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Polly Babbington

Lovely Little Things

Lovely Little Things

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The weather is just starting to warm up in Pretty Beach and as the delightful little seaside town begins to sparkle in the sunshine it welcomes Lulu Drinkwater back into its fold.

  Over 60,000+ fab reviews. Fall in love with a Polly book. 

💗 Book 10 in the bestselling Pretty Beach series.  💗

💗 Book 1 in the Lulu trilogy. 💗

Polly's series starts with The Boat House Pretty Beach, & the story of Sallie Broadchurch who escapes to a new life by the sea. Polly's books are sweet, clean romance books with magical settings and adorable strong female characters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 'I binge read the whole series.' Reviewer⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

'Loved the Pretty Beach books. You'll love them.' Reviewer⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
 
'If you love sweet clean romantic love stories you'll fall for these books.' Reviewer      ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚 These books are full-size (not novella-size) digital downloads/ebooks and not paperback books.

📚 WHAT IS THIS SERIES ABOUT? Pretty Beach starts with Sallie Broadchurch who inherits an old boat house. It follows her journey renovating the house and her romance with her rather dashing seaplane pilot neighbour. You'll also meet lots of other characters and fall in love with the gorgeous coastal town on the English coast. 

📚 Make sure you read the reviews to see what other readers think about Pretty Beach.

💗 HOW DO YOU READ THE SERIES? After purchase, you'll see a button on the order confirmation page. You can click that to get your downloads. You'll also get an email  with your download links. 

Synopsis

Lulu Drinkwater has loved, lost and just about everything in between. So, when she finds herself leaving her lovely, comfortable existence in London with nothing much more than a car and her gorgeous little dog a new start in Pretty Beach seems like the best thing that’s going to happen to her anytime soon.

As she sets to work on a dilapidated old house on Seafolly Passage, starts a new job and begins to turn her life around things in Pretty Beach are definitely looking on the rosier side of what she had just left. Even though she had thought that going back to Pretty Beach was very much a backward step in her life.

We follow along with Lulu, as not only the old house she has inherited, but also Lulu herself comes back to life, and just when she is least expecting it, boom, along comes Ollie Cavendish and knocks her for six.

Will Lulu Drinkwater find love least when she was expecting it or will she decide that, actually, life on her own, really isn’t quite so bad after all?

Sit back and delve into the utterly gorgeous little town of Pretty Beach where cinnamon buns, sparkly sea, golden beaches and beautiful old houses wrap you up in their warmth and transport you to a place you’ll sometimes wish you could live forever.

Look Inside Ch 1

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Lulu Drinkwater, in a cream crew neck jumper and pale wide-leg trousers, gripped the steering wheel of her midnight blue Audi and cringed as she thought about how stupid, naive, and head-stuck-in-the-sand she had been over the past few months. As she sped along, she couldn’t stop reiterating everything that had gone on. Everything that had been said. Over and over it went in her head. Most of all, she couldn’t quite come to terms with the fact the only thing she had to show for years of marriage was a German car, a broken heart, many, many pairs of shoes and a tiny little online shop. So basically, it was a car and a whole lot of hurt.

Mabel, her fluffy little white rescue dog, let out a tiny bark from the passenger seat and Lulu stroked her, ‘Sorry, Mabel. Yes, of course, I have you too. I would never forget about you, would I? You’re the only good thing to have come out of this whole sorry mess. There was no way he was getting you too.’

She pressed the button for the passenger seat window and as it wound its way down, she took in deep breaths of Pretty Beach air. Even though she’d chosen to drive the long way from town, making her way along the coast road and the coastal air had hit her as soon as she’d got near to the sea, nothing was the same as Pretty Beach air. Pretty Beach air was like nothing else, and as she inhaled deeply, she remembered its goodness. Up a level or six from the best sea air and then some. Could it heal a broken heart and a whole lot of mess? Possibly.

She looked left out at the bay and the Pretty Beach lighthouse in the distance. It was good to be back. Was it? She hoped so. Even after her sister Willow had warned her that her new place, Seafolly House, was barely habitable, it was somewhere to live and right now, thanks to her ex-husband, there weren’t many alternative offers on the table.

Lulu took the sweeping turn to the right as the bay of Pretty Beach opened up fully, pushed a button on the steering wheel to turn on the radio, and pressed another one until the technology scrolled through and found Pretty Beach Radio.

‘A beautiful day on the bay today. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and Pretty Beach is warming up. Life is looking good out there!’ A voice she vaguely recognised from the past informed her from the speakers.

‘It can’t look a whole lot worse for me right now,’ Lulu said aloud and Mabel let out another little bark in agreement. ‘The only way is up from where I’m standing, Mabel. What do you reckon? Agree?’

Mabel barked again and Lulu laughed and gave her a little stroke.

Ten minutes later, Lulu was pulling into Pretty Beach, stopping at the traffic lights near Princess Pier. She drummed on the steering wheel as she looked out to sea. As she made her way down Pretty Beach’s laneway, she peered out the windscreen at the pastel bunting and fairy lights crisscrossing overhead. In the old days when she was growing up in Pretty Beach, she couldn’t wait to escape from it. She’d felt suffocated by the ins and outs of small seaside life.

Now, after years of being away, she could see how very beautiful it all appeared. It was, in fact, stunning. The gorgeous little shops in the Pretty Beach regulation colours, the ferry horn sounding in the distance, even the old eyesore Boat House building had been spruced up. Older, wiser, and a whole lot more realistic, Lulu Drinkwater now saw everything with new, appreciative eyes.

Stopping at a pedestrian crossing, a young mummy with a pram actually looked into the car, caught her eye, smiled, and waved to say thank you. Unbelievable. Lulu raised her eyebrows, shook her head slightly, and smiled back in astonishment. There was no way that would have happened in her old life - there, people rarely looked up as they went about their day and tutted if you got in their way. Maybe life in Pretty Beach wouldn't be quite as bad after all.

As Lulu made her way through the tiny roads of Pretty Beach, her mind went back to the last few months. It yet again went over the day when the bailiffs had knocked on the door, the day she got made redundant, the day her ex-husband Fenton didn’t come home, and the day when she realised that the only reason she was able to keep her car and business was because they were both actually in her sister Willow’s company names.

Lulu finally indicated to turn into Seafolly Passage to arrive at the old house she had inherited from her grandma. As she stopped behind a car reversing into a space, she looked around; to the left, a long row of beautiful old Victorian villas with tiny patches of front garden loomed, and on the other side of the road, a line of huge bay-fronted 1920s semis with beautiful old windows stood proudly alongside each other.

Lulu smiled as she remembered flying along Seafolly Passage on her bike when she was young, in the days before her dad had left her mum for a twenty-year-old from Pettacombe, and life for her had changed forever.

As she drove slowly along and as the road turned and got wider at the end, Lulu could see glimpses of the sea glinting in the sunshine through the spaces between the houses.

Lulu remembered Seafolly Passage and its little alleyways down to a tiny row of kiosk shops sitting on a little lane, and how the houses right down at the end backed directly onto the shingle sand which in turn weaved down and around to Darling Beach, only accessible by boat. A narrow strip of beach and jetties reaching out into the water ran along the back, and fishing boats were moored out in the water. It all seemed to look much lovelier now than she had remembered - the neat houses with their beautifully kept gardens, the wide tree-lined road, the patches of blue sea peeking out from behind.

Lulu looked over at Mabel, who had snoozed and snored her way through most of the journey and was completely oblivious to the fact that she was about to live in a completely new area and blissfully unaware of everything that had gone on.

Passing the lovely houses on both sides of the road, with their beautifully kept lawns and sparkly windows, Lulu drove along slowly, taking everything in. She smiled at the cosy small-town scene and even found herself humming along to the radio. That was until she came to Seafolly House.

Indicating left, she pulled into the side of the road and glanced over to the right and, leaning on the door handle, she put her chin on her hand and let out a huge sigh. Willow had been correct. Seafolly House was in a very bad way and it did look close to derelict.

It was in a much worse state than she had anticipated. Willow had tried to tell her that she wouldn’t be able to move in but she hadn’t listened. She’d waved her hand at Willow on the video call, and told her that was because Willow lived in an architect-designed mansion with expensive cars on the drive and a boat moored alongside that cost more than a flat.

Lulu sighed and closed her eyes. Perhaps Willow did have a point. As she opened her eyes and tried squinting to see if it changed anything, she shook her head. Seafolly House was absolutely awful.

She sat there and stared at the sad, tired place with Pretty Beach Radio playing in the background. A huge, old, overgrown willow tree at the front trailed down onto a lawn with waist-high weeds. Behind a falling down wall at the front, a gate was propped up against the side, a line of brambly old roses ran from left to right, and the Seafolly House sign over the front porch was hanging off and swaying in the wind.

As Lulu sat there staring glumly at the scene with Mabel on her lap peering out the window, the double-fronted house with its high French paned windows looked down sadly onto the street. The old willow tree almost seemed to have a downward turned mouth on it, daring anyone to enter, and a boarded-up window on the right looked as if it had been fixed in haste.

Dilapidated timber shingling hung woefully from the bricks on the first floor, the roof looked as if it had a hole to the rear, and two of the downstairs windows wore huge long cracks in the glass. Lulu sighed and shuddered at the thought of what the house might look like on a grey rainy day if it looked like this in the sunshine.

‘Right, Mabel. Welcome to your new home,’ Lulu said with a wry smile. Mabel looked up at Lulu with her big brown eyes and Lulu patted her on the head. At least she had Mabel, a sister, and a car.

Opening the car door, Lulu popped on Mabel's lead and locked the car behind them. They crossed the road, stepped up onto the pavement and stood at the wall looking along the path towards the wide double-width front door.

Mabel sniffed the wall, did a little wee to mark her territory, looked up at the house, let out a huge sigh, and slumped down beside Lulu.

Lulu laughed. ‘You nailed it in one, Mabel. You look exactly how I feel and that is not full of enthusiasm.’

Dubiously walking along what must have once been a beautiful old tiled path but was now full of mossy weeds, Lulu pulled her small tan satchel around to the front and took out the keys to the house.

She walked up to the front door, slipped on a loose edging stone, and shrieked as she walked straight into a huge spider web running across the whole of the wide covered porch. Flailing her arms wildly to get rid of the web from her hair, Mabel let out a sad whine and plonked herself down on the step. As Lulu pulled stuff out of her hair, she looked down at her cream jumper in disgust.

Finally free of the web, Lulu put the key in the door and after wrangling with the two locks for what seemed like an eternity, she eventually pulled open the door to a small window-lined porch with a narrow bench running around the whole room. Dust an inch thick lined the windowsills, spider’s webs lodged in the corners, and a cluster of beetles welcomed Lulu and Mabel to their new home.

As she stepped in and unlocked the main door, she sighed again at the sight of a long, wide, dark entrance hallway. Grim wasn’t the word. Huge cracks in the walls, a faded timber floor, and rotting burgundy velvet curtains on a window to the side of the door aided the gloomy, almost spooky aura of the place. A sweeping staircase curved down from the right, a filthy porthole window to the left of the door and a skylight on the upper landing did nothing to aid the dark dismal light.

The smell wasn’t much better either. Years of dirt, dust, and emptiness filled the air with its stale smell. Ivy crawled through a broken window on the right trying to claim a piece of wall for itself and an old vine protruded in through a gap over the door.

Mabel kept herself close to Lulu as they walked across the hallway and peeked into a large sitting room with three tall French windows to the front and a timber fireplace in the middle of the far wall. Floral wallpaper peeled away from the high ceilings revealing huge damp patches, and as Lulu glanced at the thick old window seat butted up to the window, an army of flying ants marched across making the whole thing seem as if it was moving on its own.

Lulu shook her head, left the sitting room, and headed to the other side of the hallway where a doorway led to a dining room with the same large windows, an old fireplace, and French doors to the side. The dining room wasn’t much better than the sitting room on the other side, though as far as she could see there weren’t as many damp patches and there was a distinct lack of marching insects. So that was a bonus.

Walking past the stairs and two other rooms, the hallway continued to a door to a back dining room, through to a back hallway running horizontally across the house. On the wall of the inner hallway, a huge old railway clock hung perilously from an old rusty hook, its hands stuck at ten to three. A tiny set of stairs led off the back hallway beside a fireplace nook with a rusty old potbelly stove, and a door led to a tiny bathroom which, when she opened it, made her gag.

Finally, Lulu opened the door to the kitchen and was nearly knocked sideways by the musty smell.

Give me strength. Can this really get any worse?

All along the back wall, French paned windows thick with grime ran from left to right looking out onto a garden gently shelving down to a white picket fence. Not that she could see it through the brambles and high weeds, but Lulu knew that the fence backed onto another stretch of what was once lawn down to a narrow sandy beach.

Old timber cupboards, some with their doors falling off their hinges, lined every available wall and a huge, old, darkly stained table sat in the middle of the gloomy non-inviting scene. An alcove on the left housed space for a fire, an old Aga was set into a matching alcove on the right, and open shelving and a wide dresser took up the whole of the back wall.

Lulu, with Mabel alongside her, stepped judiciously around the table towards a hallway and double French doors into a conservatory off the side. As she carefully opened the door to the conservatory, mould on the glass roof cast dim light throughout and weeds grew up past the window ledges outside. Whatever the smell was, it made Lulu put her hand over her mouth and quickly shut the door.

Mabel sniffed the edges of the tessellated floor of the boot room leading off the kitchen, and then looked up at the roof as if in disgust as Lulu tried the handle on the back door to the terrace. The old vintage doorknob slowly turned and Lulu pushed open the door and stepped out onto a mossy block paved terrace where weeds grew through every crevice and an old cracked bird table leant perilously to the right.

Flopping down in the sunshine, Mabel sighed again as Lulu closed her eyes, put her head up to the sun, and tried to remain positive.

Be grateful you have a house. It could be much, much worse.

As she stood there looking at the overgrown garden, an old swing seat hanging from an apple tree creaked back and forth in the breeze coming in off the sea. Behind it, an aged outdoor fireplace looked in dire need of some love and a double-width shed halfway down on the left had seen better days.

Lulu felt more than disillusioned. In fact, she was ever-so-slightly close to panic, and her to-do list had gone from cleaning the house and starting her new job to a list as long as her arm just to be able to sort out somewhere for her and Mabel to sleep for the night. Right at that moment, the leather interior of her Audi was looking a whole lot more attractive.

There was one thing that was for sure; her dream of floating around in a white linen dress, French market basket over her arm, and strolling down to the sea for a cup of tea in a local cafe had evaporated in the amount of time it had taken her to walk up the front path of Seafolly House.

Willow was correct, as usual: the house was barely habitable. What was she going to do? Where was she going to start?

Lulu bent down and stroked Mabel’s soft, silky fur and thought about what she had said to herself in the car about moving to Pretty Beach and life not getting any worse. Right now, though, looking at the rundown state of Seafolly House, while life was not exactly worse, it was most definitely daunting.

Goodness! What the heck was I even thinking? She thought to herself and then quickly pulled herself up, trying to stop the barrage of negative thoughts she knew were coming.

She’d done it. She’d sold the house she’d lived in for the past ten years, paid off all the debts, moved to the other side of the country, and was right on the cusp of a new life by the sea. She had to remain positive. It was time to look forward.

Picking her way gingerly down what would once have been a white shingle path with Mabel at her side, Lulu got to the end and opened the little picket gate which led to a further garden sloping down to a narrow shingle beach. A tiny old boathouse over a rickety timber jetty stood on the right, and a pile of fly-tipped tyres were piled up on the left.

Squinting down the unmade lane to the right, Lulu looked at the line of old shops looking out over the sea. A tiny little kiosk in the middle was also part of the inheritance with a rental lease about to come to an end. Just able to make out a purple shop sign across the top, Lulu wondered what on earth would come of that.

With Mabel at her side, she turned and looked back at the house, the overgrown garden, the thick brambles suffocating an old wall, the weeds and wild grasses rustling in the breeze coming in off the sea, and the scalloped shingle cladding in desperate need of repair. It did not look good, but it was a new start.

Putting her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun, Lulu nodded to herself and made a pact with the doubting Thomas voice in the back of her head. Faced with the reality of the near-derelict house by the sea, she wasn’t quite sure how long the journey would take, or more importantly, how and when it would end, but Lulu Drinkwater knew one thing; she was determined to make Seafolly House her new home.

Whatever it took, she was going to put Fenton, the debt, the heartache, and the sadness behind her and take her new life in Pretty Beach and give it a good go.

Main tropes

  • Small town
  • Sweet romance
  • Escape to the coast
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