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Friday, 28 November 2014

The most beautiful bags in the world!!!

I have some of the most beautiful bags in the world in my possession.  My OH and I are in the process of collecting stock to open up a literary Teashop (how could I not... I fell in love with Leni's shop as I was writing it) and have some beautiful bags made from books as my first stock.

I have A Christmas Carol, The Secret Garden, Black Beauty, The best of Lewis Carroll, The Complete works of Shakespeare, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The complete Sherlock Holmes, Emma, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Rebecca,  The Bronte Sisters, Wuthering Heights and a Harry Potter, Jane Austen

Some have a slightly wider base than others but all are priced £55-£60 (+ £5 recorded postage).

I can't stress how gorgeous these are - I don't even care if I don't sell them because I'll keep them all.  They're hand-made to a fabulous standard and I even envy myself having one.  You won't find them in shops either - guys, you can get real brownie points buying one of these for the Mrs! 

Some of these are custom made for me so you won't find them anywhere else.

Pressy for a loved one - guaranteed delivery before Christmas.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Santa needs a bit of help!!!

I heard about the Barnardo's family centre this week after a friend told me that they were desperately short on pressies for Christmas for kids in our local area who come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances.

This is a call-out for anyone who could slip an extra present in their shopping basket to donate for kids 0-16  like books, clothes, sensory books, teen stuff.  Alas the older kids get the short end of the donating stick so any help there is especially welcome.  No electrical stuff unless it's brand new with kite marks please and no need to wrap as the staff will need to check and match it to a child (via Santa of course).

I can't bear to think of kids without something to open on Christmas morning, and inconceivable as it is in this day and age, it happens.  So if you can shove something extra in your trolley and drop it off at Priory Campus Lundwood, Barnardos - driving instructions here (it's only darn Pontefract Road)  Yep, we are all busy at this time of year but I guarantee that your effort will be better received than you could imagine.  Oh and yes, I'm not just making a call out and sitting back duty done.  I'm donating.

The kids are having a party on the 12th December and if you can deliver before then, it would help.  Plenty of time to get organised helps the staff.

Please help if you can.  And if you are reading this from out of the area, there are your own local kids in the same boat.  Give a kid you don't know a reason to smile a bit this Christmas.

Thank you xx

Monday, 15 September 2014

Christmas is coming...

Well, at time of writing, it's months away - BUT I'm trying to get organised this year which is a good idea if you want some special presents that might take a bit of time to organise (rather than make a mad dash to Argos on Christmas Eve).  I'm lucky to have come into contact with a few artisans on the web who produce some fabulous stuff and not at ridiculous prices - so here are a few recommendations for things you won't find on the High Street.

1)  ME!!!!  Okay - you'll find me on the High Street, but not the gift-wrapped versions of my books.

Every title is available - it will be signed to the person of your choice, with personal message if requested, come complete with a bookmark and is giftwrapped with miniature novelties: eg:  tiny Miriam Stoppard books and Yorkshire Puddings for The Yorkshire Pudding Club, Midnight Moon romance books and teeny pack of bluebell seeds for The Birds and the Bees, passports and flipflops for Here Come The Girls, wedding dresses, clouds, classics, cakes and ice-creams, postards and mini brollies, bars of chocolates, even Daily Trumpets, wrestling posters and teapots.  Then wrapped up in cellophane, beribboned, rosed and gift-tagged.   All for £10, including postage.  Please get in touch via my  email address  if you require one of these for Christmas or another special occasion.
I can also supply Roobies It's Raining Men umbrella earrings and leaf earrings with An Autumn Crush and Mr Bingley cat earrings (feel free to mix and match) for £18.00 (signed, wrapped and delivered).
I'll need:
Payment (cheque or paypal - please tell me which you would rather)
A sending address
Any personal message
Occasion - if any (as a guide to the decorations)
And if you want earrings with that, which sort and which colour if you are                       having the teapots (and brass or silver casing)

2)  Roobies  is a lovely handmade jewellery site.  Ruth Hill makes the most beautiful gifts, many personalised with stamped plates (see my lovely bracelet)  And as a price guide - the teapot earrings are only £6.95. There are some lovely gifts on the site - even personalised guitar plectrums, wine rings, keyrings for couples as well as bracelets and necklaces. AND IF YOU USE THE PROMO CODE : TEASHOP, you'll get 5% off.

3) The Literary Gift Company has fabulous gifts for book aficionados - like this writer's block scribble paper.  Whether you like reading or writing - or both - take a look at their site full of book-related things: mugs, tee-shirts, post-cards

...even a personal library kit

4)  I LOVE these bags from Novel Creations  in the United States

You can customise the handles, add frills and feet and they are beautifully crafted - and the perfect gift someone who loves books and books (who doesn't).

5)  Callula Glass were a real find.  Joanne makes the most beautiful bespoke treasures and is a truly  talented artist.  Last year I had a drawing one of the kids had done of my mum years ago made into a drinks coaster - a totally unique stocking filler - which caused a great laugh (it wasn't a flattering picture!) It cost around £10.

6)  The Dormouse and the Teapot is a pretty vintage site featuring lovely china, hand-stamped spoons with your own personal message on them, perfect for anyone who is tea-potty... and everything is so beautifully wrapped.
AND  here's a message from them... 'We would like to offer all Milly Johnson readers 10% discount on all products at just enter milly10 at checkout. Offer ends 1 Jan 2015. X' 

7) Slurp.  If your friends like a bit of the liquid stuff - this site have never let me down.  Their products arrive on time and sturdily wrapped and they have some great offers and wines you won't find on the High Street... such as my favourite tipple PELLERS CUVEE ICE WINE.  Sod champagne (unless it's offered, then I'll take it) - this stuff is THE best fizz.'s about £25.00 but it's a real treat :)

8) Barmy Bunting is the brainwave of local lass Eve (great Christmas name ;) who was only 14 when she set up her home-made bunting business - and now she hasn't got enough shelves in her house for all the awards she's won. A Christmas decoration you'll be able to use year after year after year (and they have some gorgeous Halloween and Birthday ones too)

9)  How lucky can I get - having a friend who is an award winning chocolatier?  My pal Fiona Sciolti makes THE most delish organic chocolates which are a total treat for those with a sweet-tooth. The BEST ingredients, no cheap short-cuts and they're such unusual flavours - and they arrive too good to eat (well, you think that for 5 minutes then dive in)

10) Might sound a crazy present - but it's a FABULOUS ONE!  An OVEN CLEAN

I had a fellow from Barnsley in and he transformed mine to a shiny new one again.  I thought at the time - what a fabulous pressy this would make for someone.  I was absolutely delighted with the result.

11)  Chris Rose Linacre makes some gorgeous jewellery using beads, pearls... even stone.  Very unusual and singular.  And her jewellery making blog is really interesting too and can be accessed from her website

12)  And if you are looking for some Christmas cards AND want to help a charity too - my lovely charity Yorkshire Cat Rescue have some sweet cards in their online shop and obviously would welcome the donation to their funds.  Thank you very much if you do.  They're great friends of mine and have given me some wonderful pets over the years.  The first one I got from them sadly died last year, aged nearly 21 :)

13) My friends at Embroidery and Print city in Barnsley have some fabulous personalised gifts for sale if you're looking for a stocking filler mug, hoodie, T-shirt... oh all sorts.  Great quality and really lovely people to deal with.

14)  Or what about a lovely vintage afternoon tea voucher at the lovely White Heart in Penistone - there are a few menus to choose from.  Vintage crockery and lovely food in the most beautiful place.

Friday, 25 July 2014


My dear readers... have I let you down yet?  Would you have sympathy with a woman who could give up chocolate?  No - well just trust me.  Do not recoil (do women really trust women who could give up chocolate - for other than health reasons of course.)  My heroine is a nice woman.  And she falls in love with a chocolatier.
Which is why I have been doing TOTALLY ESSENTIAL research with my friend Fiona Sciolti who makes THE most beautiful and unusual and fresh and gorgeously proper chocolates.

Fi doesn't cut any corners.  Her orange peel is hand-candied (there was a big pot of cooling sweet rinds in the kitchen) and the vanilla pods she uses are soft and lush and the best that India can give up.  Made the withered dry sticks I get from the supermarket Morrisons look tatty by comparison.

Fi picked some fresh lavender and mint from her garden.

Amazingly by the end of the day these would be in chocolates ready to steal... er I mean bag and sell.  She heated up some locally produced honey and cream and poured it all over the lavender and split vanilla pods. I can't tell you what the smell was like.  But it was good.  That was left to cool whilst she got on with making some orange chocolate bars.

The candied orange is hand sprinkled in the bar trays so that every bit gives up the flavour and then the divine chocolate mix is piped over.  I sampled the Belgian chocolate buttons which are melted to make sure that Fi's claim they're the best were true.  I had to sample quite a few.

The Sciolti chocolate factory is compact but everything she needs is there and machines are whirring and reporting temperatures and it's like a small laboratory rather than a kitchen (give or take the gorgeous smells).  Fi knocked me up this lovely chocolate pizza heart with freeze dried strawberries and raspberries which are full of sharp taste because only the water has been removed - no vitamins.  This lasted about 5 minutes after I'd got home.  It's such gorgeous chocolate.

If the chocolate isn't mixed enough or the right temperature to work with you miss out on the gloss, the taste suffers and the snap is affected when you break it.  When the bars were turned out and ready to sample, there was plenty of gloss taste and snap, let me assure you.  I'm not the best fan of orange in chocolate, but - wow. Beautiful.

The lavender infusion was squeezed through a filter and mixed with chocolate to make a ganache and then handpiped onto trays

Then we stated on the mint thins, chopping up the fresh garden mint, the senses in  my nose were in overload.  The mint thins were piped onto trays too, then white chocolate was piped over them when they were set into flat circles (how does she get them all the same size?)

I had the duty of licking the spoon (a photo which my son forbade me from putting on facebook)

Then it was back to the truffles.  Dipping them in the hot glossy chocolate and covering them in cocoa and icing sugar

Then Fi's lovely man Giles told us lunch was served and we retired to the garden to eat quiche, warm fresh bread and salad in the sunshine, all washed down with a very fruity wine.
I declined a sweet.  I had had too many burnt caramel truffles which really are as nice as they sound.

And there we have it - fresh garden mint chocolate thins and Lavender truffles.
And I have some to give away.

All you have to do is answer one simple question.
'Sciolti' means melting... in WHAT LANGUAGE?
(could she have a more appropriate name?)

Send your answer to  I'll pick out the winner on Sunday from the hat so I can get these fresh babies in the post to you first thing Monday morning.  UK only folks 

Check out Fi's website as she does the most beautiful chocs as presents and demos, talks and courses.

Good luck all! xx