21 December 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Like the rest of London and the South, I have been sludging around since the middle of last week moaning about the weather and the knock-on effect it has had on your normal, every day services and the like... roads are fucked, trains are fucked, blah blah. But. It does n'arf make for some pretty pictures.

13 December 2009

An Ode to The Girls

We're here to celebrate Melly's birthday and what a year it's been,
New Baby Chase, a new country house and my very own wedding ring.
A year of good fun and great laughs, but also tears and loss,
We've shared it all, the good and bad, and always found time for a goss.

I love you girls, one and all,
You pick me up whenever I fall.
You accept my flaws, of which there are many,
And for all my crazy thoughts, you never fail to offer a penny.

Next year will be a cracker, I feel it in my bones,
So let's enjoy it all, and try and limit the moans,
We really do have so much to give thanks for,
Please feel free to stop me if I become a bore...

Next year we celebrate 10 long years together,
And I know our lives have changed and altered forever,
But I miss you girls, so here's my plan,
I know we have the Birthday thing of which I'm a fan,
But how about a regular date, on a recurring theme?
A something TBC every month, are you keen?

Either way let's raise a glass, say thanks and pray,
That we all get up tomorrow to play another day,
And as one year ends and another begins,
As Delboy would say, she who dares, wins!

6 December 2009

In less than 4 weeks we will be celebrating the start of another New Year. 2010 will see me hitting my 40th birthday. What on earth has happened to those years....where on earth did the time go?

As you know, I wasn't feeling a great deal of love for October, and whilst we've had some more good stuff these past few weeks - the mood is still somewhat somber in the Virtue household...but I did meet beautiful Baby Chase Bailey, the newest addition to The Girls. Such a pretty little doll, she's gorgeous... look.

and we put up the smallest desk top Christmas tree and started to get some festive cheer...

I have high (too high maybe?) hopes for December. I'm catching up with some old friends this week for drinks, I have some seasonal Ballet fun planned for Friday, we have the last Birthday Lunch gang extravaganza on Saturday...then next week there is a night out to The Union with my two spectacular author friends, an early Christmas lunch in Kent, some Christmas Eve drinks with The Mother and then the 4 day Lard-Fest begins with more turkey and Brussels action than any one person should be made to endure...

1 December 2009

You know what you’re going to get with a Jackie.

Sex. Scandal. Shit hot movie stars, and drug dealers, and rock gods and hookers…and Poor Little Bitch Girl has all that, and so much more.

There are some great new key players – Denver Jones – LA based attorney at law, her secretly pregnant best friend Carolyn – caught up in an affair with a Washington Senator, old friend Annabelle Maestro and her junkie boyfriend Frankie, and the gorgeous son of Lucky Santangelo – Bobby – who went to school with all three of them.

When Annabelle’s movie star mother, Gemma, is found dead – husband and fellow movie star Ralph is quick to bring onboard Denver’s law firm to protect him. Then Annabelle and Frankie’s secret business venture becomes very public just before the funeral and Carolyn’s slimy Senator lover is hatching a dastardly plan, while Bobby is caught up in everyone’s business…

What fabulous tangled webs Ms Collins spins for the reader. I love her books, I love her characters, I love everything about ‘em…

27 November 2009

The latest very best thing...

Last night, We, the girls from work, otherwise known as “The Circle of Trust” went out for a spot of dinner at Awana down Kensington way.

Food was good. Nice bit on wonton. Healthy option veggie stir fry thing. Non-healthy trio of choc mousse for dessert. Good. But, here’s the thing. Awana Hibiscus Champagne cocktails at £10 a pop. Sweet lord. The absolute very best drink I have sipped in many a moon.

Will be getting myself along to the nearest Lakeland for some of them hibiscus flowers in a jar asap to recreate the wonderment at home over the Christmas season. Oh yes I will.

16 November 2009

We, The Girls, went out

on Saturday for an early celebration of Natalia ChimmyChanga's birthday. There was dancing. And drinking. And a lot of laughing. And chips on the way home.

I swear, life gets no better than laughing with your mates. The ultimate Prozac.

There was a time before Twitter

Back in my day, and by that I mean the late ‘70’s, early ‘80’s, people – ALL people – had respect for authority. We didn’t bang on about respect having to be earnt; we just didn’t fuck around with the police. Or teachers. Or our parents. That was just the way it was. You didn’t break the law. You went to school to learn stuff. And what your parents said, went.

There were 3 TV channels. Just three. It didn’t mean you were deprived. Or poor. You didn’t call ChildLine and claim you were being victimised. And there was one TV in the house. In the front room. And you watched what your family wanted to watch. And you turned the channels by GETTING UP. No remote. And no Freeview. Or satellite. No streaming. No MTV. No video. No DVD. No Blu Ray. No HardDriver recorder. No IPlayer. No nothing. And we just got on with it. And at the Government-decided bedtime a thing called a test card came on, and that was that. You turned it off. And went to bed.

There was a time before people comparedthemarketdotcom for the fastest broadband they could get at home. I’ll tell you what – there was a time before most workplaces had a computer, let alone every home. I hear talk of the Government proclaiming that a family has a right to fast internet connection at home. Seriously – an actual Human Right. Laptops and PC’s at home weren’t even thought of when I was a girl. I typed on an Olivetti word processor at work in 1986, and I was considered ahead of the IT game.

Of course there was crime. And kids being a nuisance. BUT. There weren’t any hoodies who would literally kick your head in if you looked at them. ASBO’s didn’t exist. Child burglars didn’t successfully sue a homeowner when they fell over and cut themselves whilst trying to break into their house. Kids didn’t sue their parents for damages cause you were sent to your room. There was no naughty step.

There was rubbish, and litter and trash. But you didn’t get fined by the local council for putting a piece of paper in the rubbish. Your tax paying dollar didn’t go towards printing a manual for road sweepers on how to pick up fallen leaves. (PS – there wasn’t any council tax… there wasn’t any poll tax either come to that!). And you know what, all the litter got collected. No fuss. No nonsense. Job done.

Your NHS contributions actually paid for your dentist and doctor fees. And you could actually get to see a doctor or dentist as well when you were poorly.

You had to wait till you got home to talk to your friends on a LANDLINE. There was one phone in the house, normally in the hall by the door. And it had a lead, that plugged into a socket. In the wall. You didn’t have a mobile, or a Blackberry. You didn’t text. There was no facebook or friends reunited, or myspace or twitter. There was no Youtube. There was the News at Ten. And there was a Newspaper. And that’s where you found out what was going on in the world.

You didn’t have a Wii. Or a PSP. Or an Xbox. Or a Game Cube. Or Nintendo. Or anything. If you were lucky you had a Merlin or a Pacman. But mostly you went outside. And played with your mates. Or stayed at home. And made something. With glue and paper and old cereal boxes. Or you painted. Or read. A book. Or an annual. Or a magazine that didn’t have air brushing or celebrity gossip….cause there weren’t such things as celebrities. You had people who were famous for actually doing something great. Not just being famous for sleeping with someone else. Or wearing less clothes than someone else. Or eating grubs in the jungle. I know!

There was no gluten free. People weren’t wheat or dairy intolerant. Jamie Oliver didn’t tell Schools what to feed our youth. You ate what you were given or you stayed sat at the table (Yes, in my day people ate at a table) till your bum went numb and it got dark outside. No-one talked about 5 a day. Or nutritional value. And let me tell you – we were healthier then than most kids seem to be these days. Child obesity was never discussed and there certainly wasn’t an epidemic of it.

You knew a lot less about the inner workings of things like public bodies, and organisations and Big Business. And quite frankly you didn’t care. MP’s probably were spending our money on beer and chips, but we never knew so we couldn’t be outraged by it. There was no Tax Payers Alliance. There was no Political Correctness. No Human Rights. People just got on with it. Living. Most normal, average people just wouldn’t dream of doing something that would physically, mentally or emotionally hurt another human being. Call me old fashioned, but I really miss that.

If you pissed someone off by saying something they didn’t like, you said sorry… or you didn’t. You didn’t get lynched. Or sacked. Or jailed for it. You were allowed to not like people for whatever fucking reason you wanted. People who supported a different football team. Went to a different school. Liked different music. Whatever man. That’s freedom of speech.

I’ll tell you what. It’s not as good today as the old days you know. We may be advancing with every passing day in science and technology and you know, other stuff. But in my opinion society has gone to the dogs. And instead of trying to “inspire the world and lead the construction of a new global order” Gordon Brown and all his other useless, money grabbing, lying toad colleagues in The Government could look a little closer to home and fix Britain, cause from where I’m sitting, its all turned to shit.

12 November 2009

Don't patronise popular fiction by women

Genius column on the Guardian website today …

Don't patronise popular fiction by women.

I'm fed up with seeing some of our best novelists written off as 'chick lit' – you don't see the same belittling line taken with male writers. Until May, I had two jobs. I was a writer, with three novels out, and I was an editor at one of the biggest publishers in the UK. I was lucky enough to work with many bestselling authors, but eventually writing won out, and now I am a crazy person sitting in my pyjamas eating jaffa cakes and wondering from where the crying baby in the basement flat suddenly materialised.

When I was an editor, my books were in the genre known for some reason as "commercial women's fiction". We – my colleagues and fellow publishers – loved these books and knew the truth, which is that books bought by women prop up the book trade, and that we should be proud both of the product itself and the diversion it gives hardworking people who want a good read. Now I've left, I'm looking at it from the other side – and what I see alarms me.

I am passionate about this kind of writing, but it seems to me to come in for an extraordinary amount of bile and patronising comment which I rarely see applied to novels by men in the same vein. Books – both fiction and non-fiction – reflecting women's lives, whether young or old, are labelled. Hence "chick-lit": often a derogatory term used to mean books by young women drinking chardonnay and being silly about boys, without the thought that novels by women about women might accurately reflect their lives and thus have merit or, at the very least, relevance.

It winds me up that books about young women are seen as frivolous and silly, while books about young men's lives that cover the same topics, are reviewed and debated, seen as valid and interesting contributions to the current social and media scene. Take anything from Toby Young's How To Lose Friends and Alienate People to The Contortionist's Handbook to Toby Litt or David Nicholls's One Day, or the works of Dave Eggers and Jonathan Lethem. Often these books are far more sensationalist than those by the authors' female counterparts: about how many women the protagonists have slept with, how many drugs they've done, what a crazy nihilistic time they're having in London / New York. I'm not saying they're bad books: Jonathan Lethem is one of my favourite writers and One Day is probably my book of the year. I'm just saying they aren't belittled and dismissed in the same way on the grounds of their subject-matter.

The truth is, women happily read books (and watch films and TV) aimed primarily at men. That's because women buy more and read more, full stop. They read thrillers, travel books, biographies – and yet the majority of these books are marketed for men. Women know they'll like it and give it a go. They'll happily pick up a copy of Porno, with a plastic female sex doll on the front. But men rarely try women's fiction, because they've been conditioned to think they can't pick up a book with a pink cover.

It's a real shame, because if you want to read someone who reflects women (and men's) lives with authenticity and sharp observation, someone whose books will absorb you and make you cry, there are so many options. You can do no better than Lisa Jewell or Emily Barr, or the high priestess of "commercial women's fiction", Marian Keyes. For me, The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank is note-perfect, one of the best books of the last 10 years. Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada is like a thriller of first-job hell, it's so tautly written. And Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, Little Earthquakes) is a genius. Her books are totally gripping, beautifully written, heartbreaking and hilarious. But I have yet to see a review of her which reflects this, except in magazines like Heat, which takes its commercial fiction seriously.

And don't get me started on the criminally undervalued women writers of the previous half-century: Dorothy Whipple, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, even Joanna Trollope, who I think should be taught for A-level, she's so good.

It amuses me when people say, "Oh, it's a bit like Jane Austen", to denote a writer of romantic novels or sharp-eyed stories about mousy young women (Barbara Pym is always being compared to Jane Austen, I guess because they both write about spinsters. She's nothing like her.) There's something a little patronising about the tone of it, whereas books by young men are compared to older male writers as if it's a coronation, a welcoming to the literary canon. And quite often I'm left wanting to go – huh? I don't get it. There's room for both. And I know which I'd prefer to read.

10 November 2009

In May next year, Hodder will be publishing a brand new hardback from the ever satisfying Mike Gayle The Importance of Being a Bachelor which I finished at the weekend.

Oh My - what a cracker. I love, love, love Mike’s books, and have been a firm fan since back in the days of My Legendary Girlfriend some 10 years ago. This bad boy concentrates on the three Bachelor boys – bar owner Adam who is persuaded by his mates that WAG’s and Page 3 girls just aren’t the right type of girl to date anymore, Luke who has baggage to deal with before he can move forward with fiancĂ© Cassie and then poor old youngest son Russell, in love with a woman he can’t have.

There is something about a dude writing books about relationships and love and stuff that I find fascinating and fabulous – and the other perspective he brings in the never ending Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus debate is refreshingly frank.

9 November 2009

Gingerbread Latte versus Skinny Latte with a ginger syrup shot‏

From: SJV
Sent: 09 November 2009 15:32:05
To: ukinfo@starbucks.com


As a valid and loyal customer of Starbucks for some 10 years, I am writing for clarification of your pricing policy for the above.

A venti skinny latte with a shot of gingerbread syrup should cost me £2.90 (£2.60 for the coffee, and an extra 30p for the syrup).

Why then do I have to pay £3.45 for the exact same thing, despite not wanting the cream, and infact having to specifically ask the barista to “hold the cream”?

As someone who buys a coffee every working day of the week, and will be having a skinny latte with ginger syrup shot for the entire Christmas season, I am fearful that I will end up being some £30 out of pocket just because of your “Winter Special” marketing gimmick.

I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards


5 November 2009

I have found myself with very little to say of late. I fear I have S.A.D. to go with the bog standard O.C.D.

It’s not that I am particularly peeved. Or miffed. Just a bit sullen. And sulky. Almost grumpy I would say.

Don’t get me wrong. There was some good stuff in October. We had The Niece to stay for a weekend which was fab and we took her to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs which was great fun. I met up with my old work buddy’s from the Big W at Ayoush and had a Moroccan feast. I had The Girls over for a Saturday night with dinner and The X Factor. I met up with my two gorgeous author chums at The Union Club again and got happily squiffy. I then had one of them (together with her husband and little girl (who is quite beautiful)) over for Sunday lunch. Me and The Husband had a day off together and chill-ax’ed on the sofa. I did some baking. And some bike riding. And almost finished my Christmas shopping already. I kept on top of the never ending chores. We watched Up and I cried my eyes out. And I even found the time to paint my nails.


It’s just all overshadowed by the constant darkness. Literally.

Any one else find themselves feeling miserable?

23 October 2009

Recipe for Scandal is the brand new title publishing in January from New Work by the ever popular Debby Holt – she of The Ex-Wife's Survival Guide , Annie May's Black Book , The Trouble with Marriage and Love Affairs for Grown-Ups. Do you notice a theme here? Anyway. We have a beautiful package, the author has a huge following and is an extremely popular short story writer with over sixty stories published in women's magazines including Women's Weekly and The Lady. She writes great books, full of middle aged ladies having a whale of a time, and this one will be brilliant to curl up with on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and a few Nice biscuits.

16 October 2009

15 October 2009

New Work has just published a rather good book - a collection of letters from celebrities written to their sixteen-year-old selves…Elton John has written the foreword and £1 from each copy sold will be donated to the Elton John Aids Foundation

Dear Me includes letters from three knights, a handful of Oscar winners, a bevy of Baftas, an intrepid explorer, a few teenage pop stars, an avid horticulturalist, pages and pages of bestselling authors, a dishy doctor, a full credit of film directors, a lovely of top actors, a giggle of comedians and an Archbishop!

The letters range from the compassionate to the shocking via hilarity and heartbreak, but they all have one thing in common: they offer a unique insight into the teenager who would grow up to be....Stephen Fry, Annie Lennox, Paul O'Grady, Jackie Collins, Fay Weldon, Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Debbie Harry, Brenda Blethyn , Jonathan Ross, Liz Smith, Will Young, Alison Moyet, Rosanne Cash, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Yoko Ono, Emma Thompson… to name but a few.

Why not click on the link and send in your letter – I hear talk of prizes up for grabs.

14 October 2009


I thought you might like to read a letter my colleague sent to First Capital Connect earlier this year....

As you may know I am a lover of all things sarcastic, and as such consider this to be the greatest thing written in many a moon....

-----Original Message-----
From: C, R
Sent: 09 January 2009 12:45
To: julie.allan@firstgroup.com
Subject: Enquiry

Dear Julie,

Happy New Year.

As a long-standing customer of First Capital Connect I feel obliged to enquire how much longer I will be standing.

I appreciate commuting from Haywards Heath to London on your 7.23 Bedford service is unlikely to be the highlight of any of your customers' day.

Nevertheless, I feel obliged to draw your attention to the following.

Firstly, to my untrained eye it appears this train is up to four carriages shorter than other London-bound services.

Whilst I suspect providing an extra few carriages might be something you've already thought of, I felt I should mention it in case you have forgotten about the promised phased transfer of 86 class 319 trains to this service, aimed at reducing overcrowding by 2008. That's last year.

Secondly, you may have noticed that the weather this January has been on the cool side. I am well aware of the implications this has on delays on your service - have no fear, as I mentioned, I am no stranger to this commuting business and I accept this will mean delays. I do not have unrealistic expectations of FCC. Just low ones.

What I think might help is when the train arrives, they have some form of on-board heating, other than that which has been naturally formed by the huddle of standing passengers themselves, reminiscent of how emperor penguins keep warm during the fierce polar winter.

I know the trains have heating that can be switched on and off. I know this because in the summer it is on. I therefore suggest that the phasing is studied, possibly with a view to perhaps turning the heating off in the summer and on in the winter. Whilst this suggestion does not represent a net cost benefit to FCC, it might be something you'd like to consider at your next AGM?

I hope these suggestions might slightly improve the situation and thus prevent more of your customers believing that the only 100% reliable part of First Capital Connect is the fares increase each and every January.

Were it not for the fact that this latest increase was, once again, to cover 'the cost of improvements to the service' I do not feel it unreasonable to enquire when I might experience some of these improvements in return for my ever increasing contribution.

Yours sincerely


8 October 2009

Here We Go Again, and again, and again....

As a firm follower and fully paid up member of the Slack Alice School of Procrastination – it should come as no surprise that I find myself with less than three months till Christmas, and my New Year’s Resolution list still not actioned.

I remember making the list. I even copied it onto some filofax paper, and stuck it in the diary section….

It went like this:

Drink 2 litres of water a day.
Drink less coffee.
Drink less Diet Coke (AKA The Juice of the Gods)
Walk more.
Ride the bike more.
Limit the bulky white carbs (flour, potatoes, rice…)
Swap white bread for brown bread.
Eat 5 a day every day.
Eat more veg.
Moisturize my hands and my lips more.
Take vitamins.
Exfoliate more.
Body brush more.

I’m quite sure I have written the same Things To Do list several times over. For several years. And yet. I still seem incapable of actually doing any of it. Shame on me.

Having slumped to a new all time low ebb, I feel compelled (again) to whisper the words “no, I’m trying to be good” when someone chucks a bun in my direction.

I refuse to call it a diet. Or a healthy eating/healthy living regime. I will not refuse ALL the goodstuff. Just most of it. Most of the time. And I will cross my fingers, and say a prayer that by The Season of the LBD I will feel better about my 17 1/2 stone bulk…

30 September 2009

I should be so lucky...

I wish that over the years, I had kept a diary of all the fabulous people I have met and events I have attended through the course of my relatively new career in the book world (trust me, things were never this interesting in housing).

Some things stick out anyway – lunches with Jenny Colgan and Louise Candlish, getting to say “good morning Mr President” to Bill Clinton, afternoon tea’s with Marian Keyes and Lisa Jewell, a meal at the chef’s table at Rhodes 24 with Gary Rhodes, a “thing” in a private room at Charlotte Street Hotel with Bernadette Strachan, being insulted by Janet Street Porter, launch party’s with Sophie Kinsella, Mike Gayle and other members of The Board, giggling with Jojo Moyes and Veronica Henry at The Romantic Novelist Award ceremony, attending the British Book Awards, meeting and talking to Jackie Collins, dinner at San Lorenzo with Gianluca Vialli, rubbing my left breast up against Gordon Ramsay…

But there are a multitude of other really quite fabulous things that have kind of merged into one another – private rooms at Sketch, river boat parties, launches at The Ivy, meals at Roka and Mint Leaf and Moro and Kew Grill, preview screenings of The Devil Wears Prada and Bridget Jones, parties at St Martins Lane Hotel… and one day when I am older, greyer and with even less control over my bladder I will look back and say, how lucky was I!

29 September 2009

Caddle Up

I am growing ever fonder of Colette Caddle. She has grown into one of my favourite current authors, and I am hopeful that her latest title to hit the UK in March next year, The Secrets We Keep, will secure her place in the hearts and minds of every other like-minded book reader.

I’ve just closed the pages of the trade edition (which we published in July for the export market) and I have a wee tear in my eye and flutter in my soul.

Colette is already a bestselling author in Ireland, but the UK has yet to jump on her with the same gusto they have with some other, more famous, Irish writers - but I have every faith that if the readers pick up her books, they will love her every bit as much as they do Cecelia Ahern or Marian Keyes….

New Work has done a cracking job on her new brand image….see….

and all it will take is one the big supermarkets to order 25k, get them on the shelves and start selling them and we will have a winner…

I have a couple of the trade editions going spare for anyone who fancies reading this latest story?
So another week has slipped through the fingers, and we are in a same old same old sticky wicket situation. One moment of note to report. My second date (well, not date in the true sense of the word) with Akram Khan was no less spectacular than the first. Bahok is just the most amazingly fantastic piece of dance I think I have ever seen. It’s not ballet, it’s this - “bahok brings together 8 dancers from diverse cultures, traditions and dance backgrounds: Chinese, Korean, Indian, South-African and Spanish. As such they resemble a present day version of the tale of Babel, speaking different languages both with their bodies and tongues. They meet in one of this globalised world’s transit zones and try to communicate, to share ‘the things they carry with them’: their experiences, their memories of their original homes, the dreams and aspirations that made them move. They are carriers. They are bahok.” and it’s fucking brilliant.

20 September 2009

Another weekend, another birthday fandango. Kensington Place offers a delicious three course lunch menu and great cocktails; my chesnut and mushroom pasta with a sage foam, butternut squash and gorgonzola risotto and a pudding of peanut butter parfait, chocolate ganache and salted caramel icecream was one of the best meals I have ever eaten... happy birthday Lady Lynch, you rock!!

18 September 2009

That has got to be the shortest Summer Reading campaign in the history of reading…what a bunch of arse.

I am ever hopeful of this so called bbq autumn we keep being promised to help me in my goal of finishing at least one of the huge piles of books that are cluttering up the lounge, before a whole other bunch of other good stuff starts being published, and the books literally start taking over the world again.

Anyway. Latest to be slapped down on the finished pile is lad lit author extraordinaire Mike Gayle, who found the back of the net with his last one The Life and Soul of the Party which tells of the lives and loves of a group of thirty something mates. There is lots of angst, some infidelity, a few kids, a bunch of drinking and dancing, lots of parties, some travelling, one or two pregnancies, and a terrible death.

One thing I’ve always loved about Mike’s fiction is that the people he creates are always very normal; they don’t have fancy lives, they aren’t part of the international jet-set crew, they aren’t singers, models or movie stars, they don’t drip with diamonds, or wear designer gear from head to toe. And I love them for those reasons alone.

14 September 2009


Yesterday I went to see a workshop performance of Silk - a brand new musical drama with music and lyrics by Matthew Strachan and the script by my friend (and his wife) Bernie.

As before, when I saw their last musical Next Door’s Baby I was completely blown away and can not think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The blurb on the website goes like this: Ruth Ellis and Albert Pierrepoint had only one, infamous meeting. But in Silk the two enjoy revealing conversations over tea and biscuits at a macabre parlour party, entertained by a louche variety bill including Albert’s predecessors, his family, Ruth’s friends and her lovers. Finally, as the clock strikes nine, it’s time for Ruth to leave. Albert is left alone with his ghosts. A psychological musical drama, Silk is teeming with half forgotten historical figures grateful for the chance to unburden themselves through a rambunctious score.

My blurb would go something like this: Bernie and Matthew are so incredibly talented and fabulous; it just takes my breath away. If I had a smidgen of their creative juice I would be smug and probably hateful. Silk has a brilliantly funny script, just the right touch of sick and wrong in places given the subject matter, and the score is worthy of a sell out season on any West End musical stage. If I was a producer person I would be beating my way to their door to snap up the opportunity of bringing this work of genius to a theatre…

7 September 2009

Ticket to Rye....

Our long weekend by the seaside ended with a bump this afternoon, and four loads of laundry waiting for us back home...

3 September 2009

Poke Off

I’ve only gone and done it.

I’ve done what I swore I wouldn’t do.

I’ve reinstated my facebook page…

I give it three days before I get poked off with it again and disable myself....

26 August 2009


I’ve had 7014 visitors to this page since I added the widget that counts for me…

I have 4 books currently on the go...
My Bathroom Read is The Sister Diaries from New Work.
My Kitchen Read is Economy Gastronomy that I got suckered into buying after seeing the dude make some rather gorgeous looking brownies on TV…
My Lunchtime Read is Silent Scream - my first ever Lynda La Plante, shame on me!
My Bedside Read is The Secrets We Keep also from New Work that is coming in April next year.

I weighed in at 17 stone and 4 pounds this morning.

I left the house this morning at 7.04am precisely.

Me and Mr Husband have both the 4th and the 7th of September off… there will be kissing.

Is the universe trying to tell me something significant about the numbers 7 and 4?

24 August 2009

Waterstones.com are running a rather fabulous competition to win a stay at Blakes Hotel in South Ken to celebrate the launch of what looks like a cracking little title by sexpert Kate Taylor Domestic Sex Goddess - a book for couples in long-term relationships that answers all those rather sticky questions like: how to still fancy your partner when you've just spent 10 minutes picking his socks up off the bedroom floor? Count me in.
That’s me that is.

I mean, that was me. I was one of the Coven. I wasn’t however the interesting one with the Hugh Laurie stories…

That’s also me.

I was one of the Feet gang… I also had smooth, soft and silky appendages. Not any more, let me tell you.
I finished it on Friday on the way home. As ever, the authors’ words, characters, story and sentiment took my breath away. Buy it and read it.

20 August 2009

To celebrate the launch of brand new bonkbuster DIVAS New Work is giving away £100 to help you host your very own DIVAS night out.

With designer labels, luxury Manhattan penthouses, hot men, sizzling scandal, glitz and glamour, DIVAS is set to be this summer’s bonkbuster and the ultimate accessory for every girl’s handbag.

Just click on this to enter the competition, and drop me a comment below if you wanted to get your hands on a copy of the book. Look - it's all pink and sparkly. How lovely.

18 August 2009

I started it last night, and am totally engrossed and intrigued and obsessed already. It is just so beautifully written and I am completely absorbed with what happened that Summer between Olivia and Richie, and what will happen now...

17 August 2009

I finished a “been-on-the-pile-for-over-a-year” book over the weekend (whilst watching the mighty Chelsea and the outstanding Usain Bolt).

The Love of Her Life is gorgeous, it’s funny, it’s incredibly sad and I loved it.

That’s a three out of three so far from me for Harriet, as I equally loved Going Home and A Hopeless Romantic . I even adore the gorgeous branding and packaging she is given by her publishers – all sparkly and pastel colours.

So, imagine my excitement when I spied on Amazon today that her brand new book will hit the shelves in hardback in October. Me! Me! Me! I want one...

14 August 2009

Since we last spoke, my Husband and I took ourselves out of the rat race for a week, and sat on the sofa looking at one another for 72 hours before popping off for an overnight mini-moon in a rather splendid four star hotel housed within a medieval building right on the river in 30 acres of glorious Oxfordshire countryside. Bliss. We even had a meal in the restaurant, together, at a table, and spoke to one another. Wonders will never ceace.

Then last Saturday, whilst enjoying The Mother’s hospitality and minted lamp chump chops, and neither being drunk or chased by demons, I fell up her garden path, twisted, sprained and hurted my ankle. Like really really. Have been relying on a crutch (that was CRUTCH) ever since with a big old swollen hurty ligament, and am now exhausted by the whole debacle.

It has scuppered my week’s cycle schedule, and a lovely trip I had planned for this weekend to see The Sister, The Brother in Law and The Niece. However, it is some compensation that instead, we are going to the flix this afternoon (bless Summer Hours!) to watch G-Force which I am reliably informed is about secret agent guinea pigs. Exactly.

See you next week chaps, have a good one.

2 August 2009

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

Yesterday morning at 10.30am two cars full of extremely excited ladies set off for some B&B birthday fun.

Despite the 5 hour miserable journey, we were drunk within an hour of arriving and despite the rain and staying in the Bournemouth equivalent of Fortey Towers we had cake with candles, we had fizzy falling down water, we had a gorgeous posh fish dinner, we were told off by the hotelier for being noisy (yep, nearly 40 years of age and told off by an ex-surf dude whilst wearing my pj's at 2am) and by God there was dancing... today there was a paddle in the sea, a go on the pier, a Mimosa for breakfast, and beer on the promenade and a curly icecream on the beach. Heaven. Happy Birthday Mrs Darling - you are a scream.