Happy Birthday, Dad 💛 Miss you like mad.

This is my first post since October as shortly after writing that post, my lovely dad, who hadn’t been in the best of health for a few months, sadly passed away in hospital on November 26th 2020. I tried so hard to prepare myself for ‘that moment’, knew it was only a matter of time, but when the phone call came, the pain and shock was brutal, like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Thankfully Dave was with me, who has been immense in his love, strength and support. He loved Dad so much and has felt the loss tremendously.

Today would have been Dad’s 83rd birthday. It’s crazy to think that this time last year he looked healthier than he had in ages. Of course we were in Lockdown, so the celebrations were muted, even though we were still able to visit with cards and prezzies as long as we remained outdoors. Luckily we were blessed with sunshine.

Here’s Dad on his birthday last year, sitting with Mum on their driveway, delving into his gift bags.

Dad was always so pleased and grateful to receive any family presents. Little did he know the flurry of texts that would pass between me, Mum and my sisters beforehand about what on earth to get him. Whenever any of us personally asked him if there was anything he wanted, his stock answer would always be, with a little smile, “Not really. Keep your money. I’ve got everything I need.”

We’d ignore this (obviously) 💛

I’d give anything to be handing him his prezzie and card this year.

Since Dad passed away, our family has pulled together as it always does, especially around our dear Mum who’d been married to Dad for 62 and a half years. We’ve collectively shared countless photos, memories and poignant moments, such as Mum’s birthday and wedding anniversary plus other family birthdays, all firsts without Dad. As was Christmas (we did our best but none of our hearts were really in it).

Two special birthdays to mention. Youngest great-nephew Stanley’s 1st (unbelievable enough) and sister Sandra’s 60th (doubly unbelievable ).

Here’s Stan with Dad (on the left) and then on the right a photo of him on his 1st birthday this Feb. He’s a little ray of sunshine.

And here is sister Sandra celebrating ‘the big one’ looking as bright and sunny as ever.

Birthday Girl!

I’ve no writing updates for you this time around as I haven’t had any inclination to do any. Hopefully that will change.

Our garden is looking fab if I say so myself. It’s been a real project and although Dave must take credit for building all the structures, I have proudly played my part, mainly as chief digger, planter, seed-sewer and clearer and bagger upper. We bought a bird feeder and Dave made a bird box – a nod to Dad who loved watching his little garden birds. Bar Cosmopolita was Dad’s favourite bar from our Spanish holidays together. We’ve had a few visitors to the feeder, mainly blue tits, great tits and robins. I’m thrilled!

Blooms this time around are all from Dad’s funeral held just before Christmas. Dad’s favourite colour was yellow which featured heavily 💛

Whenever I feel the tears coming, I let them flow, rather than stifling them, as I believe it will help me to heal. As does chatting to Dad whether it be in my mind or out loud to one of his photos or when I feel his presence or hear a song that reminds me of him. Equally I take great comfort in the precious, joyful, loving and funny memories I have of Dad that make my heart squeeze and set me off laughing. They will stay with me forever.

Dad, I’m blessed to have had you in my life for 54 years and give thanks every day for all that you made me and all that you gave me.

Until we meet again.

All my love always,

Jan xx


As Autumn Arrives …

Well, where did we leave it?

With all the changes and variations to the lockdown restrictions, it’s hard to keep up sometimes.

Well a birthday is a good place to start, eh? Our beloved little great-niece Thea’s 1st birthday was in August. We couldn’t party in ‘full on whole family’ style for obvious reasons but Thea nonetheless had a wonderful day.

Here she is, bless her, in her celebratory outfit ❤

Birthday Girl

I’ve been enjoying spending some extra time with Thea and both our great-nephews these past few weeks, and with my family in general, given how lockdown has affected our various work patterns, health & wellbeing.

The joy of simple pleasures. I’d forgotten how much fun a game of hide n seek could be.

Peek -a-boo, dear little Henry

Or feeding the goats with sweet little Stanley at Christmas Tree Farm

Hungry chops

In September we were lucky enough to get away for a few days to north Wales with two good friends of ours. Our timing was spectacular, not only because where we stayed is sadly now in temporary local lockdown, but the weather was fantastic. Never did I think when I was packing my windproofs and waterproofs that we’d be blessed with dazzling sunshine and temperatures of 25 degrees.

Here is a snapshot of our trip 😀

October is always special for me as Dave and I celebrate our wedding anniversary (17 years this year!) and my birthday. On both occasions we ate out and had successive fabulous meals. We received some lovely cards and messages and I had some gorgeous birthday gifts.

Then and now ❤

I was lucky enough to appear on fellow author Anne Stormont’s blog this month where I wrote about a typical (or not so typical) day in my writing life. Thank you to Anne for inviting me to feature.

You can read my post here 🙂 Jan Brigden’s Writing Day

Also, another fab addition to project Briggy to report in the shape of our new pergola. Clever man, my husband ❤

As we speak, I am working on a novella for my publisher Choc Lit UK It’ll be Christmas-themed and out in time for the 2021 festivities. I love all things Christmas so it is a joy to be able to set a story at this time of year. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I’ve read two cracking books over the past few weeks, one fiction, one non-fiction.

Sue Moorcroft’s Summer on a Sunny Island whisked me to Malta where I have previously visited and loved. I felt like I’d returned in person such is the brilliance of Sue’s writing and descriptions in this novel. Rosa and Zach are both on the island for very different reasons, having endured past setbacks in love and life. From the moment I met each of these characters, I was rooting for them to get together but the author creates enough tension and drama to leave you never knowing for sure if they actually will. The perfect escape from all the madness and chaos going on around us. Top marks from me 🙂

Being a serial overthinker and someone who suffers with sporadic episodes of anxiety, especially in these strange times, Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff was a welcome distraction. Simply explained tips and encouragement, via 100 short chapters, on how to put things into perspective to save yourself a whole lot of angst and frustration. Good to dip in and out of when the worry bunny comes calling. It certainly gave my spirits a lift 🙂

Blooms this time around are a feast for the eyes. Beautiful birthday roses and some glorious gladioli. Enjoy!

Until next time, keep safe and well everyone. Here’s hoping we can return to normality some time soon.

With much love,

Jan X

News & Reviews

With July jogging swiftly towards August ~ AUGUST ~ can’t quite believe I’m saying that, I wanted to check in and say Hi.

With restrictions easing since my last news update, it’s been wonderful to properly see Mum and Dad who’d been shielding and also the rest of my lovely family and friends in various homes, gardens and local parks. Can’t believe how much our great-nephews and niece have grown during this time, especially youngest Stanley who was only a month old when Lockdown started.

Henry, Thea & Stanley ~ always a joy to see their little faces ❤

Mr B is now back doing the day job but I’m glad to say Project Briggy is taking great shape. As well as Little & Large (sheds) as I’ve called them (everything has a name at Brigden Towers) he’s built some new decking on the sunnier side of the garden, with a pergola to follow. What a star! I love it all and can so far take zero credit, but when all the building stuff is complete, I look forward to choosing some lovely (low maintenance) plants and ornaments to complement.

Latest pics:

On the writing front, If I Ever Doubt You is continuing to receive fabulous reviews since its release in April. I always imagined this moment when I was writing As Weekends Go, creating the story and the characters, so to see the two books side by side, telling Alex & Rebecca’s story in full, makes me happy and proud.

Also … drumroll

In June, following a promotion, If I Ever Doubt You briefly reached number #1 in the Romance, Sport category on KOBO. It also came out as an audiobook that month. Double Delight! 😀


Talking of books, I’ve read some sparklers this past month, both fiction & non-fiction:

Under Your Skin, a psychological thriller by Rose McClelland

I love Rose’s writing, her punchy dialogue, the raw honesty of her phrasing, and have enjoyed all her novels. This was a change in genre for her, and she has delivered another brilliant story. Kyle’s wife Hannah goes missing and from the off we know things aren’t what they seem with this couple and their complex relationship. It is dark, disturbing and gripping all in one and the subject matter and characters’ emotions were so cleverly and authentically portrayed, I could have almost been reading a true story. I love multi viewpoint tales and a great cast of secondary characters and their subplots add to the ongoing tension and drama. Go grab it. You won’t be disappointed.

Another top crime thriller I’ve just finished reading is Claire Sheldon’s debut, Perfect Lie

A body is found in the village where main character Jen lives with her husband and two children. Jen then starts receiving mysterious items through the post. We meet and subsequently follow DI Chris Jackson’s perspective on matters, obtaining a compelling insight into police matters and what goes on in the background. Well, talk about knock me for six when I was least expecting it. You’ll know “the” moment I’m talking about when you get to it. Suspense, intrigue and twists aplenty as details emerge linking the past with the present and all the secrets and turmoil in between. An accomplished debut. Loved it!

Being a huge fan of anything inner peace and mindfulness-related, I found the two books below so easy to follow and understand as well as fascinating. Let’s face it, when you’re looking for reassuring calm in your reads, the last thing you want is a headache trying to figure it out as you go.

Anyway, for any fellow mindfulness devotees, if you want to know more, here they are:

Last but very definitely not least, I feel privileged to have read an early copy of Lizzie Lamb’s soon-to-be published latest Scottish-themed romance Penhaligon’s Highland Bride. Can’t say anymore at the moment but believe me, you’re in for a treat. Expect a full review when the novel is launched.


Blooms and trees this time round come courtesy of another recent soothing, peaceful walk with Mr B.

Until next time,

With much love (and hair cut and roots nicely sorted – at last!)

Jan x

Hooray, Hooray! 11 Today!

It’s a very special day for my lovely publisher Choc Lit  they are celebrating their eleventh birthday. It has been fabulous to see them branch out to incorporate Ruby Fiction  and I’m very proud to be part of the whole #ChocRuby family. A huge celebratory cheer of thanks goes to the team for all your hard work and support for us authors and our books.

There will be fun, prizes and, no doubt, chocs aplenty all day over at Choc Lit & Ruby HQ, so be sure to keep an eye on Twitter & Facebook and join in the celebrations.

Here’s to another fab year!


Sip Sip


It such a joy for me to have both As Weekends Go and If I Ever Doubt You published by Choc Lit and here is a slideshow of some of my fave moments over the past five years ❤

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With much love,



Jan,  x


May Round-up

I’d love to say I have loads of fresh news for you since my last post but as with most people, we’ve generally been stuck on repeat. Apart from Dave’s ongoing shed-building. Or “Project Briggy” as I’ve called it.

Here’s a slideshow. I’m most impressed! 😀

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We’ve had several family birthdays since we’ve been in lockdown, including our brother-in-law’s 60th, which would normally have been loudly celebrated with cheer and beer and good music, but I know we’ll do him proud later on when we’re free and able. We did all have individual cakes courtesy of our super-talented niece Alison so we could send pictures to him of us scoffing them and raising a glass or singing Happy Birthday to him via WhatsApp.


It was also Dave’s birthday this month which we celebrated with a nice Chinese Takeaway and a bottle of wine. I made him a card with pictures of all his favourite things on it as I couldn’t find a suitable enough one in the limited amount of shops open.  


My good friend Noreen was due to have a party in honour of a big milestone birthday. More belated fun, fizz and cake on the horizon. How will we all cope? 😉 

As for me, well since publication of my second novel If I Ever Doubt You, I’ve been delighted to feature on several lovely blogs, answering questions and sharing photos and book extracts, etc. I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had. The reviews have been coming in and they are wonderful. Readers are saying how much they are enjoying re-connecting with Rebecca and Alex, having first met them in my debut As Weekends Go.

You don’t have to have read As Weekends Go to enjoy If I Ever Doubt You but hopefully you might decide you want to read them both anyway.  (She says cheekily, fingers crossed …) 😉 

Here are the links to the blogs I’ve been appearing on if you fancy a read. Plus one or two of those brill reviews I mentioned. Thanks galore for all the support.

Books And Me Guest Post

The Day that changed my Life ~ via Morton Gray’s blog

Uplifting Book Extract ~ via Carol Thomas blog




I wanted to also give a shout out to my lovely publisher Choc Lit who organised a virtual literary festival that ran for two weeks and was a resounding success. See the banner below that advertised it. The feedback was great as were all the authors who took part. As you can see there was plenty on offer from both Choc Lit & Ruby Fiction authors.  Bravo! 




Blooms and tree pics for you to savour this time round, all spotted on our many soul-soothing, scenic walks 😀

Until next time, stay safe and well everyone.

Much love,

Jan X

#GuestPost IF I EVER DOUBT YOU by JAN BRIGDEN #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @JanBrigden

Books and Me!

Happy Tuesday to you all! And Happy Publication Day to Jan Brigden for the release of IF I EVER DOUBT YOU!! Hopefully you’ll all be downloading this later to enjoy!

Jan has been kind enough to write a guest post for me to share with you all today to give you a bit more of an insight into the book and the characters within the story!! Over to you Jan….

Challenging the celebrity footballer stereotype: If I Ever Doubt You by Jan Brigden

My main characters Rebecca and Alex first encountered one another in my debut As Weekends Go. Family-oriented small-town woman meets big league professional footballer. We saw the huge impact on their lives during and after that eventful summer weekend.

If I Ever Doubt You continues their story, charting each cheer, dip, drama and dilemma their relationship throws up: how Rebecca adapts to and copes with the reality…

View original post 533 more words

Publication Day Cheer

I’ve been so looking forward to sharing this post with you all.

Today I celebrate the ebook publication of If I Ever Doubt You, the sequel to my debut As Weekends Go.

It’ll be just me and Dave celebrating at home so we’ve made sure we have fizz and chocs aplenty. Yes, it will be different this time round, but to be honest I’m just grateful our nearest and dearest are all safe and well and able to share in my good news.  I thank you all for your continued love, encouragement and support.

Huge cheer of thanks to my lovely publisher Choc Lit Proud to belong to such a top team.CHOC LIT LOGO



Here’s the blurb:

She might have scored a celebrity footballer, but the game isn’t over yet …

Rebecca Dunning should be blissfully happy – after a whirlwind weekend, she and top footballer Alex Heath are still going strong. But as the murkier side of the celebrity lifestyle reveals itself, so does the creeping doubt.

Rebecca finds herself isolated in the fake, flashy world of toxic WAG cliques and ruthless reporters, and when a mysterious online admirer follows Alex’s every move, she struggles to cope. Can she keep playing the media game for the man she loves, or will she have to admit defeat?

Sequel to As Weekends Go.

Here’s the link should you fancy a read.


Also available to download on Kobo, Nook, Google Play & ibookstore

I hope you enjoy it.

Much love,


Jan x

The Day That Changed My Life by Jan Brigden

From My Home to Yours …

I hope this post finds you and all your loved ones safe and healthy and well. Such a  strange, scary, unnerving old time for everyone, isn’t it. Bless those poor souls who have lost their lives. My heart goes out to their families and friends ❤

I was re-reading my previous blog post (written pre-lockdown) about how I’d be reporting back to you on the various family events coming up in April, always a mad month birthdays-wise in our family. As is May.

Little did I know at the time what the next few weeks would bring and how much they would impact all our lives.

Yet for all the negatives and sadness and worry –  perfectly understandable –  I have been reflecting on all the good in my life, who and what is really important. Counting my blessings. As I’m sure a lot of us have.


Obviously my husband, strong marriage,  family and friends are at the top of my list of things to be thankful for. I’ve also appreciated the importance of my home. Dave and I live in a maisonette in a densely populated town, albeit on the “slightly” quieter and greener fringes of that town. We’ve lived here a number of years, seen huge changes, met and waved goodbye to various neighbours and witnessed countless dramas.


Over the last few months I’d begun to feel a bit restless, agitated, less tolerant of the litter, mindless periodic car vandalism the ever-growing traffic, beeping car horns, hollered expletives and general lack of consideration of one or two of our fellow residents. I actually uttered those immortal words to Dave one evening, “It’s not like it used to be round here.”

And then came lockdown.

Now, I’m not saying all of the aforementioned niggles will magic themselves away when things return to normal, whatever normal may be, but I do know that during the extra time we’ve spent indoors and especially the time spent going out for our hourly walks for exercise, or sitting in the garden, that my love for our home and its surroundings has reignited.

Indoors, we’ve had a good old declutter, spring-cleaned and had a mass filing and shredding of paperwork session. Outdoors, we’ve tackled the garden. Dave, unable to work at the moment, has dismantled our decking with plans for a new shed to take its place. Our walks have taken in new local routes I never knew existed. Bridleways and woods full of foliage and blossoms. Hopscotch patterns chalked on pathways, pictures of rainbows in windows, the background sounds of birdsong and children’s laughter as they splash in their paddling pools or play in their gardens, between homeschooling sessions. Less traffic. Fresher air. Bluer sky. An abundance of butterflies (one landed on me – I was so chuffed!) and bumble bees aplenty. Majestic trees, one of which we pass on a certain route, is home to a woodpecker who we now listen out for every day.

Obviously it’s a godsend that we have social media and phones and video calling, etc, so we can all stay in touch, but it has also been wonderful to slow down, give the brain a rest and appreciate those things we either take for granted or never notice.

I know for sure that I’ve been more creative, writing blog posts and a Christmas novella and a few comical odes and ditties . I’m looking forward to the publication of my sequel to As Weekends Go later this month.

Published by Choc Lit, it’s entitled If I Ever Doubt You and here is the blurb and the glorious cover.

She might have scored a celebrity footballer, but the game isn’t over yet …
Rebecca Dunning should be blissfully happy – after a whirlwind weekend, she and top footballer Alex Heath are still going strong. But as the murkier side of the celebrity lifestyle reveals itself, so does the creeping doubt.

Rebecca finds herself isolated in the fake, flashy world of toxic WAG cliques and ruthless reporters, and when a mysterious online admirer follows Alex’s every move, she struggles to cope. Can she keep playing the media game for the man she loves, or will she have to admit defeat?



The beautiful blooms below are dedicated to our brilliant NHS and carers and key workers for whom we’ve been clapping and banging our saucepan lids in appreciation of the invaluable work they are doing throughout this pandemic and for all they do in general.

No applause will ever be loud enough. clapping-hands

Thank you.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone ❤

Much love,


Jan x


Marching on …


Seeing all the glorious blossoms and daffodils means that spring has sprung. My favourite season. Full of promise and new beginnings and summer still ahead.



It’s been a busy couple of months. In early January my lovely publisher Choc Lit offered me a contract for my second book (title tbc). It’s the sequel to As Weekends Go, telling Rebecca and Alex’s story going forward. It’s also a standalone story in its own right. I’m pleased to report that the structural edits are done and I’m currently awaiting the first glimpse of the cover.


Watch this space …



Midway through January, all the ladies in our family attended eldest niece Jo’s baby shower. With plenty of Jo’s female friends there too, a great time was had by all. Sister Sandra (Jo’s mum) created some brilliant games and a quiz and we each wrote a little note for Jo’s memory jar – a precious keepsake for her sent with love and special wishes. We devoured a delicious buffet and cupcakes and the Prosecco flowed. Plenty of photos taken too in front of the stunning flower wall.

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January 31st saw niece Marie-Claire officially graduate with a BA First Class Honours degree in Primary Education from Canterbury Christ Church University. A grand ceremony was held at Canterbury Cathedral. So proud of her achievements and of how well she is doing in her chosen teaching career.

Hip Hip Hooray!



More joyous news in February when niece Jo and her fiance Anthony welcomed dear little Stanley Edward into the world. He’s absolutely adorable and Briggy and I were thrilled to meet him on Valentine’s Day when he was one week old. Crazy to think we are great uncle & great auntie thrice over. We love it!


And now here we are in March. Lots of family celebrations  over the next few weeks which I look forward to telling you all about next time, along with any fresh Book 2 updates.

Finally, some glorious blooms for you to feast your eyes upon: gorgeous daffs, a beautiful scented bouquet from my lovely friend Kay, and last but not least, the majestic camellia bush in flower next to our front door.  Enjoy!


Until next time, with much love,



Jan X