Number One. If you come to my house, the kettle will always be on, you can take off your shoes and curl up in the chair. You will have to shove the washing basket onto the floor first or maybe shift that pile of notebooks out of your way. My son says we have too many cushions. I say, cosy up. I love to bake so there will be cake. And bread. I love baking bread.

Helen Slavin

Helen Slavin

Number Two. I have a tendency to rant and waffle about things I am passionate about. These subjects include everything from folklore to nuclear power. As I rant and waffle and my voice gets higher-pitched I wave my hands about a lot. My mum used to say that living with me was like living in an Italian opera.

Number Three. I love to ride my bike and even now I still pretend it is a horse. This gives you some idea of my level of skill. No lycra involved, just the wind in my hair, a fly in my eye.

Number Four. I like cold weather and pouring rain. Thunder and lightning are always a bonus. My husband is Welsh and holidays in Wales are the perfect destination. Rain. Hills. Castles. Coast. My ideal holiday would be seeing the Northern Lights in Svalbard. I am never happier than in my boots and woollies, scarf round my neck. I also like to wear bangles. Silver, bronze and iron for reasons historical, magical and ritual. Which links to:

Number Five. I love the number 5. I like the shape and sound of it and it is part of my general obsession with odd numbers. The bangles I mentioned, have to be an odd number. I have to buy an odd number of onions in the supermarket, pick up an odd number of pebbles on the beach. My obsession with odd numbers does not mean I am any good at maths. I am not. I think this is because the even numbers get in the way. Ha. I thought I was joking but now I see that there is a logical methodology in my madness.

Number Six; I like to write in a notebook with a pen. This is because of the sound of the paper as my hand scribbles across it and the pen itself. I write with Parker pens, no product placement here it is just my pen of choice since I was given one in primary school. We had a teacher who was mad as a box of frogs and made us all write in Welsh with an inkpen. I have to tell you here that I am not Welsh and grew up in Lancashire. It was a difficult year. He also thought I was a spy for the education authority. I was nine. Anyway, the good thing to come out of that year was Parker pens. My mum bought me a dark blue easy fill fountain pen and I had that pen for years until the little ink tube perished.

Number Seven: I like craft skills. Support your local craftsperson. I love things that are handmade; thrown on a wheel, woven on a loom, forged by an elf. I like things that have a sense of person and their place. I love the image of Mme Defarge knitting names into her woollies and the myth of Philomela, writing her tragedy into the tapestry she wove and her sister Procne seeing the message in the threads.

Number Eight. I am not sporty. Running is my Kryptonite. The only team spirit I'm going to indulge in is one involving gin. That said I love paddling about in our kayak for the view from the river that it affords. Herons. Kingfishers. Cormorants. Fish. It is less cardio and more wildhearted exercise.

Number Nine. I have a thing about kilts, the proper old school, Outlander style ones. I also have a thing about eyepatches and swagger coats. And waistcoats. And tweed. It's the weaving thing. And the history thing.

Number Ten; This is the little café in Bury where I used to go with my mum when I was a teenager. We would always have a chicken and crisps sandwich and a cup of tea and it was the first place I ate carrot cake. Whenever someone says 'Number Ten' I see us sitting at a table in the tea shop with the matte brown Denby teapot and cups that they used. A chicken and crisps sandwich is still my guilty lunch of choice.

Helen Slavin's new book Crooked Daylight is out now and available to buy from It's the first in a new series called The Witch Ways, which is full of magic, adventure and sisterly solidarity. Follow Helen on twitter @HelenSlavinBook to find out more