Beautiful and Romantic Glamis Castle in Angus Scotland, Home of the Queen Mum  

Posted by Heidi


Let's say you have a friend named Glamorous and you call her Glams for short/fun/giggles. That is how you pronounce the name of this glorious castle owned by the Lyon family. The current Queen Elizabeth's mother was Bessie Lyon and Princess Margaret (Lilibet's sister) was actually born at Glamis. A few of the rooms inside sport two small chairs by the hearth which were for Lilibet and little Margo to use when they visited the family home. This amazing house is open to the public. If you are in Scotland in the spring and summer, I highly recommend a visit, especially since photos of the incredible interior are not allowed. However, the grounds are spectacular and I have plenty of those to share.


As we drove away from St. Andrews (scroll down for that blog post, four back) I didn't really have a good idea of what we were about to see. The off and on cloud cover of the morning was gone, however, and there was plenty of delicious sunshine.



Welcome to Glamis Castle! We disembarked from the coach on the left side of the building where the tour begins. This was the first photo I took as we waited to enter. How charming is this? After the tour of the inside which included a lot of drooling, (SO beautiful!) we were allowed time to roam the grounds and roam we did.


This is the front door of the castle. Not at all intimidating, is it? I mean, I always keep a cannon or two out front to scare off would-be rabble-rousers. That's not the door we used, however. I wonder if anyone does anymore.


We began to explore the grounds. This lovely round tower is so pretty and medieval! Wouldn't it be the perfect playhouse? I tried to imagine a small Queen Elizabeth playing here when she came to visit her grandparents. Back then, her father was not the king, nor expected to be, so she had a freer childhood than she otherwise would have had.


A walk from the castle down this road to the street and back results in the loss of 1,000 calories. (Just kidding. Sort of. It's a LOOOOOOONG way.)




This statue is of King James the VI and I. He was the sixth James of Scotland, and when the first Queen Elizabeth died, he became the first King James of England.


This is King Charles I, son of James. Poor Charles had his head cut off for being a secret Catholic. Naturally, everyone was afraid this would happen as soon as James, son of Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, was allowed to sit on the English throne. I have a special fondness for Charles I. He looks so introspective in his portraits, and his eyes were so kind.

After gazing upon these two kings, we walked as far as we could manage along the road and turned around to see how the castle looked in the semi-distance.


And how it looked when we got closer.


And closer. I wanted to experience the way so many others on foot would have experienced walking along this road. Prince William and Kate have been here, as well as all of the royal family--this was where Queen Elizabeth would go to visit her grandparents, and family members still live here.



I love my cozy little cottage, but, I must say, it would not stink to call this home.





Such a lovely bucolic scene. One could ramble around here for hours. What a great place to read a book!



This the right side of the castle. The garden here is lovely!


I love how the sides of the castle looks like a row of medieval houses.


A rare roses-over-the-door shot. They aren't as common as one would suppose.


The Lion Passant. The family name is Lyon. 




A lovely knot garden planted with roses--so pretty!




There is a bust above the door. I wonder whom that could be?



An area with tables to eat and drink and relax until time to board the coach.


I adore these windows. And the door--so darling!


A herd of Highland "coos", if one were to pronounce it as the Scottish do. And we do!


Goodbye Glamis Castle! You were beautiful!!! Next time: another stop in Scotland, though I can't rightly recall where at the moment. I can't believe it has been nearly two years and I still haven't blogged about most of Scotland. I have written two books and a novella since then, so I suppose that is my excuse. My latest, The Devil in Beauty, is available for pre-order now.(See buy link in sidebar.) The photograph of the lovely lady was taken the day between the England tour and the Scotland tour two years ago.



"Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime." 

Julian "Trev" Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, once had everything a gentleman could want--fortune, good looks, and enough charm to seduce the beautiful young ladies of the ton. But after a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. Though his life is irrevocably changed, Trev is still loyal to his friends. When Willy Gilbert is accused of murder and Lady Vawdrey's diamond necklace is stolen, he jumps at the chance to help them.

As the two cases merge, however, Trev finds an unlikely ally in Miss Desdemona Woodmansey. She's the only young lady who doesn't seem put off by his scar and the scandal of the duel. But as their investigation into the murder reveals just how treacherous the mask of polite society can be, both Trev and Desdemona are placed in grave danger. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a murderer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret?

The Ashworth Meditation Center: How to Create Your own  

Posted by Heidi



I have yearned to have an outdoor bed for longer than I can remember. However, I struggled with how to make it work. Our backyard is tiny--the same length and width as our living room. It gets a lot of sun, as well. Since I don't want to create a shade problem for my roses, I wasn't sure how to make it work.

About ten years ago, we put up this arch at the end of the backyard that leads to the side yard. Then we planted the lovely New Dawn climbing rose at its base. It took three years to reach the top, but it is has been pretty much unstoppable since then. It created the shade I needed in a spot that didn't deprive my roses from life-giving sunshine. The piece of fencing has been kicking around the yard at our various homes for over twenty years. I can't think why I did not attach it to the arch a long time ago. Now we have a way to keep the dogs out of our meditation center.


This is the only photo I took of this area that includes the fountain when it is running. I must say, water music is pretty essential for a meditation center. It is incredibly relaxing and creates an other-worldly atmosphere of luxury and serenity.


Another feature that I find absolutely essential is the addition of flowers. The jasmine that is planted on both sides of this arch perfumes the air with a heavenly scent.


And then there is the bed. We have tried double high air mattresses, but there are more roses back there which means tons of thorns. Hence, all of our air mattresses have been a deflating experience. This bed is a pool lounger topped with a camping mattress and sleeping bag, covered by a beautiful Laura Ashley comforter. There are plenty of pillows to make everything more comfy. So far it is working like a charm.


When I am lying on the bed, I can fill my eyes with the beauty of the New Dawn roses. They only bloom a couple of times a year, but the leaves create a peaceful green canopy all season long.


The New Dawns are the medium pink ones in the center. The ones on both the right and the left are Eden roses. They were bred to resemble roses in pre-Raphaelite paintings so they vary in color from flower to flower and from petal to petal. They are stunning and last forever in a vase!


The scent of roses mingled with star jasmine is the stuff of perfume. Many perfumes begin with those two aromas--heavenly!


Variety, however, is the spice of life. Color is soothing, as long as the combination is harmonious. I prefer cool garden colors--pink, white, blue and lavendar. Some might prefer red, orange and yellow in their garden, but, in my opinion, those colors are more stimulating. Neither is wrong, but cool colors lend themselves better to peace and contemplation.



Inside we have a harp-shaped shelf which once served as a leg to a coffee table. It is the perfect place for a clock so you can know how long you have dallied, and a narrow glass of water. On the left, under the arch, is a wind chime made of porcelain tea cups. They make additional lovely music when the soft breezes blow.

A soft throw in a Rachel Ashwell pattern is a nice addition for when it is a bit chillier. This is a wonderful place to read a book. It is a great place to relax and write one, too.


The votive candle chandelier adds some light when the sun goes down. The scrolly thing (I don't know what else to call it) adds visual interest and delights the mind.


It is a bit difficult to see the initials embroidered into the vintage damask napkin on the large white pillow. It reads: HEM. Whilst in service at the Ashworth Meditation Center, it stands for Heidi Enjoys Meditating. Or, in the case of my husband and son, He Enjoys Meditating. (My daughter is the only one in the house with her own room so she meditates just fine in there.)



More lovely Eden roses. I prefer things that are round and curvy. They make me feel good. However, you might prefer things that are more rectangular. Include objects that delight your particular brain.


Some of my tiny teacup collection. I love how the gold flashes in the light.


My view from the bed: the sky generally looks much bluer than pictured here, but that pop of blue on the door at the other end of the yard is a favorite of mine.


Though it hasn't been included in many of the photos, there are times of the day when the only way to achieve shade is with this market umbrella. This one is gray and white striped and is easily put up or taken down as the mood dictates.


Loving this Rachel Ashwell fabric! Everything I need to sit back and relax is present here. Add a laptop and I can dream, create and write. Whenever I complete a new book, I gift myself something that I feel will improve the quality of my life. The arch with the roses on it was what I added with my first book, and I was right--it has been so wonderful to have armfuls of pink roses all spring. The little details of this meditation center were my gift to myself for my most recent book.


It's called The Devil in Beauty, and it comes out next month. It is my first mystery and it was so much fun to write! It is available for pre-order now. You can read more about it by clicking on its book cover on the top right sidebar. The photo on the cover was taken by the same fab London photographer at the famous London Photo Shoot which I directed. In LONDON. (You can read about it by scrolling down.) It will be hard to put this all away when the rainy season starts, but, for now, it is a wonderful way to add sweetness and light to anyone's life.