Super-snooper Blogfest

Today I’m taking part in my first ever blogfest. The task is to describe a setting that tells the reader something about a character’s personality. More info here.

I’ve chosen to describe the flat of Claire, who is the heroine in my work-in-progress. Here goes:

A Word document is open on the laptop and beneath its heading of ‘Ballerina Fairy Cakes’ is a list of ingredients plus unfinished instructions to pre-heat the oven and cream the butter and sugar. Next to the computer, on a white china plate, is a small pink sponge confection, topped with mauve butter icing and silver balls. An image of this cake is on the screen of the digital camera lying on the cream leather settee.

            A brown Dralon armchair is almost completely hidden by a cream throw and on top of this is a pile of cookery magazines with bits cut out of them. The cuttings have been given the protection of a plastic sleeve and popped in a ring-binder. These articles all share the same by-line – Claire Draper. Claire’s thumbnail photo in the glossy publications is a slightly older version of the girl in cap and gown standing on the tiled fireplace.

            A utilitarian gas fire squats in the hollow formed by the chocolate brown tiles. In front of this is a crystal vase holding a dozen red roses. A small rectangular card, propped against the glass and handwritten in fountain pen, reads ‘Six weeks and 3 days until we walk down the aisle. Love you always, Tom.’

            On the mantelpiece several cards jostle for position with the silver-framed graduation photograph. They all carry the same message ‘Wedding Acceptance’, in a variety of fonts, colours and sizes.

            An archway leads to the small kitchen where two large white plastic mixing bowls sit upside down on the draining board. The black granite effect work surface holds a food processor, its clear plastic bowl scratched through regular use. The cappuccino maker is boxed and a piece of torn wrapping paper is still stuck to the cardboard, it’s heavily creased but a diamond ring and the words ‘Happy Engagement’ are obvious.

            Bananas, apples and kiwis sit in a wooden bowl next to a half-empty box of Jaffa cakes. An ironing-board and ‘Henry’ vaccuum cleaner have been squeezed into a space between the end of the work top and the lemon-painted wall.  

            The bathroom is windowless with a white suite and white walls. A large mirror hangs over the sink but the light decor and reflecting glass do not create the planned illusion of space. Shampoo, bubble bath and cocoa butter body lotion balance precariously along the edge of the bath. Toothpaste, soap and moisturiser clutter the hand-basin and a toilet roll sits on the radiator.    

            Jeans and a sweatshirt hang over the back of a dining-chair in the bedroom. Boots, trainers, and court shoes stand in line beneath the dressing table. The pink striped quilt is folded back, revealing a crumpled pair of cotton pyjamas and well-hugged teddy bear.

  1. #1 by Alison Stevens on March 2, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    Great description! I think she comes across as creative, given the different fonts and the recipes. At the same time, the well-hugged teddy bear lends the impression that she is perhaps insecure. Thanks for participating!

  2. #2 by Mara Nash on March 2, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    Very nicely done. I was pulled in from the beginning and wanted to keep reading. She’s young, smart, creative, and engaged! I love the addition of the teddy.

    • #3 by Sally Jenkins on March 2, 2011 - 2:04 pm

      Mara & Alison – thanks very much for the kind comments. Yes, she is creative – runs her own cake shop and writes articles & books about baking.

  3. #4 by Angela Scott on March 2, 2011 - 4:54 pm

    At first, I was totally thinking she was a baker of some sort, but then as the wedding plans surfaced, I wondered if she were simply obsessive with her wedding and was making the cake herself, testing it out. She seems sweet, loveable, and cute–the teddy bear evidence of this,

    • #5 by Sally Jenkins on March 2, 2011 - 6:40 pm

      Angela, I wasn’t intending her to make her own wedding cake but it’s the obvious thing since she runs her own cake shop. I think I’ll add it into my WIP – many thanks!

  4. #6 by Francine Howarth on March 2, 2011 - 9:12 pm


    Lovely description!

    What can I say, she’s creative (owns her own cake shop and writes about cookery/confectionary. 😉


  5. #7 by Debra Elliott on March 2, 2011 - 10:37 pm

    Great description. It’s as if I know her. Stopping by from the blogfest.

  6. #8 by Michael DI Gesu on March 2, 2011 - 11:30 pm

    At first I though it was a mom creating a special birthday cake for her daughter.

    You write very well. I enjoyed your entry.

  7. #9 by trisha leaver on March 3, 2011 - 3:25 am

    Well, I am certainly hungry now! First I thought Mom preparing for a child’s party, then I thought baker, now I am wondering if she is just overly obsessed with her own wedding. Who knows, but it was great!

  8. #10 by Elizabeth Mueller on March 3, 2011 - 4:05 am

    Great entry! Welcome to Blogfest land! 😉 Um, I’m thinking some one who makes cakes. Yipe! I just read what you wrote above my comment. Sorry for cheating. 😦

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

    • #11 by Sally Jenkins on March 3, 2011 - 1:16 pm

      Many thanks to you all for dropping by to read my Blog fest contribution. I’m guessing some of you aren’t UK based (either that or you’ve stayed up all night to comment!)
      Best wishes to you all and thanks for making my first blogfest so enjoyable!

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