Happy Halloween! The Blood-Curdling Bronte Sisters & Horrifying Haworth!

Halloween – when the veil between this world and that of the departed is said to be thin and contact with the after-life easier. Haworth and the Bronte Sisters are no strangers to ghosts and other spooky goings on, so here are my top Seven spooky Bronte bits and pieces. Enjoy – if you dare!

  1. Chilling Charlotte…. In her novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte writes of ghostly goings on, when young Jane is locked in the Crimson Room and sees the ghost of her uncle.
  2. Teriffying Taby. According to the The Bronte Parsonage Blog, the ghost of Taby Ackroyd, the Brontes faithful housekeeper, is said to haunt the cottage in which she spent the last years of her life. A little, old grey haired lady has been sighted several times and the door latch, is often heard moving, only to find nobody there when the door is opened.
  3. Vile Villette, the novel written by Charlotte Bronte features a teriffying ghostly nun. ‘A sudden bell rang in the house—the prayer-bell. Instantly into our alley there came, out of the berceau, an apparition, all black and white. With a sort of angry rush—close, close past our faces—swept swiftly the very NUN herself! Never had I seen her so clearly. She looked tall of stature, and fierce of gesture.’
  4. Ghastly graveyards… The Bronte Parsonage overlooks the Haworth graveyard and this grim aspect influenced the Bronte’s writing – you can read more in Juliet Barker’s incredible book. Sat at their table, looking out over the graveyard, and surrounded by death (the sisters had lost their mother and Three siblings) they would also have witnessed daily funerals of friends and aquiantences, the ideas of ghosts and spirits must have come to mind with great ease and may have even brought a little comfort.
  5. Morose Moors… The moors around Haworth are home to many ghost and spirits. The ‘willow-the-wisp’ has been seen on the moors for centuaries and the legend of the Black Dog; the ‘Barguest’ that haunted, nearby Trollers Gill, has been passed down for many genreations.
  6. Haunted Haworth …. Haworth is a very old village, with a LOT of ghosts. Try local guide, Steve Wood’s book all about the ghosts of Haworth, home of the Bronte Sisters and the Parsonage.
  7. Putrid Pubs…. The Black Bull in Haworth is always worth a visit (and it’s not at all putrid – it’s actually very cosy and welcoming!) The Black Bull was the favourite pub of Branwell Bronte and where he spent much of his time. It is supposed to be haunted by a number of different ghosts, including the old landlord from Branwell’s time, a maid, muttering voices, moving objects, fliting spirits and even Branwell himself!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little horrible Halloween Bronte tour…..

Happy Halloween and may all your ghosts be kindly!

Sarah x

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Going a bit Gothic …..

As the days shorten the weather here in Yorkshire gets a bit gothic, especially as halloween draws near and I’ve got to say I do love it!

We’ve always had a soft spot for all things dark and brooding and that comes across clearly in what we create and produce, so we decided that to celebrate Halloween we’d gather all our gothic inspired creations in one department in the store, so here’s a selection from our BRAND NEW Gothic Gifts, Art & Jewellery Section.

I hope you enjoy our Halloween inspired gothic offerings, they are eco-friendly and if you’d like to read more about celebrating an eco-friendly Halloween, then check out this blog piece.

Thanks & have a great Halloween

Sarah X

P.S. This blog contains some affiliate links and if you click on them and purchse, we recieve a (very) small commission, which helps support the blog and pay our bills. So, thank you for your support!

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10 Things to do this Autumn – that will help you feel great!

The Autumn is officially upon us! The nights are drawing in really fast now and as we lose the daylight, I find it challenging to maintain my mood. So, as the temperature drops, the leaves turn to Red and Gold, I wanted to share a few of my favourite ways to embrace the Autumn and boost the mood over the next few weeks….

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  • Head out for a stroll. As the days shorten through October and November, here in Yorkshire, I try to make the most of the precious day light and get outside. Taking time to absorb the beauty of Autumn and appreciate the soothing autumn colours whilst they are with us. Seeking experiences that allow us to feel and express appreciation and gratitude are really great for our wellbeing. The fresh air and exercise will brighten your eyes and put a spring in your step too!
  • Be creative! Now’s the time to take those good intentions and turn them into a reality. How often do we say “This year I’m going to give beautiful handmade Christmas gifts this year”? So if that’s what you’d like to do, it’s the perfect moment to get cracking with your creations! If this feels like a little too much creativity, why not knit or crochet a scarf for yourself?! Giving yourself a neat little sense of achievement into the bargain – good for our self-esteem & mood!
  • Turn the heat on (a little bit). By October Yorkshire is cold and damp. I try not to turn the heating on until we really need it, wearing jumpers and scarves to keep warm. But, having the heating on, even just a tiny bit, makes this time of year feel really cosy. Set your heating to come on for a short burst just before you get up, so you wake up to a lovely warm home and do the same for when you come home. If you want to wake up to a really sweet-smelling home put a few drops of essential oils on to a folded hanky or tissue and tuck it behind the radiator, as it warms it will release it’s fragrance. I like to use grapefruit or orange essential oil; it’s refreshing and comforting. A warm welcoming environment is a great mood booster.
  • Make your Christmas cake & mash. So, this one sounds slightly random, but stay with me! As we all know, a great festive dinner is really about all the little extras, such as roast and mashed spuds, 100 different veggies and ALL the sauces. However, preping the endless list of food can be a real pain, so I try to do some of it ahead of time. During October I buy, prepare and freeze pigs in blankets, bacon rolls, bread sauce & cranberry sauce. I make and store my Christmas cake and I do an extra batch of mash when cooking and freeze it; all ready for December. So why not give yourself an extra Christmas present and unload some of the stress and work for a fab Yule-tide, by doing a bit of of the prep in October. Delicious smells and a warm kitchen, coupled with a sense of achievement is a top mood booster.
  • Have a home-made spa evening. Crank up the heating to sub-tropical levels, lock yourself inthe bathroom with a good book, a beverage of your choice, some great smellies, warm fluffy towels and instruction to the household not to disturbe you unless there is a situation that requires your urgent evacuation from the premises….
  • Get cosy… Feeling cosy is partly a state of mind and it’s easy to achieve, with the addition of a few bits and pieces and you don’t even need to turn up the heating. For a cosy atmosphere get the lighting right, a couple of small lamps will create a feeling of calm and warm, add in some comfy cushions and a warm throw and you’ve got your own snug space to get cosy!
  • Do some batch cooking & baking. This is the autumn gift that keeps on giving. first, if you’re batch cooking you’ll be creating some lovely cosy warming smells and the oven will warm your space too. Next, freeze the extra, you’ve made for a warming meal later in the season. Sit back in your warm and cosy space and enjoy the fruits of your labours.
  • Phone a friend. Before we get lost in the seasonal whirlwind it’s a good time for a catch up. So pick up the phone or brake out a good old fashioned paper and pen or writing set and get in touch with old friend that you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Check out you and your families winter wardrobe. It’s the perfect time to make sure you all have the right clothes for the up coming season. Are your snow boots still snow-proof? Do you all have warm socks and jumpers and does everyone have a good winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves that will keep the cold out.
  • Join in Halloween. Halloween can be as elaborate or simple as you like, but do join in, it’s a great way to meet your neighbours and join in with your local community and you don’t even have to take off your slippers or leave the house. So, grab a bowl-full of goodies, stick a handful bats (cut them out of Black Sugar paper) to your front door, pop some eco-friendly solar powered LED candles (DO NOT USE REAL CANDLES, there will be children about) in a carved pumpkin on your doorstep on October 31st and get ready to join in, meet the neighbours and feel part of something!

I hope you find my Autumnal mood boosters helpful and have a great week!


Sarah x

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My Top 5 Bronte Sites, Books & Links ….

I really love reading the Bronte Sisters works and about their lives, interests, and inspirations and sharing my thoughts about that with you. So I wanted to share my favourite Bronte resources, so you can check them out too. They’re in no particular order and are all really great – perfect if you’re looking for in-depth detail or a quick puruse for a Bronte-based factoid!

1. Anne Bronte.org – A truely amazing website, that’s a must visit resource for any Bronte fan. The writer is both thoughtful and interesting and the site contains a vast wealth of information about all of the Brontes, their works and their lives. This is a go-to for all things Bronte!

2. Bronte Parsonage – An obivious one, but don’t miss it, as it has many lovely bits and pieces that will interest any fans of the Bronte sisters. Always up to date with the latest happenings at the Parsonage Museum.

4. The Brontes Book by Juliet Barker- The best Bronte SIsters book I’ve read. It is really thorough and well written, and contains a massive amount of detail. A must read if you’re a Bronte fan.

3. Hawoth Village.org – This is a lovely little local website that give a huge amaount of local information about Haworth Village, the home of the Bronte sisters.

5. To Walk Invisible – A fantastic BBC film depicting the lives of the Bronte sisters. At the time of writing it’s not on iplayer, so you’ll need to get yourself a DVD copy. It’s definately worth it, as I feel it gives a very good view of life in a Yorkshire town at that time and an excellent insight into their lives.

Finally, if you’re looking for a cool and unique Bronte Inspired gift, please come and check out our range of Bronte inspired gifts.

Thanks & have a great week!

Sarah x

P.S. Some of the links in my blog are affiliate links, if you click and then purchase through them, I receive a (very) small commision. This helps support the blog and helps pay my bills, so thank you for your support!

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How To De-Clutter and Why You Might Want To Do This Now…..

De-cluttering has been the subject of a massive amount of discussion and debate and as a fully paid up member of the the clutter bug club (no, it’s not really a club, I don’t think so anyway – but wouldn’t that be such a cool club to join !?), it’s something I think about and talk about quite a bit.

Recent attempts to make my home more eco-friendly has meant that we’ve got a new eco-heating system, which is great, but, it was intresting how much stuff we had to move to get it fitted! This got me thinking about our ‘stuff’ and once again I launched a de-cluterring project, so I thought I’d share some of that with you.

I do like Marie Kondo’s approach, it was a game changer for me. I used to worry ALL THE TIME about the tidal wave of belongings that swept through our home and I felt really guilty that we had all this stuff and it was everywhere and I needed to get rid of it….

Then I read her book and realized that I didn’t need to ‘get rid of my clutter’. Marie advocates for keeping the things that ‘Spark Joy for you’ and letting go of everything that does not. The concept of something ‘Sparking Joy’ can be tricky to start with – who finds joy in teaspoons, for example. So she recommends starting with clothes, as we have a very close personal relationship with clothes. ‘Sparking Joy’ is about knowing exactly why you have that item. It does not have to be the most beautiful or glam thing, but when we use or wear it we are happy. An old t-shirt that we love and wear often ‘Sparks Joy’. The beautiful shoes that are murder to wear, so we don’t -can go. Teaspoons that we stir out tea with every morning – keepers. Fancy breadmaker that got used once – out it goes! Once all the things that don’t ‘Spark Joy’ are gone, you then organise like with like and remove duplicates that are not needed. This then leaves you room to display and organise all the things in your home that do ‘Spark Joy’ and it’s full of things you love!

My top tips and take aways:

1. Read Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying book.

2. Follow her system.

3. If you don’t have a large block of time or you’re doing a ‘mini’ sort, tidy and clean, then tackle a room or area at a time – but if you do this do remember to gather all the items from around your home that fit the the type of items you’re sorting.

4. ‘I’ll keep it, just in case / I might need it / or it might come in handy’ If these phrases trot through your brain, as you ask yourself: if the items ‘Spark Joy’? Then the answer is no!

4. Create a designated space for things you are going to recycle, donate or sell and set phone or diary reminders to to that next step. Items leaving your home is the key to success, so try to clear as much as you can and don’t leave unwanted items hanging around too long or they’ll get re-absorbed back into your home!

5. Repeat the process – it took me a few times, to embed the practises. It gets easier each time!

6. Give youself a pat of the back for your efforts and remember to feel postive about donating items and sending them back out into the world to live another life, it is good sustainable living!

Next, why you may want to do this now…..

1. In a few months Christmas will be on us and for those who celebrate this holiday, it will involve more ‘stuff’ coming into your home, so it’s good to have a premptive clear out.

2. You may come across items that you can gift to family and friends for Christmas, which will help with the cost and effort of finding all those lovely gifts for loved ones!

3. You will have a solid base for a functioning and welcoming home for the holiday season and you will be able find all the things you need for the celebrations – which always makes life easier.

4. if you have items to donate they will come in handy for others during the festivities.

5. If you have items to sell now is a great time, as people are shopping for Christmas and it could produce some much welcomed extra cash for you! – If this is something that’s important for you at present (as it is for most of us!) I’ll be doing a blog post on making extra cash soon!

I hope you find this a little bit helpful.

Thanks & have a great week!

Sarah x

P.S. This blog contains some affiliate links and if you click on them and purchse, we recieve a (very) small commission, which helps support the blog and pay our bills. So, thank you for your support!

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