Sinatra (a classic)

7. Tender – Blur

8. Everybody’s Changing – Keane

9. Piensa En Mí – Luz Casal (my Spanish teacher used this song to teach us the subjunctive!)

10. The Bartender and the Thief – Stereophonics (love this one. Great to run to!)

11. Never Be Lonely – The Feeling (not my favourite song by The Feeling… but it’s good)

12. Tenía Tanto Que Darte – Nena Daconte (this is one of the catchiest tunes you’ll ever hear. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand Spanish – it’s terrific)

13. Great DJ – The Ting Tings (not my favourite Ting Tings song, but a good one)

14. No Me Crees – Efecto Mariposa con Javier Ojeda (I think there’s an English language version out there but it’s not as good as the original)

15. Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (I’m particularly pleased this turned up as it never fails to make me smile!)


I tag a bunch of lovely writers-bloggers-people (I know the “rules” say 10, but I’m going with 5):

  • Simon (he features a top tune on his blog almost every day so I’m sure he can do this!)
  • Mollie
  • Sarina
  • Faith
  • KJ (have I mentioned that KJ’s book – EVO Shift – the second in her EVO Nation sci-fi/urban fantasy series is coming out on March 1st? I have? Oh well, just checking you were paying attention 😉 You can currently get the first book in the series – Evo Nation – for free!!)

and… you! If you would like to share some of your music with us, consider yourself tagged! Make sure you let me know when you publish your post so I can check it out 🙂

As always, please don’t feel like you have to do this tag. I’m the worst at getting round to replying to tags and nominations so I completely understand if you don’t have the time to do this!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

New pages to make my blog easier to navigate

Holidays are a good time for some blog housekeeping (cue brilliant comic from Fowl Language Comics…)

Christmas clean up from Fowl Language Comics

I’ve recently created a few blog pages to keep my blog content organized and make posts easy for visitors to find (I hope!).

Now under Sweet’s Cakes on the top menu (see screen-grab below) you’ll find:

  • A new Recipes Index. I’ve listed all my recipes in alphabetical order under headings such “Cakes” and “Biscuits/Cookies”. Creating this page was also a great excuse to use this cute cupcake clipart:Cupcakes images cartoon for blog
  • Baking. The archive of all my baking posts, appearing in reverse chronological order.

Screengrab of new Art and Soul recipe index page cakes muffins brownies biscuits cookies and desserts with links

And then under Reading (see screen-grab below):

Continue reading…

Photo post: the perfect bench for book lovers!

Rugby stone sofa with books

Today I thought I’d share some pictures of two of my favourite spots in Rugby, England. Yes: this lovely sofa, arm chair and footstool are made of sandstone and are public benches in Jubilee Gardens.

Rugby stone sofa with books 2

The armchair, sofa, footstool and books were commissioned by Rugby Council. Sculptor Michael Scheuermann designed the pieces which were made in nearby Birmingham and installed in late 2008.

Continue reading and for more photos…

And so it begins…


I have recently written my first novel, Art and Soul. It’s a contemporary rom-com and is currently with my second round of lovely beta-readers. Soon I hope to start trying to get my book published and write about how that’s going here.

However, I’m also kept busy by my day jobs: being a full-time mum to my 2-year-old son and part-time translating from Spanish to English. And before I became a mum, I was also a person with lots of interests like books, movies (we now get to go to the cinema once a year), and baking (I’m getting back into this now).

So my posts will cover a range of subjects. Hopefully readers will find some or all of them interesting.

It’s a bit of an experiment. Let’s see how it goes.

P.S. The cartoon at the top of this post comes from (good stuff by Doug Savage).

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul