28 August 2007

Overdue but worth it.

I remember feeling overwhelmed when I read "After You'd Gone". It's one of maybe a couple of handfuls of books outside of my chosen genre that I've read in my entire life. And one of the few outside of my genre that I've loved passionately.

"The Distance Between Us" blew my mind. Yet again, I was forced to buy a "keep forever" copy of a non-chick lit novel, as well as the "read it till it falls apart" copy.

I don't remember much about "My Lover's Lover" other than I'm sure I enjoyed it, but I also remember thinking it was very weird.

I've had the proof of "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" sat, unread, on my shelves for well over a year. And having finally read it on Sunday, I'm gutted that I didn't pick it up before now.

I'm sure the entire world knows what this book is about, and most of those that can read, have probably read it already - I'm just very slow and very shabby... but anyway, it tells the story of Iris who comes to learn about her elderly relatives - two sisters - Esme and Kitty, who were bought up in India before moving to Scotland in the 1930's. In present day, Esme is about to be released from a mental hospital, where she has lived for the past 60 years and Kitty is suffering from Alzheimer's, and is trying to piece together her past.

Lots of people far better qualified than I, have posted various disparaging reviews on other blogs and sites about this book. Balderdash to the lot of you I say. I adored the book. I loved the sisters relationship with one another and themselves. I was gripped by the story and what happens to them before, during and after Iris makes contact. I may not have liked Iris or her bizarre half brother, but they had a place in a story that would not have been as dramatic without them. I've never been to India, or Glasgow come to that, but the descriptions of both places were so exquisite I felt like I had once I'd read the book.

The build up to the ending was beautifully written and when the ending finally came, I felt winded with pain. I still don't really know exactly what happens at the end, but I think the ending my mind's eye has painted is fitting. And just. And perfect.

20 August 2007

I'm so excited.

Boo is going to make an honest women of me. How very very bizarre. Someone - and not just anyone - but the Love of My Life, actually wants to marry me. And have me as their wife. How very very bizarre.

We got engaged (officially I suppose) at the weekend. Although we had spoken about it a while ago, and he asked me, properly, at our picnic the other weekend in Windsor - and trust me, keeping it a secret has almost killed me. But no, he wanted to wait till we had The Ring and had told The Mums, before I was allowed to stand in the middle of the street and scream at the top of my voice...

So I've sent a completely impersonal e-mail to everyone I've ever met, and updated my facebook status to Engaged. And I had a Double Decker, two portions of Tarte Au Citron and a big bag of Skittles to celebrate.

16 August 2007

Watching ones Weight

I started this blogging malarky in May, around the same time I started telling anyone and everyone that would listen that this time would definitely be the time that I stuck to a diet and lost the 6 excess stone I've been humping around with me since I was old enough to choose my own meals...

It really isn't going to shock anyone (least of all myself really) that I have failed in my mission. I'm a big fat failure.

Or am I?

According to Fiona, my new Weight Watchers leader, I am in fact a winner. Whether this is because I spent £17.95 on my first Monthly Pass yesterday; cause I agreed a goal weight of whatever the lady who weighed me said I should be; or cause I've bought a little red plastic wallet to hold all my booklets in - I'm not sure.

But quite frankly how anyone who weighs 15 stone and 13.5 lbs at lunchtime then goes home to a 17 point Toad in the Hole dinner can be a winner is beyond me.

14 August 2007

Such a slacker

I've had the uncorrected proof of Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer on my pile of books to read since about January last year. I am officially a slacker. Thank God my Summer Reading campaign has finally started, so I can start power reading through the stack of great books I've got...

Conversations With the Fat Girl is a tale of two best mates - both were once fat, one of which got some surgery, got herself thin and got herself a fiance. Focussing on still fat) Maggie, her dead end job at the coffee house, her relationship with her family, her lusting over Domenico, reminiscing about her youth, yearning for a happier life, and planning Olivia's (now thin) wedding - the author creates a really beautiful story, which I found both funny and incredibly sad. As a fat girl myself, I could relate to a great deal of this story and saw alot of my own issues reflected in Maggie - the lack of willpower, the self loathing, the "if I can't love myself how can I expect anyone else to" stuff...and whilst I don't have a shared fat youth history with any of my friends, I do have a lot of thin, fit and fabulous mates who I constantly compare myself to.

I don't really think Conversations fits into my usual Chick Lit box. It's not fluffy enough. It doesn't have a conventional happy ending, there aren't enough shoes or shags. I loved it. I felt great sympathy for Maggie and was cheering, laughing and crying towards the end as she finally sees Olivia for what she is, and her relationship with her for what it has become...

I see that Liza's next book "Seeing Me Naked" is due to be published in March next year. I'm looking forward to it already.

Chocolate Buttons and Jumping

are always great - individually or mixed together. My niece was excited about both things at the weekend.

Her Nana, Mum and Aunt were much more excited about Blossom Hill White Zinfandel....

7 August 2007

Pillow Talk

It has been a fair few months since I last read a book in a day….time has been against me of late I fear, and the motivation to turn off the TV and step away from the fridge is so much easier when it’s lovely and sunny outside…. so, it was great to finally get my Summer Reading campaign off to a start last Saturday with Pillow Talk by the ever satisfying Freya North. As anyone who knows me knows, Love Rules goes down as one of my favourite ever Chick Lit titles, and yet Home Truths, Freya’s last novel didn’t quite rock my world to the same extent, so I was both excited and nervous as I opened up the first pages of Pillow Talk; a tale about teenage sweethearts Petra Flint and Arlo Savidge (where do these authors find such names?!) who meet at school, don’t so much as snog, grow up, loose contact, and meet again, many years later shopping for Easter eggs in an ice cream parlour in North Yorkshire. Petra (now a jewellery designer) sleepwalks and Arlo (now a music teacher) never sleeps – and as we find out why, we learn about the lives and loves of these two troubled souls.

I love how beautifully Freya draws characters for us, and I love the non threatening romances she develops for her leading men and women, and Pillow Talk is no exception. Very gentle and quiet, there’s no massive weepy moments, no massive belly chuckles either – but it kept me hooked and engaged from start to finish. A classic chick lit tale of love and life, it’s a cracker for the beach, the bed or on your way to the boardroom.

6 August 2007

Since I Don't Have You

I forgot to say that last week the new book by my lovely friend Louise Candlish came out. I'm only half way through my copy (I couldn't bear to bend the spine of the signed one she kindly gave me!) so I can't tell you all about it yet, but the reviews so far for have been glowing....

Elle - `Superbly crafted . . . ripe for Hollywood'

Cosmopolitan - `A touching tale of friendship and family - heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. We couldn't read it fast enough'

Eva Rice - 'Brilliant. I so envy Louise Candlish's witty and effortless style'

Log onto louisecandlish.co.uk for more info.

3 August 2007


Get your pre-orders in NOW for “Drop Dead Beautiful” the latest offering from the Queen of Old School Chick Lit, Jackie Collins, coming in October 2007. Continuing the adventures of Lucky Santangelo, this is Jackie Collins’s 25th novel, and is perfect pure unadulterated fabulousness from start to finish. Ms Collins is responsible for bringing us Jack Python – the best male character to ever grace the pages of a pink book and whilst Lucky isn’t my favourite female character; the tales of the Santangelo family have kept me riveted since “Chances”, the first of the 6 novels in the series.

To try and explain the twists and turns of this story would possibly take me till the end of the week – so to give you a rough idea Lucky is opening a new $6 billion hotel in Vegas, Venus Maria is dating young stud movie star Billy Medina, Gino is celebrating his 95th birthday, Henry Whitfield-Simmons is out of his mind and plotting revenge against Lucky for his failure to make it as an actor, Max is running amok (like mother like daughter) in Big Bear woods, Anthony Bonar (grandson of arch enemy Enzio Bonnatti) is ignoring his wife, shagging his various mistresses and dealing drugs whilst plotting the downfall of the entire Santangelo family, Irma Bonar is shagging Luis the gardener, Francesca Bonnatti is plotting revenge for both husband and sons murder, and movie director Alex Woods is still in love with Lucky…

The other members of the Santangelo family also appear – Lennie Golden (Lucky’s husband), Bobby (her son) has opened a club in New York, Gino Junior (another son), Brigette Stansilopolous (goddaughter and Bobby’s niece) has left the modeling world and started designing jewellery, Leonardo (Lennie’s illegitimate son)…

And in amongst all this Lucky keeps getting hand delivered notes with just three words written – “Drop Dead Beautiful”.

Buying a Jackie Collins book is like buying jumbo editions of OK and Hello magazine. Even before celebrity based glossies were part of our every day lives Ms Collins has been bringing us tales from Hollywood – that she admits are based on the real lives of the movie stars, rock stars, and A listers she knows. And I for one, can’t get enough of them.

I might not know much. But I know that Jackie Collins rocks. And I don’t care if you don’t agree.

2 August 2007

46.7% Body Fat

One punnet of strawberries and two of blackberries, two nectarines, a couple of trays of sushi and a bag of salt & vinegar snack-a-jacks. A four egg omelette with frozen vegetables and a low fat yogurt. Great so far huh?

One viscount and one penguin. A couple of very large handfuls of nuts and raisins. Failed.

Day one of the restarted diet was going great guns till I got home and opened the treat cupboard.

Damn and blast it. I last took my measurements on 19th April - 103.6kg, 46.7% body fat, 38.5 BMI. I went to the gym this morning, and I’m going again tonight. I'll take the measurements again at 6.30pm. Lets see what 15 weeks of crap cheap food and stress can do.