30 December 2008

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

Big Booey took me out for the day today (it's getting more like care in the community every day here...) We had a wander along the promenade, strolled down the longest pleasure pier in the whole wide world and had ourselves some fish & chips for our dinner.... the simple pleasures in life.

Tomorrow we are taking ourselves to B&Q. I mean, really, how much more excitement can one person take? The good news, and I mean, proper good news is that we went and got ourselves a new bath tap unit on Sunday - with a shower mixer bit built in - which Boo is going to fit on Friday when I'm back at work. That means that for the first time since I moved into SGR nearly a year ago, I will be able to wash my hair under running clean water instead of rinsing with a plastic measuring jug. You can not believe how much I am looking forward to this. Far more than any New Years Eve celebration fandango nonsense. We've had the "what are we doing tomorrow?" conversation. He said "nothing". I said "oh ok". He said "why, what are YOU doing?". Like I would be doing something that didn't involve him.... I mean, obviously I would love to do something. Something glamorous and fabulous. Something involving fancy wine, fancy food, a touch of dancing maybe, a gorgeous party frock with high heels, glossy hair, glossy lips... a casino maybe, a yacht, fireworks. Oh the possibilities would be endless if I was a different person with a different life. What I will be doing though no doubt involves a ponytail, no makeup, no contact lenses, jimjamjarmapegs, TV, diet coke and something out of the freezer. Shouldn't life in general be more exciting, more colourful, more ... something than this? Don't get me wrong now, I know I have a lot to be happy and content with. I know I'm very lucky blah bloody blah. I've got a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, enough money to pay the electric bill, a job to keep that money rolling in (touch wood, cross fingers etc etc), all my limbs, all my senses, some brain cells rattling around in my noggin... but you know, it's very, you know, blah isn't it? All this sort of same old same old stuff. Am I suffering with post Christmas blues? Do I have New Year stress syndrome? Am I getting myself in a tizzy for nothing, or for something? Answers on a postcard to Discombobulated Mansion, Cross Roads Avenue, Can't Be Arsed Town, Pissed Off and Grumpy.

28 December 2008

Happy Christmas

These are my favourite photos so far of the festive season....

23 December 2008

I couldn’t quite say what on earth I’ve been up to that’s been so important that it’s meant that yet again 2 weeks have passed since a post… Soz. Luckily the world has gone credit crunch shopping crazy so I am pretty sure no-one has time to read this blog, and therefore hasn't missed it at all... Anyway, for those that do care ...

We had our Work Christmas lunch. Very nice it was. I had goats cheese with peppers. Then some pasta. Then some Tiramisu. And I wore a Christmas hat and pulled a Christmas cracker.

We had the dress fittings with Boo’s Sister and Niece – they looked stunning. In just 131 days they will get to wear them. 131 days...

I made another Key Lime Pie. I left it in the kitchen at Work along with a note that said “Fresh cream key lime pie – must be eaten today – SJP”. The ink on the note was still wet when the last slice was taken…

I had a great evening with two of my favourite author lady friends. We talked about men and books over some Italian food whilst drinking Proseco. Does life get any better than that?

I started and finished Sophie Kinsella’s new one Remember Me?. It’s been nominated on the long list in the Romantic Novelist of the Year Award 2009. I’ve been to the award ceremony a couple of times along with the blue rinse brigade. Its brilliant, slightly silly, and not usually very at home to standard chick lit, so it’s a great nomination…but I fear there are not quite enough clogs and shawls to guarantee it a place on the shortlist.

So, in a couple of hours Chrimbo proper will be upon us, and two weeks of sitting around watching TV and eating my body weight in lard will begin. This year we've got a day with my mum and a day with his mum. Then we've got a bunch of days on our own. Next year we will be Mr and Mrs and I am determined we will bugger off on our own for a romantic get away. But for now its sprouts all round and lots of ITV repeats.

I'm looking forward already to my 2009 New Year Resolutions. Remember the last ones? Oh what fun I've had obeying none of them...

Anyway hope you have a lovely festive season and Santa brings you everything you want. Including the blow job.

8 December 2008

It’s been a long old two weeks since I last posted…during that time Boo and I celebrated our anniversary with a lovely day off and an afternoon trip to the flicks to (finally) see Quantum of DooDar. I really enjoyed it, him not so much... and I do agree that a kiss on the back does not a sex scene make.

I met up with two of my bestest gentlemen friends from The Big W for some dirty dog burger dinner treats and some gay cruising observation on Old Compton Street. A good time was had by all – until we all had various degrees of dodgy belly, due to the dog burger…. never again I tell you.

I had my first fitting for The Dress. Cripes what fun. The tailor is actually having to take it in, yes, take it in around the hips and bust… the hips and bust I tell you, cause it’s too big. TOO BIG. Obviously, I never want to be told what size it started off at, but that’s by the by. We’ve gone for about a foot off the train, and a little satin shrug affair to hide the old bingo wing area, but other than that, not too shabby. Although the only comment made by The Mother was “Mmmm, it’s not the same as I remember”. Nice.

With 5 months to go till the Big Day, all the bits and bobs are fitting into place nicely. We’ve had a success on the suit front for Boo and the Brother-In-Law, with a nice three piece in charcoal that makes them both look simply yummy, and we are going to hire the colour coordinated cravats from a shop down in Worthing. I spent 4 hours wrapping up all the gifts we’ve bought for everyone – decorated in sparkles, feathers, ribbon and jewels – and then spent ½ hour checking with Boo that I hadn’t gone over the top… I’ve bought The Nieces dress online – a gorgeous white frufru creation with diamante’s and tulle, which is going to look gorgeous with the wings we got from fairylove for her to wear.

I had a rather teary farewell to my friend who is leaving Blighty for an extended round the world trip before going back home to NZ to live. We knocked back a couple of bottles of Rose, and I made her promise to take care. I will miss her awesome Body Pump strength and hope she gives up all this relocation malarkey, and comes back soon.

I met up with my big wig mate who is now a very large slice of cheese down Fulham Palace Road way for some sushi in Westfield. We had a potter round the shops and I chose my NEXT engagement ring from Tiffany’s. She’s always good value for money, and it was lovely to catch up.

Then this weekend Boo and I went to The Country for the weekend for an early Christmas with The Sister, Brother-in-Law and Niece. Being a smug cow from Smugfordshire, I’ve bought and wrapped all my gifts and written and posted all my cards – so am feeling very relaxed about Christmas this year. We’ve put a serious budget limit on the spending (trust me, this wedding won’t pay for itself let me tell you!), and have bought only things we know our friends and family want – so felt pretty confident exchanging gifts this weekend. We hadn’t banked on such a hefty sack coming our way though – and was a bit overwhelmed by all the great presents we got. None more so than our gorgeous new duvet, pillows and bed linen. We changed our old rubbish for our new stuff when we got back yesterday, and spend the whole night feeling like we were in a hotel! It’s thick and fluffy and cosy and fabulous, and I pity the poor overnight guests who come to Flat 3 and have to make do with our old cast-offs!

On the book front, I finished the manuscript that Big Director Lady gave me of an amazing debut novel we are planning on publishing in a couple of years I should think which is cracking – and am almost finished the brilliant new Adriani Trigiani coming out in May next year. The first person to leave me comment with a recipe for gorgonzola gnocchi can get their mitts on a proof copy….

On the work front. Crickey, we do live in fiscally turbulent times don’t we? Just think, if I’d followed up that job offer to work on an industrial estate in Hayes, I would be facing another Fopp Fiasco. That would be two crashes in two years – and I truly don’t think my nerves (or my bank balance) could take it all over again. That’s not to say of course, that all is quiet on this particular western front…. but only time will tell whether the head count misses my bonce. Cross your fingers for me please.

24 November 2008

Whichever book I read after Still Alice was going to have a bloody tricky job fulfilling me … unfortunately Who’s That Girl? by Alexandra Potter didn’t quite cut the mustard. All the “it was a dream” business didn’t work for me, despite being well written, funny and with a great lead character. Sorry.

However, on a much brighter note – the new one from Adriana Trigiani coming in May 2009 “Very Valentine” is turning into a right corker. I was introduced to Adriana by the most unlikely fan - ex Finance Controller, Tom Connor from The Big W; and Lucia, Lucia remains on my list of Favourite Books Ever to this date.

Very Valentine has started with, as ever; a brilliantly created extended Italian family, this time located in and around Greenwich Village. Valentine Roncalli works at the family Angelini Shoe Company with her beloved Grandma Teodora, making bespoke wedding shoes. She’s just found out that the company is in real financial trouble, and flashed at possible new neighbour – and devilishly handsome chef Roman Falconi whilst watering the tomato plants on the roof, naked! Am looking forward to snuggling down with this at the weekend, and will of course, let you know how I get on.

Sorry for the absence of any good posts recently. We’ve been in a bit of a sticky wicket at home to tell the truth. Lots of upset and angst, which seems to have finally resolved itself, thank Christ. We celebrate our anniversary tomorrow – 7 years together…and I love him more now than I ever thought possible. We will be spending the day together with a spot of nice lunch and a trip to the flix perhaps. We know how to live, let me tell you!

16 November 2008

Lapland UK

Off to spend the day with the Niece yesterday; and a trip to Lapland ... in Kent... complete with huskies, reindeer, snow, Christmas trees and sparkly lights, Mother Christmas, Elves and the Main Man himself... Alan Carr... who was wandering around outside the post office - perhaps sending his Wish List to Santa.

14 November 2008

Sexy Circus

Last night I took the November and December birthday girls for a spot of dinner and then off to La Clique for some of the sexiest circus you ever did see. I highly recommend it. For oh, so many reasons.

13 November 2008

Fancy a 5 star holiday to Cuba?

Enter the competition that New Work has running on its website then.

6 November 2008

Every time I think about it I still get a little weepy.

Look and listen as the author explains how she came to write it....

31 October 2008

I have nothing....

Tonight we are defrosting the fridge.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with Sophie at the wedding venue to talk about … you know… stuff…. important… things. You know.

On Sunday we are going round The Mothers for lunch which will involve dumplings and I hear talk of an apple pie.

I have nothing else to share at this time.

Have a good weekend.

24 October 2008

Still Alice?

I finished it last night on the tube on the way home from work. I had read some on the way into work, until a complete stranger kindly and very gently touched my shoulder and asked whether I was ok; the tears were free flowing down my face….

Honestly, I just can’t tell you how much it’s moved me. And I really really don’t know enough good words to explain how wonderful it is. My friend Gabrielle (who I will send a copy to) will be able to help me with the words… she’s very good at that.

I meanwhile, am very good at crying and calling my Mum to see how she is and to check she is ok and not forgetting anything…

22 October 2008

I started it this morning having finished The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton last night in bed. I got to page 77 and started crying. I was still crying at page 108, and it is only the fact that I had to start doing work stuff that has stopped me (both reading and crying).

It is beautiful. Really. Absolutely achingly beautiful. And terrifying, and haunting, and touching and moving and loads of other words that escape me momentarily.

And I can’t wait to see what is going to happen to Alice and her husband and her children and the rest of her life….

I will let you know. In the meantime, if you wanted to get your mitts on a proof I might be able to squirrel one out of 2Two2 if you ask nicely.

21 October 2008

Everyone at New Work is giddy with excitement as the first batch of boxes arrived in the post from graze. Oh the wonderment.

We've all taken advantage of the “first box free and your next 1/2 price” promo they are currently running…you just need to enter the code H5LHT5Q in the link above, and within 24 hours you too can benefit from the brown box goodness of nut, seed, fruit, veg, wholesome choccy loveliness offered….

My first (free) box will come on Thursday. Am almost beside myself.

17 October 2008

There are some sure-fire, no-brainer ways to guarantee a satisfied smile on my face. A back rub. A giggle from the Niece. A really good body scrub. Breathtaking ballet. Anything being tidy. A smile from Boo. Fresh bedlinen. A great meal. Laughing with The Girls. A sunset. Cake. Beautiful men with big muscles, bald heads, tatoos and great teeth....

A night with friends from The Big W.

Last night saw 9 of us heading to The Hall of Mirrors, or Waterloo Brasserie as it actually calls itself, to celebrate Mr T’s birthday. We had a lovely big round table, with an apricot and burnt orange curtain backdrop and glass ball chandelier above…very swish. The food was good, the wine was plentiful, the company was, as ever, the best part of the evening.

Except when the unfortunate and slightly bumbling French waiter called my male friend Madame, twice, left his dinner plate till last to clear away and despite three reminders – forgot to bring his coffee…

16 October 2008

Still Alice

The best news to report today is that I have got my grubby little paws on the one and only US printed proof of a book that exists that New Work is publishing in the UK in March 09 called Still Alice that sounds cracking and I’m hoping to spend the weekend reading (now that the dreaded new kitchen project for Mrs-Mother-In-Law-To-Be-Virtue has finally finished...)

According to my colleague over on the lighter side of the building (by that I mean they have windows, where we just have wall) tells me it’s “an incredibly moving, insightful and ultimately uplifting story of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's Disease that does for Alzheimer's what A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time did for autism”… Indeed. The author holds a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard and is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer’s Association….she knows her onions then.

14 October 2008

Read it and weep

I am, I know, a lucky bugger. I get to work in an industry that is stimulating and exciting, with creative, amazing people who do something that forms the backbone of my free time, my travelling time, my before bed time, my in the bath time, my summer days time… my life. I mean, where would I be without books? What on earth would I do? Who on earth would I be? How would I cope? Eek. It gives me shivers just thinking about a world without books….

Anyway. As I say, I am very lucky to be able to work in an industry that I love. People far better qualified than I; that have studied the art of words for years at Uni and college type places, would beg, steal and borrow to work where I do.

Yep, I am lucky indeed.

I mean, obviously I work in the less creative sales end. Not quite what I imagined, or really wanted to do to be honest. It’s not double glazing, it’s not estate agency, it’s not photocopiers or curtain rings – but it is, when push comes to shove, sales. And let’s be honest – now is not the best time to work in sales. It could be worse mind, I could work in the city….or be unemployed of course…

Anyway. Lucky. Books. Sales. It’s all good.

And I do still get to hang out chatting about books a lot. With other people. I get to chin wag about celebrity authors, I even get to meet them sometimes… and I get to read and review as part of my job. Hurrah.

What’s my point you might ask. And well you might.

I am continually reminded that I can’t write. I mean, I know I write this blog. And I can turn my hand to a damn fine birthday card. I even do good compliment slips… I have written the odd short story that some people actually liked and I wrote the first three chapters of a novel and entered them into a competition (and didn't win) a few years back. And I have written quite a lot of porn, but let’s not go there.

But, and this is the killer. I can’t write how, or what, I want. And I am reminded that I’m crap on a daily basis by reading and reviewing proofs and manuscripts by authors who I greatly admire and would love to have a smidge of their skill…

I could, I suppose, take a course. Do the ground work. Take the plunge and just bang at it, day after day, till I got it right… but I fear it will never, ever, be good enough.

So every time someone says “a fresh new voice” or “a haunting and exquisite first novel” or “the most amazing debut I have ever read”… it sticks like a knife.

And although people say – everyone has a book in them – it is universally known that whilst that may very well be the case; that book won’t necessarily be any good, be read or indeed liked (by anyone but your mum), or ever be published. And even if you do win the lottery of life and get your damn book published, no-one (other than your mum) might ever buy it. And the handful that do might hate it. And those that review it might point and mock and laugh…

A bit like I do. Almost every day…at work.

10 October 2008

My chosen bed and bath read at the moment is the first Catherine Alliott to be published by Penguin - The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton - which is coming in HB in January…. it’s very pretty and I’m really enjoying it.

And that is despite the fact that Evie is a pain in the neck and so far seems to do bugger all all day. She doesn’t work, doesn’t look after her man or kid with any great care, is nasty to her mum, and lives in a great big house!

However, we’ve just discovered that naughty old husband Ant had a bit of fling-et just after they got engaged, which resulted in a love child – who’s just turned up, out of the blue aged 16….

I have no idea where this is going, but I am anticipating lots of angst, lots of re-evaluation, lots of tears and then some making up, some embracing of life’s strange twists and turns and big fat happy ending….I may be wrong of course, but I will let you know once I’ve finished it.

I remember reading Rosie Meadows Regrets and Olivia’s Luck back when they had primary coloured jackets in lime, jade and aqua (that’s before everything became pastel pink and lilac with lots and lots of sparkle) and thinking “Oh what jolly hockey sticks and japes and lashings of ginger beer” (or something like that…)…and so far Evie Hamilton offers the same feel good factor. Riding bicycles and horses, making jam and sponge cakes, having very loving sex, Women’s Institute stuff, country living, female bonding, sock darning… you know the kind of stuff? I mean, there are tough times, heartache, upset, relationship struggles. But no-one gets stabbed, robbed or shot. No-one injects heroin, smokes spiff, overdoses on Ketamine. No-one lives on the streets, sells the Big Issue, gets done for council tax evasion… just everyday tales of everyday people. Wrapped up in cotton wool.

9 October 2008

Bonkbuster Brilliance

Queen Collins herself just officially opened New Work’s New Office. There were cupcakes and everything.

She personally dedicated a couple of copies of her new book for me. She said I had a lovely name. My colleague (who was in the room at the time) told her that from next year my surname would be Virtue. She said that would be a great name for a character in a book…

What a lovely idea. What a lovely lady. (What a lovely cake.)

8 October 2008

To celebrate the launch of Married Lovers by the Bonkbuster Queen herself Jackie Collins, New Work is running a competition to win a two week spa break in Malta.

Not to shabby I say.

Shame I can’t enter.

But you can, go on, you know you want to.

4 October 2008

The Tropical Forest @ Syon Park

The Tropical Forest at Syon Park offers a fantastic afternoon out for a curious, fearless, animal loving 4 year old. Dirt cheap and just 3 miles from our front door it houses a mix of Squirrel Monkies, Poison Arrow Frogs, Crocodiles, Lizards, Tarantulas, Snakes, Macaws and even the odd bunny rabbit to keep you amused, I highly recommend it for an afternoon's fun.

1 October 2008

The most exciting news of the day is that a competition has been launched to find a civilian judge to sit on the panel for the Costa Book of the Year – the winner will attend the final judging meeting in January, and get to go to the dinner and ceremony. The competition is open to all UK adults and closes on 31st October. Entrants have to submit a 300-word book review and a 500-word application. A shortlist of 12 will be selected, who will then attend a book review debate, before the winner is chosen. My mate Chortle is on the judging panel for the biography category. I would love to be on the panel as resident chick lit judge. I fear it will never happen, but you should apply, go on, you know you want to.

Before I forget, me and The Mother took a stroll down memory lane last week and went to a gig by NYJO who we haven’t seen since my dad died. The orchestra has been going since 1965 under founding Musical Director Bill Ashton MBE (who has taken to wearing a hat btw), and most of the rising generation of jazz stars have passed through its ranks. (Amy Winehouse sang with them when she was 16…). They have recorded 40 albums, made numerous TV and radio programmes and performed at hundreds of venues around the UK (and the world come to that) – Ronnie Scott’s, The Barbican, The Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls and now Wealdstone Football Club, which happens to be at the end of my mums road. A real treat for me in the programme was a rearranged version of Somewhere, which a flutist called Lisa used to play some 10 years ago… it bought back so many good memories. NYJO are back at the Club at 12.30pm Sunday October 26th, November 16th, December 28th and January 18th. If you are at a loose end, and fancy some top quality Big Band Jazz it will be the best £10 you spend.

25 September 2008

We are a week or so away from the “7 months till the wedding” date stamp. Cripes.

He was away again last night. I couldn’t get to sleep till gone 1.00am. It’s the second time he has slept elsewhere, since he moved in. Nothing sinister. He’s at his Mum’s – doing stuff. You would think, would you not, that I would have had a great couple of nights. Chilled on my own. Done my own thing. Had some space. But no. I miss him like crazy, the flat feels empty and lonely and quite frankly I’m miserable without him.

Yes, he is intensely annoying sometimes. He just never stops talking… He has his own, very special way, of doing things. As his Mum says, he’s particular. Everything has to be just so with him.

But he is so funny, and cute, and very sexy and lovely to look at. He does lots round the house. He can take care of himself, and doesn’t expect me to do all the “stuff”. He doesn’t talk with his mouth full.

I am a very lucky girl. I know this.

I got myself in a bit of a needy-please love me-I love you so much-tizzy at about midnight. I have a horrible feeling I might have begged him not to ever leave me.

That’s never a good side to show someone….I’m banking on him putting it down to my hormones.

20 September 2008


It's been a rather quiet day here in Olde Hanwell. We went to the Post Office. We did our big shop at Asda. We changed the bed. We did a couple of loads of laundry. He hoovered. I dusted. There was some tidying up, and some putting away. I made some fairy cakes. He made dinner. He is next to me now on the sofa watching Match of the Day. Arsenal won. Thank Christ. I have been ripping out recipes I want to keep, but will probably never try out, from the pile of glossy mags that live next to the sofa... Life is certainly full and fun.

So I was sitting here. Deciding whether to paint my toe nails. Do myself a face mask. Do nothing.

When I thought, I know I'll check my email, see where we are in the aol fantasy football league, have a quick surf. And I ended up here. At my blog. And I thought, you know what, a change is as good as a rest. So what do you think? Like it?

19 September 2008

I am suffering today. I got a bit squiffy last night. When I say squiffy, I mean the waiter at one point refilled everyone else’s glass with champagne except mine and said “You may have had enough”. I rest my case. I saw my lovely friends Louise and Bernie together with their big cheese Hiawatha Editor, Jo. I still get a complete and total kick out of the fact that I can say they are my friends. If I was my friend I would be so jealous of me and my celebrity author friends. So jealous I might cry a bit actually. Sometimes life really is just great isn’t it?

Other news to report - we’ve gone all fancy-pants at New Work. We moved into our sparkly new offices on Monday, and now have the following which we never did have before:
Actual real carpet not carpet tiles
Purpose built book cases not “shed” shelves
A swanky new reception area, bigger than any reception you ever did see in your life
A “breakout” area – otherwise known as four table and chair sets in our new kitchen.
We have a feature wall in lime green.
We all have matching (white) desks
We have new desk privacy screens the height of an A3 box file
We have more meeting rooms than you can shake a stick at
We all have matching desk chairs
New rubbish bins
A “Hub”
A Café 180 greasy spoon down the road

What we do not have is:
Natural light
A shower
Offices for half the big cheeses that had them before
Anywhere to hide
A supermarket over the road
A Boots over the road
A newsagents next door
A post office
A bank
A Starbucks
An Eat
A Costa
A Nero
A Krispy Kreme
A Superdrug
A New Look

I now have an extra stop and a 15 minute walk from the station to our swanky new pad. It could be worse. I could be unemployed.

Lastly, I finished my next sneaky-don’t-tell-Boo shopping spree book last week. As a starting point, I have to reiterate how much I love Jenny Colgan and always have. And how much I’m looking forward to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” which is coming in January 2009. And I really hope that I can skirt over and around the fact that Operation Sunshine didn’t rock my world without anyone ever holding it against me. I know I’m getting old(er), and perhaps less chick, but, oh blimey! Obviously people far more knowledgeable than I have really enjoyed it, and raved about it in all the reviews – so I know it might only be my humble opinion – but I just felt it never got it’s groove on and I feel I know no more about the central character Evie now, than I did when I opened the book for the first time.

16 September 2008

Get Me One

In Metro this morning was something so beautiful, so special, so marvellous I ripped out the page and have it next to me on my desk.

La Bibliochaise from Nobody & Co would look perfect in my house, and I want one. Now.

14 September 2008

The Birthday Club

Today we celebrated another day of birth - this time Claud(e)was the chosen one, and we hot-footed our way down to Chiswick for some Pissarro's goodness. We managed to get a table for 6 in the conservatory overlooking the Thames, and got stuck in to the Sparkly Rose quick sharp.

The Girls were all fabulous entertainment, such good value for money, and so fine too. Look.

10 September 2008

Let Down Larry

Back in November I got myself all excited by this news.

Can I just say, what a load of rubbish. Like REALLY?! That’s really the best you could do. Like really? I saw it on DVD at the weekend, and I am still really really angry.

The whole booking the holiday scene didn’t even frigging appear. My bestest, most sweetest, saddest, heart breaking scene didn’t even appear, unless you count the travel agent lady moving a box of tissues on her desk. Fuck a fucking duck.

I am SO very VERY disappointed. But thank Christ I'm not the author of the book. If I was Cecelia Ahern, I would be suing everyone associated with this mockery of a shame, of a shame of a mockery. The scriptwriter, the producer, the director, the casting agent... every last MoFo. That is of course, after I have picked myself up from the floor where I had been crying my eyes out for 6 months.

4 September 2008

Tan Lines

There are three programmes on TV that I can’t bear to miss at the moment - The Secret Millionaire, Who Do You Think You Are? and Don’t Tell the Bride. Obviously I am still addicted to Midsummer Murders, A Touch of Frost, Wire in the Blood, Without a Trace and any and all of the CSI’s – but am happy to record them all and watch them at a later date.

TV is weird I think. There was a time when I would watch as many celebrity (!) reality shows as you could shake a stick to. I would watch every cookery programme, every home DIY thing, and almost any show involving sex in any form.

Like music. There was a time when I would only listen to jazz. Another time when it was all about the hip hop. Classical took its turn for a while, as did R&B, Rare Groove and even a touch of Opera. (Never The 60’s I hasten to add).

But I think I’ve only had five distinct phases in my book reading life. (I don’t count books that were read to me when I was a kid for a couple of reasons – but mainly because I don’t really remember them (except Where the Wild Things Are?, which I still love today)).

So, I believe my first phase started when I was about 9 or 10 with the complete works of Agatha Christie, moved onto the likes of My Sweet Audrina , and Kane and Able, when I was about 13, Jackie Collins and books of that ilk from about 16 or 17 for the next 10 years or so, and now chick lit. It has been one of my best friends. At times I get very frustrated with it; even (dare I say it) a bit bored now and again. But I love it from the bottom of my heart. I will defend it to the death. And even when I am old, grey(er) and smell of wee, I will still have it by my side. Now and again though, I am unfaithful and I see other friends. I know, I know. But like people, we can’t get everything that satisfies us from just one human being. We need a plethora to tap into the different characteristics, interests and passions within us. I have been known to wander into crime on occasions. I’ve done some mass market general fiction. The odd thriller. I’ve even been known to skim read the odd non-fiction title….

It will came as no huge shock therefore to report that I enjoyed Tan Lines more than is strictly necessary.

Sometimes I don’t want to have to think when I read. I don’t want to be challenged by language and grammar. I don’t want to be stretched and educated. I just wanna have a laugh, been titillated a little bit, be entertained in short sharp spurts and close the book at the end thinking “excellent”. Tan Lines delivers on every level with the main characters Liza (feminist writer), Kellyanne (beautiful wannabe actress) and Billie (off the rails rock chick) and their adventures during a summer share in the Hampton’s. With bags of hoo-hars and to-dos, a dollop of sex, drugs and rock and roll, some stalking, a gay husband, a randy old sugar daddy and a gorgeous crab fishing surfer dude – its great fun, and very reminiscent of the Queen of the Bonkbuster – Jackie Collins.

For what it is, its great - if only the author hadn’t have rushed through the ending in five minutes flat I would have given Tan Lines a 10 out of 10.

2 September 2008

Girls Weekend Away

I remember when a girls weekend away involved getting roaring drunk by 11am, snogging strange boys, eating breakfast after noon and dinner at about 2am. It always featured a fight, some karaoke, a touch of disco dancing and preferably some recreational pharmaceuticals.

My, how things have changed.

Now it involves breakfast before 9am, whole sandcastle villages being built, icecream at regular intervals, dinner at 6pm involving vegetables, a few games of cards then bed by 9pm....


Here are some snaps to prove that in one small pocket of Kent, the sun shone all weekend.