20 December 2010

I’m very late to the One Day party. But am so glad I came.

Going off-genre is always a risky business for me. My default setting screams “NO!” whenever someone tries to get me to read something that doesn’t have a sparkly pink cover and doesn’t fall neatly into a chick lit theme. But some very persuasive colleagues and chums, who’s opinions I trust immensely, told me One Day would leave me breathless, and quite frankly, they weren’t far wrong.

Obviously it’s a beautiful love story. Em and Dex were bought completely to life, and the impending sense of doom cranked up with just enough sensitivity that even though I know I was being played, I loved every minute of it. I’m delighted that Dex remained a selfish twat even in grief and even though I take issue with a few flaws in Em, I could completely see why she loved him to the bitterest of ends.

However, and here’s my thing. One Day is actually completely on-genre. Just cause it’s written by a man, and just cause it doesn’t have a pink cover, it completely centres around a couple, in love, and the obstacles stopping them being together. It's brilliantly written and all that, but I wonder, in a cynical raised eyebrow way, whether if it had had a pink cover, and been written by a women, the great and the good of the book critic world would have heaped just as much praise on it.

9 December 2010

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

It's been an interesting year. When I say interesting…

I turned 40. I had The Shoulder. The circle became a square. I had to adjust to the loss of Group Sales Director, UK Sales Director, and Special Sales Manager. And I've had to adjust to the new Big Cheese, the new Medium Cheese and the new Mini Cheddar. We had the Car Accident. I fell off the non-smoking wagon. I’ve now got The Eye.

Sometimes, it does feel like a very steep uphill struggle…

30 November 2010

Go to the pub

I’ve never been a fan of cider. It’s just a bit too student for me.

However, I have been converted having supped on a dimpled tankard (or two) of Rekorderlig Winter Cider at the weekend. Yummy.

5 November 2010

Buy and Listen... Listen and Buy

If you haven’t already taken yourself off to the shops and bought your copy of Why DO We Have to Live With Men? then quite frankly, you’re dead to me.

However, if you won’t take my word for it (that it’s brilliant, and funny, and a MUST HAVE read) – why not have a quick listen to Bernie on the radio and you will hear for yourself why I love her.

22 October 2010

And the winners of the Bundles give away are… Vita in Whitchurch, Helen in Bideford, Karen in Luton, Chris in Battersea, Tracey in Swansea, Beverley in Ilkeston, Suzanne in Leek, Pamela in Ryde and Caroline in North Waltham. The next lot of rules are even simpler than the last ones... Receive. Read. Review.

13 October 2010

The Beach Hut

My only criticism of The Beach Hut is that, given my rather goldfish like brain these days, I thought there were perhaps just one or two too many characters to keep track of. Now, I know that each character was absolutely beautifully written, lots of back story, well rounded, you know, everything you want from your main players – but – I did kind of struggle to keep on top of it. Other than that – it's gorgeous. You really feel a nostalgic sense of the Great British Seaside, sandcastles, Fab lollies, almost but not quite, ginger beer and cucumber sandwiches. But the story has much more. Teenage angst. Unrequited love. A funeral. Infidelity. A wedding. Adoption. Redundancy. You’ve got everything you could ever want in there. Some happy endings, some rather sad endings, some hopeful endings, and actually - a few stories that didn't have a full stop at the end of them at all, which I found quite intriguing. I’ve loved Veronica since Love on the Rocks back in 2006, but I think I might have missed Just a Family Affair and Marriage and Other Games in a haze of other books on my reading list…so will be updating my amazon wish list immediately.

8 October 2010


We are having a clear out.

As such I have a box full to bursting point of gorgeous new books that I'm going to bundle up together and offer out. To you.

Each bundle (of which there are 7) will have a hardback Jackie Collins and then a couple of paperbacks... you might get a Colette Caddle, Milly Johnson and Jennifer Weiner. It might be an Adriana Trigiani, Paige Toon and Jane Costello...it's that random, even I don't know yet.

And if your name (or the name of a close friend who's deserves a personally signed copy of a book) is Diane, then you (or they) are in for a rather marvellous treat!

So, what do you have to do?

Not much actually, just pop an email to comps@simonandschuster.co.uk with the words FAT GIRL ON THE RUN BUNDLES in the header. The seven winners will be chosen at random from all entries, competition open to UK residents only please. You have till noon Friday 22nd October to enter. Go on, treat yourself.

7 October 2010

Things Wot I like....Part 2.

The new No 7 nail varnish in Beanie.

The new competition running on the Simon & Schuster website to win a Project D frock to celebrate the launch of Dannii.

The rather marvellous cupcakes Crumbs & Doilies did for me to celebrate Jennifer Weiner.

The crisp, cold, bright and sunny morning.

6 October 2010

Things Wot I Like...Part 1.

Card Factory. Oh Shut Up! I know, I know, it's chav city, but in today's fiscally turbulent times, who can argue with 7 pretty decent greetings cards for £1. That barely covers a Happy Meal these days, so what's not to like?

M&S Iced Spiced buns. You can either buy a single bun. Or a pack of two - one for now, one for later. Guess which pack I buy? Go on, guess!

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern. A beautiful finish on the paperback, and a continuation of the Team Ahern branding makes for a great package. Another magical, slightly bizarre story - after spoilt and stroppy Tamara Goodwin discovers her father dead on the floor on his study, her life falls apart. Forced to move from her huge fancy mansion to her aunt and uncle's gatehouse cottage in the country things start getting weirder and weirder when... actually, no, I'm going to leave it there. It's all rather strange, but ultimately rather fabulous, so grab a copy from Amazon today, on special offer at £3.99. Bargain.

The new series of The Apprentice, tonight 9pm on BBC1. Can. Not. Wait. To. Ridicule.

17 September 2010

After just one too many bottles of champagne than is wise on a school night, I discovered that behind my back and without my knowledge, Bernie has relaunched her website and has been blogging away, la la la, on a regular basis.

My life is more complete. She's just so damn funny. Happy reading, happy Friday.

11 September 2010

It's been a long time...

...since I last posted.

We'd booked a week off work cause we were knackered! We were going to do a bit of this and a bit of that. Some day's out, some Wii, some sitting on the sofa watching rubbish on the box. And to cut a long story short - day two into the week, some complete twat drove into the back of us, resulting in some excruciating whiplash and our car being written off.

Suffice to say, the mood in the Virtue household was somewhat sombre and stiff for the rest of the holiday - and has only marginally improved now to be honest!

But then today I took myself off to a wee school in Pinner to help out at a charity fun day by selling one or two books.

I took along the worlds favourite pig - Olivia - for a hug and a story, the rather suave Lamb double act opened the fair, and a jolly time was had by all. Look.

24 August 2010

Bad Winners

And the winners of the recent Bad Girls giveaway are....(drum roll)....

Nicky from Exeter
Kath from Hull
Sophie from Southwick
Susan from Brightwell
Jen from Bidborough
Bella from Swindon
Natalie from Chester
Suzanne from Leek
Laura from London
and Donna from Edinburgh

Your shiny books will be in the post in time for you to enjoy over the wet and windy Bank Holiday weekend. Don't forget to post a review on every possible web site going, Twitter it, Facebook it, and if you blog, blog it!!

More giveaways and comps coming soon...
To all you sniffers and sneezers, coughers and splutterers. You ear diggers and nose pickers, groin huggers and armpit scratchers. All you eye rubbers and spot squeezers. You nail bitters and hair pullers. All you fidgetters and elbow rammers. For the love of God. STOP DOING IT IN PUBLIC. WE CAN SEE YOU.

23 August 2010

The Transworld Summer Reading Challenge

OK, OK, so Summer might be well and truly over, but I've just signed up to take part in this bad boy which looks like a work of pure marketing genius!

I think I've got a month left to read and review four books from the list, so I'm going for:

2. Matters of the Heart by Danielle Steel
6. Forbidden Pleasures by Jo Rees
12. After You by Julie Buxbaum
14. The Wish by Sasha Blake

Wish me speedy reading skills like I've never had before!

21 August 2010

As ever, I’m late to the party that is Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts , winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year award 2010. Published by Hodder back in 2009, it’s been sitting on my shelf, waiting to be picked up, looking almost as sad and lonely as the poor old abandoned mutts that feature heavily in the story itself.

I’m not a huge dog fan, nor have ever had an overwhelming desire to have kids, and both subjects feature heavily in the book, but that’s not to say I felt detached in any way, as its incredibly touching and sad. An overwhelmingly heartwarming story, I can completely see how it won this year – and will be looking out for the new book by Lucy Dillon this Christmas; Walking Back to Happiness (great title!).

Oooh, and the package is beautiful. There is a touch of the Harriet Evans about it. Just enough sparkle, not too girly for an old bird like me.

19 August 2010

Grangewood School Family Fun Day

On Saturday September 11th I will be helping out at the Grangewood School Family Fun Day – I hear talk of face painting, bouncy castles, arts & crafts, mini farms, rides, games, a plethora of food and drink and a Soccer School… and I’ll be manning a book sale stall!

I’m also pleased to report that star of TV and books, the wonderful Olivia will also be making an appearance. There will be a story corner reading by yours truly, some goody bags with books, finger puppets and activity sheets and the opportunity to hug and hold the most gorgeous weird pig lady character going.

The Fun Day is being organised by the Kai Phillips Trust to raise money for Grangewood School in Pinner, and is being held at Coteford School (which shares its grounds with Grangewood) from 12noon – 4pm. Grangewood School is trying to raise funds to build an adventure playground in the woodland area of the school, and all money raised at the Fun Day will go directly towards the project.

Come, donate, sponsor…. hear me read, buy some books, hug Olivia.

14 August 2010

The Mother and I took ourselves off to Borough Market yesterday afternoon to gorge ourselves on some rather splendid French cheese; and then a bumper evening of leg flicking and swarthy dudes at Sadlers Wells new show Tanguera which is kind of like an extended hour and a half Strictly Come Dancing - without dodgery old Brucie. Watch a clip here and then tell me you don't wish you could do that!

9 August 2010

Chris Dagley - 23rd June 1971-28th July 2010

My Uncle B sent me some post which arrived today. It contained a note, and a couple of local newspaper clippings, relating to the tragic recent death of Chris Dagley, a drummer who Uncle B, my Dad and I used to watch and listen to many years ago when he played with NYJO.

Chris was an amazing musician, with a rare talent - a grin that could light up a room and passion for jazz that completely blew my mind.

I spend many happy Sundays with a bag of nuts and a diet coke at Ruislip Jazz Club, with Dad on one side, nodding his head and tapping his feet and Uncle B on the other supping a beer and reading the papers listening to the belting solo's performed by Chris and a flutist called Lisa, who used to break my heart with her rendition of Somewhere...

I didn't know Chris personally, but my thoughts are with his friends and family.

Here is a quick link to a Chris solo ...enjoy.

Loads of good sex AND a fairytale happy ending!

Bad Girls is quite literally fabulous. Lots of sex scenes (none that make you cringe), lots of fab stereotypical "straight outta the pages of Heat magazine" characters that cross all the boxes (a lap dancer, an A list hollywood hunk, a fading supermodel and a generic wanna be IT girl, famous for nothing more than weird style and falling out of taxi's and into clubs)and a surprisingly touching fairytale (of sorts) ending for all involved. Rebecca Chance has written a sizzling story here - and if you haven't already had your Summer holiday, grab yourself a copy of this rather glossy Clit Lit and indulge your inner trash.

3 August 2010

Bad Girls Giveaway

Those lovely people at New Work have offered readers of Fat Girl on the Run not one, not two, but five brand spanking new copies of Bad Girls, the follow up to Diva’s from Rebecca Chance, for a mini giveaway.

No multiple choice, no answers on a postcard required. Just pop an email to comps@simonandschuster.co.uk. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries, competition open to UK residents only please. You have till noon Friday 13th August to enter. Go on, you know you want to.

Why not have a little click here to see Rebecca Chance sip a cocktail and chit chat about the book. And yes, she is that fabulous in real life too.

30 July 2010

This weekend I will mostly be reading… Bad Girls , the follow up to Diva’s from Rebecca Chance; and Fly Away Home , the latest title from bestselling author of In Her Shoes - Jennifer Weiner and Always on My Mind , a sneaky little Irish export only edition of the much anticipated next novel from Colette Caddle.

28 July 2010

a hopeless romantic

I’ve been re-reading A Hopeless Romantic over the past couple of weeks and have found the love again.

Firstly, what a gorgeous brand look Harriet Evans has. Her covers are just beautiful, with the right amount of sparkle and fluff, but not too young, too girly, too frivolous.

Secondly, what a hefty old tome this is. Many many pages, maybe one or two that could have been left out, but what cracking value for money.

Thirdly, what great story, fabulous characters, happy ending. Perfect.

6 July 2010

Reading Group Questions

appear on the last pages of Other People's Secrets, and I was so dismayed to find myself at the end of the story, that I read through them in the hope that there might be a further hidden chapter lurking somewhere within.

I'm not really that well versed in proper grown up books. I'm at that weird limbo stage in my reading life, when the traditional love-of-my-life-chick-lit written by and for those under 30, is not keeping my interest, and I don't quite know where to turn.

I'm not so familiar with the more tradition women's fiction. I've tentatively done The Lovely Bones, some Maggie O'Farrell and The Time Traveler's Wife. But I don't Jodi Picoult; I don't feel quite old enough for Lesley Pearse or Nora Roberts. I'm not and never will be a Twilight fan and I don't really want to go down the Stieg Larsson bandwagon. I know I should read The Kite Runner, The Book Thief and The Shadow of the Wind but I know I never will; I really want to try The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and I fancy giving Dear John by Nicholas Sparks a go - but I know I won't.

So when I finished reading Other People's Secrets, which I did this afternoon whilst waiting for a man in a white coat and rubber gloves to stick a needle deep into my shoulder and waggle it about again - I felt a little shaken.

Louise has, of course, written grown up books before. Since I Don't Have You told of a women coming to terms with life after the loss of her daughter in a road accident, and The Second Husband concentrated on loss of a different type, when a women's lover runs off with her own daughter. But Other People's Secrets is a million miles removed from The Double Life of Anna Day - the book she wrote that had me begging her publisher for a meet and greet.

Two families meet on holiday in the Italian Lakes and whilst the book is set over just two weeks, you feel completely engaged in their lives - the before, the during and the hope for the after. Bea and her husband Marty together with their children Pippi, Esther and Dom invite Ginny and Adam Trustlove into their idyllic holiday rental; and it's with the arrival of mysterious stranger Zach that the threads of their lives start to unravel before us. There is a relationship twist that I genuinely didn't see coming - but that's not why I was engrossed. There is a pace and a picture that Louise has created here that I don't think I've ever experienced before. We, the reader, are truly taken on the holiday as well. The town, the island, the villa, the lake, the gardens... the waterside path. Not only can I picture in my minds eye the whole cast (bar Esther who I don't feel I know as well as the others perhaps) I can smell the grass after the storm, I can hear the lap of the water against the boat, I can feel the heat of Zach's hotel room overlooking the square.

I'm not going to say it's funny, because it isn't. There is some sex, but it's the passion that grips you. There is some glamour and some fashion - but it's really an aside. What I found here, was a beautiful story about love and loss, about friendships and marriage, as complex as it was simple. And I loved it.

So where to now. There is hope of course - with the new Jane Green (The Love Verb) and Katie Fforde (A Perfect Proposal), and I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson and Men I've Loved Before by Adele Parks that I'm going to give a go.

But after that, what lies ahead for me.... I don't feel I can move back now, back to cocktails and crushes. To dating and trivia. I need substance.

2 July 2010

My Day Just Got A Whole Heap Better

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. Guess what I’ve just got in the post?!!

Only an early copy of Other People’s Secrets!

Oh yes I have.

And, no, you can’t have it!

1 July 2010

Help the Aged

I fear I have got old. Too old for chick lit. It’s a fucking worry. All things cocktails and crushes are not holding my attention anywhere near as much as they once did.

This is what happened. I temporarily halted my reading of the new book by Paige Toon Pictures of Lily as I was lucky enough to get sent a shiny new proof of WDWHTLWM by my chum Bernie and ravaged it like a hungry beast.

So I’ve just this week picked PoL back up again and have reached a crucial stage, as Lily has just bumped into the object of her teenage lust after 10 years apart…

This is Paige’s fourth book, and I have really enjoyed her previous three ( Lucy in the Sky, Johnny Be Good, and Chasing Daisy )… But. I think I need some more death, or middle aged heartache, or divorce, or infidelity, or motherhood, or old people care, or redundancy, or wrinkles and Tena Lady – just something that relates more to my life now, not my life 20 years ago… Don’t get me wrong Paige. I know it’s ME not YOU that’s changed… the issues that resonated with me in my teens and early twenties just don’t cut the mustard anymore. And that realisation has given me the blue's let me tell you.

30 June 2010

Other People's Secrets

To celebrate the launch of the new book by the lovely Louise Candlish next week Thursday, her fabulous publisher has joined up with Kuoni for a rather super competition to win a luxury 5 night holiday in the Italian Lakes.

I’ve yet to get my filthy little mitts on the book, so can’t tell you any more than the synopsis on their website. Ginny and Adam Trustlove arrive on holiday in Italy torn apart by personal tragedy. Two weeks in a boathouse on the edge of peaceful Lake Orta is exactly what they need to restore their faith in life - and each other. Twenty-four hours later, the silence is broken. The Sale family have arrived at the main villa: wealthy, high-flying Marty, his beautiful wife Bea, and their privileged, confident offspring. It doesn't take long for Ginny and Adam to be drawn in, especially when the teenage Pippi introduces a new friend into the circle. For there is something about Zach that has everyone instantly beguiled, something that loosens old secrets - and creates shocking new ones. And, yet, not one of them suspects that his arrival in their lives might be anything other than accidental...

I hear talk also of a thing at Sandhurst Library on Thurs 8 July at 7.30pm that Louise is doing together with another bestselling Sphere author – Dorothy Koomson – where they will be talking about their books, taking a Q&A and signing their latest books – so bag yourself a couple of tickets, quick pronto!

18 June 2010

That Was The Week That Was

When we last spoke, I was gearing up for a varied but rather lackluster weekend... and yes; the housework, the shopping, the exercise and the football all featured.

I didn't manage to get to grips with Why Do We Have to Live With Men unfortunately, cause I was still midway through the new title coming from Paige Toon - Pictures of Lily - but that situation has now been successfully resolved; and what a fantastic treat you all have in store come the end of October on pub date.

Page 1 had me snorting diet coke out of my nose, and whilst I'm only 80 pages in, I really do think this book may be the best Bernie Strachan since the brilliant Reluctant Landlady, her debut, and a book that always features in my Top Ten. Many authors in our genre are marketed as being brilliantly funny, and sassy and warm and witty and all that; but in truth, very few are genuinely that funny - you know - actual laugh out loud, wanna share the joke with your mates, titter on the tube funny. But, Bernie just is, simple. This new book tells the story of a group of mates who, like me and my mates, spend their drunken nights together slagging off the total shitty-ness of the men they have at home; their sloppy ways, their lack of responsibility when it comes to anything involving cooking, or cleaning, or other so called women's work duties; and promise that one day they will sod off and live together where no-one leaves wet towels on the floor, no-one leaves washing up in the sink for a week, and no-one leaves empty milk bottles in the fridge.

As I say, I'm only 80 pages in, but so far every page has made me laugh, the irony, the sarcasm, the spot on characterisation.... so, pre-order your copy now, or maybe, just maybe, you might miss out on the best book of the year.

So. On to other things.

I turned 40 on Tuesday. Yep. That was 40. And quite frankly I have very little else to say on the matter. Other than I was treated to vanilla biscuits, a cherry conserve Victoria Sponge, Lavender Iced Cupcakes and a Moist Chocolate Cake on the day; so Old Age maybe isn't too bad.

And Boo took me back to the newly refurbished Inn on the Green, or should I say, All Bar One looking Sanctum on the Green for a romantic meal. Highlights of the evening included the hand cut chips that were supposed to be served with my Dorset Crab Cakes arriving at the table after my dinner plate had been taken away; the waiter declaring he had "never eaten here" when asked what dessert he would recommend; and the duty manager forgetting to bring our bread basket despite three reminders...

And the new decor! Oh my. Very swanky. Or was that wanky? Who would bulldozer a Old English Country Lavender garden to make room for a ridiculous black slate swimming pool just a smidge bigger than my childhood paddling pool? Who would replace a dim and divine parlour with squishy, soft, red velvet armchairs and sofas for... well.... actually nothing. The whole front bar area has been knocked down and out to make room for 8 more restaurant tables. Why knock out the gorgeous old Lamp Room and replace it with a couple of uncomfortable and ridiculous upright chairs and the kind of lighting found in a hospital operating theatre? Why knock out some sort of English Heritage walls, dating back to the beginning of time or something, and replace with mirrors. Mirrors in Cookham Dene? I ask you! Oh I could go on. But I won't. We held hands over the newly varnished wooden tables and thanked our lucky stars that we got married there last year when it was a beautiful boutique restaurant with rooms, and vowed never to return...

11 June 2010

Decisons Decisions

HELP! I am in a quandary. A flap. A pickle if you will. This weekend we have the following:

1. Housework (laundry, ironing, dusting, changing the bed, things to do with floors, things to do with scrubbing bathrooms and kitchens till small children could eat off every surface should they choose to)

2. Shopping (food and household bits and bobs - not I hasten to point out for shoes, gems, bags, or cupcakes)

3. Exercise (11am Body Zone. Yep)

4. Football (have Switzerland in the sweepstake. Yes, that was SWITZERLAND)

5. Or, fuck all that off, and tuck into a proof copy of the exciting new book by my mate Bernie coming to a book shop near you in October this year.

That’s that decision easily made then.

Summer Reading here we come!!!

Crime does pay

To celebrate the launch of Lynda La Plante’s (she of Prime Suspect and Above Suspicion fame) latest book, (in B format PB for the first time don't you know) New Work are offering the most awesome prize via the web site.

Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to win a day on set of a Lynda La Plante drama?

6 June 2010

Who knew...

...Ghent was so gorgeous. Especially on a hot and sunny long weekend. Look.

30 May 2010

Am too old...

for this level of activity.

Wednesday night I was treated to my new hair hat by my lovely Girls for my birthday. The husband of the uber-stylish-even-in-pregnancy Mrs Darling, is an amazing hair dresser - and I went for a proper big old chop, loosing 20 inches and gaining the kind of access to the back of my neck I haven't had in over 10 years. Totally liberating and totally fabulous.

Thursday night I went to Union Club with my always-good-value-for-money author friends for more gin than is wise on a school night. And the hangover started before we'd even ordered that last round....

Friday we had cupcakes and chitter chatter in the office with the adorable and hysterical Adriana. With gossip from the previous nights SATC 2 red carpet, and updates on the super new Valentine stories, it was my most favourite way to spend a couple of hours at 2Two2.

Friday night we splashed out on 6 seats in the Scene section of the newly opened Vue cinema in Westfield for THE movie event of the year. And despite all the shitty reviews from the shriveled old crone critics who just don't GET the phenomenon that is SATC, I enjoyed every last second of it. There were laughs a plenty, fashion overload, girl talk, bonding, love and friendship - exactly what SATC is all about, and if you don't get it, just fuck off, don't watch it, and don't try and ruin it for those of us that do.

Yesterday was then another early start for my Birthday Lunch Club with The Girls. The secrecy wrapped around this day was a shocker with all manner of red herrings and half truths floating about to throw me off the scent. We started off with croissants and frappacino at Victoria station, a fast train to the beautiful seaside town of Whitstable in Kent - complete with a pass the parcel, for a mooch and meander around the twee boutiques and galleries, and the most amazing lunch at Whitstable Oyster Fishery Co on the seafront. Over 10 years ago an ex introduced me to both the town and the restaurant, and I've banged on about the most perfectly simple meal of grilled mackerel and apple sauce time and time again - and 10 years on it's still as fantastic as it was all those years ago. I was also treated to a platter of the famous Whistable Oysters, a never ending flow of rose prosecco....and even a party bag!

There is nothing better than quaffing champagne on a train coming home, picking up nibbles and munchies, and retiring to Lorrie's for a marathon SATC and Britain's Got Talent TV night, the perfect end to a perfect day. Thanks Girls - you all did me proud!

Then today, with a hangover from hell and exhausted from all the hoopla, I dusted, and tidied, and changed the bed, and cleaned the kitchen, and then we opened the paint - and started redecorating the bathroom. We are a few coats away from finishing, but it's looking clean, fresh and bright - and even in my weary state I'm glad we did it today - cause that means tomorrow he might let me lie in!

26 May 2010

Big Tom, ex-FD of The Big W turned me on to Adriana Trigiani, after recommending either Lucia, Lucia or Rococo (my memory fails me) one fag break 6 years ago – and over the years I’ve gobbled up the backlist, including the fabulous Big Stone Gap series…

Adriana has romance cursing through her veins. She is a natural storyteller, and weaves passion and humour magically together to create the kind of women's fiction that should hit the top of the charts time after time.

Her new trilogy began with Very Valentine which New Work published in May last year, introducing us to a fabulous new Italian American character Valentine Roncalli, and her family business – the Angelini Shoe Company.

I really enjoyed it and so did the press!

'Charming, charismatic and addictive, this tale of love, life and shoes is an absolute treat' Company
'A gorgeous piece of escapism … with plenty of the warm, earthy humour that is this author's calling-card' The Times
'This hymn to Italian New York is a treat' Elle
'Charming … Romance, families, careers and relationships are all intertwined in this captivating adventure' Closer
'A funny, heart-warming tale of a woman looking for love, family harmony and the perfect shoe' Heat

I read the next in the series, Encore Valentine on Sunday.

Oh what hopeless romantics Adriana and Valentine are... but how refreshing to read a story that makes no excuses for wanting to believe in, and in fact, revelling in the power of love - even Old Gram Teodora gets married at 80!

Am really excited that Adriana is making another trip to S&S Towers @ Two2Two on Friday for a picnic (following her attendance at the SATC 2 premier on Thursday night - Michael Patrick King is her lodger!!) - hopefully some of her belief can rub off on this cold hard cynic!

24 May 2010

Summer Reading has begun – finally - and I read After The Party on Saturday, sat on my stoop, in the sun; me and my shoulder.

Reading anything (shopping list, doodles, random to-do notes) by Lisa would be a dream. She is an awesome writer, creates characters you care about, and writes the kind of things that happen to normal people… perfect.

In After the Party Lisa has bought back Jem and Ralph – who have been together 11 years now, have two kids and a house- but are loosing that special something that made them so right together. In a twist I don’t think I’ve ever read before in a “chick lit” title, Ralph finds a way to move forwards, but Jem is stuck where many mothers I know have found themselves – between the man they love and the life they miss before the world of responsibility fell cleanly on their shoulders.

With just enough unexpected twists and turns to ramp up the eager page turning, After the Party hits all the right notes with love, longing, lust and life and just the right ending to not make you feel like a complete wimp when you find yourself in tears.

22 May 2010

Put Your Hands Up

If you know me from facebook – you will know of The Shoulder. You will know that I finally got a diagnosis for the agonising pain that has been haunting me for over a year – involving the words inflamed fluid sac, three ruptured tendons, calcium build up, trapped nerve and the need for a bone shaving operation.

You will also know that I had a cortisone injection on Wednesday. A procedure that involved a double dose of anaesthetic, followed by 40 minutes of what can only be described as “jiggling” of a needle the size of a bic biro pen deep within the calcium to dislodge it, finished off with the actual pain relief injection into those tendons…

You will know of the tears, the nervous laughing, the nausea and of course, the following 48 hours of a whole new world of pain.

But, what you might not know is that today, for the first day in give or take 18 months I am pain free. I don’t feel like I have a ten ton weight hanging off my arm. I don’t feel a constant nagging aching deep bone pain that affects how I move, how I feel, how I sleep. Or not as the case has been for some time.

You will also not know that I can now, tentatively and with a slight wince, raise my arm to the side and rotate my shoulder to point to the sky. I’m not swinging from the chandeliers; I’m not reaching for things off the top shelf. And I still can’t do up my own bra, but fuck me sideways this feels good. I am looking forward to going to bed and being able to pick my position to sleep based on nothing more than whim. Not because to sleep on my right side does something weird and compressing to the fluid sac that makes me cry after about 4 seconds. Not because to sleep on my back, hoists the shoulder up to my ears, which tugs at the ruptured tendons and makes me cry after about 7 seconds. And to sleep on my left makes my shoulder droop down and back, and literally makes the calcium grate on the bone and makes me cry after about 11 seconds….

I might just sleep on my front just for the sheer hell of it...

21 May 2010

Look What They've Done

Have just noticed, that the beautiful Inn on the Green, that he and I got married in last May has undergone a bit of a refurb - and has turned into Sanctum on the Green - equally beautiful, but now also, very very fancy pants....Maybe if I'm a good girl, He will take me for tea and a romp one night...

11 May 2010

In a New York state of mind....

To celebrate our very first wedding anniversary, we took ourselves off to NY for a week....what an amazing place - so very tall, so very busy, so very fabulous, so many trainers and cupcakes to buy!!

I took one or two (ok 347) snaps.

Here are a few of my favourites.

(This is the actual view from our bed!)