Welcome to the Dark Side: Occult London

I’ve always been fascinated by esoterica and the occult, so I leapt at the chance to contribute to this beautiful map of the capital. It documents the magickal side of the city, places where secret societies meet, shady basements where rituals took place and where you might make like Blake and spot a throng of angels. The illustrations by Brian Rau shimmer, and Tree Carr’s guide to tools for the aspiring occultist is a practical guide for any beginner witch.

Here’s what publishers Herb Lester have to say about it.
“All human life is in London. But within the city exists a shadow world of druids, mystics, magicians and witches. This is an introduction to that hidden realm.

Welcome To The Dark Side is a large-format map that charts centuries of occult activity including the headquarters of the Golden Dawn; Aleister Crowley’s temples; where William Blake saw angels and William Burroughs launched a psychic attack after eating an unsatisfactory cheesecake.

For the aspiring occultist, there are shops to buy spells and books on magic, and libraries and museums for further study. Also included is A Guide To Magickal Tools For The Aspiring Occultist, a checklist for those wishing to take their exploration of the subject beyond the physical realm.

This is London, but not as you know it: Welcome To The Dark Side!”

I Know A Woman

I’m incredibly excited about my new book, I Know A Woman, which was published by Aurum on February 15. It’s all about the links between some of the most fascinating women of the last couple of hundred years; friendships, mentoring, influences and groups that served to inspire and strengthen their resolve.

There are mini biographies of 84 women; some you’ll know such as Amelia Earhart, Beyoncé and Katharine Hepburn, but others are more esoteric. I loved uncovering the stories of artist Claude Cahun, aviatrix Marie Marvingt, and maths genius Sofia Kovalevskaya.

The book is made by the incredible illustrations of Sarah Papworth; they’re vibrant, compelling and tell each woman’s story to great effect. The book is available in all good bookshops and online, and I can’t wait for you to see it in real life – it’s a beautiful thing. 

 

Rural London

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My new book, Rural London is in the shops. It’s a guide to the greenest-feeling spots in the capital. As the publishers say,

“London is a wonderful city, but sometimes the hustle and bustle, noise and grime, can get too much and you feel the need for some peace and quiet, clean air and nature. But there’s no need to flee to the countryside, as London has so many surprisingly ‘rural’ areas and activities to offer.”

I’m really happy with the book. Lots of the pictures are by ace photographer Jeff Pitcher, and he’s done a great job making each entry look lush and alluring. I think my favourite sections are the ones about rural-feeling festivals, about the truly secret spots, and the guide to the best city farms – my favourite spots to visit with my kids in the city. I’d be grateful if you checked out the book’s Amazon page, even more grateful if you bought or reviewed it. Thanks!

London In An Hour – Out Today

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Today London in an Hour hits the shops. I’m really excited about my newest book, a guide to bite-size ideas for things to do in London. When I worked in an office in the centre of town, I often felt that I was wasting my lunch hour, and those minutes after work and before meeting friends. London in an Hour is great for ideas for mini-adventures, from museums and secret gardens to visit, to miniature golf courses to play and places to go to get a lightning-fast makeover. I do hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please leave me an Amazon review or recommend it to your friends.

Available on Amazon, at Waterstones, or at your nearest good bookshop.

London In An Hour

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At last! I have a finished copy of London in an Hour in my hands. It’s always exciting to see  – and smell – a new book but especially so if your name is on the front. I am so happy with how the book looks – it’s clean, easy to use, and with some truly great photography. Plus it’s a really handy size – good for sticking in your bag and setting out to explore. It’s full of ideas for mini adventures across London – from cantering across Hyde Park on horseback to trying experimental ice-creams in Camden, or exploring the dramatic Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden. It’s available in March, pre-order from Amazon here.

Travelling Light

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I’m writing for The Green Parent Magazine, which is a lot of fun. It’s really interesting writing about parenting from different perspectives, and I’m getting to speak to foragers, people who’ve gone shampoo-free, and guerilla gardeners, all of which makes me very happy. For this month’s, I helped put together their yearly travel supplement, which covers great places to visit across the UK, and it’s turned out so beautifully, I thought I’d share it here. It’s on sale from this week at all good newsagents.

 

Just my type

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I have a weakness for typewriters. Unfortunately you can’t cut and paste on them, they don’t let you delete, and they give you a choice of only one typeface. More positively, as they don’t hook up to the internet, they are distraction free, and they don’t need electricity, so I can take mine to the beach, the top of a sunny hill, or the end of my garden. I’ll stick to strictly short-form pieces, I think.

Book Haul

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St Leonards is the ideal place to live if you like rootling around old books. I picked up these for 20p each this week. The Reader’s Digest Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain is an old favourite which I can’t help buying every time I see it for sale cheaply. It’s packed with great stories, beautifully illustrated, and very creepy. The kind of thing that every child should be haunted by.