Medieval Morning Tea for frontline workers at QEII Hospital

Frontline workers get medieval
Frontline workers get medieval

A Medieval Morning Tea was held today at Queensland X-Ray, QEII Hospital to celebrate the book launch of staff member, Rosalie Gilbert who provided an amazing array of medieval foods and drinks served on  a hand-woven cloth and museum-replica tableware. Rosalie's book, The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women was launched today.

Radiographers, Sonographers, Health Care workers and Front reception staff were treated to a feast for the eyes and tastebuds.

The menu included Spiced Pears in Elderflower, Custard and blueberry tarts, Egg and leek tarts, Bacon and cheese pie, Lemon tart, Cherries pies, Raspberry tarts, Almond cake, Fennel and onion pottage, olives, berries, dried and fresh fruits, Sambucade (medieval cheesecake) and cheeses.

Drinks included Pomegranate juice and Elderflower-and-rose cordial.
A big tray of tasty medieval treats also made their way over to the Emergency Department Tea Room for the nurses and doctors on late shift tonight!


Behind the scenes of a book launch!

14th century table setting
14th century table setting

Gosh, there's so much to do!

I'm rostered at work on Book Launch Day this week, but not to be deterred, I'm throwing a launch party there instead! I can't think of a better way to celebrate. Our nurses, radiographers, radiologists, sonographers and front desk staff have all been up to their eyeballs in Covid-19 precautions for months, and this will be a welcome treat!

I'm cooking up a storm of medieval food treats and doing a complete High Table setting with medieval reproduction plates, museum replica pewter jugs, acorn spoons, other pewter tableware and candlesticks. So many people STILL think of the Middle Ages as uncivilised and full of nothing but coarse pottery, so I'm determined to address that!

The Jenny from the book dedication will be receiving a short speech and a copy of the book in thanks for all she's done for me.

Our menu will include Spiced pears in elderflower, Elderflower cordial, rose cordial, almonds, cherries, apricots, olives, herb cheeses, egg & onion tart, fennel & pepper pottage, cheesecake decorated with borage flowers from my herb garden, honey-dipped figs and berry tarts!

I can't wait!


The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women Unboxing Video & Surprise Reveal

One book, but different covers? How is this possible?
One book, but different covers? How is this possible?

Because I love secrets and surprises.

The Unboxing video is live on Facebook on my Rosalie's Medieval Woman page, and you can watch it here.  You'll learn what my Secret Surprise is, and the follow up post will let you know how to make it happen!

The book is out on 27th November, 2020 although some pre-orders are now being eagerly read by excited people who have already got theirs!


One Week!

The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women by Rosalie Gilbert
The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women by Rosalie Gilbert

One week until The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women is released, although I hear pre-order books are in the mail already!

I have a lot of very special surprises in store-

— An unboxing video where my best surprise is revealed!
— How YOU can get some surprise of your own!
— Some pretty promo pictures!
— A little bit of a winge about The Nipple Situation.
— An interview with the cover art illuminator, Tania Crossingham!
— An online giveaway competition to celebrate the launch!
— An update which book shops have stock in the real world!

All in all, a lot of great things in store!


Medieval women in court...

Callekin van Laerne. Just one of a hundred and two medieval women you'll meet in The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women, which is out next week!

Pre-orders available from your favourite online book store or real-world book shop!


Medieval Woman Fashion

Obviously, if one is going to dress alluringly either hoping for sex or hoping to avoid sex, one needs to be aware of what makes a gal sexy in the medieval world.

Recently, I've made three barbette-and-fillet combinations. One plain linen with no frills. One linen with gathered frills on the fillet. One silk pleated frills on the fillet.

This makes me extremely early 14th century sexy. No, really! It does.

Being a sexy medieval woman required wearing the right headwear. Why not start with a barbette-and-fillet?
Being a sexy medieval woman required wearing the right headwear. Why not start with a barbette-and-fillet?

Legend has it that the barbette and fillet was brought into fashion by Queen Eleanor who, as she aged, was concerned with her sagging jawline and slightly crepey neck, and let's be honest, as a woman of a certain age, I feel a bit the same way. Eleanor decided that a band under her chin would conceal and elevate and give her a better and more comely profile. Clearly, this needed to be tested.

I give you my results- a BEFORE image of my side profile sans barbette, and my AFTER profile with barbette. I think you'll agree that it certainly works a treat. It's not a wrinkle remover or a facelift, yet if does lift the face a little. 

I also found that it helped keep my hairnet in place and had the added benefit of encouraging me to hold my head up higher, which lead to better posture and a more elegant profile.

So, there you have it. Whether Eleanor started it or whether she didn't, I don't know, but I can see why it caught on and find the look really works for me! If you're barbette-curious, I encourage you to try!

For more ways to be medieval-sexy, you know where to look!


Please, release me!

Detail from The Holy Family, 15th century.
Detail from The Holy Family, 15th century.

It's not just the catchy song title of an Engelbert Humperdink song, but it's how I feel with the countdown to the book release ticking down to 18 days! I am sincerely crossing my fingers that with delay after delay that the book will actually be released on October 27th- which is the latest date I've been given.

Everyone, cross everything you have! I've been working hard behind-the-scenes with photos, a new outfit, pre-making some social media posts using snippets from the book itself with great manuscript pictures and photos from my medieval herb garden, organising a Book Launch and planning a Book Event, and of course, more giveaways both online and at the Events!

More details to follow about those!


Picture this!

Manesse Codex, Germany
Manesse Codex, Germany

One of the behind-the-scenes things which an author spends a lot of time thinking about when writing a book, is deciding which images to include and which to leave out. This is an important consideration and one not taken lightly, and with a book like The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women, there are a lot of very cool images which belong to a lot of very cool manuscripts.

Many people think that as the manuscript images and paintings are over a certain age, they are in the public domain. This is not always the case. Even if they are online for fair use with credit to the holding institution, use is for non-profit online use only. Once you start talking about a book which is for sale, it's a whole other kettle of fish.

While I own the photographs I have used, some of the holding institutes for the  images from the manuscripts charge a lot of money for permission to use them for printing in a book.

Often this also depends on whether the image is to be used inside or on the front cover, and how big the image is to be. A quarter page picture might cost less than a full page, or a cover. The amount of books printed is also a consideration, as well as whether the book is non-fiction or fiction.

Other challenges are simply making enquiries and ordering in a language other than English if there is not a translated page.  

Some I could afford, but others less so.

But why? I hear you ask, do places need to charge money to use their pictures if they're from an old book? I'm glad you asked. 

Many holding institutions use the income from licensing, subscriptions,  merchandise and admissions to help keep their doors open and pay their staff.  

Many images online in digital collections are low resolution suitable for online use and having copies digitised at a suitable quality for printing purposes means expensive cameras and a photographer who knows how to not get shiny glare from the pages and post processing skills. It's all making a living, and it doesn't pay much, but it's needed to pay for library running costs, especially since doors have been closed for so long at the moment.

This is why we see many of the same images being used again and again in medieval books. The images are accessible or free or low cost.  In The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women I have made an effort to provide artwork which I don't see in other medieval books.

Except the penis-tree-picking-nuns whom I utterly adore. Quite frankly, they were worth the money.

The Very Secret Sex Lives of Medieval Women is a non-fiction book coming to a book store near you in October, 2020.


Where, oh where?

Many times I have been asked where, oh where does my information come from? 

Books. Like this one.

The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti
The Four Seasons of the House of Cerruti

The Four Seasons of The House of Cerruti is one of several copies and translations of the Tacuinum Sanitatus, a medieval health handbook which speaks at great length about herbs, vegetables, fruits and their associated benefits and dangers. Many of these are those that we might use today in herbal medicine; herbs for headaches, astringents for skin and remedies for upset stomachs or lack of sleep.

Among these helpful suggestions, we find remedies for those issues of a more intimate and personal nature. Perhaps one is too lusty, or not nearly lusty enough. Perhaps a medieval woman is hoping to fall pregnant. Perhaps one might already be pregnant and be suffering from the side effects.

Either way, one can be sure that information which may or may not be helpful is carefully recorded in health handbooks like this one.

They make for rather fabulous reading. Just don't try them at home.