"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Monday, 26 November 2012

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Christmas Candles

Some of the lovely festive fragrances I bought today!

It's that time of year again!  This morning I went Christmas shopping.  I wanted to get as much done in one day as possible because Yorkshire is currently on high alert for probable flooding.  The river was bubbling like a cauldron  right next to the car park so it was with some trepidation that I left my little car and heading into the mall. All the flood defenses were up around the shopping center, which does kind of take the buzz out of things, but the seasonal decorations were spectacular as always.

I did manage to get most of the gifts I wanted to buy.  I also picked up my diary for 2013 and it is identical to my 2012 one - a lovely red rose design.  I picked up some new tree decorations too.  I always buy a special ornament each year, building the collection to go on my tree.  This year it was a pretty blown glass ballerina, en pointe, with a white feathered tutu.  She reminds me of Odette, and as I am going to see Swan Lake in January, she is an appropriate addition to my tree. I saw some lovely owl decorations I might go back for later this week, weather depending. 

Then I bought my Yankee candles for the festive season.  I always pick up some plug in refills, wax tarts and tea lights as well as candles as I like to dot little flames of fragrance all around my home. I have a plug in on in the hallway and the winter fragrance is the first thing visitors notice.  I try to make my house a warm, glowing retreat of  comfort and joy; a place where I can snuggle down under a throw and watch a festive DVD, or curl up and read a book, breathing in the scent of Christmas and nibbling on winter treats.

I chose some old favorites and a couple of their new winter collection; the Christmas Eve candle is one I get every year. I place it on my hearth and light it as my Yule candle on the winter solstice, burning  it throughout the season.  I also got more Sparkling Cinnamon candles as they make my kitchen smell so cosy.  From the new collection I bought Sugared Apple, Snow in Love and also Cherries on Snow.

I am already burning Sugared Apple tea-lights and they smell so fairytale!  I'm looking forward to decorating the house and getting the tree up this weekend.  Meanwhile I plan to spend the afternoon with my feet up before the fire, listening to festive New Age CDs, shopping on Amazon and sipping the Starbucks take-out frappuccino I grabbed on the way out of the shopping center.  Luckily my car hadn't been washed away and the river seems to be behaving itself ...for now at least.  Happy Monday!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

BOOK NOOK; Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan

If you have ever seen the witchy movie I've Been Waiting for You then you will be intrigued to learn that it is loosely based on this teen novel Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan (who is also the author of I Know What You Did Last Summer).  I like the film and so I tracked down the book Gallows Hill on Amazon UK.  In truth the movie bears little resemblance to the actual text of the novel, but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of either - I like both versions.  I read Gallows Hill over the weekend and it was just the kind of witchy read I enjoy. It is only a short novel so its easy to get through it in a couple of days. 

The book follows the fortunes of young Sarah Zoltanne who has recently moved to a small town called Pine Crest.  She isn't happy about the move, the town or her new family circumstances, but in order to try and fit in she agrees to read fortunes at a Halloween party using her grandmother's paper weight as a crystal ball.
The problems begin when Sarah discovers she has a real knack for scrying; she begins to see genuine visions of the future in the crystal, leading her fellow students to suspect her of being a witch. Witchcraft doesn't go down well in Christian Pine Crest and soon Sarah is beset by mysterious threats, while someone follows her every move and stakes out her house after dark.

Charlie, an outcast himself, is the only  person who has any time for Sarah and the two become friends.  But it soon becomes clear that they are bound by more than friendship.  As Sarah's visions and dreams intensify Charlie has a theory of his own - that Sarah and other members of the Pine Crest community are reincarnated souls from the Salem Witch Trials forced to relive their ordeal or find retribution in this lifetime.
But who was Sarah in her previous incarnation and can she right the wrongs before her terrible fate is repeated?  

You'll have to read the book to find out!  It's a fun read if you like witchy tales; the scrying scenes are accurately portrayed and the original members of the Salem community who were wrongfully condemned and executed on charges of witchcraft during the infamous Witch Hunts are all named and treated respectfully.  There is even information on what happened to survivors after the hysteria in Salem was over, which makes very interesting reading.
All in all, I enjoyed this novel and I shall certainly be on hunt for more books by this author.  If you have read any of her other books, let me know which ones you recommend.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Snow White Sunday

This is what my Sunday is shaping up to look like...

A whole morning working at the laptop writing up new proposal for one of my editors.

I'm burning this lovely wintry apple scented candle - it reminds me of Snow White.
And I'm wearing this beautiful fairytale perfume - another Snow White product.

I'm going to spend the afternoon in fairytale land watching these fabulous films...

Julia Roberts is far too nice to be a wicked queen....but she makes me laugh in this film.

I also plan to eat a girly pink cupcake with pink edible pearls on top!

And generally have a very lovely time...just me and my fellow princess Snow White...oh and Pyewackett too!

Do you ever theme out your days?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

ONCE UPON A DREAM; I've Been to Narnia!

I found myself standing by a snowy lamppost, just like Lucy.

My brother still teases me about the day he discovered me curled up on the floor of my mother's wardrobe, sobbing because I couldn't get into Narnia. I must have been about seven years old at the time and I was convinced that Aslan's magical world existed somewhere beyond my line of sight; I knew I just needed to find the portal that would take me there.  Alas it was not my mother's wardrobe!

In fact I had to wait until I was in my mid-thirties before I discovered such a portal, which was a very special exhibition held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. It was back in 2008 that the Weta exhibition of weapons, props and costumes from popular magical films came to Yorkshire.  Of course I went. There was never any question of that; but I wasn't expecting it to be quite so magical and realistic.  I expected museum type displays and although everything was safely locked in glass cabinets, the curators had gone to a lot of trouble to create just the right atmosphere for the films they were recreating.  Far from simply handing in a ticket and being shown around, guests were allowed to wander freely through the enchanted spaces that had been created.  I was utterly mesmerized by the whole experience.

To begin with, the entrance to the exhibition had been set up as a large wardrobe; hanging on a rail were the fur coats the children wore in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I could hardly contain my excitement; this was something I had longed to do from a very young age...I pushed my way through the soft fur of the coats only to feel the spiky branches of fake fir trees taking their place.  Pushing through the trees, I stepped into Narnia.  There before me was the Lamppost!  Lighting and projection made it seems as if it was snowing; set design made the exhibits wintry; the Narnia soundtrack was playing softly adding to the magical atmosphere...and there, just beyond the Lamppost stood Mr Tumnus with his snowy umbrella held aloft and his arms full of parcels, looking for all the world as if he had been Christmas shopping! I had tears in my eyes at that point...I had finally found my way in!

All the props from the films were there; the White Queen's chariot; the centaurs and Minotaur; the gifts the children received from Father Christmas, Peter's sword and shield, Susan's bow, arrows and horn, Lucy's magical medicine.  My favorite item was the White Queen's wand as it was an intricate work of filigree, looking like it was indeed crafted from an icicle. It is a shame that you cannot see the true beauty of it in the film. And of course, there was Aslan at the entrance to his grand pavilion, looking regal and powerful.  If he hadn't been behind the glass, I swear I would have kissed him!  He was the finale of the Narnia exhibit but this was by no means the end.

As the fake snow underfoot gave way to crisp golden leaves two tall silvery white trees created an elaborate archway.  The music changed and two steps later I was in Lothlorian and surrounded by the Elves from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy with the soundtrack drawing me in even further.  Here were the beautiful, intricate weapons of the Fellowship; Frodo's  Orc-blue sword Sting; Anduril  and Glamdring the swords of Arragorn and Gandalf respectively; Borromir's shield and two horns, one whole, one cut in two.  Here also was an area set up as the Court of Rohan with horse flags  and banners hung behind the throne.  Everything here was carved with horses heads - it was a pony girl's dream setting.  The bad guys were represented too, with Sauron's helm, Saruman's Staff, goblins and Orcs galore...facing a life sized Orc waxwork (not behind the glass but just stood free!)  was enough to make me slightly nervous...big, scary dood!  Each realm of Middle Earth had its props all set out, but my favorite part was Rohan and Lothlorian...those exhibits set my girly heart racing for here was magic and beauty combined.

It really was one of the best exhibitions I have ever seen. There is something enchanting about seeing the items that have gone into making a series of films so very special.  We were not allowed to take photos and they hadn't put together a souvenir brochure which was a shame, but I do have very fond memories of the day I went to Narnia and Middle Earth.  I don't know if it is still touring, or if it will ever tour the UK again...but if it does it is well worth a visit...you can bet your life that I will be pushing through the fur coats into Narnia once more if I  ever get the chance. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

ONCE UPON A DREAM; To Weave a Woman's Web

Flaunt your feathers and beguile him with a smile.

To Weave a Woman’s Web

Weave a web of wantonness
A twinkle in the eye
A rush of palpitations
A breathy, heart felt sigh

A quiver of the flesh
And a stirring of the blood
A cresting of desire
That has never felt so good!

Ride the waves of passion
In satisfaction, slumber deep
Be elusive as the butterfly
If his interest you would keep;

Then spin a web of intrigue
To keep him wanting more
Exude an air of mystery
To tempt him through your door

Maintain your independence
And set your spirit free;
These are the rules of engagement
If a temptress you would be!

By Marie Bruce

I wrote the poem above some years ago for my book The Wiccan Temptress  but much of the poetry was removed in the final edit due to space issues so I have decided to share some if them here on this blog instead. The tone of To Weave a Woman's Web  seems to suit the Gothic pictures I have chosen to include in this post.  I adore the work of  Spanish artist Victoria Frances; she is fearless in the subjects she covers and her work is all over the internet.  She portrays a world of dark Gothic beauty that is extremely seductive.  Take a look at her beautifully atmospheric website to view more of her stunning work www.victoriafrances.es