21 June, 2023.

Dear Reader,

As the dawn sun strikes the altar of Stonehenge on this glorious day of the June Solstice, summer officially starts. It is a day of beginnings: warm months (or cold ones in the southern hemisphere), holidays, and adventures. And so it is for us who share the world of Amanda Cadabra. Today something begins, and I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprise.

First, here is The Great Unboxing. So you can see the ‘what’, and then I’ll tell you a bit about the ‘why’.

Well? Why?

Yes, that is the Hat of Holly, the Human, and yes, those are my hands. Gloved. Holly, of course, never leaves prints! So, what am I going to do with that hat? You’re right; logically, you can expect me to put it on. And will you see that?

You see, with the publishing of the first audiobook in the series, Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth, on Sunday, you’ve now heard the voice of Amanda and Holly. But today is the beginning of a transformation from Cartoon Holly to the real Holly.

The Bridge

When I decided that it was time to share my face with you, it was, I have to admit, a moment both exciting and intimidating. In fact, some people will agree that coming out in front of the camera is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. I needed a way in and over the scary hump, and inspired by the cartoon – which is based on a photo of me wearing what I’m wearing in the avatar – it came to me: The Hat. If I had the perfect hat, I could do it.

Now, if you’ve ever looked for the ideal headgear for a special occasion or to complete a look, you’ll know just how challenging this undertaking can be.

The Search

The Cartoon Holly is based on a photograph of me in a cheap Hallowe’en hat. You may ask, and entirely reasonably, ‘Why not use that? The brim is much too big, and the fabric low quality and the whole thing is simply too stiff.

Consequently, I Googled away, and the hours went by, and then, I saw something that was close but no cigar. The pointed crown was there, the fabric was right, but the brim was floppy. Cartoon Holly’s hat is far more rigid.

I continued the search, but, somehow, I kept coming back to the appealing creation with the problem brim. Finally, I sent a message to the craftsperson, Jo, on Etsy, and asked if it might be possible to stiffen the brim.


There was something about Jo that came across the ether to me; a warmth and kindness exuded from her page, her creations, what she said about her craft and … her face, which just goes to show how right all of those people were who’d been urging me over the years to share mine with you. I was moved to explain to Jo exactly why I needed a hat. And not just any hat; The Hat, the most important hat of my life so far.

Instantly, Jo was on board. She understood perfectly and had surmounted the same obstacle herself with her own business. Jo promised to do all she could to support me. I was on my way. Over the weeks, consulting me at every step, Jo created .. the perfect Hat. As you see, it arrived and … what do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion. You can message me on Facebook or through amandacadabra.com/contact or email me at hollybell@amandacadabra.com

Where Is It All Leading?

Each Sunday, you’ll see a little more of me until, finally, my little carton image will change in the twinkling of an eye to a Real Holly. What then? Then, you and I are going places! That’s all I’ll say for now.

Thank you

Before I go, I have to express my appreciation to all you kind people who have sent me encouragement by email and on the Holly Bell Facebook page during my Cornish language Grade 4 exams. Three of the four exams are now completed, with the final one on Saturday: Cornish Literature and History. If you’re curious about why I’ve been learning Cornish for the last 4 years, then you can read about it here.

Last Saturday I had exams 2 and 3, a listening and a written language paper. I saw your sincere good wishes on Facebook and, have to admit, teared up with emotion at such heartfelt encouragement. I know it made a difference. Thank you.

Finally … A First!

Speaking of Cornish, I have made my first ever Cornish language short video. It’s a Cornish version of the Unboxing. If you’re curious … it’s right … here:

And that’s what I’ve been working on for the past few years. If you see it on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok, please give it a thumbs up, a comment or a share and spread the word of a special minority language, native to our islands, now undergoing a revival, and finding its way into a certain magical language and a certain cozy mystery world.

Back on Sunday.

Happy Solstice,



PS If you want to start the series now:
Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth

Available on Amazon

Paperback, Kindle
and Large Print

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

About the Author

Follow me

Cat adorer and chocolate lover. Holly Bell's life changed in a day. A best-selling author friend telephoned and convinced her, that after years of penning non-fiction, she could write cozy paranormal mysteries. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Holly lives in the UK and is a photographer and video maker when not writing. Her favourite cat is called Bobby. He is black. Like her favourite hat. Purely coincidental.