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…